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

Cablegram Austdel 69, PARIS, 12 October 1948, 11.20 p.m.

1. In Committee One[1] today, Australia proposed that a subcommittee be established to examine principles governing disarmament taking account of the work of the United Nations up to date in this field in particular Commission for Conventional Armaments and to recommend to the Committee a resolution for its adoption. Subcommittee should
(A) Examine all proposals or amendments submitted to the Committee and their practicability and
(B) Indicate what further studies are necessary and might profitably be undertaken and the body which should conduct them. Should not consider Atomic Weapons as these are already being considered by the Committee.

2. We have been promised support by Belgium, India, New Zealand, Sweden, Latin American Countries.

3. Lebanon submitted solution instituting within framework of Security Council an organ of International control to supervise reduction of armaments including inspection. Recommends that permanent members reduce their forces by one third of 1945 strengths.

4. Hodgson in proposing Australian resolution outlined weaknesses of Soviet position, in particular its lack of detail and silence on such points as inspection and verification.[2] He described difficulties encountered by Commission for Conventional Armaments and weakness of procedures adopted by Military Staff Committee.[3] He also criticised negative nature of United Kingdom proposal.

5. United States indicated it would support United Kingdom resolution with addition of Syrian resolution.[4]

[1] That is, the First Committee (Political and Security) of the General Assembly.

[2] At the opening of the third session of the General Assembly in September 1948, the Soviet Union had called upon the great powers to reduce immediately their armaments and forces by one third.

[3] The Military Staff Committee was occupied mainly in defining the basic principles that should govern the organisation of the United Nations armed forces.

[4] The First Committee established the sub-committee on the following day. Eleven members were appointed to it including Australia. The sub-committee elected Hodgson as chairman.

[AA : A1838, 852/10/4]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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