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Historical documents

123 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram PC49 PARIS, 17 September 1946, 7.26 p.m.


Your 202. [1]

I have carefully noted and weighed in the light of present
circumstances here, the objections to the South African amendment
put forward in your telegram and naturally in accordance with what
is your evident view the Delegation will continue to press the
case for the Australian amendment. [2] At the same time I hope you
will appreciate that contrary to the suggestion in paragraph 2 of
the telegram we have been under no sort of pressure on this
question as the rest of the British Commonwealth Group and in fact
all other Delegations are fully aware that we can command no
support for our proposal and are therefore little concerned
whether we urge this point of view or not.

Since my earlier telegram PC.44 [3] we have had further talks here
on the subject. The most important point emerging from these is
that the chance of even a simple majority in favour of a
satisfactory colonial settlement would on present showing be
precarious if question was in the ultimate stage referred to the
21 Conference States as proposed by us. The United Kingdom claims
to have gone into this aspect thoroughly and is satisfied that the
risk of an adverse vote would be a great deal less in the United
Nations Assembly than it would be in the Meeting of the 21.

With regard to your reference to New Zealand we have worked
intensively on the New Zealand Delegation but as you will recall
from the meetings of the British Commonwealth Group which you
attended earlier in the Conference and also from the British
Commonwealth Meetings in London, New Zealand policy has been firm
and consistent throughout in favour of maximum reference to the
United Nations of the Colonial question as well as others. Frankly
I see no prospect at all of altering this attitude at Paris end.

While not going so far as to say that continued insistence on our
amendment would prejudice chances of a satisfactory colonial
settlement I think we might well be subject to justifiable
criticism if we pushed to the extreme a proposal which deals
frankly with procedure rather than substance. As there would in
that event be probably only our own vote in favour of the
amendment, I bear in mind also the comment expressed by you in our
telephone conversation last week to the effect that too long a
succession of votes in which Australia is in a minority of one
would have damaging results for the general effectiveness of our
work at the Conference and in fact on the standing which we at
present have at the Conference.

For the above reasons I feel no doubt that if you yourself were
handling this question in the light of the circumstances here as
we know them, you would use some discretion and flexibility in the
extent to which we should push our amendment. I feel myself that
such discretion might extend in the event to ultimate support of
the South African proposal in general. This would give us an
opportunity both of fully presenting for the record our own point
of view and possibly of shaping the South African amendment to
harmonise more with our own proposal particularly in the sense of
making more precise consultation with the Governments of the
States which contributed to the liberation of North Africa.

In the absence of further advice we will of course continue to
follow the lines of your 202 but I felt personally it was my duty
to indicate the circumstances obtaining at this end.

1 Document 117.

1 See Document 112, note 3.

3 See Document 117, note 3.

[AA:A1067, E46/38/14]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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