Australian Year Book of International Law
Shirley V Scott[∗]
The issue of United Nations (UN) Security Council reform has enjoyed a prominent place on the international agenda in recent years but the issue is as old as the UN Charter. Australia has been engaged in international debate on the composition and voting procedure of the Security Council since its active participation in the 1945 San Francisco conference at which the Charter was concluded. The Australian government met with some domestic criticism for allegedly pursuing the interests of small powers rather than fostering Australia’s close bond with the United Kingdom. Since then the degree to which the interests of Australia’s ‘great and powerful friends’ have shaped Australia’s engagement with the subject has varied depending on the weight that the government of the day has attached respectively to bilateral relations with the United Kingdom and the United States of America and to international organisations. This article begins by briefly reviewing the manner in which the question of Security Council reform is entwined with great-power politics and the significance of great-power politics to Australian foreign policy. It then traces the history of Australia’s participation in international debate on the composition and voting procedure of the Security Council, from the earliest days at San Francisco to the conclusion of the 2005 Heads of Government Summit.
In the UN context, ‘reform’ has been used to refer to a range of institutional changes, including some, such as modifying the structure of the Secretariat or increasing efficiencies in the UN machinery, that do not require Charter amendment. In the case of the Security Council, changes have at times been made to the functioning of the Council that have not required Charter amendment. But, given that the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, and that member states are legally bound to accept and carry out decisions of the Council, it is amendment of the Charter provisions on Security Council membership and voting procedure that are arguably the most significant of possible Council reforms. These issues are inextricably linked with great-power politics; the permanent status and veto power that the UN Charter accords the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China has since 1945 contributed significantly to their national power.
It is the veto of the permanent members that dominated discussion of the Charter provisions on the Security Council in the early years of the UN. As membership of the UN increased, the question of Council enlargement came to overshadow that of the veto. If restricted to the question of increasing the number of non-permanent seats on the Council, this issue was not so close to the interests of the great powers as that of the veto and in 1965 the membership of the Council increased from 11 to 15. Once this had been achieved, Security Council reform ceased to be in the international spotlight until the end of the Cold War ushered in an era in which it appeared as if additional amendments to Charter provisions on the Security Council might be achievable. Debate on the possibility of increasing the permanent membership – even if the new permanent members were denied the veto – returned the central place of power politics to the forefront of discussions on Security Council reform. But hopes for fundamental reform of the composition and voting procedure of the Security Council were once again dashed at the 2005 Heads of Government Summit.
Australian policy towards Security Council reform has at each point in time been influenced not only by the international context and the nature of the contemporary debate but by one of two sets of attitudes regarding the relative importance of Australia’s relationship with great powers and its participation in international organisations. Drawing on the work of Owen Harries, one such set of attitudes can be referred to as the Menzies tradition. The Menzies tradition, identified with the conservative side of Australian politics, emphasises a close relationship with the United Kingdom and the United States as the most important objective of Australian foreign policy. It views the UN and other international organisations with considerable scepticism, regarding them as no more than a facade behind which great-power politics are played out. Harries distinguishes the Menzies from the Evatt tradition, which is characterised by great respect for international law and institutions and an independent Australian voice within them. The Evatt tradition is associated with the Labor side of Australian politics.
For Australia, the San Francisco conference at which the UN Charter was concluded remains of particular significance in the 60-year history of involvement in international debate on the composition and voting procedures of the Security Council. If middle and small powers were at any stage going to be able to influence the nature of this powerful body, it is reasonable to think that it would have been here, before the text of the UN Charter had been finalised and at a time when Dr Evatt himself was Minister for External Affairs. The history of the Australian government’s participation in subsequent international debate on amendment of the Charter provisions on Security Council composition and voting procedure cannot be fully understood without an appreciation of what transpired at San Francisco.
Australia had no direct influence over the earliest planning for the UN, much of which was undertaken by the United States Department of State. The United States then entered into ‘conversations’ with the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and the Republic of China at the Dumbarton Oaks Estate in Washington DC from August to October 1944. The question of voting procedure in the Security Council remained unsettled at Dumbarton Oaks but was resolved at the February 1945 meeting of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at Yalta. It was only then, in early March 1945 that other countries, including Australia, were invited to the United Nations Conference on International Organization. British Commonwealth ‘conversations’ were held in London from 4 April to 13 April in preparation for the UN Conference, which took place in San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945.
The conference had as its starting point, the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals for a General International Organization, Chapter VI Section C of which contained the Yalta formula. The Conference was divided into four commissions, each of which was made responsible for one of the major divisions of the proposed Charter; each commission was divided into several committees. It might at first appear a misnomer to refer to negotiations at the conference at which a treaty text was finalised as moves towards ‘reform’. But, while the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals were officially referred to as ‘a basis for discussion’ it soon became clear at San Francisco that they would have more accurately been described as ‘firm political commitments’ on the part of the great powers. The invited states were left with little scope to affect the fundamentals of the Charter.
The Australian delegation nevertheless played an extremely active role at the conference, reporting subsequently that of some 38 distinct amendments of substance it had originally filed, 26 had been adopted without material change, adopted in principle, or made unnecessary by other alterations. The 25-member Australian delegation was led by Dr H V Evatt, Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs and F M Forde, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Army. Evatt dominated the delegation; amongst the many issues Evatt took up at the conference were those of the membership and voting procedure of the Security Council, as well as the related question of Charter amendment.
Chapter VI, Section A, of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals read:
The Security Council should consist of one representative of each of eleven members of the Organization. Representatives of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Republic of China, and, in due course, France, should have permanent seats. The General Assembly should elect six states to fill the non-permanent seats. These six states should be elected for a term of two years, three retiring each year. They should not be immediately eligible for reelection. In the first election of the non-permanent members three should be chosen by the General Assembly for one-year terms and three for two-year terms.
Although many states would have liked to see the number of non-permanent members of the Security Council increased so as to give smaller powers greater representation, the sponsoring powers – United States, USSR, United Kingdom and China – made it clear that they were strongly opposed to any increase. Australia filed an amendment designed to ensure that those elected to the non-permanent seats should be from among those members ‘which, by their past military contribution to the cause of world security have proved able and willing to assume substantial security responsibilities, or which are willing and by virtue of their geographical position in relation to regions of primary strategical importance are able, to make a substantial contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security’. Other states proposed alternative criteria, the Latin American and Arab states emphasising the need for representation on a geographic basis. The four sponsoring powers put forward a proposal similar to the Australian one, by which the General Assembly would elect non-permanent members, ‘due regard being specially paid, in the first instance, to the contribution of members of the Organisation towards the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organisation, and also to equitable geographical distribution’. This was accepted and incorporated into article 23(1) of the Charter.
The main features of the Security Council voting formula that had been agreed at Yalta were that each member should have one vote; that decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters should be made by an affirmative vote of seven members; and that decisions on all other matters should be made by an affirmative vote of seven members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members, with the exception that parties to a dispute should abstain from voting. At the opening of the conference in San Francisco, 17 of the 44 states offered amendments to this formula, ranging from suggestions for the complete elimination of the unanimity rule to minor changes designed to clarify its application. Evatt considered it understandable that unanimity of the permanent members of the Council was required for decisions on the use of force or the application of sanctions but believed that the veto should not be applicable to processes and recommendations concerning the pacific settlement of disputes (articles 33 to 38 of the Charter).
While the great powers presented a united front to those opposed to the veto, it became clear that they were not united on the detail of its application. ‘Under [Evatt’s] inspiration’, Committee One of the Third Commission appointed a sub-committee, which presented a list of 23 questions to the sponsoring powers in an attempt to ascertain the areas in which the veto would be applicable. On 7 June the great powers provided their response in the form of a ‘Statement by the Delegations of the Four Sponsoring Governments on Voting Procedure in the Security Council’. It contained an assurance that the veto would not be used to block discussion of a situation by the Council but the only direct response to the Australian concern was to the effect that decisions taken in the process of pacific settlement ‘may well have major political consequences, and may even initiate a chain of events which might, in the end, require the Council under its responsibilities to invoke measures of enforcement’. The Australian delegation was one of several that expressed disappointment or dissatisfaction with the reply.
Evatt took the lead in the closing section of the vigorous debate on the veto. In his view ‘a system for the peaceful settlement of disputes in which everything except preliminary consideration and discussion … is to be subject to the veto is not an effective method of conciliation’. After a very full discussion in committee, Evatt proposed an amendment to explicitly state that decisions of the Security Council under provisions concerning peaceful settlement should be deemed to be decisions on procedural matters and therefore require an affirmative vote of any seven members. But by now the great powers had made it clear that they would accept no change to the Yalta voting formula and that the choice for other delegations was between a UN inclusive of the veto or no UN. When the proposed amendment was voted on in Committee III/1 on 12 June 1945, ten states voted in favour (Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Panama), 20 against, and 15 abstained. The vote on the proposed Australian amendment effectively ended debate on the question of the veto.
