740.0011 EW (Peace)/8–949: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State


3126. Following are Foreign Office comments communicated to us by Rumbold on substance Department’s A–755, July 8:1

Foreign Office agrees generally with paragraphs 1 to 4. Foreign Office states likelihood of satellites agreeing to appointing representatives to commissions so remote as not to be worth contemplating, and Foreign Office not for present taking any steps to appoint UK or Dominion representatives.

Foreign Office states only purpose of endeavoring to implement treaty machinery is to affect opinion in UN Assembly and western world generally, but feels we must recognize Assembly has heard so much about conditions behind Curtain that we are not likely to gain much by another fullscale debate on substance our charges. Foreign Office therefore thinks our object at this session should be to get an authoritative decision from International Court that satellite governments have defaulted on their treaty obligations. This would create new situation and furnish more solid foundation for our charges than would any amount fresh evidence we might be able to advance. Foreign Office feels that, while too much expect Assembly to avoid all debate on substance charges (and we could, if necessary, produce some material being collected), our object should be not to get another condemnatory resolution passed but to get Assembly to put direct question to International Court whether or not satellites are in default. [Page 262] Foreign Office feels Court likes to have issues presented in very precise terms and Foreign Office not in favor of substance of disputes being referred to Court, but believes Court should be asked to decide only whether satellites have broken treaty obligations by not conforming to implementation procedure. Foreign Office believes chances are Court would say satellites have broken treaty obligations this respect. Armed with this decision we should be in good position at next assembly, and should be able to say that reason satellites broke their obligations was obviously because they could not face prospect of their cases going before impartial commissions; that this was itself admission of satellites failure to give their people human rights which treaties were supposed assure them conversely Foreign Office not in favor of Assembly debate on issue whether satellites have broken treaties by refusing set up commission; only International Court can make authoritative pronouncements on legal issues of this kind.

Foreign Office sums up by saying it would be in favor of working for GA resolution (a) requesting Secretary General to obtain an advisory opinion from International Court on question whether satellites have broken their treaty obligations by not conforming to implementation procedure; (b) retaining question on agenda for next session.

Foreign Office is asking Australian Government whether it would be willing, as Department suggests, to file request with Secretary General that present item on agenda be extended to include Rumania.

With regard to paragraph 7 onwards of A–755 Foreign Office thinks it would be mistake to try to look too far into future and is not particularly attracted by idea of ultimately referring all charges to special committee or single jurist since apart from objections Department mentions this would drag matters out indefinitely. Regarding this Foreign Office states if committee or jurist were only allowed to receive information from “member governments” denial to satellites of opportunity of submitting counterevidence might be held to detract from value of inquiry.

  1. Ante, p. 255.