Skip to main content

Historical documents

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

Cablegram UN962 NEW YORK, 9 December 1946, 6.27 a.m.


Assembly 381. Fourth Committee.


1. The Full Committee resumed sittings on Sunday morning 8th and
received the report of the sub-committee Two. About one-third of
the Committee was absent throughout the meeting, chiefly minor
states Latin-American European and Asiatic.

2. Maximum of two meetings available for this part of the
Committee's work as schedule requires all committees to wind up on
Wednesday 11th December. The Committee agreed accordingly to limit
time of speeches and to allot approximately half hour for debate
on each main resolution proposed by the sub-committee.

3. On South-West Africa both the Soviet and India had put in
amendments to United States - Danish resolution recommended by the
subcommittee. [1] Amendments were substantially identical. They
both asserted compulsory view of Trusteeship for Mandated
territories, rejected any solution involving incorporation in
Union and called on the Union to bring the territory under
Trusteeship. In favour of the Indian amendment the Soviet
amendment was not pressed. The Indian amendment was carried by 17
to 15 with 4 abstentions and 18 absences. All members of the
British Commonwealth, United States, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands,
France, Belgium, voted in minority.

4. On procedure for dealing with information supplied under
Article 73(e) Cuba lodged an amendment identical with the one
rejected by the sub-committee (Assembly 242) for appointment of an
ad hoc Committee to meet some weeks before the next session of the
Assembly and advise the Assembly on procedure for utilising the
Secretary-General's summary and analysis of information supplied.

The Cuban amendment was carried by 21 against 12, with 4
abstentions and 17 absences.

5. On the Philippine resolution (Assembly 308) recommending
nations administering non-self-governing territories to organise
regional conferences, Soviet amendment rejected by the sub-
committee (Assembly 339 with insertion after Social Council of
words 'together with the Administrative authorities' recommended
by Ukraine) was moved and carried by 17 against 15, with 4
abstentions and 18 absences.

6. The result is that there is practically nothing left of the
resolutions proposed by the sub-committee Two. The debate was
necessarily sketchy. The Australian representative pointed out
that the sub-committee had been closely divided on matters of
principle, and the minority in the sub-committee was clearly
entitled to re-open these matters in the Full Committee. But the
necessary implication of their doing so was that the Assembly must
reorganise its time table and allow much longer time for resumed
debate. One or two days or even weeks instead of hours would be
required to ensure informed vote by the Full Committee on matters
on which the sub-committee had been at work for a month.

7. The whole meeting was disturbing, and augurs ill for
possibilities of responsible treatment of Trusteeship agreements.

The majority looked very like a [2] line-up of the Soviet group
with the Arab league, Asiatic states and some of the more
intransigent Latin-Americans. The majority today plainly exulted
in its success. At the close of the meeting France, United
Kingdom, United States, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands,
New Zealand and South Africa severally made a formal reservation
of their rights in their non-self-governing territories because of
doubts whether any of the morning's three resolutions as amended
is fully consistent with the Charter. This applied with particular
force to the Philippine-Soviet resolution regarding regional

8. During discussion of the Philippine-Soviet resolution the
Australian representative again made the point stated in the sub-
committee that United Nations super-vision of regional plans in
the South Seas was neither necessary nor desired.

1 The text of this joint draft resolution, which replaced the U.S.

draft resolution referred to in Document 257, note 2, was conveyed
in cablegram UN551, dispatched 30 November. Unlike the defeated
Indian-Cuban draft resolution which rejected the validity of South
Africa's claim that a majority of inhabitants in South West Africa
favoured incorporation and called upon South Africa to submit a
trusteeship agreement for the General Assembly's consideration,
the U.S.-Danish draft resolution was 'hopeful' that the United
Nations and South Africa would reach agreement on the future
status of South West Africa and concluded that 'the data before
this General Assembly do not justify action of the General
Assembly approving the incorporation'.

2 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'.

[AA:A1838/2, 307/2/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top