Memorandum by the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy to President Truman

The Secretaries of State, War, and Navy have exchanged views with respect to the manner in which the question of the establishment [Page 351] of a trusteeship system is to be discussed at the Conference at San Francisco.

We have agreed upon the attached policy directive which we have discussed with the United States Delegation to San Francisco and they have approved. We recommend to you that you approve this directive and that it be sent to the Chairman of the American Delegation as a statement of United States policy on this subject.

We wish also your approval of making this United States policy on trusteeship made known publicly at a time and in a manner to be determined by the United States Delegation.

E. R. Stettinius, Jr.

Secretary of State
Henry L. Stimson

Secretary of War
James Forrestal

Secretary of the Navy

Recommended Policy on Trusteeship

It is not proposed at San Francisco to determine the placing of any particular territory under a trusteeship system. All that will be discussed there will be the possible machinery of such a system.

The United States Government considers that it would be entirely practicable to devise a trusteeship system which would apply only to such territories in the following categories as may, by trusteeship arrangements, be placed thereunder, namely: (a) territories now held under mandate; (b) territories which may be detached from enemy states as a result of this war; and (c) territories voluntarily placed under the system by states responsible for their administration. It shall be a matter for subsequent agreement as to which of the specific territories within the foregoing categories shall be brought under the trusteeship system and upon what terms.

This system would provide, by agreements, for (1) the maintenance of United States military and strategic rights, (2) such control as will be necessary to assure general peace and security in the Pacific Ocean area as well as elsewhere in the world, and (3) the advancement of the social, economic, and political welfare of the inhabitants of the dependent territories.

Approved Harry S. Truman.59

  1. Bee Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, vol. i, pp. 59–60 and 273–275, for Mr. Truman’s review of various aspects of the trusteeship problem.