501.BB Balkan/4–1748: Telegram

Mr. Gerald A. Drew to the Secretary of State


162. Combal 148 from Drew. The rejection of the proposal to request the current special session of the GA to clarify UNSCOB terms re reference and certain statements made by various delegates during the discussion, in particular the remarks of this delegation, have touched off a reaction within the committee which gives promise of leading to a constructive reinterpretation of its terms of reference and revision of instructions to observers.

The delegates of Brazil and Mexico, who were leaders of move to refer problem to Assembly have now taken initiative in proposal to accede to USDel declaration at the meeting on April 10 to effect that committee itself had right to interpret its own terms of reference. I believe several delegates, particulary Brazil, are increasingly concerned with the untenable position in which they have placed themselves through their adherence to the “strict construction” school of thought and that they realize that their own governments would not support them in a minority position opposed to that of the US, UK and France when the annual report of the committee is submitted to the next regular session of the GA. Furthermore, I sense a growing restlessness with their uneasy alliance with the Australian delegation whose obstructive attitude is interpreted in some quarters as reflecting underlying sympathy with the Communists.

In informal conversations with me, Da Cunha1 claims to have obtained the support of Mexico and Pakistan for liberal reinterpretation of article 6(1), with a view to embracing article 4 and 5 within its purview, on condition that USDel and other delegations sharing our general views agree to use the same yardstick in liberal interpretation of article 10 [9?] regarding location of the committee. In other words, he and his supporters would reverse their present position in return [Page 244] for our recognition of the committee’s right to decide whether or not to go to Athens. I have given Da Cunha my firm assurance that I recognized committee’s right to decide whether to have temporary or additional seat elsewhere in Greece than Salonika in accordance with USDel’s views expressed at first meeting held in Paris November 21, 1947. However, I have made it abundantly clear to him that I reserve the right to oppose any move to set up a rear echelon in Athens.

At plenary session April 15 Mexican and Brazilian representatives introduced resolution to refer article 6(1) of resolution of October 21 to subcommittee one for reexamination; article 6(2) and 10[9?] to subcommittee two. I took opportunity to restate USDel position regarding committee’s inherent right to interpret its own terms of reference. UK delegation also spoke in support. Resolution was adopted without record vote. There was no discussion of move to Athens.

At subcommittee one meeting April 16 in implementation of Brazilian resolution it was decided that USDel would submit working paper and draft of any necessary resolutions or amendments to existing resolutions looking to objective described. If and when approved by UNSCOB the present instructions to observer groups would be revised in the light of new interpretation.

If the plan described is successful, it should put an end to the present futile hair-splitting within the committee and should greatly shorten and facilitate the drafting of a satisfactory annual report. I am hopeful that it will enable observers to broaden the scope of their activity to include hearing of witnesses, reporting on matters of general knowledge and eliminate the insistence on “direct observation” as opposed to “investigation”. It should also make possible worthwhile utilization of contemplated additional observer teams.

[Here follow remaining two paragraphs of telegram which deal with the proposed move of UNSCOB to Athens.]

  1. Vasco T. L. da Cunha, Brazilian Representative on UNSCOB.