Department of External Affairs to Posts

Cablegrams variously numbered CANBERRA, 24 May 1945


Following is brief survey of how Australian policy has developed at San Francisco Conference.

Australia submitted a number of detailed amendments to Dumbarton Oaks text. In general terms these are designed to:-

(1) prevent possibility of a single great Power vetoing amendments to constitution providing such amendment is twice approved by two- thirds majority of General Assembly including three permanent members of Security Council.

(2) exclude ‘veto’ of permanent members from all arrangements relating to peaceful settlement of disputes and confine ‘veto’ to decisions involving enforcement action.

(3) require a pledge from all members to respect territorial integrity and political independence of other members.

(4) declare that justice and the rule of law shall be principles guiding action of Security Council and for this purpose to require maximum employment of Permanent Court in determining legal aspects of International disputes.

(5) to see that Security Council is in fact composed of ‘security’ Powers, i.e. powers which by their past military contribution to cause of world security, have proved able and willing to assume substantial security responsibilities, or which, by virtue of their geographical position, are able to make substantial contribution to maintenance of international peace and security.

(6) require members to pledge themselves to take action both national and international for purpose of securing for all peoples improved labor standards, economic advancement, employment for all and social security, and as part of that pledge to take appropriate action through the Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the I.L.O. and, in particular, to make regular reports to the Assembly as to what they have actually done to carry out the pledge.

(7) elevate the Economic Council into a principal organ, give it under the General Assembly specific new functions, including power to initiate action for making of international conventions on all matters not being dealt with by other specialised agencies.

(8) give General Assembly wider jurisdiction over, and fuller share in, general work of the organisation and in particular vest Assembly with power to prevent situations and disputes from becoming ‘frozen’ in Security Council.

(9) lay down principle that purpose of administration of all dependent territories is welfare and development of native peoples, and place obligation on nations controlling particular dependent territories to report regularly to advisory body.

Trusteeship Most important points in Australian proposals are:-

(1) The principle of trusteeship should be recognised by all members of the United Nations responsible for administration of dependent areas.

(2) An expert commission with advisory functions should be established by or under authority of General Assembly. Commission would receive reports and keep United Nations informed as to welfare and development of peoples of territories concerned.

(3) The territories to which accountability system would apply should be declared either by voluntary action of member administering territory or by General Assembly, after consideration of recommendations of a conference or conferences, specially convened by United Nations, of members responsible for administration of dependent territories. Bases or strategic areas of special importance may be exempted by General Assembly on recommendation of Security Council.

(4) Military restrictions in existing mandates may be removed by the General Assembly on recommendation of Security Council where prejudicial to security of mandated territory or of United Nations.

Regional Security Dr. Evatt has objected to Dumbarton Oaks provision whereby anyone of the five great Powers could prevent enforcement action by a regional security agency. Australian amendments propose (a) that in authorizing action by regional agencies Security Council should decide by affirmative vote of seven including three permanent members and (b) that if Security Council does not itself act or authorize regional action then parties to any regional arrangement consistent with the Charter shall have freedom of action to maintain or restore peace. Dr. Evatt has strongly stressed need, however, for Security Council to retain primary control over regional enforcement action.

An important sub-committee of conference agreed on a formula which adopted chief features of Australian proposals.

Security Council Objective of Australian amendment (No. 5. above) has been successfully met in principle by sponsoring Powers amendment along similar lines. Dr. Evatt’s case for Amendment No. 2. above has won considerable support.

General Assembly Australian amendment (No. 8. above) has been favourably received and met in part by similar Big Five amendment. Conference Committees approved our proposal that ‘full employment’ be made one of United Nations objectives and that Economic and Social Council be made a principal organ.



[AA : A1066, H45/771/1]