The Australian delegation, together with a number of others, also took up the related question of the provisions for Charter amendment. Chapter XI of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals required amendments to be accepted by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly and ratified by a majority of members of the Organisation, inclusive of all five great powers. Evatt considered that, while it was important to ensure stability, the provisions on amendment should be such as to make amendment a practical possibility. The Australian delegation argued that, in recognition of the fact that the Charter was being negotiated during a time of transition in world affairs (the Second World War was still being fought at the time), amendments to the Charter should require the agreement of only three of the five permanent members of the Council. After prolonged discussion it became clear that the great powers were just as adamant that they retain a veto power over amendments (including those to the voting procedure in the Security Council) as they were unmoving on the question of the veto in general. Permanent member unanimity was, in article 108, made a requirement for Charter amendment.
The sponsoring governments also proposed that a review conference be held and some invited governments proposed that a particular time limit be placed on the convening of such a conference. As finalised, article 109 provided for the holding of a General Conference of UN Members for the purpose of revising the Charter. Paragraph 3 stated that, if such a conference had not been held before the Tenth Annual Session of the General Assembly, a proposal to hold such a conference was to be placed on the Agenda of that Session (September 1955), when a decision to proceed with a Conference would require a majority of General Assembly Members and any seven members of the Security Council.
It is well-known that Evatt made a considerable nuisance of himself at San Francisco, particularly on the question of the veto, but opinions differ as to whether this was or was not a good thing. Polarised assessments of Evatt’s style and legacy can be better understood when viewed within Harries’ framework of traditions in Australian foreign policy. Evatt’s role in promoting Australia’s active engagement in multilateral fora was of sufficient significance to found what Owen Harries has identified as the ‘Evatt tradition’ in Australian foreign policy. The degree to which his contribution was truly nationalist and representative of the small powers may tend to have been somewhat ‘over done’, and the fundamental convictions of Evatt himself may be far from clear, but Evatt certainly raised Australia’s international profile. Australia was one of only a ‘dozen or so’ countries that had a significant influence on the final shaping of the UN at the San Francisco conference. Harper and Sissons described Evatt as ‘one of the outstanding figures of the Conference, the champion of the smaller powers’ and Wayne Hudson has asserted that the Charter as a document would have been better for more closely reflecting Evatt’s views.
Alongside the assertive and energetic Evatt tradition of foreign policy independence, Harries places the Menzies realist, power-based tradition of national interest, personal ambition, and scepticism of international organisations. The leader of the Liberal Party opposition at the time, Mr R G Menzies led a vigorous attack on Evatt’s diplomacy at San Francisco, believing that he was sacrificing Australia’s relationship with the British Empire to an as yet untried new world Charter. Evatt’s diplomacy had provoked a number of disagreements with the United Kingdom which, with both its absolute and relative power diminished after World War Two, was seeking to use the UN to maintain its influence in world affairs. W R Crocker aptly commented that Evatt delighted in twisting the tail of the British lion. The Australian Opposition, more accepting of the validity of power politics than the Labor government, had less of a problem with the veto than did Evatt and saw Australia’s best chance for influence as lying in consistent support for, and hence influence over, British policy.
Evatt’s goals at San Francisco, including the removal of the veto from the peaceful settlement of disputes, caused friction not only with Britain but with the United States. Contemporary observers noted that the heavy emphasis Dr Evatt placed on the UN in the 1940s meant that there ‘necessarily developed a certain measure of ambiguity in relations with the US’. Sir Paul Hasluck, who as an employee of the Department of External Affairs was a member of the Australian delegation to San Francisco and went on to become a Liberal Minister for External Affairs, once commented that the Soviet Union had come to value the veto ‘even more because their opponents had also rated it so highly’ and that Dr Evatt’s rallying on the issue of article 27 had been ‘one of the most unhelpful things Australia [had] ever done in its excursions into world affairs’.
Security Council voting procedures did not cease to arouse controversy once the Council was in operation. This was in part because of gaps in Charter details, such as the meaning of ‘procedural’ and the significance of abstentions, but it was also because of early Council practice. While the United States was generally able to muster the required majority to defeat a draft resolution – to exercise what came to be referred to as the ‘hidden veto’ – the Soviet Union was forced to rely on the ‘open’ or ‘real’ veto. The USSR cast the first veto as early as 16 February 1946 and the first double veto on 26 June 1946. The USSR was steadfast in its refusal to even countenance any weakening of the veto which it regarded as its protection against United States domination of the Council. Its use of the veto to block the admission of new members was a cause of particular annoyance. While the question of the use of the veto by the USSR thus entered into Cold War politics it needs to be remembered that amongst the great powers at the end of World War Two there had never been dissent from the view that the veto was essential; the Americans, the British, and the Soviets had all believed that there could be no peace in the postwar world if the United States and the Soviet Union did not agree.
The Australian delegation was an active participant in discussion of the veto at the first three sessions of the General Assembly
and in various committees. As at San Francisco, this was not with a view to discounting the need for great power unanimity but to restrict its use, particularly from the implementation of Chapter VI. Australia requested for inclusion on the agenda of the second part of the first session of the General Assembly an item on the application of article 27 in the proceedings of the Security Council during 1946, and the Australian representative submitted a draft resolution to the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the General Assembly, ‘earnestly request[ing] that the permanent members of the Security Council shall refrain from exercising this power of veto except in cases under Chapter VII of the Charter’. According to the Australian delegation, application of the veto during 1946 was evidence that the spirit of the Charter had not been observed; the veto had been applied in ways never intended at San Francisco. The extravagant claims made for use of the veto had stultified the work of the Security Council, undermined confidence in it and lessened the Council’s ability to deal effectively with matters brought before it.
A large number of other representatives on the First Committee also criticised the way in which the veto had been exercised during 1946; some agreed that the Charter should be amended while others considered any attempt to amend the Charter premature. On 28 November 1946 Australia presented the First Committee with a revised draft, ‘earnestly request[ing] the permanent members of the Security Council to make every effort in consultation with one another and with fellow members of the Security Council to secure that the Security Council is not hindered or obstructed by the veto of a single member in carrying out its solemn obligations in respect to the pacific settlement of disputes’. A second paragraph recommended to the Security Council the early adoption of practices and procedures, consistent with the Charter, to assist in reducing the difficulties in the application of Article 27 [and] to ensure the prompt and effective exercise by the Security Council of its functions under Chapter VI of the Charter …’. On 13 December the Australian resolution, with the exception of the second paragraph, was adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 36 to six with nine abstentions.
In a statement issued a week before the General Assembly was to begin its second session, Evatt emphasised once again his view that the veto should not be able to be used to prevent the Council discharging its obligations in the peaceful settlement of disputes:
Australia had never demanded, either at the San Francisco Conference or afterwards, that the veto right be abolished completely. Australia had been willing to concede a veto where enforcement of sanctions are involved. But conciliation is quite a different matter from enforcement measures. The use of the veto over the past two years has sometimes prevented the Security Council from taking any effective measures to bring disputants together, to moderate or arbitrate between them, to offer its good offices, and otherwise to settle differences amicably … [T]here is a grave risk that the Security Council, if condemned to inaction by the veto, might actually aggravate some situations by in effect impeding attempts to find a settlement.
At the second session an Argentine proposal to convene a General Conference under article 109 to abolish the veto was not put to the vote but on 21 November 1947 the General Assembly adopted a United States resolution requesting the Interim Committee to consider the problem of voting in the Security Council and to report to the Third Session; it also requested the permanent members of the Security Council to consult with one another on the problem of voting in the Security Council in order to secure agreement among them on measures to ensure the prompt and effective exercise by the Security Council of its functions. The USSR, which equated an attack on the veto with an attack on the very existence of the UN, voted against the proposal.
At the third session Argentina again proposed a general conference to study the question of the veto, and the General Assembly received the report of the interim committee. These matters were dealt with by the Ad Hoc Political Committee, The representatives of China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States introduced jointly a draft resolution proposing that the Assembly make recommendations to the Security Council concerning decisions to be deemed procedural, and to the permanent members of the Council concerning, inter alia, decisions in respect of which they might forbear to exercise the veto. The Australian representative submitted an amendment proposing that the permanent members of the Security Council be requested to forbear exercising the power of veto except in cases arising under Chapter VII of the Charter
. The Ad Hoc Political Committee rejected both the Australian amendment and the Argentine proposal but on 14 April 1949 the General Assembly adopted resolution 267 (III), to which was annexed a list of types of decisions which it recommended that the Council deem procedural as well as a list of those on which it suggested that the permanent members might forbear to exercise their veto.
