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43 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram PC2 PARIS, 29 July 1946, 9.25 p.m.



1. We arrived in Paris late yesterday evening, and with the whole
Delegation [1], had a long discussion on the general approach
which we should adopt to this Conference. The team is an adequate
one and Mr. Beasley and I are certain to work together well.

2. We are unanimous in the general view that the present drafts
and rules of procedure can be improved. While Australia's
interests in Europe are not as direct and as important as our
interests in the Pacific, there are certain specific defects which
we should try to have remedied.

3. Procedure. The International rules of procedure which are to be
put forward to the Conference by the inviting powers include a
two-thirds voting rule for all matters of substance in the plenary
sessions and in Commissions. This rule cannot be justified for a
Conference of this nature which does not make final decisions but
merely recommends to the Council of Foreign Ministers. The effect
of it is to virtually prevent even recommendation of amendments to
the present drafts. The Soviet Government together with two
Russian Republics and with the support of Poland, Yugoslavia and
Czechoslovakia has sufficient voting strength to prevent a two-
thirds majority. This is particularly serious when it is realised
that countries such as Norway are likely to vote with the group on
certain issues. It may even be that the inviting powers will feel
obliged to support the drafts as they now stand. If that is so
practically no recommendations can result from the Conference and
unless there is a recommendation, the four powers under the Moscow
decision will probably be precluded from making any modifications
whatever of present drafts. This virtual veto on amendment through
the two-thirds rule, and which, as I have said cannot be justified
in a Conference which is a recommending body, should be resisted,
not merely for the sake of this Conference, but, more especially,
because it may set a precedent for the far more important Peace
Conference with Germany and later with Japan. Mr. Beasley and I
and the Delegation are all agreed that we must make a stand on
this matter if only to preserve the position for the future.

4. Principles to be followed. The general principles which we
propose to follow are those of the Atlantic Charter and the United
Nations Charter.

The Atlantic Charter includes the following principles-
(a) That there should be no territorial or other aggrandisement of
any of United Nations and territorial changes should be made only
if they accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples

(b) Every endeavour should be made to further enjoyment by all
States, great or small, victorious or vanquished, of access on
complementary terms to trade and raw materials of the world which
are needed for their economic prosperity.

(c) There should be fullest co-operation between all nations with
a view to securing for all improved labour standards economic
advancement and social security. This principle was subsequently
embodied in the United Nations Charter by inclusion of the full
employment pledge and is equivalent to principle of freedom from

(d) There must be abandonment of the use of force and disarmament
of any nation threatening aggression outside its frontiers, and
steps should be taken to lighten the peace loving peoples of the
burden of armament.

The principles of the United Nations Charter include the principle
of application of justice and international law to all situations,
to self-determination of peoples, the encouragement of respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms, the preservation of
territorial integrity and the political independence of each

5. Application of Principles. The Delegation considers that there
are certain obvious amendments which should obviously be made if
these principles are to be carried into effect and they include
the following:

(a) Trieste. The present draft includes a proposal for
internationalisation of Trieste. This is not objectionable and a
different form of internationalisation was suggested by Australia
and New Zealand in September last year at the Council of Foreign
Ministers. [2] It, however, provides guarantee of Trieste by the
Security Council of United Nations. There are two objections to
this. First that the Security Council as an Organisation has no
power to make such a guarantee which therefore must be regarded as
worthless. Either the functions of the Security Council and United
Nations would have to be altered or a guarantee if it is to be
given, should be given by a group of named countries. A more
serious objection is that each of the permanent members of the
Security Council can exercise its veto in relation to any subject
matter affecting Trieste, including the appointment of a Governor
and any administrative changes or procedures which might be
required. This veto system would make the proposed Trieste
Settlement unworkable because Russia will certainly exercise that

(b) The question of colonies is equally important. The present
draft makes a proposal that four powers decide the future of
colonies within the next year. This is in effect taking away from
Australia and other belligerents represented at the Peace
Conference any say on a matter which is of vital importance to
Australia and to other members of the Peace Conference. Further,
in the event of disagreement, the question will then go to the
United Nations, which by that time may consist of some sixty
nations some of whom may be ex-enemy states, and forty of whom
will be neutrals. Throughout the drafts there are other examples
of matters being reserved especially for the four powers. On such
cases responsibility should be given to the Peace Conference.

(c) Perhaps even more important than either of these two matters,
from an Australian point of view, is the complete absence in the
drafts of any attempt to apply economic principles of the charter,
and United Nations. On the contrary the present proposals in
relation to reparations in our view, are both inconsistent with
those principles, and damaging to the interests of Australia and
other countries which were in the practice of trading with Italy.

[3] Moreover, the present drafts do not include any proposals
which would ensure the best use of European resources for the
purpose of building up the living standards of the people of
Europe, the free movement of men and materials throughout Europe,
and encouragement of a European and world economy which would be
the greatest guarantee against present enemy countries being used
in the future as a pawn in a new type of Soviet inspired economic
aggression. The delegation will therefore put forward amendments
and additions to the present drafts to implement the economic
principles stated above.

The delegation has, as I have indicated, had only its first
meeting and the conference has not yet been convened. The above
laid down principles and their immediate application will however
give a clear indication of the lines along which the delegation is
thinking at the present time.

1 The delegates were Evatt, Beasley and Hodgson, supported by a
large team of advisers.

2 See Volume VIII, Document 259.

3 The draft treaty for Italy, for example, envisaged large and
specific reparations to the Soviet Union, with reparations to
other states to be discussed at the conference.

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