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183 Australian Government to Fraser

Cablegram 51 CANBERRA, 19 March 1948, 3.05 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

SOUTH PACIFIC COMMISSION

We propose with your concurrence to act on the joint behalf of our
two Governments in convening the first meeting of the Commission
in Sydney on 19th May. All signatory Governments have informally
indicated their willingness to attend, and we feel strongly that
no further time should be lost in making a start on the
organisation of the Commission Secretariat and its various organs
and in setting its activities in motion. Any further postponement
is likely to give rise to increasing criticism through the United
Nations and elsewhere especially as the signatory Governments have
at various times expressed their intentions to make use of the
Commission in promoting the welfare of the inhabitants of their
non-self-governing territories in the South Pacific. Failure to
hold the first meeting in May moreover may well involve a delay of
several months because of the heavy programme of Trusteeship
Council and other United Nations meetings in the latter half of
the year.

2. Ratification of the agreement [1] by France is expected in the
near future. The Netherlands Government while still uncertain
whether the States-General will have ratified by May is prepared
to take part in the meeting and has stated that ratification is
'certain and only a matter of time'. Any procedural difficulties
arising from the inability of the Netherlands Government to accept
decisions as binding would in our view be purely formal and could
be overcome as they were by the Caribbean Commission in the
appointment of a Secretary-General and other officers and the
commencement of activities before ratification by all member
governments.

We should be grateful for a very early indication of your
agreement so that we can communicate with other Governments early
next week.


1 For the agreement establishing the Commission, see Volume 12,
Document 551.

[AA:A1838/2, 348/2/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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