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64 Hood and Shann to Burton

Cablegram Austdel 273, PARIS, 25 November 1948, 11.10 a.m.


First Committee 23/11/48, Palestine.

We spoke first this morning from the text telegraphed in our 264 before meeting and presented the resolution in our 261.[1]

Statements were also made today by Israel, Colombia, Greece, France, United States, Yugoslavia, Haiti and The Netherlands. Colombia and Yugoslavia followed the line we are advocating. Haiti tended to favour United Kingdom support for Bernadotte proposals. Greece and France were quite non committal.

United States spoke again along the lines reported in our 261 but submitted amendments to United Kingdom's resolution which is of course in direct contradiction to their own line and we believe their own instructions.[2] The effect of these amendments is to turn the United Kingdom resolution upside down. It was based on support for Bernadotte report and theory of impracticability of direct negotiations between the parties both of which concepts are reversed in the United States amendments. While United States amendments seek to use a vehicle running in the opposite direction the reason seems to be clear - namely a determination that the Palestine question shall not, as at the last assembly, lead to a direct United States United Kingdom cleavage with Russia and the United States on the same side.

Contrary to clearly expressed view at last week's British Commonwealth meeting (as reported in 242[3]) we have been privately informed that the United Kingdom may accept the United States amendments. This will of course bring the United Kingdom and Australian lines much closer together. Their practical purposes may indeed be indistinguishable except for our general emphasis on the maintenance of 1947 resolution. We will however have to wait until tomorrow's debate for confirmation of this.

[matter omitted]

The general trend in the Committee is undoubtedly along the lines of our resolution but while this is subst[antia]ted[4] by private contacts actual alignment on resolutions may reflect considerable authority which joint United States - United Kingdom resolution on this subject would carry. In such event our statement and draft resolution would at the minimum have served the essential purpose in clarifying the debate; at the maximum they would prove to have influenced to important extent eventual recommendations of the Committee.

In any case the statement of our position had been awaited with strong interest and remarks from both delegations and press afterwards indicated that it fitted in well with the general Australian line through this Assembly.

[1] Cablegram 261 (part 2), dispatched 22 November 1948, conveyed the draft resolution summarised in the editorial note above.

[2] The amendments are summarised in the editorial note above.

[3] Document 63.

[4] The text reads 'substituted'.

[AA : A3195, 1948, I.18750]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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