IO Flies: USGA/Gen/7

Briefing Book Paper


8(b) Memorandum on Disposition of Mandated Territories

the problem

Should the United States take the position of urging the mandatory powers who are Members of the United Nations to transfer their mandated [Page 549] territories to the trusteeship system, considering the inaction which thus far has marked the attitude of those powers?


The present mandated territories were detached from enemy states after the last world war and were placed under the mandates system of the League of Nations because the responsibility for their administration was felt to be a matter of international concern. The League of Nations is about to be dissolved, but the international responsibility for these areas will continue and would properly be expressed through the trusteeship system of the United Nations. In Article 77 of the Charter of the United Nations, it is specifically provided that territories now held under mandate may be placed under the trusteeship system, and Article 80, paragraph 2 of the Charter was designed to encourage the mandatory powers and other states directly concerned to take such action without delay. It has been assumed by the United States Government that mandatory and other interested powers would expedite action toward this end.

The Preparatory Commission has recommended unanimously that the General Assembly invite the mandatory powers to act in concert with states directly concerned to take steps toward placing the mandated territories under the trusteeship system of the United Nations.7

It should be noted in this connection that it is the view of the United States that the question of which states shall participate in the negotiation of trusteeship agreements as states directly concerned can be settled only by preliminary negotiation at the time when steps get under way to place the territories under trusteeship.

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proposed united states position

The United States should support any proposal by which the General Assembly would take steps to encourage the transfer of territories mandated to Members of the United Nations to the trusteeship system, except that the General Assembly should not undertake any judgment as to the states directly concerned prior to the submission of trusteeship agreements to that organ for approval.

  1. For documentation on the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations which met in London November 24–December 22, 1945, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. i, pp. 1479 ff. For the recommendations of the Preparatory Commission to the General Assembly concerning trusteeship, see Preparatory Commission of the United Nations, Reports of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations (December 23, 1945), pp. 49 ff.; deliberations in the trusteeship committee of the Preparatory Commission may be found in Preparatory Commission of the United Nations, Committee Trusteeship.

    The Preparatory Commission proposed to the General Assembly a draft resolution as follows: “The General Assembly of the United Nations calls on the states administering territories under League of Nations mandate to undertake practical steps, in concert with the other states directly concerned, for the implementation of Article 79 of the Charter (which provides for the conclusion of agreements on the terms of trusteeship for each territory to be placed under the trusteeship system), in order to submit these agreements for approval preferably not later than during the Second Part of the First Session of the General Assembly.

    “Those trusteeship matters which will be taken up by the General Assembly at the First Part of its First Session for the purpose of expediting the establishment of the trusteeship system, will be considered by the Trusteeship Committee of the General Assembly, using the methods which the General Assembly considers most appropriate for the further consideration of these matters.”