Australia’s stand against the application of the veto to Chapter VI issues received some vindication in 1948, with the General Assembly recommending that the veto not be exercised in relation to the admission of new members and procedures of pacific settlement and with the United States’ Senate adopting the so-called ‘Vandenberg resolution’ which called for the elimination of the veto power from all questions involving the pacific settlement of international disputes and from the admission of new members. The fact that the United States was indicating a possible preparedness to narrow the scope of the veto while the USSR both made considerable use of the power plus rejected any possibility of limiting its scope, served to intensify the Cold War dimension of the issue.
Debate on the question of Charter amendment of Security Council voting procedure subsided after 1948 but re-emerged in the early 1950s as the prospect of a review conference loomed. Article 109(3) of the Charter, by which the question of a review conference was to be automatically placed on the agenda of the 10th session of the General Assembly if it had not yet been decided to hold a review conference, had been included in the Charter primarily to appease delegations that had been unhappy with the voting formula in the Security Council. Since a decision to hold such a conference would in 1955 require only a majority vote in the General Assembly and the vote of any seven members of the Security Council, and the United States had on several occasions publicly expressed support for such a conference, it was widely assumed that a conference to review the UN Charter would be held in 1955 or shortly thereafter.
Considerable preparation for the likely review conference was undertaken in the United States, both by government and by private organisations and foundations. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace initiated and supported a number of studies in other countries, including one undertaken under the auspices of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. The Australian Association for the UN also undertook a study of the issue and on 22-23 October 1954, a United Nations Charter Revision Convention was held at the University of Sydney.
Australian officials came to the view that amendments of substance were hardly likely to receive the necessary support while discussion of them might well lead to barren controversy and the hardening of positions. On 26 March 1955 Richard Casey, Minister for External Affairs, approved a Departmental paper that questioned the wisdom of holding a Charter Review Conference and suggested seeking the reactions of other countries to this view. It was found that, by mid 1955, doubts about the wisdom of holding the conference were held by Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Syria, the United Kingdom and the USSR. The United States remained in support of the idea, although the US State Department was envisaging a Conference that would not necessarily attempt to amend the Charter, but rather review its working, and seek improvements without revision. As the Tenth session of the General Assembly approached it nevertheless remained difficult for Australian officials to discern the ‘real’ United States position in relation to the conference. United States allies were suspicious that the United States was no longer keen on the idea, but, given previous strong support, especially on the part of John Foster Dulles, the US Secretary of State, the United States was going to find it difficult to change its public stance as in favour of a conference. Australian officials were, as late as July 1955, not wanting to take a firm view in public against the proposed conference.
Debate on the question as to whether to hold a Charter review conference began in plenary on 17 November 1955. Sir Percy Spender, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, delivered a speech for Australia on 17 November, in which he emphasised that, while it was certainly proper that the Charter should contain provisions for amendment, the authors of the Charter had been wise enough not to insert in the Charter a mandatory requirement for a review conference to be held even if the time was unpropitious. Sir Percy noted the ‘very great practical obstacles to the success of such a conference, at any rate in the kind of international atmosphere which has prevailed throughout practically the whole life of the Organisation’, and concluded by agreeing with the view that the question of holding a conference should be further examined.
By Resolution 992(X), adopted on 21 November 1955, the Assembly decided that a General Conference to review the Charter should be held ‘at an appropriate time’. It further decided to appoint a Committee of the whole to consider ‘the question of fixing a time and place for the conference, and the organisation and procedures’, and to report at the twelfth session of the General Assembly. The Committee on Arrangements for a Conference for the Purpose of Reviewing the Charter served as a useful delaying tactic, remaining in existence for a number of years but never finding world political conditions favourable for recommending that a review conference be held. Canberra advised the Australian Mission in 1957 that there appeared to be little reason for it to take an early or a prominent part in the Committee’s discussions and it did not do so for the life of the Committee.
Given the considerable diplomatic preparation that preceded the 1955 General Assembly debate on the possibility of staging a Charter review conference the interest garnered by the item at the Tenth Session was much less than might have been anticipated. It was in fact another development at this session that was to be the impetus for future successful Charter amendment. This was the admission to the UN in 1955 of 16 new members: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria. Cambodia, Ceylon, Eire, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania and Spain. In the short-term this reduced demand for Charter change since use of the veto to block new memberships had hitherto been a prime cause of dissatisfaction with the Charter provisions on Security Council voting. But it also meant that the United States was less able to determine the outcome of voting in the General Assembly, including that in relation to candidates for the non-permanent seats in the Security Council. Council expansion was now to dominate over the question of the veto in debates on amendment of Charter provisions pertaining to the Security Council.
During negotiation of the Charter there had been some debate as to how the six non-permanent seats were to be allocated. Various criteria had been put forward, giving rise to article 23(1) which stipulated that in electing the non-permanent members, ‘due regard’ would be ‘specially paid … to the contribution of Members of the UN to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organisation, and also to equitable geographical distribution’. In practice, geographical distribution became the key criterion. At the first meeting of the General Assembly in London in 1946, it was agreed that the six elective seats on the Council would be allocated geographically as follows: two seats for Latin America, one seat for Western Europe, one seat for the Commonwealth, one seat for the Middle East and Africa, and one seat for Eastern Europe. Half of the non-permanent seats were elected each year. Elections were by secret ballot without nominations or discussion. Members usually announced their candidacies but voting was not restricted to announced candidates. Members simply wrote down the names of their three choices. Any country receiving a two-thirds vote was elected. If all three members were not elected on the first ballot, an additional ballot was held, limited to the two, four, or six members having received the highest vote short of two-thirds on the first ballot. If the seats were not settled from two such ‘restricted ballots’, there was another unrestricted ballot, followed if necessary by two more restricted ballots.
The original agreement on distribution had allocated no non-permanent seats to Asia or Africa as there had been very few member countries from these regions that were not either permanent members or members of the Commonwealth. As the number of UN members from Asia and Africa increased as a result of the extraordinary decolonisation of the world that had not been foreseen at San Francisco, efforts were made to meet the demand for equitable representation by redistributing the seats rather than expanding the Council. The fact that the original distribution of non-permanent seats had been by a gentleman’s agreement only meant that, as the General Assembly increased, other regions were able to ‘raid’ the seats that would have been allocated under that agreement. The two seats allocated to Latin America, the Commonwealth seat and the Middle Eastern seat remained free from ‘raids’ but from the mid 1950s the United State attempted to meet the demand of the new African and Asian members for representation on the Security Council by using the seat originally allocated to Eastern Europe.
Efforts to allocate the Eastern European seat sometimes ended in deadlock, which was resolved only by a split-term compromise, arranged privately but announced and endorsed publicly. In 1955, The Philippines and Yugoslavia were standing for election to the seat but neither could muster a two-thirds majority vote. The deadlock was broken by an understanding that Yugoslavia would resign after one year and be replaced by The Philippines. Australia’s concerns that the Commonwealth seat might be subjected to raids or even disappear in any review of the 1946 agreement were increased by the United Kingdom seeking to foster closer relations with the West European group. In attempting to muster support for Yugoslavia in the 1955 elections, the United Kingdom had organised several meetings of Western European delegations and thereafter sought consciously to develop a feeling of solidarity amongst European delegations in addition to retaining close links with members of the Commonwealth. Australian diplomats recognised early that Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – more so than Canada with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) membership and India with its links with the increasing Asian membership – would stand to lose if the United Kingdom should give ‘exaggerated importance’ to the European group. In 1956, the Australian Mission in New York reported that it would seem ‘out of the question for Australia to seek membership of the Western European group. All groups so far formed in the UN (except of course the Commonwealth) have had some geographical basis’. The Mission was concerned that Australia would diminish, not increase, its influence by becoming closely associated with any organised group of Western Europeans (‘white’ bloc) in the UN.
As Cold War tensions mounted, the question as to which state should fill the Eastern European seat became a matter of considerable controversy. The United States emphasised that the Charter referred only to geographical, and not to ideological, considerations; hence for example it saw no problem with Turkey being elected to the Eastern European seat within a year of representing the Middle East bloc. Termination of the convention governing the Eastern European state was regarded by the West as a fair consequence of Soviet opposition to Council expansion on the basis of Chinese representation.
The question of Security Council enlargement was debated at every session of the General Assembly from 1956 to 1960. On 19 June 1956, a group of Latin American states and Spain formally requested inclusion on the provisional agenda of the eleventh session of the General Assembly of proposals for enlarging the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice, and International Law Commission, citing the recent expansion of membership and likelihood of further increases. Latin American states had been allotted two of the six non-permanent seats under the 1946 gentleman’s agreement but none of the 16 new members in 1956 had been Latin American. Some observers believed that the Latin American states had taken the initiative in proposing the enlargement of UN organs out of fear that if the Council were not expanded immediately, the pressure of increased membership in the UN might enable European and Asian members to be elected to seats at present occupied by the Latin Americans. The Latin Americans put forward a draft resolution providing for two additional non-permanent seats and an increase in the number of votes in the Council required for adoption of a Council decision from seven to eight. Nineteen of the 20 co-sponsors for this resolution subsequently proposed an amendment specifying the distribution of seats as being: two for Latin America, two for Asia and Africa, one for the British Commonwealth, two for Western and Southern Europe and one for Eastern Europe. Australia agreed that two additional non-permanent seats should be added to the Council, one to go to Asia and one to Western Europe, but did not want to lose the Commonwealth seat and disagreed with the Latin American view that it would also be desirable to raise to eight the number of votes required for a Council decision.
