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

Cablegram UN401, NEW YORK, 6 May 1948, 9.19 p.m.



The Plenary Assembly today received the report of the Trusteeship Council[1] (my UN.396).

The recommendations[2] of the Council were criticised as inadequate by New Zealand, Poland, France, Soviet Union and Australia. Australia's statement pointed out that the Trusteeship Council was not entirely at fault in that the Council was a body which had to proceed by agreement and was not equipped to conclude positive arrangements which required enforcement. This was one reason why Australia had opposed reference of the matter to the Council at the beginning. The Council did have another alternative, namely, to adopt the Jerusalem Statute and apply its emergency provisions to present requirements. This view put forward by Australia in the Council however had not prevailed. In the circumstances, the best that would be done was to approve the recommendations and to make it clear that the appointment of a special Municipal Commissioner as proposed by the Council had at least the moral authority and sanction of the United Nations behind it. It was important also that the Assembly should not, with this, regard the matter as having been disposed of and that provision should accordingly be made for the consideration of still further and more effective measures for the protection of the City of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.

2. With this object we moved amendment to final paragraph of Resolution[3] (see following telegram). This in the original form reads 'decisions that urgent attention should be given to the necessity of providing for the custody of the assets of the Government of Palestine in Jerusalem and for effective maintenance of law and order in the Municipal area pending a final settlement'.

Australian amendment was as follows: 'Decides that continuing urgent attention should be given by the First Committee to the question of further measures for the protection of the City of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.'
3. France also presented an amendment to final paragraph repeating proposals already made in the Council by French representative for appointment of special United Nations Delegate in Jerusalem with supervisory functions and power to organise Police Force.

4. After some procedural debate and voting Resolution as amended by Australia was adopted by 35 votes (including Australia) remainder abstaining (including Arabs and Slav Group).

5. French amendment was not put to the vote for the reason (and this was our own intention) that under the terms of the Australia amendment it could be brought up and discussed in First Committee. The plan for appointing a special Municipal Commissioner inadequate and unsatisfactory as it is, is at least beginning based on agreement and further steps can be built on this.

[1] The Council had been requested by the General Assembly on 26 April to consult with the mandatory power, the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency for Palestine on measures for the protection of Jerusalem and the Holy Places. (See cablegram UN366, dispatched 26 April 1948.)
[2] These included the appointment of a neutral, special Municipal Commissioner in Jerusalem to carry out the functions formerly performed by the Municipal Commission.

[3] That is, the resolution recommended by the Trusteeship Council in its report.

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