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194 Department of External Affairs to Forsyth

Cablegram 122, CANBERRA, 26 February 1948, 4.10 p.m.


Following message has been communicated to New Zealand Prime Minister from the Minister. Your attention is drawn particularly to final paragraph.

'Thank you for your message through your Acting High Commissioner regarding administrative union between New Guinea and Papua.

I share your view of course that we should do everything possible to ensure that the Council will be a body capable of discharging the highly important role we envisaged for it at San Francisco.

So far as the particular question of administrative union between New Guinea and Papua is concerned there are no details yet available on the precise nature of the union. We have made a decision to place the Territories in administrative union and are now engaged upon examination of the details of an appropriate administrative structure. We shall of course communicate to the Council at a later stage a full account of the steps taken to effect the required administrative structure.

You refer to possible United States reference to Permanent Mandates Commission's attitude in the case of administrative union of Tanganyika with neighbouring territories. Study of the minutes of the twenty-third Session reveals general agreement amongst the Commissioners that the Commission could only express an opinion on measures taken by a mandatory power in applying an article in the Tanganyika Mandate authorising administrative union, after these measures had come into force (refer particularly page 40 of the minutes). Tanganyika, furthermore, was a special case in that the mandatory power had given a specific and formal undertaking not to take any further action on closer union in East Africa before the Permanent Mandates Commission had an opportunity to consider any decision to proceed with the implementation of such a plan.

There would presumably be nothing to prevent an administering authority seeking the view of the Trusteeship Council prior to implementation of any administrative plan if it so desired.

We are convinced, however, that the establishment of administrative union between New Guinea and Papua is in the interests of the Trust Territory and will assist us materially in meeting our primary objective in the territories namely the advancement and welfare of the inhabitants and the attainment of all the objectives of Chapters XI and XII of the Charter including so far as the Trust Territory is concerned the political aims described in Article 76(b). We do not feel it is either necessary or desirable to seek the views of the Council before proceeding with our decision to place New Guinea in administrative union with Papua. We, of course, value the views of the Council at all times and in this instance we will welcome the view of the Council at this meeting as to any special features that it would wish to see incorporated in our plans especially such provisions as will ensure the retention by New Guinea of its separate identity.

It seems that we are in agreement. We hope then to receive your fullest support and are instructing our representative to consult closely with your representative in New York.'

[AA : A1838, 306/2/1, I]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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