99 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 68, GENEVA[1], 1 July 1948, 9.45 a.m.


1. Report has now been completed and general conclusions agreed on. The report followed generally the outline given in Geneva telegram No. 1.[2]

2. We abstained from adoption of Part III and have put in a general reservation as an Appendix with full reasons, which in summary form, were that this part of the report placed undue emphasis on investigation as contrasted with conciliation activities of the Committee, based, as it was, on paragraph 4 of the Assembly's resolution and the concept of investigation was not in accordance with the spirit and intention of the assembly resolution. Further, we had dissented from many conclusions embodied in this part which were not based on direct observation.

3. Summary of conclusions adopted follows - (a) The Committee has consistently endeavoured to assist the Governments concerned to establish normal diplomatic and neighbourly relations. As Greece was the only Government to co-operate, the Committee has thus far been unable to give substantial assistance in implementation of four Assembly recommendations.

(b) Good neighbourly relations between Greece and her Northern neighbours did not exist and diplomatic relations exist only between Greece and Yugoslavia, but these are not normal. Talks between Greece and Bulgaria have started in Washington.

(c) It appears to the Special Committee that Greek guerrillas have received aid and assistance from Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, that they have been furnished with war material and other supplies, that they have been allowed to use Albanian, Bulgarian and Yugoslav territory for tactical operations, and that after rest or medical treatment in those countries their return to Greece has been facilitated. The Special Committee further finds that moral support through [Government][3] controlled radio stations, existence of broadcasting station of Greek guerrillas on Yugoslav soil, and systematic organisation of aid Committees has been given to those guerrillas. This assistance has been given on such a scale that Special Committee has concluded that it has been given with the knowledge of Northern Governments.

(d) So long as events on the Northern boarders of Greece show that support is being given to Greek guerrillas from Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, the Special committee is convinced that [a] threat to political independence and territorial integrity of Greece will exist and international peace and security in Balkans will be endangered.

(e) Although the Governments of Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia have not so far co-operated with it, the Committee is convinced that it would be possible to assist these Governments and the Government of Greece to reach, in the interests of all, possible settlement of their differences if all four Governments were prepared to act in accordance with the Assembly resolution of 21/10/47 and the spirit of the Charter of United Nations. It is with this hope that the Committee is continuing its task.

4. The original draft conclusion submitted by some Delegations were drastic, far-reaching and condemnatory of three Northern neighbours. We insisted that the function of the Committee was not to condemn or judge but to supply results of observation and our endeavours to assist in establishing good neighbourly relations. This view eventually prevailed and despite heavy opposition by U.S.A., U.K. and Netherlands, the conclusions eventually reached were moderate and can be regarded as objective and reasonable in the light of factual report.

5. [On conclusion] (D) we recorded our opinion that it was for the General Assembly and not this Commission to indicate that there was a threat to independence of Greece and an endangering of the peace of the Balkans.

6. At the last moment the Committee decided to include some vague general recommendations, the main points of which were - (A) As long as present disturbed conditions along the Northern frontiers of Greece continue it is in the opinion of the Committee essential that the functions of exercising vigilance with regard to relations between Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Greece and of endeavouring to bring about peaceful settlement of existing tension and difficulties should be entrusted to an agency of United Nations.

(B) Consideration should be given to constitution of this Special Committee in a form which would not entail as heavy a financial burden on United Nations and [the] nations members of Special Committee as at present.

(C) The Assembly should consider ways and means of obtaining co-operation of Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia with Committee.

(D) Nations which have provided observers and equipment shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred and United Nations shall meet all such expenses in future. France abstained from recommendation (A) and Australia, France, United Kingdom from recommendation (B).

7. Your last telegram arrived only when these recommendations were being finally drafted. We had some limited support but majority were against us as implication was that U.N.S.C.O.B. was to be terminated or drastically reconstituted. For final meeting yesterday, however I produced a working paper, avoided a direct vote which would have resulted in rejection of our recommendation. Consequently we could have only got it to consideration of states by m[in]ority report. As this would have been unwise tactics we got the Committee to agree that Australian paper would be submitted to all Governments as an unrestricted paper for consideration at the same time as the main report was distributed. In the meantime U.N.S.C.O.B. itself would carefully examine the proposal in the light of developments prior to final September report.

8. This ensures our proposal will receive full examination and you will see it is so drafted as to leave Australian Delegation at Assembly complete freedom of action in the light of the circumstances at the time as [to the] precise form of any definitive resolution.

9. We have had to wage an unremitting and insistent campaign on fundamental governmental and ministerial policy and on the whole we feel satisfied that results in the main conform to our policy objectives.

10. I would like to express my personal appreciation of confidence Minister gave me to carry out his policy without the Department having to send me undue instructions. At all times we knew exactly our position and this gave us an incalculable advantage compared with other Delegations.

11. Report will be signed Wednesday, and I shall return to Paris 1st July.

Please address future communications to Australian Delegation to U.N.S.C.O.B., Athens.

[1] Sent via London.

[2] Document 97 (i.e. the first telegram from Geneva).

[3] Material in square brackets corrected from the copy on file AA : A6530, 49/10/8.

[AA : A1838, 852/20/1, IV]