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Historical documents

256 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram [UNY]417 CANBERRA, 28 November 1946


Your UN.796. [1]

1. Minister and Department, at great personal strain during
Parliamentary Session, have done everything possible to keep the
Delegation promptly and fully instructed. In many cases, which, if
necessary, can be listed, instructions have not been carried out
and in some action has been taken in conflict with them. In
several other cases the Delegation has sent counter proposals and
has acted on these instead of basic instructions. In many other
cases instructions have been asked for on matters of settled and
well known policy.

2. In the case under reference, not only has Australian initiative
been lost, but the important matter of disarmament to which we
were drawing attention has been allowed to be side-tracked into
discussion of one aspect of the general problem. Moving the
Australian resolution at the time of approval by the Minister was
in no way incompatible with U.S. and U.K. support. In fact, we
instructed you to support the U.K. proposal for discussing both
matters together [2] and it was open to you therefore to support
an amendment to the Australian resolution.

3. We note that five days elapsed between the time you stated you
were preparing a draft and the time you sent it to us, and now
another four days have elapsed between the time of approval by the
Minister and your advice that the resolution was not proposed.

During this time one of the most vital issues of the Assembly has
passed from the initiative of a small power acting on principle to
certain great powers who are individually concerned mostly with an
immediate political problem which is only one aspect of the
general problem.

4. Please ascertain and advise immediately intentions of United
Kingdom and United States in this matter and if there seems likely
that no agreement can be arrived at on the question of troops, you
should, in consultation with United Kingdom, United States, Canada
and New Zealand, put forward the Australian amendment to the
Soviet proposals.

1 Document 249.

2 See Document 244, note 2.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.22428]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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