65 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Burton
Cablegram Austdel 309, PARIS, 1 December 1948, 11.40 p.m.
SECRET PERSONAL FOR BURTON
United Kingdom called Commonwealth meeting at lunch time to indicate extent to which they were prepared to meet amendment of the United States. They have changed position almost completely and in effect accepted United States views on 29th November as basis for direct negotiations and compensation for Arab property with only minor verbal alterations. This is a complete somersault and flatly contradicts McNeil's assertion at the Commonwealth Meeting before the debate opened that United Kingdom would never change its position on Bernadotte report and regarded direct negotiations as wishful thinking. We had only a couple of hours warning of this fundamental switch which while bringing United Kingdom Resolution (United States amendments will now be withdrawn) so close to ours that differences are not important has left us in procedurally difficult position, specially in view of voting priority of United Kingdom Resolution. At the Minister's suggestion Mr. Beasley explained at the meeting our feelings as to tactics which had been employed. United Kingdom had not only misled us as to their intentions but had both privately and in the Committee mispresented our approach. They then today proceeded to concur in virtually our approach without previously informing us. We were satisfactorily supported at the meeting by New Zealand, Canada and South Africa will now support United Kingdom.
United Kingdom informed us tonight that they will probably press to have their resolution voted on first which will embarrass those delegations who prefer our approach. One chance both to establish our unambiguous wording and protect the position into which we have been put by the United Kingdom would be to get sub-committee to co-ordinate text.