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Historical documents

34 Evatt to Makin

Cablegram 428, CANBERRA, 1 May 1948


Please seek immediately appointment with President and hand him in person the following personal and confidential message from me. In order to receive appointment, you should state you have a most urgent personal message from me on Special Assembly matters. If possible delivery should be Friday night as matter is under consideration.

BEGINS: We have watched closely the debates which have taken place in the Special Assembly. As previously advised to the State Department for the information of the Secretary of State and your good self Australia had to oppose the Trusteeship plan for reason of justice and for the sake of the United Nations which was in great danger of being by-passed.

2. I know you will agree that the members of the United Nations and the peoples of the democracies should be most careful to avoid moves which are either provocative of war or are likely further to increase existing tension between the Great Powers.

3. My representatives at the Geneva Information Conference[1] and at all international meetings are directed to support the United Nations and all its decisions. For that reason the Australian representative on the Special Assembly has taken a lead in upholding the General Assembly recommendations of Palestine. These were arrived at after most careful and impartial examination of the facts by a committee sent to Palestine and by a committee over which I presided. These recommendations[2], support of all concerned, could have led quickly to a solution which would have been lasting as it was based on justice.

4. It is quite clear that the Palestine problem, though caused independently, is nevertheless now related to the central problem of tension between the Great Powers. Failure to reach settlement in Palestine as in the Japanese treaty, is merely a by-product of the major problem. This being so, I feel the time has now come for you, the President of the United States, to whom the democracies look for leadership at this time, to make a bold move to tackle the problem of great power relations and in so doing endeavour to find the solution of Palestine, Japan, Germany, and the other situation which could be a cause of war. An immediate meeting between the leaders of the three Great Powers could make a very great contribution to peace.

5. I realise your own difficulties in taking the initiative in such a move. At the same time, it would be a move acclaimed by all peoples in all the democracies. If I could in a personal an in unofficial capacity assist, for example by way of approaching either of the two other parties to ensure in advance that such an approach would not be rejected, I am at your disposal. ENDS:

Please acknowledge time of receipt and delivery.

[1] Conference on Freedom of Information of the Press, held from 23 March to 21 April 1948 at Geneva.

[2] Presumably the word 'with' was omitted.

[AA : A3196, 1948, O.6192]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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