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55 Cabinet Submission by Makin

Agendum 1228 [CANBERRA, 6 August 1946]



Full Cabinet at its meeting on 17th January, 1946 agreed that a
Declaration should be made of the Australian Government's
intention to negotiate an appropriate trusteeship agreement
bringing the Mandated Territory of New Guinea under the
international trusteeship system contemplated by Chapters 12 and
13 of the United Nations Charter.

2. The Australian Delegation on 18th January, 1946, at the General
Assembly meeting of the United Nations Organisation made the
statement in the terms approved by Cabinet.

3. Cabinet on 17 January also directed that the Departments of
External Affairs, External Territories and Defence should consult
upon the terms of any draft trusteeship agreement aiming at
placing the Territory of New Guinea under the trusteeship
provisions of the United Nations Charter. As a result of such
consultation a draft agreement has been prepared and a copy is
annexed hereto (see Annex W) together with a copy of the relevant
provisions of the United Nations Charter (see Annex 'B [1]).

4. The United Nations Charter (Article 79) provides that the terms
of the trusteeship agreement should be agreed upon by the 'states
directly concerned', including (in the case of a mandated
Territory) the mandatory power, and approved by the General
Assembly of the United Nations. It is desirable, in view of the
initiative taken by Australia in the promotion of the trusteeship
system prior to and at the San Francisco Conference, that the
terms of the proposed agreement should be submitted to the General
Assembly of the United Nations for approval at its next meeting,
commencing on 23rd September.

5. Although the meaning of the phrase 'states directly concerned'
is not entirely clear, certain other Governments will be
informally consulted in regard to the terms of the agreement.

These Governments will be New Zealand, United Kingdom, United
States and France, and the consultation will be without prejudice
to our understanding of the meaning of that phrase.

6. It is also intended to make a statement to the House in which
the draft terms as approved by Cabinet will be included. [2] The
statement will describe the two main principles on which the terms
are based, namely-
(a) Australia's complete and exclusive power of administration
over New Guinea with particular reference to our power to take
whatever measures are necessary for the defence of the Territory
in contrast to the limitations imposed in this respect under the

(b) the fact that the only limitation upon our absolute control is
an obligation to carry out the duties imposed by the United
Nations Charter. This obligation arises from the general duty laid
down in the Charter to promote the welfare and advancement of the
inhabitants of New Guinea.

7. It is recommended that the terms of the draft trusteeship
agreement annexed hereto be approved as suitable for submission to
Parliament and then for use as a basis for discussion with the
Governments of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States
and France, with a view to the submission to the next General
Assembly of the United Nations of a draft agreed upon with those
states. [3]

Annex 'A'


The Territory of New Guinea has been administered in accordance
with Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and in
pursuance of a Mandate conferred upon His Britannic Majesty and
exercised on His behalf by the Government of the Commonwealth of

The Charter of the United Nations, signed at San Francisco on 26
June, 1945, provides by Article 75 for the establishment of an
international trusteeship system for the administration and
supervision of such territories as may be placed thereunder by
subsequent individual agreements.

The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia now undertakes to
place the Territory of New Guinea under the trusteeship system, on
the terms set forth in the present Trusteeship Agreement.

pursuance of Article 85 of the Charter,
APPROVES the following terms of trusteeship for the Territory of
New Guinea, in substitution for the terms of the mandate under
which the Territory has been administered:

The Territory to which this Trusteeship Agreement applies
(hereinafter called the Territory) consists of that portion of the
island of New Guinea and the groups of islands administered
therewith under the Mandate dated 17th December, 1920, conferred
upon His Britannic Majesty and exercised by the Government of

The Government of Australia (hereinafter called the Administering
Authority) is hereby designated as the sole authority which will
exercise the administration of the Territory.

The Administering Authority undertakes to administer the Territory
in accordance with the provisions of the Charter and in such a
manner as to achieve in the Territory the basic objectives of the
international trusteeship system, which are set forth in Article
76 of the Charter.

The Administering Authority will be responsible for the peace,
order, good government and defence of the Territory and for this
purpose will have the same powers of legislation, administration
and jurisdiction in and over the Territory, as if it were an
integral part of the Commonwealth of Australia, and will be
entitled to apply to the Territory, subject to such modifications
as it deems desirable, such laws of the Commonwealth of Australia
as it deems appropriate to the needs and conditions of the

It is agreed that the administering authority, in the exercise of
its powers under Article 4, will be at liberty to bring the
Territory into a customs, fiscal or administrative union or
Federation with other dependent territories under its jurisdiction
or control, and to establish common services between the Territory
and any or all of those territories, if in its opinion it would be
in the interests of the Territory and not inconsistent with the
basic principles of the trusteeship system to do so.

The Administering Authority further undertakes to apply in the
Territory the provisions of such international agreements and such
recommendations of the specialised agencies referred to in Article
57 of the Charter as are, in the opinion of the Administering
Authority, suited to the needs and conditions of the Territory and
conducive to the achievement of the basic objectives of the
trusteeship system.

The Administering Authority may take all measures in the Territory
which it considers desirable to provide for the defence of the
Territory and for the maintenance of international peace and

1 Not published here.

2 Chifley presented the statement to the House of Representatives
on 7 August.

3 Cabinet approved the recommendation contained in the Agendum on
6 August.

4 Subsequent versions, including that conveyed to the Australian
Embassy in Washington in cablegram 1178 of in August, substituted
the word 'objectives' for 'principles'.

[AA:A2700, VOL. 29]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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