Forde and Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram E39 SAN FRANCISCO, 3 June 1945, 12.56 p.m.



On 22nd May Senator Vandenberg [1] presented to the Sub-Committee appointed by Commission III Committee 4 to analyse classify and, if possible, amalgamate amendments to chapter VIII Section C [2] a formula agreed to by the Latin American Countries and the four sponsoring Governments. In presenting the formula Vandenberg paid a tribute to the assistance given by various Delegations and said that the Australian amendment suggesting a new section D of chapter VIII had been ‘right on the beam’.

The most important part of the formula is as follows:-

‘Nothing in this charter impairs the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member state until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain International peace and security. Measures taken in the exercise of this right of self defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not, in any way, affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under this charter to take at any time such action as it may deem necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.’ It will be noted that, although the right of individual or collective self defence against armed attack is recognised, this, in no way, impairs the right of the Security Council to deal with the dispute at any time.

The abovementioned text was unanimously approved by the Sub- Committee of which Australia is a member but discussion arose as to the place in the charter where the text should be inserted. The text as approved by the Four Sponsoring Governments was headed ‘Chapter VIII Section B. New Paragraph 12’. Although the United States and Australia advocated creation of a new section and was supported by a majority of the Committee, the Soviet and the French Representatives argued that the logical place was section B of Chapter VIII. By a vote of 8 to 4, however, the Sub-Committee decided to recommend insertion of the text in a new section D of chapter VIII.

The Vandenberg formula accepted by the Sub-Committee also involved two additional amendments:-

(1) Insertion of the following in paragraph 1 of chapter VIII section C.

(I) After the first sentence insertion of the following new sentence.

‘The member states comprising such agencies or entering into such arrangements should make every effort to achieve peaceful settlement of local disputes through such agencies or arrangements before referring them to the Security Council.’ (II) After the word ‘encourage’ in the second sentence of the original Dumbarton Oaks text of the additional words ‘The development of peaceful’.

(III) Insertion of a new last sentence namely ‘This paragraph in no way impairs the application of paragraphs 1 and 2 of section A of this chapter’.

Egypt wished to acid to Section C paragraph 1 as amended above a definition of ‘Regional Arrangements’ but as she had not obtained permission under the Conference rules to circulate her amendment this matter will be considered later.

The Sub-Committee decided to defer consideration of an amendment to paragraph 2 of chapter VIII C proposed by the four Sponsoring Governments under which enforcement action without the prior authorisation of the Security Council is permitted against Enemy States in this war or in regional arrangements against renewal of aggressive policy on the part of such states until such time as the world organisation may be charged with the responsibility for preventing such further aggression. This was done to enable France to discuss with the four Sponsoring Governments the wording of the amendment provided for above.

On 23rd May the Sub-Committee presented an interim report to the Committee III/4 and the Committee unanimously approved the Vandenberg formula. Australia stated that it withdrew its amendment authorising self defensive action if the Council did not itself take measures to deal with a dispute and did not authorise action to be taken under a regional arrangement or agency because the Vandenberg formula preserved the substance of the Australian amendment which was designed in the first place to maintain the overall jurisdiction and responsibility of the Security Council.

As there had been some suggestion during the debate that the phrase ‘Collective self defence’ referred exclusively to regional self defence, Australia asked that it should be recorded that she interpreted the phrase ‘collective self defence’ in a wide sense, specially covering the words ‘any arrangements’ mentioned in the Australian amendment. The object was to make it clear that operation of self defensive arrangements which might not properly fall within the definition of ‘Regional’ arrangements were not excluded under the formula.

There was considerable discussion in Committee as to the most appropriate place for insertion in the charter of that portion of the Vandenberg formula first set out above. In spite of some opposition the Committee decided by a substantial majority to recommend to the Co-Ordination Committee insertion of the text in a section D of chapter VIII instead of as a new paragraph 12 of Section B of chapter VIII.

Although the Four Powers amendment to paragraph 2 of VIII C referred to above remains to be considered, it is not anticipated that there will be any difficulty in settling this matter. It is unlikely that the Egyptian amendment will receive any substantial support as it is designed primarily to secure recognition and perhaps approval of the special status of Pan-Arab regional [system]. [3]

Although Latin American Countries have not succeeded in securing acceptance of their earlier view that the World Organisation should have no right to interfere with regional organisations until the latter prove incapable of handling any dispute which has arisen, they appear to be satisfied with the Vandenberg formula.

The [‘middle line’] taken by the Australians played no small part in securing acceptance of the compromise formula eventually adopted.


1 U.S. delegate to the San Francisco Conference.

2 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VII, Document 311.

3 Matter in square brackets has been corrected from the Washington copy on file AA : A3300/5, 1945 United Nations Conference: SF, Telegrams.


[AA : A1066, H45/771/1]