Volume #16 - 232.|
COMMISSION INTÉRIMAIRE DE LA QUATRIÈME ASSEMBLÉE GÉNÉRALE
Le délégué permanent par intérim auprès des Nations Unies|
au secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 8 juin 1950|
I have the honour to refer to the work of the Interim Committee of the United Nations Assembly. From informal discussions we have had here, it seems probable that the Interim Committee will be resuming its work about 20 June, and that it may be quite busy throughout the rest of June and July. As you know, the full Interim Committee has not, for various reasons, held a meeting since 7 February, and the Committee is still required to take action on the following four items:
(a) Chinese charges against the Soviet Union;
(b) procedures for delimiting the boundaries of the former Italian Colonies;
(c) the question of the disposal of Eritrea;
(d) the report of the Sub-Committee on International Co-operation in the Political Field.
My impression of the situation regarding each of these four items is as follows.
2. As indicated in my teletype no. 348, † there is a general reluctance on the part of the members of the Interim Committee to consider Dr. Tsiang's charges. Nevertheless, the Interim Committee is required, under the terms of the General Assembly's resolution of 8 December 1949, to report back to the Assembly on these charges "with recommendations". My understanding is that Dr. Tsiang is not pressing for a meeting at the present time. However, a meeting of the Committee will obviously have to take place on this subject before long, and it is not unlikely that the Chairman (Muniz of Brazil) will call a meeting on China in late June. The question will then arise as to whether a sub-committee should be formed to consider Dr. Tsiang's draft resolution and to prepare a draft report to the General Assembly. We have already informed several other Delegations that we are not convinced of the value of having such a sub-committee, and that, if one is formed, Canada would not wish to be a member of it. In the absence of such a subcommittee, however, there is the possibility of a general debate developing in the Interim Committee which might encourage Dr. Tsiang to take an adamant position on his draft resolution. I have already given you my opinion that there is a strong likelihood that most Delegations will abstain on Tsiang's resolution and that, while few Delegations will vote in favour of it, only a few will vote against it. Unless, therefore; some generally acceptable alternative resolution is drafted, it is quite possible that Dr. Tsiang's resolution will be adopted by the Interim Committee. This, I think, is the only thing to be said in favour of forming a sub-committee on this item. I understand that the Americans are working on a draft resolution which would seem to be calculated to exploit to the full this opportunity to score against the Soviet Union. The resolution would, of course, avoid the questions of recognition and assistance, and would concentrate on Soviet misbehaviour. It would not only concentrate on earlier violations of the Sino-Soviet Treaty, but would refer to present developments in Manchuria and the military assistance being given to the Communist Government. One thing which worries the United Kingdom Delegation is whether they still legally recognize the validity of the treaty between the Soviet Union and the Nationalist Government, in view of their recognition of Peking. It seems to me that the recent Moscow-Peking Treaty contained some kind of deliberate indication that the present treaty superseded the previous treaty, but we do not seem to have a copy of the Moscow-Peking Treaty and I have not had time to check it in a local library. If it is true that countries which have recognized Peking do not consider the previous treaty as having any validity, then it would be difficult for the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, India, and other such countries to support a United States resolution which made much of current violations.
BOUNDARIES OF FORMER ITALIAN COLONIES
3. The Interim Committee's jurisdiction in this subject is obviously a very limited one. There certainly is no suggestion that the Interim Committee should attempt to demarcate boundaries still in dispute, or make substantive recommendations for boundary adjustment to the General Assembly. The only functions within the Interim Committee's jurisdiction are to study the procedure which might be adopted for delimiting boundaries in dispute, and to make recommendations regarding such procedure to the next session of the Assembly. Therefore, it is quite possible that all the Interim Committee will do on this item is to make a general recommendation calling on the parties concerned, including the administering powers, to settle their outstanding boundary disputes through the agency of mixed boundary commissions. On this subject it might be useful to have a small subcommittee which could meet once or twice and propose some recommendation of this nature to the full Interim Committee. In view of our strong reluctance to serve on a sub-committee dealing with the Chinese question, it might be tactically desirable for us to let it be known that we are prepared to serve on a sub-committee dealing with this item if one is established.
