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Tuesday, 21 June 1949

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member must remain silent.

Dr EVATT - I should not care if the honorable member did not remain silent, Mr. Deputy Speaker. He has asked me: "Why not speak as an Australian ? " I have never spoken in any other way. Australia's contribution to international affairs has been made, to a large extent, through the United Nations. When on any occasion has the delegation of Australia not stood up for Australia and all the things that we value in this country? I challenge the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Beale), who made that not very valuable or helpful interjection, to point to one matter in which the vote of Australia was, in his opinion, given wrongly over the years. I do not confine that challenge only to this year; I shall take him right back over the last four years. I do not want this general criticism any longer. I want specific criticism. Our critics will not talk about Indonesia any more because the Indonesian solution advocated by Australia and India - conciliation - was accepted by the General Assembly. Therefore, we shall not hear much more about Indonesia. Let us see, then, where the shoe pinches, if it pinches at all. I claim that the international policy of Australia is largely founded upon unwavering and unfaltering support for the United Nations because the Charter of the United Nations lays down a code of conduct that all nations should endeavour to follow. This country, internationally, has endeavoured to follow it. We have the support in that respect of all members of the British Commonwealth and also of the great United States of America.

I claim for the General Assembly in particular that during the last three or four years it has gradually been establishing for itself a position analogous in international affairs to the position that was developed in Great Britain during the long years of struggle by the House of Commons in relation to the executive, treating the General Assembly as corresponding to the popular 'body and the Security Council as corresponding to the executive. The fact is that every report of every United .Nations organ and agency comes to the Assembly for critical review. Security Council reports come to it, .and are often under fire by the General Assembly. The Assembly has the power of the purse in relation to United Nations affairs. It has the power to say whether money is to be expended, just as the House of Commons has that power, so that gradually each organ is looking to the General Assembly - that is, to world public opinion - for guidance in those difficult international problems that arise so frequently and come to the agenda of the Assembly. Those of us who fought at San Francisco for greater powers for the Assembly hoped that it would become gradually a world forum. In the first draft of Dumbarton Oaks, the powers of the Assembly were very seriously truncated. They were gradually extended at San Francisco, and they are now contained in the Charter. I think that that work was done well and that it will turn out to be in the best interests of the United Nations and of international peace. The future of the General Assembly will depend upon the continuance of the same spirit of constructive criticism and independence of its membership. That, -in turn, should help to reduce the power of blocs, because, in the General Assembly, you do have a great deal of bloc voting. One safeguard against that is the two-thirds majority, which is required by the Charter on important questions; but an even greater safeguard, in my opinion, will be an increasing membership of the General Assembly, looking ultimately towards universality of membership. At the present time, there are a large number of countries awaiting admission to the United Nations. These are some of them : Ireland, Finland, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Ceylon and Transjordan, now the Hashamite Kingdom of Jordan; and belonging to the, if I may say so, other group, or second group, of powers : Outer

Mongolia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Roumania and Albania.

Mr Holt - What about Spain?

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