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

Cablegram AD37, PARIS, 3 October 1948, 9.55 p.m.


Committee 3 Human Rights.[1]

1. General debate is likely to conclude 4th October. Many countries have spoken and majority appear to favour action on declaration at this Session. New Zealand made short statement urging that declaration should not be approved alone, but effect of this was more than offset by United States statement that United States would, if necessary, support immediate adoption of declaration by this Assembly without amendment. United Kingdom appears to have dropped idea of special Conference to consider together declaration, covenant and implementation measures, and referred to increasing support since Paris Peace Conference for idea of an International tribunal. Draft declaration was not a perfect instrument and no doubt required amendment in substance and form. Nevertheless it was a useful document, basic balance of which should not be upset by Committee or by instant attempt to incorporate Bogota text as advocated by some Latin American countries. We opposed suggestion of Cuba supported by other Latin Americans that sub-Committee should be set up immediately in effort to reconcile commissioned Bogota texts arguing that amendments based on Bogota text could, if necessary, be moved in full Committee. We also stated our assumption that Delegations would be given opportunity at appropriate stage (perhaps immediately after work on declaration was concluded) to elaborate views on implementation as these would provide useful guidance for Commission considering the matter at its next session.

[2]. South Africa argued that declaration should contain minimum list of fundamental rights and expressed fears that declaration might reduce scope of protection given by domestic jurisdiction clause of Charter.

[3]. Committee is likely to proceed to examine in full Committee of indiv[idual] art[icle]s in declaration on fourth or fifth October. ENDS.

[1] The first part of the Third Session of the General Assembly had opened in Paris on 21 September 1948. The Third Committee considered the draft declaration (E/800) from 30 September to 7 December 1948.

[AA : A1838, 856/13, V]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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