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

Cablegram UN871 NEW YORK, 1 December 1946, 10.16 p.m.


Assembly 309.

1. Australia presented revised resolution on Veto [1] to a special
meeting of the first Committee this afternoon and attempted to
bring it to a vote. Although we had reason to expect the support
for all except the second paragraph of our resolution from United
Kingdom, United States, France and China, and were certain of
support from a majority of the Committee we failed to obtain vote
and meeting referred all resolutions to subcommittee for further

2. The main reasons for this outcome were
(a) Action of the Soviet in presenting the resolution contained in
our immediately following telegram. [2]

(b) The conciliatory attitude of other permanent members who
professed to see some similar conciliation on Soviet proposal and
whose attitude on this and all other matters is of course subject
to proceedings in Foreign Ministers' meetings which we understand
are reaching critical stage.

(c) The manipulation by Manuilsky as Chairman who quickly picked
up a suggestion by Denmark and Poland for reference to sub-
committee and managed to put it before the meeting at the time of
expected adjournment when members were becoming restless through
working on Sunday.

3. Purpose of sub-committee which consists of five permanent
members, Australia, Peru, Cuba, Philippines, Argentina, Poland,
Denmark, India and Venezuela is supposed to be to reconcile
various texts regardless of fact which we pointed out to meeting
that Cuban, Australia[n] and Soviet resolutions all deal with
different subjects. In debate regarding sub-committee however,
chief reference was made to reconciling Soviet and Australian
resolutions. While Soviet text was aptly described by Philippines
as sonorous and empty, it is thought by some members to show
willingness to reach common ground. Australia expressed opinion
that while Australian resolution dealt with the particular problem
and applied concrete views expressed during work of Committee,
Soviet resolution was generally unrelated to Article 27. If it had
been moved on the item dealing with the annual report of the
Security Council, we ourselves would have had little difficulty in
supporting it, but it was not in any way a proposal for amendment
of our resolution.

4. During preceding debate United Kingdom reported failure of
attempts by great powers to work out a code of conduct among
themselves and after reciting United Kingdom detailed proposals on
application of Veto announced that United Kingdom would in future
follow them itself.

5. Vyshinsky made a long speech criticising United Kingdom
proposals and asserting that only point that needed agreement was
that five powers should maintain unanimity.

6. The United States spoke along very similar lines to Australia
in insisting that methods of peaceful settlement in chapter six
were intended to be carried out and that the Council should not be
prevented by a single power from carrying them out. Connally
announced support of Australian proposal except for second

7. France spoke in favour of our general approach but China after
describing our proposal as moderate and reasonable immediately
swung into support of proposal for sub-committee which had just
been made by Denmark.

8. Following China's lead majority of Committee took the same
view, resolution in favour of appointment of sub-committee being
adopted by thirty-three votes to eight. We will not try to
maintain our text in sub-committee, membership of which is
weighted against us.

1 See Document 253.

2 The Soviet draft resolution spoke of the necessity for the
Security Council to 'take into account the experience of its work
during the preceding period with a view to secure conditions which
would be as favourable as possible to the adoption of agreed
decisions', but stressed that the United Nations, while working to
extend international co-operation, should avoid 'excessive
regimentation and formalism in the activity of their bodies'.

[AA:A1838/2, 852/10/5, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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