While discussions in the Assembly demonstrated that there was substantial agreement on the need to increase the size of the Council, some considered that the Latin American proposal would still leave Asian and African countries with inadequate representation and that further study of the question would help find a way to accommodate diverse views. A second draft resolution sponsored by Afghanistan, Burma, Ceylon, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syriaand Yemen provided for a committee to study all aspects of the question of enlarging the Council and report back to the Assembly’s twelfth session. In the event, neither draft resolution was put to the vote, the Assembly agreeing instead on 26 February 1957 to postpone the items until the twelfth session.
The radical increases in UN membership reached their peak in 1960 with the admission of 17 new countries, 16 from Africa. This represented a turning point for the Assembly for it meant that if the African and Asian countries voted together, they would constitute a ‘blocking third’, able to prevent the passage of a resolution. Discussion by the Special Political Committee once again revealed widespread agreement on the need to enlarge the two Councils to more adequately reflect the membership of the Organisation. On 3 November, a draft resolution was submitted to the Special Political Committee, recommending amendment to Charter articles 23 and 27 to increase the Security Council by two seats and to increase the number of votes required for the adoption of decisions by the Council from seven to eight. Another draft resolution was submitted later in the debate, recommending the establishment of a Committee to find a satisfactory solution to ‘this pressing problem’ and to report to the sixteenth session. Following a ‘confused’ debate, the first of these resolutions was amended but then rejected, and the second withdrawn. The Committee concluded consideration of the item without having any recommendation to make to the General Assembly and the Assembly took no decision on the subject.
Despite general support for enlargement, action was discouraged by a wide divergence of views as to the optimum size of the Council and voting majority as well as by the Soviet position that it would not ratify any amendment of the Charter until the People’s Republic of China was fully represented in the UN. This Soviet position permitted the United States, whose perceived interests were in fact best served by retention of the status quo, to be on record publicly as in favour of an increase in Security Council membership from 11 to 13 while attributing lack of action to the Soviet position.
Between the 1962 and 1963 sessions of the General Assembly, discussions were held in New York amongst representatives of the ‘Old Commonwealth’, the United States and ‘one or two Western European’ states, concerning the means by which, with the least possible cost to overall Western voting positions in the Security Council, Afro-Asian aspirations could be satisfied on a more permanent basis. The United States and the United Kingdom argued the importance of retaining the Western European and Latin American seats that produced ‘reliable’ Western votes; they believed that the unreliable voting record of the Commonwealth seat and the Old Commonwealth’s rather infrequent access to it meant that the Commonwealth seat should now be sacrificed, permanently, to ‘Afro-Asia’ and the Old Commonwealth be represented by the seat allocated to Western Europe. It was true that members of the Commonwealth group at the UN were too diverse on colonial and economic issues to function as a voting bloc, but Australia, Canada and New Zealand argued strongly for retention of the Commonwealth seat. Australia opposed any step by which it would become more closely identified with Western Europe rather than with groups with which Australia’s ‘longer-term political or economic interests [were] more likely to lie’.
The United States, keen to avoid any expansion of the Council if it was possible to do so, developed the proposal that there be established an African and an Asian regional seat on the Council in place of the Commonwealth and East European seats and that it should be understood that one of the regional seats should always be occupied by a Commonwealth member. This proposal was pressed at a meeting of the NATO Permanent Council in September 1963. Australian officials were unhappy that the United States had not consulted them prior to the NATO Council meeting as well as with the direction United States policy appeared to be taking. The Australian view lay in favour of expanding the Council while retaining the Commonwealth seat for as long as possible.
On 16 September 1963 the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Sir Howard Beale, took up the issue of the possible loss of the Commonwealth seat with Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State, and Harlan Cleveland, Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs. Rusk assured the Australian representative that personally he was not particularly anxious to buy into the question, that he was happy to leave matters rest for four years, and that Australia could ‘sleep easy on the question’. From this conversation, Beale concluded that he had ‘changed United States’ policy’ and that the United States would continue to observe the 1946 gentleman’s agreement on the allocation of non-permanent seats. Australian officials were subsequently disappointed when it became apparent that the United States did not mind giving others the impression that the 1946 gentleman’s agreement had been abandoned.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Arrangements for a Conference for the Purpose of Reviewing the Charter reported to the General Assembly in September 1963 that there was general agreement that international circumstances were still not propitious for the holding of a General Review Conference. It was agreed the composition of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council should better reflect the increase in the number of UN Members, especially from Africa and Asia. The Committee expressed the hope that the General Assembly would have the opportunity to deal with this problem as an urgent and important matter at its eighteenth session. By the opening of the Eighteenth General Assembly, UN membership had increased from its original 51 members to 111.
On 20 September 1963, the General Assembly decided to include on its agenda the question of equitable representation on the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council and the item was allocated to the Special Political Committee. The United Kingdom and the United States were at first hoping that the issue of Security Council expansion would not become a major one at this session. But the US Department of State came to the position that, while ideally there would be no expansion, if there were no expansion there would almost certainly be raids on the Western European and Latin American seats and it would not be good politics to oppose the expansion. While hoping that the division of forces on the question of Security Council enlargement would be such as to result in an impasse, the public posture of the United States continued to be in favour of enlarging both Councils.
By early November, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France had reached broad agreement as to their position, proposing an increase of two seats, one for Africa and one for Asia. Aware that some African countries wanted an increase of three or more and fearful that Western interests would be prejudiced in a Council of more than 13, the United Kingdom, the United States and France began lobbying to at least build up a blocking third against any larger expansion. Sir Patrick Dean, UK Ambassador to the UN, reported to the Foreign Office on 22 November that, while an expansion of two commanded the most general support, the situation remained fluid and new ideas might yet emerge. Intensive negotiations continued in the two weeks leading up to the commencement in early December of discussion of the item by the Special Political Committee.
When the Special Political Committee began work, a group of Latin American and Caribbean states proposed an increase of two non-permanent seats, while a group of African and Asian states proposed an additional four non-permanent seats. With the Latin Americans and West Europeans remaining firm for a 13-seat Council the Africans and Asians were unable to obtain a two-thirds majority. To win the support of the Latin Americans, the Africans and Asians made concessions in relation to the Economic and Social Council and the General Committee and undertook not to raid the Latin American seat in the Security Council the following year if the enlargement resolutions had not been ratified by then.
On the recommendation of the Special Political Committee, the General Assembly on 17 December 1963 adopted resolution 1991A, by which Security Council membership was increased from 11 to 15 and the number of affirmative votes needed for the adoption of resolutions in the Security Council was raised from seven to nine. In a break with the precedent set by the 1946 gentleman’s agreement, paragraph three of resolution 1991A expressly stipulated that the ten non-permanent seats were to be filled according to the following pattern: five African and Asian, one Eastern European, two Latin American, and two Western European and other. The resolution was adopted by 97 votes in favour (Australia), 11 against (Soviet bloc and France), with four abstentions (United Kingdom, United States, Portugal and South Africa).
Although Australia had been in favour of a modest increase in the size of the Security Council to give Asian and African countries adequate representation, diplomats were disappointed that they had failed in their quest to save the Commonwealth seat. Australia, Canada and New Zealand were now assumed to constitute the ‘others’ in the ‘Western European and others’ electoral category. While a Western European and other states category had existed since 1957 it had never been a group holding meetings, collectively supporting candidates, and so on. Australian officials were concerned that joining the ‘Western European and Others’ group might not only lose Australia respect with the Asians and Africans but reduce Australia’s influence on the Security Council since key Western European interests, including NATO and the Common Market, were not shared by Australia. On the other hand, calculations indicated that Australia could expect to secure election as a member of the Western European and Others group at least once in 21 years as against once in 29 years under the old system. Australia has since served twice more on the Council: in 1973-74 and 1985-86.
The United States Department of State had done a ‘volte face’, coming to the view that a Council of 15 was in fact preferable to 13, but had not obtained Senate approval in time to vote in favour and so had abstained; the United Kingdom, which had wanted a Council of no more than 13, abstained in solidarity. The United States, the United Kingdom and France had intended for the three Western permanent members to vote in the same way, but in the event the French delegation received instructions to vote against the resolution. The main British objection to the resolution had been that it fixed the majority required for the passage of resolutions in the expanded Council at nine rather than ten. The United Kingdom and France envisaged that they might often be on the defensive in the Council, particularly on colonial matters. United Kingdom officials made some approaches to the United States with a view to securing their support to renegotiate the majority requirement but the Americans were not open to the idea, believing that United States interests lay primarily in obtaining affirmative votes to secure passage of resolutions. The USSR issued a statement on 21 December explaining that it had voted against the resolution because it was improper for the UN to act on this matter in the absence of representatives of Communist China. The USSR was subsequently embarrassed by a Chinese statement to the Press to the effect that the Soviet Union had wilfully misrepresented the Chinese position and that they had no objection to the expansion of the Councils.
