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

Cablegram UN961 NEW YORK, 9 December 1946, 4.29 a.m.


Assembly 380. Trusteeship. Procedure for finalising agreements. 1.

Your UNY.472. [1] You will now have the complete text as approved
by the Sub-Committee of Articles 1 to 8. As you note, preamble has
not yet been dealt with.

2. In submitting Article 8 we stated specifically, in paragraph 9
of our supplementary report on proposed modifications (DOC
A/C4/SUB1/ 83) that 'this additional Article 8 will be submitted
for approval of the Sub-Committee, subject always to final
acceptance by the Australian Government. This final acceptance,
and its exact terms, will be communicated when the entire
agreement is submitted for approval at the appropriate stage
following the discussions in the Sub-Committee'.

3. The Secretariat has been reminded of this.

4. Before Article 8 was tabled, the position had been repeatedly
stated in Sub-Committee that the original text had been most
carefully considered by the government and put before Parliament
and recommendations for modification would raise considerable
difficulties for the government.

5. We do not think any serious question will now arise of making
further concessions. Our grounds for this are:-

(a) Very few meetings of the Full Committee can now be held before
final plenaries begin. There will be no time for minor proposals

(b) All the amendments now reserved for discussion in Full
Committee are on matters of substance on which proposals were
defeated in Sub-Committee and on which Delegations concerned have
already made clear that proposals were unacceptable. In the
present temper of the majority of the Committee (see immediately
following telegram [2]) it would not surprise us if some of the
more drastic proposals received majorities in Committee. We have,
however, been in touch with all other mandatories and in the
present circumstances and atmosphere there is little likelihood of
any of them contemplating further concessions.

(c) Owing to shortness of time and under pressure from mandatories
(especially the United Kingdom Belgium and ourselves) the chairman
is being urged to concentrate discussion on a single meeting for
approval of each agreement as a whole. On that issue, United
States feels confident of rallying support from a majority of the

6. We are endeavouring to work out and obtain acceptance for a
procedure by which the agreements even after approval by Assembly
will still be subject to acceptances in accordance with the
constitutional procedures of the submitting state. There will
however, be great difficulty in sustaining this if two or more
mandatories were to accept approval as a final act establishing an
agreement. We assume you are in constant touch with Wellington.

7. We are doing our utmost here but our difficulties are very
great indeed. If immediate approval cannot be given on the basis
of the text now in your hands (Assembly 367) without any change
whatever, we would much appreciate it if you would consider
whether we could be given authority to announce final acceptance
on approval by Assembly such announcement to be made only if our
attempts to secure a procedure along the lines of paragraph 6 do
not succeed.

8. Your views noted with regard to changes proposed by Sub-
Committee in Articles 4 and 5. Our present view is that no
modifications should now be made either in substance or in

9. The Chairman and Bailey consulted all members of the
Trusteeship team before exercising the discretion entrusted to
them in UNY.440 [3] and 443, and thought the time had come for
last resort action. Reasons were broadly-
(i) It was the last possible opportunity before the Sub-Committee
embarked on a long list of proposals for new articles sponsored by
United States of America, Soviet, China, India and Iraq with the
feeling of the Sub-Committees and press strongly and definitely
coalescing against us as the sole obstinate mandatory power which
refused to favourably consider under-takings which had been
accepted by all the others.

(ii) It would enable us in one blow to demolish a large number of
substantial proposals for amendment, resistance to which was
already undermining Australia's liberal reputation and seriously
endangering approval of agreement even in the Assembly.

(iii) It would win essential active support from United States of
America which had shown by its action on Articles 4 and 5 that it
was in a position to sway the majority of the Sub-Committee
against us article by article.

(iv) We would be able to avoid isolation from other mandatory
powers and consequences of being subject to discriminatory attack
of the Soviet and Asia group.

(v) By presentation of a new single article in general conformity
with our agreement as a whole we would be able to preserve the
initiative on our own terms.

(vi) To concede later would have yielded progressively diminishing

(vii) Whilst appreciating that we might have to run the gauntlet
again, we would be doing so in company with other mandatories not
in isolation and probably not article by article, see paragraph 5
above. [4]

1 Document 291.

2 Document 301.

3 Document 272.

4 In cablegram 484 of 10 December, the delegation was informed of
Cabinet's approval of the draft agreement (see annex to Document
55), with the addition of the new clause 8 (see Document 275).

[AA:A1838/2, 852/13/4, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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