Hasluck to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Precom 35 LONDON, 23 October 1945, 9.20 p.m.


1. When the debate on the report of the Security Council was resumed by the Executive Committee this morning, the United States delegation made a statement on their general position regarding the Security Council. As the Americans in the Technical Committee had given considerable backing to the Soviet in their policy of hands off the Security Council, this statement represents a substantial change of front as a result of Australian, Canadian and Netherlands protests of the previous day, although, characteristically, the United States represents the new position as due to its own liberality and wisdom.

2. With the Canadian and Netherlands delegations, the Australian delegation accepted a compromise draft prepared by the United States in which points relating to:

(a) The Security Council’s obligation under Article 24; and, (b) The desirability of prompt assumption of its powers, were worked into preamble to recommendations instead of being made the subject of a separate recommendation.

The report was then adopted without discussion.

3. The Australian delegation again made it clear that we were not expressing any lack of confidence in the Security Council but rather were assuming that it would act in accordance with the Charter. Our objection was to the idea that the affairs of the Security Council were not the concern of other members of the United Nations. [1] The debate leaves us in a good position to maintain this view before the Security Council.

4. The Soviet view on the nature of the Security Council was further revealed in consideration of the report of the Committee on Secretariat (PC/EX/106). The Soviet objected to the recommendation that the internal organisation of Secretariat should be on a functional basis, each administrative unit being at the disposal of any organ of the United Nations for performance of work falling within its competence. The Soviet wanted the Security Council to have separate staff entirely of its own, whereas the Committee recommended the creation of a department for the maintenance of international peace and security serving either the Security Council or the Assembly as required. On being defeated by 11 votes to 3, the Soviet opposed the adoption of all other recommendations of the Committee, but gained no further support, and the report as a whole was adopted.


1 See also cablegram Precom 34, dispatched 22 October (on file AA : A1066, H45/777/2), for an account of the preceding discussion in which the Australian delegate deplored ‘the disposition shown by some members of the Committee to regard the business of Security Council as being only the concern of certain powers and their use of the argument that the Council would resent interference’, and the idea that ‘prospective members of the Security Council could withdraw themselves into a special group apart from main membership of the United Nations. The Security Council would act for and on behalf of the United Nations. It would be brought into existence by the will of the United Nations expressed in the Assembly. Its only constitutional authority was derived from the Charter and the only limits placed on members in respect of the Council were those contained in the Charter.’


[AA : A1066, H45/777/2]