By article 108 of the Charter, Charter amendments adopted by the General Assembly require ratification by two-thirds of the members of the UN including all the permanent members of the Security Council. Afro-Asian pressure and the growing Sino-Soviet rift paved the way for possible ratification by the USSR, but until early June 1964 it was still not clear that the Soviet Union would in fact ratify the resolution. When the Soviet Mission to the UN distributed a paper indicating that it would proceed to do so, the British focus shifted to that of ensuring that neither the Soviet Union nor the ‘Afro-Asians’ would be able to get propaganda value out of a perceived reluctance on the part of the United States, France or the United Kingdom to accept the amendments. United States officials believed that the expansion of the Security Council would ‘limit its utility’ but that it was nevertheless realistic to ratify the amendment. A memo to President Johnson of 11 March 1963 set out four reasons for United States ratification. First was the growth in UN membership giving rise to demands for more adequate representation; second, that the United States had since 1956 consistently supported enlargement; third, that if there was no enlargement the Afro/Asians would increasingly ‘raid’ the West European and Latin American seats; and fourthly, that the new voting alignment in the Security Council would not differ materially from the current one and was ‘probably the best we can get’. On 3 June 1965 the United States Senate by a vote of 71 to nil authorised the President to ratify amendments to the UN Charter. The 1963 amendments came into force on 31 August 1965.
Although the issue of Council enlargement was no longer so prominent on the international agenda there was some further discussion of the question of Charter review during the remaining years of the Cold War. By resolution 2697 (XXV) of 11 December 1970, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to invite member states to communicate to him, before July 1972, their views and suggestions on the review of the Charter, and to submit a report containing these views and suggestions to the Assembly in 1972. Only a minority of states replied by the set date. Some, including the USSR, France, and Cuba, opposed any review of the Charter. A second group, which included Brazil, Colombia, and Japan believed there was a need for a general review; while others, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States, were against a general review of the Charter but not opposed to a case-by-case approach to considering suggestions for specific amendments.
Australian policy in the early 1970s remained against the idea of wholesale review of the Charter or the convening of a large conference that might result in division and dissension and that might even diminish respect for the Charter without offering any certain prospect of an acceptable alternative. Speaking in the Assembly, Mr Bowen emphasised that the Australian government would nevertheless be prepared to support amendments to specific articles of the Charter that might now be out of date or in other respects now irrelevant, so long as there were a substantial measure of agreement on the proposed changes. He made specific mention in this regard of article 23 paragraph 1 which specifies criteria for non-permanent membership of the Security Council.
UN membership continued to increase. No review conference was held, nor were additional Charter amendments effected under article 108. But in 1979 a group of African, Asian and Latin American states proposed increasing the number of non-permanent seats on the Security Council to 16, thereby increasing the size of the Council to 21. From 1979 to 1990 the ‘question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council’ appeared on the agenda of every General Assembly session but was not debated.
With the ending of the Cold War lively debate on the subject of Security Council reform resumed. Some advocates of change went so far as to suggest that a new era in world politics had begun in which the veto would no longer be needed and in which the demands of an increased membership for an expanded Council could realistically be met. The Tenth Conference of Non-Aligned Heads of State or Government, meeting in Jakarta from 1-6 September 1992, declared the veto to be ‘contrary to the aim of democratising the United Nations’ and called for a review of the membership of the Council ‘with a view to reflecting the increased membership of the United Nations and promoting a more equitable and balanced representation of the members of the United Nations’. The General Assembly held its first substantive debate on the ‘Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council’ since the item was originally inscribed on the agenda in 1979. On 11 December 1992, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to invite member states to submit written comments on a possible review of Security Council membership.
Under Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, Australia demonstrated initiative in the active and optimistic role it assumed in the ensuing debate. Foreign Minister Senator Gareth Evans argued in his book Co-operating for Peace, distributed to the General Assembly in 1993, that a redesigned Security Council would be an integral part of the transition from notions of ‘collective security’ and ‘common security’ to ‘co-operative security’ and Mr Butler told the General Assembly that it was the Australian view that reform was needed to restore the representative character of the Council in relation to its overall membership in order for the Council’s decisions to command consensual support. As in the 1970s, little consensus emerged from international discussions as to what the reform should consist of. Any change not preserving the veto power of the permanent members was unlikely to be considered ‘reform’ by the permanent members, while on the other hand the Non-Aligned Countries called for a ‘democratisation’ of the Council. On 3 December 1993, the General Assembly established ‘The Open-ended Working Group on the Question of the Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and other Matters Related to the Security Council’. The Australian delegation reported that, while the issues to be considered by the working group were complex, the question was now firmly on the UN’s agenda; there would hopefully be Security Council expansion by 1995.
In 1994, Australia circulated to Members of the Assembly for their consideration, a choice of models, presenting Security Council reform as one of the priority objectives of its candidacy for election to the Security Council in 1997-1998. Assuming the continuation of the existing regional groups, Australia’s preferred model was the creation of five new permanent membership seats: three for Africa and Asia, one for the Western European and Other States Group, and one for Latin America and the Caribbean. Australia argued against extending the veto to any new permanent member, but suggested slightly diluting the veto of the existing five permanent members by requiring that two of them concur in its exercise. An alternative model, recognised as being more complex but perhaps commanding of more general support, involved a 23-seat Council. There would still be only five permanent members but with a more diluted veto formula, the creation of eight quasi-permanent seats allocated among regional groups, for which consecutive election would be possible, together with ten non-permanent seats. The regional group in question would determine the question of which states became quasi-permanent members and for how long they would remain on the Council in that capacity.
When the work of the Open-Ended Working Group had not produced a breakthrough by 1997, the then President of the Group, Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia, put forward his own reform proposal. The ‘Razali Plan’ provided for five new non-veto-wielding permanent seats on the Council, two for industrialised countries and one for each of Africa, Asia and Latin America (including the Caribbean). These three regions would also be allocated an additional non-permanent seat, as would Eastern Europe, while the Western European group would keep its current two non-permanent seats. With nine new seats, this would make for a 24-member Security Council. Despite its garnering considerable Western support, no vote was ever taken on the Razali Plan. Question marks surrounded the legality of Razali’s proposal to effect the changes in three steps, the first two of which would involve an article 18, rather than an article 108, resolution. Members of the Non-Aligned Movement were divided as to which of its members should attain a permanent seat and a majority opposed the Plan, while the United States made it clear that it was strongly opposed to a Security Council with more than 21 members.
Although the work of the Open-Ended Working Group has not led to Charter amendment, it has given rise to a number of non-Charter amendment reforms of Security Council working methods designed to promote transparency and to render its deliberations more accessible. It has also arguably helped keep alive General Assembly interest in the subject. In the UN Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000, Heads of state and government resolved, inter alia, to intensify their efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects. Debate in the General Assembly in 2000 nevertheless demonstrated that common ground regarding what constituted ‘reform’ of Council membership remained elusive.
After 13 years of Labor government, Australians in 1996 voted into office a National-Liberal Coalition led by John Howard. Mr Howard is described by Owen Harries as probably the purest representative of the Menzies tradition since Menzies himself. To those who treasure a nationalistic, characteristically Australian voice on the international stage, Howard’s retreat from multilateral engagement towards a much stronger emphasis on bilateral relationships with the powerful, particularly the United States, has been to blame for a number of developments, including Australia failing in its 1996 bid for election to the Security Council. In contrast to the strong emphasis that Gareth Evans had accorded the issue of UN reform, the Howard government’s first White Paper on foreign affairs, In the National Interest, made only the most fleeting of references to the subject. It is perhaps not surprising that Australia’s rhetoric on Security Council reform quietly dropped reference to ‘diluting’ the veto, now advocating limited expansion of the Security Council with no extension of the veto.
The 2000 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade submission to the Inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade into Australia’s relations with the UN referred to the desirability of according new permanent seats to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Japan, and Germany as well as adding up to five new non-permanent seats. This was largely accepted by the Committee, its 2001 report recommending that the Australian government continue to work for an expansion of the Security Council, including new permanent seats without veto power for South America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
On 12 February 2003, the Coalition government launched its second White Paper on foreign policy. Advancing the National Interest referred in very general terms to the need to expand Security Council membership so as to better reflect contemporary realities, and to the need to reform the five electoral groups. As feared in the 1960s, Australia and New Zealand had been increasingly marginalised within the Western European and Others Group, and the government expressed the wish to see Australia grouped with others from the Asia-Pacific region. Also in 2003, Mr Howard floated the idea that the permanent members retain their permanent seats and veto rights and that there be five permanent non-veto states: ‘say Japan, India, Brazil, Germany and Indonesia’, while the other five rotate. In his speech to the General Assembly later that year, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Downer, included an ‘African nation’ in this list in place of Germany, a selection of countries that was maintained in a speech by Ambassador Dauth to the General Assembly in 2004.
