53 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Austdel 105, PARIS, 22 October 1948, 7.55 p.m.

Third Committee 21/10 decided to place item 4(A) part 3 Mediator's Progress Report dealing with relief to Arab refugees on agenda for Friday afternoon 29th October. This was adopted with 46 votes to none with six abstentions. Both the United Kingdom and the United States are satisfied with this arrangement.

2. As we considered it undesirable to interrupt completely debate on Human Rights Australia spoke first suggesting that after a period for Governments to consider what they could contribute parallel debate might begin on Human Rights in mornings and refugees in afternoons. We also suggested desirability of considering ICEF and UNAC[1] immediately following 4(A) as related subjects but did not move formal resolution. Decision on these points may be[2] in course of debate on item.

3. In debating generally there was healthy emphasis following our initiative on governments considering what they would be prepared to contribute. France suggested with considerable support that small working group should be set up to consider problem while debate continued in the main committee. This will probably be done after the general debate. Many countries expressed the hope that the committee would respect gentleman's agreement not to raise political issues. Soviet temporarily withdrew motion to effect that Third Committee should not consider question of Palestinian refugees until First Committee had disposed of political question and confined itself to trying to secure that items 4(B) and (C) concerning European refugees should be considered immediately after 4 (A). This was rejected with most of British Commonwealth abstaining.

[1] United Nations Appeal for Children.

[2] A symbol in the text here indicates 'group omitted'.

[AA : A571, 47/1529, II]