Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram E47 [SAN FRANCISCO], 11 June 1945, 11.10 p.m.


Delegation telegram SFC51.

Your 102. [1]

1. Mr. Forde is in Washington but the matter of your telegram had already been fully discussed between us and I think you will agree that our tactics are sound. There is a large body of nations against the Veto on peaceful settlement or conciliation. From the first we have taken a leading part in this question. During the talks in England it was clearly understood what our attitude was and indeed all the Dominion Governments objected to this form of the Veto which is not possible to justify in principle.

2. Our course has been pursued consistently. First it is impossible to carry an amendment against the present Dumbarton Oaks voting formula unless there is a two thirds majority for the amendment. Indeed it is quite probable that there will be a large number of abstentions and that the final vote for Australia’s amendment will not be considerable. This does not mean that the conference is against our view but only means that under great pressure most countries will yield and hope for improvement in the future. Unfortunately the difficulty about improvement in the future is that there is also a veto about amendments to the constitution and we are also endeavouring to obtain an amendment on that point.

3. The line we have taken is indicated in the statement issued by us yesterday. [2] It disputes the legal interpretation of the four sponsoring powers and allows scope for future argument and modification after the charter is ratified.

4. Therefore we shall have to carry our amendment to the vote but it will be defeated owing to the facts I have stated and then the Dumbarton Oaks text will be adopted. By this means we take our protest up to the last logical point. Anything short of that would be quite unsatisfactory. On the other hand the charter will not be imperilled.

5. In the circumstances your message as to our substantial progress and the weight of advantages obtained for Australia in respect of the general assembly and the economic and social council is most welcome. I understand your anxiety is to avoid deadlock. We share it and the deadlock will be avoided.

6. Another important aspect of the matter is that if we had surrendered the position on Thursday last we would have been placed in great difficulty on other outstanding matters. As it is I made it abundantly clear on Saturday that we desired to preserve the charter to which we have contributed much but that it is our duty to the last to warn the organisation not only against an unsatisfactory legal interpretation but also against the glaring defect which enables one nation to block the Security Council performing its most important function of conciliating disputants at a sufficiently early stage of their dispute to avoid all reasonable chance of force being used.

7. If there is any further development I shall let you know immediately but we understand your desire to preserve the charter and this is exactly the policy which will be followed by us to the end.


1 Document 107.

2 Published as Annex O to the Report by the Australian Delegates to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 25 April - 26 June 1945, Commonwealth Parliamentary Papers, 1945-46, vol. III.


[AA : A1066, H45/771/1]