The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War (Stimson)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to a letter to me of August 3, 1944 from General Marshall and to my reply of August 5, 19446 on the subject of international trusteeships.

In deference to the wishes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we were glad to eliminate this topic from the Dumbarton Oaks conversations. However, the topic was raised at Dumbarton Oaks on a number of occasions by the other participants. Briefly summarized, those occasions were substantially as follows:

The Soviet delegation asked why the subject was not being discussed, expressed their desire to discuss it, and, when informed that we considered it wiser to leave the subject for future consideration, asked whether it would be discussed at the general conference or made the subject of a prior exchange of views. They expressed a desire for the latter procedure. The British delegation raised the question and were told that we had under consideration the possibility of exchanging papers on the subject. They said that they were prepared to participate in such an exchange. The Chinese delegation also raised the question, and they, too, expressed a desire to exchange papers on the subject; In none of the above instances was any question raised as to the particular territories which might be involved. The emphasis was exclusively upon general principles and particularly upon the [Page 923] kind of machinery which might effectively and appropriately be established in conjunction with the international organization.

The question has also been raised many times in public discussion about the Dumbarton Oaks proposals both here and abroad. There has been a considerable amount of criticism that the subject of international trusteeships was omitted from the proposals.

It is clear, therefore, that we are confronted with the need of re-examining the whole matter from the viewpoint of further procedure. In such consideration as we have so far given it, we have come to the following conclusions:

It is inescapable that the question of international trusteeships will have to be discussed at least at the general conference, and that in all likelihood a chapter on general principles and machinery will have to be included in the final charter of the United Nations.
It is entirely possible, in dealing with this subject, to separate the formulation of general principles and of provisions for machinery from consideration of specific territories, the latter subject to be left for future determination.

We would very much like to have the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the War and Navy Departments participate with us in the preparation general conference to be called for that purpose. This proposal will be limited to expressions of general principles and to provision of appropriate machinery of an international nature. We are giving consideration to the possibility of discussing our proposal with the British, Soviet and Chinese Governments prior to the general conference.

We would very much like to have the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the War and Navy Departments participate with us in the preparation of this proposal, and we hope that you will designate representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for that purpose. As we are hopeful that the general conference can be held sometime this winter we naturally wish to formulate the proposal as promptly as possible.

I am sending a similar letter to Secretary Forrestal.7

Sincerely yours,

E. R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. Ante, pp. 699 and 705, respectively.
  2. James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy.