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

Cablegram UN370, NEW YORK, 27 April 1948, 10.29 p.m.



[matter omitted]

2. Discussion[1] then t[urn]ed to United States working paper on trusteeship. United States representative referred to proposals in very tentative fashion and invited committee to see whether it could fill in the gaps in the present draft relating with enforcement provision immigration and land settlement. Protracted debate followed on how this stage of discussion should be handled. In the course of this United States made it clear that it was not pressing resolution for [re]ference of working paper to Fourth Committee and was quite satisfied to have the substance and principle of the trusteeship proposals fully considered and debated first in Committee One. Soviet Union, Poland and other Slav states argued that discussion of American proposals at all was out of order since in the absence of any specific counter-proposal, still more of any contrary decision by the Assembly, the Assembly resolution of 29th November remained in force. Soviet Union would therefore take no part in discussion of United States proposals.

3. We also criticised American presentation of plan on the ground that committee was being asked to consider what was described only as a working paper and which was not based on any specific proposals or resolution. The committee was entitled to expect from united States not only more information as to the contains of trusteeship plan but also more exact statement of how United States proposed that the trusteeship suggestion should be handled. Would the United States for example regard the ultimate passage or rejection of their resolution for reference of the plan to Fourth Committee tantamount to passage or rejection of the principle of the plan? Nevertheless as had been previously hinted Australia was ready to consider proposals on their merits and would do so in this even though there was irregularity in the way proposal had come before the committee. In any case the proper place for consideration of the plan was in the First Committee where its principle could be discussed. We added that readiness to consider proposals did not detract from our standpoint regarding the maintenance of United Nations decision once taken (see para 4 of your 207).

4. Canada, South Africa and New Zealand also expressed readiness to consider plan, the latter two s[ta]ting expressly that this would be without prejudice to the maintenance of the assembly resolution. After period of confused debate vote was finally taken on whether principle and substance of trusteeship plan should now be considered in first committee. Vote was affirmative 38, negative 7 (Slav Bloc), abstentions 7 (including Australia).

5. Debate adjourned until Wednesday.

[1] In First Committee on 27 April 1948.

[AA : A1838, 852/19/2, I]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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