International debate on Security Council reform was given fresh momentum by the establishment in 2003 of a High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. Gareth Evans, Australia’s former Foreign Minister and since January 2000 Head of the International Crisis Group, was invited to join the Panel, to whose work the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade contributed A$100,000. The UN Secretary-General assigned the Panel four tasks, including that of recommending ways of strengthening the UN through reform of its institutions and processes. The 2004 Report of the High Level Panel recommended that there be no expansion of the veto. It did, however, ask the permanent members to pledge themselves to refrain from the use of the veto in cases of genocide and large-scale human rights abuses. In terms of Security Council composition, the Report put forward two models. Model A provided for six new permanent, non-veto, seats and three new two-year non-permanent seats divided among the major regional areas. Model B provided for no new permanent seats but a new category of eight four-year renewable-term seats and one new two-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat, divided among the major regional areas.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan did not take a position as to which model would be preferable, but considered it vital that the Council was once again made broadly representative of the realities of power. The UN Secretary-General sought to inject a sense of urgency into the quest for outcomes, suggesting that a decision on Security Council reform be made before the September 2005 World Summit designed to review progress towards meeting the goals of the 2000 Millennium Declaration. Mr Annan urged that a decision on Security Council reform was so vital that if it could not be reached by consensus ‘this must not become an excuse for postponing action’. The Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, John Dauth, welcomed the possible expansion of the Security Council, while recognising that the decision as to just how it be increased would not be reached easily. He reiterated the view that Japan, India, Brazil, an African country and possibly Indonesia should be given permanent seats on the Security Council.
Several additional models were placed on the table in the lead-up to the High-Level Plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly, held in New York from 14-16 September 2005. Perhaps most significant was that by the G4 (Germany, Japan, Brazil, and India) which provided for six new permanent seats, including two for Africa. No doubt hoping to make their model more palatable to the existing permanent members, the G4 came round to the idea that the new permanent members would not, initially at least, have the power of veto. But the United States remained firmly opposed to the plan, publicly endorsing only the bid of Japan, and each member of the G4 met with regional opposition. With their 53 seats in the General Assembly, members of the African Union emerged as significant players in the debate. The African Union put forward a plan for a Council of 26 members, with six new permanent members being granted full veto rights. A third model, sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Pakistan, South Korea, San Marino, Spain, and Turkey proposed expanding the non-permanent membership to 20. As with that of the African Union, this third proposal can be viewed primarily as a response to the G4 plan.
Australia’s Ambassador to the UN, Mr John Dauth, was chosen by the President of the 59th General Assembly, His Excellency Mr Jean Ping, to be one of ten facilitators working with member states on the preparation of a draft outcomes document to serve as a basis for discussion at the summit. Mr Dauth facilitated discussion of security issues. The draft outcomes document called for ‘comprehensive reform of the Security Council’ and, speaking in Canberra in May 2005, Mr Dauth stated that the summit would have to agree on changes to the composition of the Security Council if the Summit was to be credible. At the summit, Australia expressed support for a reform model ‘along the lines of Model A’ (which had provided for six new permanent, non-veto, seats and three new two-year non-permanent seats divided among the major regional areas), with an expanded Security Council membership including Japan, India, Brazil, and appropriate African representation. But the summit produced little in the way of specific agreement on any issue. While the Secretary-General was able to refer to the ‘impressive agenda of reform’ provided by the summit, hopes that it would produce agreement on a model for Security Council expansion had been dashed. Mr Downer expressed disappointment that the final outcomes document did no more than confirm that Security Council reform was an ‘essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations’. Given the anticipation and energetic diplomacy in the lead-up to the 2005 World Summit, its failure to achieve progress on the question of Security Council reform was widely interpreted as blocking moves to restructure the Council for the foreseeable future.
Australia gained a strong international profile only a few years after formally assuming responsibility for its own foreign policy, through the vigorous diplomacy of Dr H V Evatt at the San Francisco Conference on International Organization. Australia has continued to be involved actively in international discussion on Charter amendment in respect of the composition and voting procedure of the Security Council. On the question of composition, Australia has at most times favoured modest expansion in line with increased UN membership, although in the 1960s, advocacy of this position was tempered by efforts to retain the Commonwealth seat. On the veto, Australia’s position has evolved slightly: from Evatt’s ardent advocacy of narrowing the scope of its application, to Evans’ advocacy of a diluted veto; to Downer’s favouring of the veto status quo. While this latest shift can be understood as a conscious self-distancing from the Evatt tradition it is also in keeping with the contemporary reform context, in which focus is on increasing Council membership rather than on the veto.
It is difficult to assess the effectiveness of Australian diplomacy in a debate that has produced so few outcomes and in which Australia’s major allies have in general regarded their interests as best served by retention of the status quo. Expansion of the Council in 1965 was possible primarily because it was only a modest increase in the number of non-permanent seats, leaving unchanged the number, and voting rights, of the permanent members. If all other effort directed to reform of the Security Council through Charter amendment appears as a failure, it needs to be remembered that the great powers in 1945 would not have agreed to an international organisation in which they did not enjoy a dominant position with a right of veto inclusive of decisions on Charter amendment. The fact that long-standing Australian involvement in international debate on Security Council reform has not equated with concrete outcomes in terms of changes to the Council’s composition or voting formula thus reflects no weakness on the part of Australian diplomacy. Australia has done its fair share of keeping alive prospects for Council reform without undermining a structure that serves Australia and its major allies well.
[∗] Associate Professor of International Relations, School of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of New South Wales.
 Documents of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco 1945 UNCIO XV (1945) 335.
 See M Bertrand, ‘The Historical Development of Efforts to Reform the UN’ in A Roberts and B Kingsbury (eds), United Nations, Divided World: The UN’s Roles in International Relations (1994) 420, 420-21.
 Charter of the United Nations (1945) above n 1, art 24(1).
 Ibid art 25.
 GA Res 1991A(XVIII) (17 December 1963) see below text accompanying n 127.
 O Harries, Benign or Imperial? Reflections on American Hegemony (2004) 78. Note that the difference between policy approaches may not be as great as sometimes portrayed. For discussion of this point, see J George, ‘Australia’s global perspectives in the 1990s: a case of old Realist wine in new (neo-liberal) bottles?’ in R Leaver and D Cox (eds), Middling, Meddling, Muddling: Issues in Australian foreign policy (1997) 12.
 See, inter alia, T Hoopes and D Brinkley, FDR and the Creation of the UN (1997); H A Notter, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation 1939-1945 (1949); R B Russell, A History of The United Nations Charter. The Role of the United States 1940-1945 (1958).
 H Feis, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin. The War They Waged and the Peace They Sought (1957) 553.
 Above n 1 ‘Invitation of the United States of America to the Conference’, 27 April 1945, reprinted in UNCIO I (1945) 1.
 See United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates (1945) 9.
 (Dumbarton Oaks Proposals) UNCIO III (1945) 1.
 This was to become art 27 of the UN Charter. See D E Lee ‘The Genesis of the Veto’ (1947) 1 International Organization 33.
 A C Castles, Australia and the United Nations (1974) 4; see also W J Hudson, Australia and the New World Order: Evatt at San Francisco, 1945 (1993) 34.
 United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates, above n 10, 15.
 Evatt took up issues including art 2(7) on non-intervention, Chapter XI (Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories); Chapters XII and XIII (trusteeship); Chapter IX (International Economic and Social Co-operation); Chapter X (The Economic and Social Council); Chapter VIII (Regional Arrangements); and the Powers of the General Assembly. A Watt, The Evolution of Australian Foreign Policy 1938-1965 (1967) 91.
 Dumbarton Oaks Proposals for a General International Organization (7 October 1944). Reproduced in US Senate Subcommittee on the United Nations Charter, Review of the United Nations Charter: A Collection of Documents (1954) 40, 42-43.
 United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates above n 10, 73.
 ‘Summary Report of Fourth Meeting of Committee III/1’, UNCIO XI (1945) 270, 271.
 See F O Wilcox, ‘The Yalta Voting Formula’ (1945) 39 The American Political Science Review 943.
 D E Lee, ‘The Genesis of the Veto’ (1947) 1 International Organization 33, 37-38.
 ‘Draft Background Paper’ (A1838, 901/3/5 National Archives of Australia (NAA)) 2.
 P Hasluck, Workshop of Security (1948) 129.
 This list is reproduced in United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates, above n 10, 85-87.
 Reproduced in US Senate Subcommittee on the United Nations Charter, Review of the United Nations Charter: A Collection of Documents, above n 16, 562.
