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98 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 67, GENEVA, 22 June 1948, 10.15 a.m.


1. Despite an early understanding that no recommendations would be submitted in the main report Delegations of Brazil, Pakistan and Mexico are pressing for recommendations at this stage.

They believe that Governments should have the opportunity of considering concrete recommendations before the Assembly meets as otherwise they will be known in advance to the nine members only. Further they fear that the United States and the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and perhaps China will resist having any recommendations at all in the final report as all tendencies are that they desire continuation of U.N.S.C.O.B. constituted as at present with the same role and interpretation as regards observer groups. Thus if there is no recommendation to the contrary it will require a two-thirds majority to draft this or similar majority to carry any new proposal presented to the Assembly.

2. Pakistan and Brazil have in consequence submitted two vague recommendations. First that U.N.S.C.O.B. continued to function for another year on roster basis of three groups of three Delegates each group to function for four months with the role mainly of conciliation and dealing with work of observation groups. Any group can call together whole committee at any time there are conciliation prospects.

Second, that the General Assembly appoint goodwill mission of three outstanding diplomats to visit countries concerned. This mission must consult with and have preliminary approval of not only five main powers but also of at least one of three northern neighbours.

3. My own view on recommendations can be summarised as follows -
(a) Approach along lines of original commission of investigation and subsidiary groups [failed][1] and resulted in deadlock.

(b) U.N.S.C.O.B. was doomed to failure when Slav Bloc declared it illegal and refused all assistance of co-operation at time of the Assembly.

(c) [Even] had this not been withheld U.N.S.C.O.B. practically condemned itself to failure by establishing observation groups with powers of investigation. The two roles of conciliation and investigation are not only incompatible but mutually exclusive.

(d) If it is decided to continue U.N.S.C.O.B. then terms of reference should be redrawn so as to rule out expressly observation groups and specify that [main role] will be conciliation and mediation.

(e) Even such drastic amendment in view of declared opposition to U.N.S.C.O.B. and all its works would probably not make the body acceptable to northern neighbours.

(f) There is an easing of tension in Balkans. Bebler and other spokesman at the last Assembly definitely stated they would accept a body whose duty was conciliation. Apart from this a mediation body is only one now likely to succeed and its advocacy should not be regarded as weakness or concession to the north.

(g) Consequently best proposal is for establishment of good offices Commission on lines of Indonesia which will get all parties together and assist them to establish normal relations and to iron out differences over frontier [conven]tions, minorities, refugees, propaganda and encouragement of amnesties.

(h) Such a proposal might be submitted at this stage so as to obtain wide support and possibly acceptance by majority of this special committee or submitted in final report. Alternatively it might be presented as an Australian proposal to the Assembly but it would have to be canvassed through diplomatic channels beforehand as there will be considerable opposition from those who desire maintenance of existing setup.

(i) Matter in paragraph (h) is one of tactics and timing in consonance with your own wishes.[2]

[1] Words in square brackets corrected from the copy on file aa : a6530, 49/10/8.

[2] External Affairs agreed that the proposal could be submitted after Hodgson had sounded out the position and ascertained that support would be forthcoming.

[AA : A1838, 852/20/1, III]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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