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Historical documents

93 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 57 (extract), SALONIKA[1], 2 May 1948, 12.32 p.m.


30th April.

At yesterday's plenary meeting, Australian views on the real mission of the Committee were forcefully put. As no other member had had any personal experience of discussions on the Security Council and the Assembly leading up to the creation of the Special Committee. I reviewed New York background to show that the Assembly created the Committee not to continue the investigatory activities of its two fact-finding predecessors but, by mediation and conciliation, to remedy the situation disclosed in the reports of the first commission and subsidiary group. For that reason the Committee's concentration on the work of observer groups rather than on establish[ment of][2] normal relations between the four Balkan governments was to be regretted and I deplored that so little had been done in the field of frontier conventions, refugees and minorities, which were the primary and positive responsibilities of the Committee.

2. Opportunity was also taken of broaching the idea that one or two members might visit northern capitals in personal and informal capacity for direct talks. Humanitarian questions such as children, refugees and minorities might provide an opening very difficult to resist in the face of world opinion.

3. Statement provoked full dress debate and several speakers have reserved the right to comment at a later stage. Discussion was most useful in view of early departure of drafting committee and showed that the question of interpretation of the Committee's role is by no means closed. Pakistan supported the idea of a personal visit to northern capitals but several delegations made the reservation that any such members would have to go as representative of and with the blessing of the committee.

[1] Sent via London.

[2] Corrected from the copy on file AA : A6530, 49/10/8.

[AA : A1838, 31/1/5/1, I]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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