 Reproduced in US Senate Subcommittee on the United Nations Charter, Review of the United Nations Charter: A Collection of Documents, above n 16, 563.
 United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates, above n 10, 17.
 See Annex O ‘Analysis by the Rt Hon. H.V. Evatt, Australian Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs, of the Joint Statement issued by the Four Sponsoring Governments’ in United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates, above n 10, 89.
 ‘Summary Report of Nineteenth Meeting of Committee III/1’, 12 June 1945, in UNCIO XI (1945) 486, 492.
 S Meisler, United Nations: The First Fifty Years (1995) 19.
 ‘Summary Report of Nineteenth Meeting of Committee III/1’, above n 28, 486, 494.
 Lee, above n 20, 33, 42.
 United Nations Conference on International Organization: Report by the Australian Delegates, above n 10, 18.
 Second Reading Speech of a Bill to approve the Charter of the United Nations, 30 August 1945, reprinted in The Rt Hon H V Evatt, MP, Australia in World Affairs by (1946) 47.
 ‘Provisional Text of Report of the Rapporteur of Committee I/2 on Amendments to the Charter’, WD 379 I/2/73, reprinted in UNCIO VII (1945) 408, 409.
 Harries, above n 6, 80.
 See Hudson, above n 13, 35.
 W R Crocker, Australian Ambassador: International Relations at First Hand (1971) 113.
 Hon P Hasluck, ‘Australia and the Formation of the United Nations: Some Personal Reminiscences’ (1954) XL Royal Australian Historical Society: Journal and Proceedings 133, 167.
 N Harper and D Sissons, Australia and the United Nations (1959) 48.
 Hudson, above n 13, 90.
 Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates. House of Representatives, 5 September 1945, 148, 5111-19 (Sir Robert Gordon Menzies)
 T B Millar, The Commonwealth and the United Nations (1967) 3.
 Crocker, above n 37, 113.
 H E Holt, cited in Harper and Sissons, above n 39, 85.
 C Hartley Grattan, The United States and the South-West Pacific (1961) 200.
 P Hasluck, Minister for External Affairs, ‘The United Nations Security Council. Opening Address to a Conference of the National Union of Australian University Students of Canberra’, 21 August 1955. NAA: A1838, 907/5. And yet on other occasions even Sir Paul Hasluck was more gracious, referring to the reputation Evatt had established for himself at San Francisco as a ‘forceful personality – a leader for those who agreed with him; a most difficult man for those who did not.’ P Hasluck, ‘Australia and the Formation of the United Nations: Some Personal Reminiscences’ (1954) XL Royal Australian Historical Society Journal and Proceedings 133, 164.
 A V Patil, The UN Veto in World Affairs 1946-1990 (1992) 458. In the original General Assembly the US could normally count on the support of at least 36 of the 50 members, excluding itself, and its voting position in the Security Council was even more favourable. R Hiscocks, The Security Council: A Study in Adolescence (1973) 70.
 The double veto is one veto to prevent a question from being considered procedural and another to defeat the resolution as a substantive question. See A Moldaver, ‘Repertoire of the Veto in the Security Council, 1946-1956’ (1957) 11 International Organization 261.
 UN GAOR, UN Doc A/PV 192, (1948-49), 33.
 Art 4(2) provides that the admission of any state to membership will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.
 Meisler, above n 29, 11. As an Information Paper prepared in the Department of State explained: ‘The requirement of unanimity of the great powers reflected in the voting formula of the Security Council was closely tied to one of the basic forces which made possible the establishment of the United Nations, the coordinated action of the great powers during the last war and in preparation for the San Francisco Conference’, ‘Information Paper Prepared in the Office of Public Affairs, Department of State, 17 December 1947’, Foreign Relations of the United States 1948 I (1975) 206.
 (1947) The Yearbook of the United Nations 1946-1947, 131.
 Ibid 131.
 ‘Draft Background Paper’ NAA: A1838, 901/3/5, 13.
 Ibid, 7.
 Above n 52, 134.
 ‘Statement by Herbert V Evatt, Foreign Minister of Australia, 14 September 1947, UN/MS/37. NAA: A1838, 901/3/5.
 Res 117 (II), 21 November 1947, (1949) The Yearbook of the United Nations 1947-1948, 63.
 UN GAOR, 3rd sess, UN Doc A/586 (1948).
 UN GAOR, 3rd sess, UN Doc A/578 (1948).
 UN GAOR, 3rd sess, UN Doc A/AC.24/20 (1948).
 UN GAOR, 3rd sess, UN Doc A/AC.24/33 (1948).
 S Res 239, 80th Cong, 2d sess reprinted in Review of the United Nations Charter: A Collection of Documents above n 16, 140-41.
 ‘Election of non-permanent members of the Security Council. Memorandum by the Foreign Office’ 13 December 1962. NAA: A1838, 907/2 Pt 13.
 The product of this was Harper and Sissons above n 39.
 Ibid 328.
 Shann, Acting Assistant Secretary, UN and External Affairs, 18 January 1955. NAA: 851/10/1 Pt 4.
 ‘United Nations Charter Review’, 19 July 1955. NAA: A1838, 851/10/1 Part 6A.
 ‘Charter Review Conference’ Lawrey, UN Section, External Affairs, 21 July 1955. NAA: A1838/1, 851/10/1 Pt 6A.
 UN GAOR, 542nd mtg, UN Doc A/PV.542 (1955).
 GA Res 992(X) UN GAOR, UN Doc A/L.197 (1955) Revs. 1 and 2. For the UK-US diplomatic background to this resolution, see S V Scott, ‘The Question of UN Charter Amendment, 1945-1965’ (2007) 9 Journal of the History of International Law 81.
 The Committee was still listed in the 1991 UN Yearbook (p 1041) despite its not having met since 1967. After that year, the Yearbook changed to listing only those subsidiary and ad hoc bodies of the General Assembly that had been functioning that year.
 External Affairs to the Australian Mission to the United Nations, 31 May 1957. NAA: A1838, 901/4 Pt 7.
 Australian Mission to United Nations to The Secretary, External Affairs, 25 November 1955. NAA: A989, 1943/735/356.
 This paragraph draws on ‘Circular Airgram From the Department of State to All Posts’ 3 October 1962, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) XXV (1961-1963), 499, 499.
 S C Schlesinger, Act of Creation: The Foundation of the United Nations. A Story of Superpowers, Secret Agents, Wartime Allies and Enemies, and Their Quest for a Peaceful World (2003) 287.
 Australian Mission to the United Nations to the Minister of State for External Affairs, 20 April 1956. NAA: A3093, 200/18.
 J D Fraser, Office of the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom to K G Brennan, Department of External Affairs, 23 July 1957. NAA A1209, 1957/4711, pt 1.
 ‘Question of Amending the Charter to Increase the Number of Non-Permanent Members of the Security Council’ NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 pt 2.
 (1957) The Yearbook of the United Nations 1956, 149.
 Above n 82.
 Above n 83, 148.
 Ibid 149. For contemporary commentary, see E Schwelb, ‘Charter Review and Charter Amendment – Recent Developments’ (1958) 7 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 303.
 UN GAOR, UN Doc A/SPC L52 (1957).
 UN GAOR, UN Doc A/SPC L53 (1957).
 R P Stebbins, The United States in World Affairs 1960 (1961) 351.
 ‘Circular Airgram From the Department of State to All Posts’ CA-3524, 3 October 1962, US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), RG59, Central Files 1960-63, 320/10-362.
 ‘Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Cleveland) to Secretary of State Rusk’ 27 November 1963. NARA, RG59, Central Files 1960-1963, UN3-1.
 ‘Commonwealth Seats on the Security Council and ECOSOC’ 1 March 1963. NAA, A1838, 907/2 Pt 14.
 G Goodwin, ‘The Expanding United Nations: I-Voting Patterns’ (1960) 36 International Affairs 174, 177.
 ‘Distribution of Seats on the Security and Economic and Social Councils’ 23 May 1963. NAA: A1838, 907/2 Pt 14.
 Commonwealth Relations Office, London to C.E. Diggines, Esq. Kingston. 20 September 1963. NAA: A1838, 907/2 Pt 14.
 ‘To Prime Minister from Beale’, 17 September 1963. NAA: A1838, 907/2 Pt 14.
 Australian Embassy, Washington to External Affairs. 26 September 1963. NAA: A1838, 907/2 Pt 14.
 Report of the Committee on arrangements for a conference for the purpose of reviewing the Charter. A/5487.
 For details of the growth in UN membership, see <http://www.un.org/Overview/growth.htm> .
 ‘Information memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Cleveland) to Secretary of State Rusk’, 19 December 1963. FRUS XXV (1961-1963) 641.
 Confidential, 8 November 1963, Department of State to USUN, New York. NARA, Department of State, UN8 1960-1963, Record Group 59.
 Australian Mission to United Nations to External Affairs, 2 November 1963. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 3.