4. The principal question involved here is, of course, finding some means of bringing Italy and Ethiopia together. The principal boundary at issue is that between Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. I believe that the question had not been brought before the Committee earlier because there was some hope that the Italians and the Ethiopians would reach some agreement. According to the United Kingdom Delegation, however, this situation is not promising. As for the borders of Eritrea, there does not seem to be much point in making any special provisions until it is known whether that country is to be in whole or in part absorbed into Ethiopia. There is also, I think, some question of the border between the Fezzan and the neighbouring French territories. There would not seem to be much value in recommending that the French talk to themselves on this subject, and a settlement might be postponed until some kind of Libyan Government has emerged. When I was discussing this subject with Mr. Laskey of the United Kingdom Delegation the other day, he indicated that these borders would be a matter for direct negotiation among the Ethiopians, the Italians and the British, except, of course, for the Fezzan. I expressed some doubt as to whether the Assembly would recognize the right of Italy to act for Italian Somaliland, in view of the temporary and limited authority of Italy in that country. With the usual Foreign Office approach to such questions, Mr. Laskey said that discussions among the authorities in control were perfectly legal and proper, and surely there could be no objection. He seemed quite satisfied that the Italians would represent the best interest of the Somalis. I said that I did not see any objection to this kind of negotiation, but it seemed to me entirely likely that the Assembly would insist on the presence either of a third party or somebody representing United Nations interests in the Italian Colonies. If this were the case, and I agreed that it would be, as they say in the Foreign Office, "tiresome", would it not be better for some provision to be made that the decisions reached would be subject to confirmation by the Assembly? This would be one means of forestalling proposals for involving the United Nations in the actual negotiations. Mr. Laskey said that there had been suggestions that representatives of the inhabitants should be involved in the border negotiations, but he thought it would be hopeless trying to reach an agreement if the negotiators were to be plagued by, for instance, the Somali Youth League. He agreed, however, that some concession might be advisable, and thought that they could perhaps inform the Assembly of their decisions. This, he thought, would be better than submitting it to the Assembly for decision.
DISPOSAL OF ERITREA
5. Unlike the question dealing with the boundaries of the former Italian Colonies, the Interim Committee's function in the question of Eritrea is very substantial. Under the terms of the Assembly's resolution, the Commission for Eritrea (composed of representatives of Burma, Guatemala, Norway, Pakistan, and South Africa) is required to report back to the Secretary-General by not later than 15 June 1950. The Interim Committee is charged with considering this report and making its own report, "with conclusions", to the next session of the Assembly. I understand that the Eritrean Commission is badly split on the question of what recommendations it should make concerning the future of this territory. It does not seem likely that the Commission's report will reach the Secretary-General until shortly after 15 June. The indications appear to be that, in view of the time required for reproducing and circulating the report and a large number of documents, it is unlikely that this item will come before the Interim Committee until the first part of July. In view of the controversial nature of this subject and the probability that there will be no clear-cut recommendation emerging from the Commission, it is quite likely that a full-scale debate on the disposal of Eritrea will take place in the Interim Committee. It is also quite possible that a sub-committee will be formed on this subject, and we may be asked to serve on it. As soon as the report has been received from the Commission, I shall, of course, immediately send you a copy.
SUB-COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
6. We have been told informally that it is unlikely that the report of this SubCommittee will be available for consideration by the Interim Committee until near the end of June. The Sub-Committee has divided itself into three Working Groups, each of which is charged with considering certain paragraphs of Section B of Part II ("Settlement of Disputes and Special Political Problems by the General Assembly") of the Report submitted by the Interim Committee to the Fourth Session of the Assembly (A/966). (The work program of this Sub-Committee is contained in document A/AC.18/SC.9/1.2 of 3 February 1950.) My understanding is that the work of each of these Working Groups had been largely of a factual nature, i.e., reviewing the action already taken by the General Assembly in situations and disputes which have come before it in the past. It is quite possible, however, that the Sub-Committee may recommend certain conclusions for future action by the Assembly, although the nature of these recommendations has not yet been decided. The present indications are that each of the Working Groups will complete its work during the course of the next week, and it is expected that a draft report will then be circulated to all members of the Sub-Committee with a view to having a meeting of the full Sub-Committee on about 22 June. Therefore, it is not likely that the SubCommittee will be ready to report to the Interim Committee much before the end of this month. Meanwhile, I hope to obtain more information during the course of the next week on the progress of work in the Sub-Committee.
7. From the above, it will be apparent that the last week of June and all of July will be an active period so far as the Interim Committee is concerned. It is also probable that this will be the period in which the Trusteeship Council will be reaching decisions which will be of importance to us in determining our position in the Fourth Committee of the next Assembly. Finally, it is quite possible that, during this period, the Security Council will be taking up again the question of the admission of new members. I believe I should draw your attention to the fact that during this period we will have only two officers in this Delegation, as Mr. Grande will be on leave until 15 July, and Mr. Carter from 15 July to mid-August. It may therefore be necessary for me to request additional help if Canada is required to serve on any of the sub-committees which may be established by the Interim Committee.
I have, etc.