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Proposed Frontier Commission

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 23 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals have been made recently for the permanent supervision of the northern frontiers of Greece by a permanent United Nations Frontier Commission; whether the British Government has supported, and will support, this proposal; and if it can be estimated by what date such a frontier commission may be functioning.

The majority report of the United Nations Commission on Balkan Affairs recommended to the Security Council the establishment of a body to investigate, and to use its good offices for the settlement of controversies arising out of violations of the Greek frontier, and to report thereon to the Governments concerned and to the Security Council.The United States representative on the Council tabled a Resolution on 17th June, the text of the relevant passages of which I attach to this reply The Soviet representative tabled an alternative Resolution on 8th July, in which he proposed the establishment of a Commission for the sole purpose of supervising foreign economic aid to Greece. His Majesty's Government have supported, and will continue to support, the United States' proposal.The date upon which a Commission may start to function must depend upon the adoption of a Resolution by the Security Council. The British Representative on the Council is actively urging upon that body the necessity for an early decision.

Following is the text referred to:

The Security Council, having received and considered the report of the Commission of Investigation established by resolution of the Council dated 19th December, 1946, is convinced on the basis of the Commission's report that further action is required by the Security Council and resolves that:—

1. The Security Council adopts the proposals made by the majority of the members of the Commission.


3. The Security Council, for the purpose of restoring normal conditions along the frontiers between Greece on the one hand and Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia on the other, and thereby assisting in the establishment of good neighbourly relations, establishes a commission as a subsidiary organ.

  • (a) The Commission shall be composed of a representative of each of the nations members of the Security Council as they may be from time to time.
  • (b) The duties and powers of the Commission shall be
  • (i) To use its good offices for the settlement, by the means mentioned in Article 33 of the Charter, of
  • (a) Controversies arising violations.
  • (b) Controversies directly connected with the application of the frontier conventions recommended to the four Governments under this resolution;
  • (c) Complaints regarding conditions on the border which may be brought to the attention of the Commission by one Government against another; and in order to carry out these tasks the Commission is empowered to make an investigation of any frontier violations that occur and of any complaints brought by one Government against another in connexion with the application of the frontier conventions or regarding conditions on the border.
  • (ii) To use its good offices to assist the Governments concerned in the negotiation and conclusion of the frontier conventions recommended under this resolution.
  • (iii) To study and make recommendations to the Governments concerned with respect to such additional bilateral agreements between them for the pacific settlement of disputes relating to frontier incidents or conditions on the frontier as the Commission considers desirable.
  • (iv) To assist in the implementation of the recommendations made to the four Government under this resolution with respect to refugees. To receive reports from the four Governments with respect to persons who may cross or have crossed from the territory of any one of such countries to any of the others. To maintain a register for its confidential use of all such persons and to assist in the repatriation of those who wish to return to their homes, and in connexion with these functions to act in concert with the appropriate agency of the United Nations.
  • (v) (a) If called upon by any of the Governments concerned, to supervise the arrangements for the transfer of minorities recommended to such Governments under this resolution and to act as a registration authority for any persons desiring to emigrate.
  • (b) To have such other duties and powers as the Security Council may determine from time to time.
  • (c) The Commission shall have its headquarters in Salonica and shall have authority to perform its functions on either side of the frontier.
  • (d) The Commission shall have the right of direct access to the Governments of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia and shall have authority to call upon the nationals and officials of those Governments to testify before it on any matters coming within its competence.
  • (e) The Commission shall establish its own rules of procedure and methods of conducting its business.
  • (f) The Commission shall render regularly quarterly reports to the Security Council, or more frequently if it thinks fit.
  • (g) The Commission shall commence its work as soon as practicable and shall remain in existence until 31st August, 1949, before which date the necessity for its continued existence after that date shall be reviewed by the Security Council.
  • (h) The Commission shall have the staff necessary to perform its functions, including persons able to act as border observers, and to report on the observance of frontier conventions recommended under this resolution, the state of the frontier area and cognate matters.