 Sir P Dean, UK Mission to the United Nations to Foreign Office, 23 November 1963. The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), FO371/172644.
 Telegram from the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State’ 16 December 1963. FRUS XXV (1961-1963) 640, 640.
 The text can be found at <http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/18/ares18.htm> .
 Statement by the Australian Representative (Mr J R Rowland) in the Special Political Committee, 10 December 1963. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 1.
 ‘Expansion of U.N. Councils: Membership of Electoral Groups’ 4 May 1964. NAA: A1838, 904/9/4 Pt 1.
 Foreign Affairs Committee ‘Report of Sub-Committee on the United Nations: And the Americas on Regional Groupings in the United Nations’. NAA: A1838, 904/9/4 Pt 1.
 ‘Ratification of Amendments to the United Nations Charter’, Draft Submission to Cabinet, p 3. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 6. Australia had held the Commonwealth seat on the Council in 1946-47 (the Australian, Norman Makin had been the first presiding officer) and in 1956-57.
 Memo by G K Flanagan, 16 December 1963. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 4.
 ‘Ratification of Amendments to the United Nations Charter’, Draft Submission to Cabinet, p 3. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 6.
 ‘United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations to S. Falle, Foreign Office’, 20 December 1963. TNA: PRO, FO371/172645.
 ‘Expansion of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Ratification by H.M.G. of the Charter Amendments’, 14 May 1964. The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), FO371/178213.
 This was confirmed in ‘United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations to S Falle, Foreign Office’, 15 April 1964. TNA: PRO, FO371/178213.
 ‘Australian Mission to United Nations, to External Affairs’ 27 November 1963. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 4.
 ‘Expansion of U.N. Councils: Membership of Electoral Groups’, 4 May 1964. NAA: A1838, 904/9/4 Pt 1.
 ‘UN Policy Change by Russia’, The Canberra Times (23 December 1963).
 ‘UK Mission to the UN to External’, 23 June 1964. TNA: RPO, FO371/178213.
 ‘Expansion of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Ratification by H.M.G. of the Charter Amendments’, 14 May 1964. TNA: PRO, FO371/178213.
 ‘Memorandum from the Representative to the United Nations (Goldberg) to President Johnson’ 22 December 1965. FRUS XXXIII (1964-1968), 821, 824.
 ‘Memorandum from the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson’ 11 March 1965. FRUS XXV (1961-1963) 745.
 Australian Embassy, Washington to External Affairs, 7 June 1965. NAA: A1838, 901/5/2 Pt 7.
 On 20 December 1965 the General Assembly adopted res 2101 (XX) by which para 1 of art 109 were amended such that a vote by any nine members of the Security Council (rather than seven) would be required for a Council decision on the date and venue of a General Conference of United Nations Members to review the Charter.
 (1972) 24 The Yearbook of the United Nations 1970, 297.
 Speech by Bowen (Australia) at 2043rd plenary meeting of the General Assembly, 27 September 1972. A/PV.2042, 2-3.
 B Simma (ed), The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary (2nd ed, Vol II 2002) 441.
 See, eg, the comments of the Syrian representative at the 48th session of the General Assembly. UN GAOR, 48th sess, 61st plen mtg (1993).
 UN membership increased from the 112 members at the time of the 1963 amendments to 166 members in 1991.
 NAC 10/Doc.11/Rev. 1, 6 September 1992 circulated to the General Assembly and Security Council in UN Doc. A/47/675, S/24816 (1992) United Nations <http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/fd807e46661e3689852570d00069e918/ccc38b8d3f11f1a5852568b10056ac69!OpenDocument> , at 8 May 2006.
 Resolution on the Question on Equitable Representation on and in the membership of the Security Council. UN GAOR, 84th plen mtg, UN Doc A/RES/47/62 (1992).
 G Evans, Cooperating for Peace: The Global Agenda for the 1990s and Beyond (1993).
 UN GAOR, 48th sess, 61st plen mtg (1993) 14.
 Above n 130, 441.
 Resolution on the question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council, UN GAOR, 69th plen mtg, UN Doc A/RES/48/26 (1993).
 United Nations General Assembly: Report of the Australian Delegation. 48th Session, 1993.
 G Evans, Speech at the 15th meeting of the 49th session of the General Assembly, UN GAOR 15th mtg, 49th sess, UN Doc A/49/PV (1994) 15.
 Ibid 12.
 D Bourantonins and K Magliveras, ‘The Enlargement of the UN Security Council: Reflections from the Current Debate’ (2002) 22 Politics 24, 25. The text of the plan took the form of a draft resolution of the General Assembly, entitled ‘Paper by the Chairman of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council’ <http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/reform/raz-497.htm> .
 Bourantonins and Magliveras, above n 143, 24, 25-26.
 Above n 143, 24.
 See S C Hulton, ‘Working Methods and Procedure’ in D M Malone (ed), The UN Security Council. From the Cold War to the 21st Century (2004) 237, 245-6.
 UN GAOR 55th sess, UN Doc A/RES/55/2, (2000) .
 Harries, above n 6, 80.
 Australia has served on the Security Council four times: 1946-47, 1956-57, 1973-74, and 1985-86.
 Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, In the National Interest (1997) DFAT <http://www.dfat.gov.au/ini/wp.html> .
 Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ‘Submission to the Inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade into Australia’s relations with the United Nations in the post Cold War environment’, April 2000. Submission No 107.
 Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Commonwealth, Australia’s Role in United Nations Reform (2001) 181.
 Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Advancing the National Interest (2003) 25 <http://www.dfat.gov.au/ani> .
 HE Ambassador Penny Wensley, ‘Australia and the United Nations: Challenges in the New Millennium’, Law and Policy Paper 14, Centre for International and Public Law, Australian National University (2000) 16.
 See above n 153, 24.
 Interview with John Howard, The Bulletin (6 May 2003) 34, 36. Support for Indonesia appeared intended to repair Australia’s relations with the Islamic world following its participation in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and its central role in East Timor’s independence. M Riley and C Banham, ‘PM: Indonesia for Security Council’ Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney) 30 April 2003.
 Alexander Downer, MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, ‘Speech to United Nations General Assembly’ (2003) <http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/speeches/2003/030924_general_assembly_ny.html> .
 HE Mr John Dauth LVO, Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, ‘Speech to the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly, 30 September 2004’, UN, <http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/59/statements/austraeng040930.pdf>
 Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Annual Report 2003-2004, (2004) <http://www.dfat.gov.au/dept/annual_reports/03_04/performance/1/1.1.7.html.
 Kofi Annan Secretary-General’s address to the General Assembly, 23 September 2003 (2003), <http://www.un.org/apps/sg/printsgstats.asp?nid=517> .
 A more secure world: our shared responsibility, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, UN GAOR 59th sess, UN DocA/59/565 (2004).
 In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all, Report of the Secretary-General, 21 March 2005, UN GAOR 59th sess, UN DocA/59/2005 (2005), 60.
 Ibid 61.
 ‘Speakers Question Possibility of “Package”’ Adoption of Reform Proposals, as General Assembly Continues Debate on “In Larger Freedom”, GA/10338, 8 April 2005 <http:www.unnis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2005/ga10338.html>.
 UN GAOR 59th sess, UN Doc A/59/L.64 (2005).
 UN GAOR 59th sess, UN Doc A/59/L.67 (2005).
 UN GAOR 59th sess, UN Doc A/59/L.68 (2005).
 Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Annual Report 2004-2005, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/dept/annual_reports/04_05/performance/1/1.1.7.html> .
 His Excellency Mr John Dauth, LVO, ‘The UN in 2005: Letter from the United Nations – Reform at the United Nations: Prospects and Australian Interests’. Lecture to the Centre for International and Public Law, Australian National University, 23 May 2005 <http://law.anu.edu.au/cipl/Lectures & Seminars/05%20Dauth_Transcript.pdf> , 17.
 ‘Plenary Exchange on the President’s draft outcomes document for the High-level Summit’, 21 June 2005. Statement by HE Mr Peter Tesch’, 21 June 2005 <http://www.australian.org/unWeb/content/summit/statement.asp> .
 The outcomes statement is found in GA Res A/RES/60/1 ‘2005 World Summit Outcome’, 24 October 2005.
 ‘Implementation of Decisions from the 2005 World Summit Outcome for action by the Secretary-General. Report of the Secretary-General’ A60/430, 1. Outcomes of the Summit included reforms in the human rights area, such as agreement to establish a Peacebuilding Commission to assist fragile states and a new Human Rights Council, as well as reform to strengthen the Office of Internal Oversight Services and other aspects of UN management.
 ‘Statement by the Hon Alexander Downer MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs’ United Nations General Assembly, 21 September 2005 <http://www.australiaun.org/unWeb/content/summit/statement.asp> .
 The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (Cth) adopted sections of the 1931 Statute of Westminster, so accepting Australia’s legal and political independence under the Crown.