890.0146/1–1546: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State


519. Discussion of trusteeship of mandated islands may make it expedient for me to make a statement. Please ask the President whether, if it becomes necessary, I may state:15

“The ultimate disposition of the islands mandated to Japan by the League is a matter for future decision but it will be the recommendation of the President that these islands be trusteed under the UNO [Page 552] either under ordinary trusteeship arrangements or as strategic areas.”16

  • [Byrnes]
  • Winant
  1. In telegram 525, Undel 79, January 17, 7 p.m., the Acting Secretary of State cabled that “President has today approved your making suggested statement concerning mandated islands should you find it necessary to do so”. (890.0146/1–1546)
  2. The distinction noted here between “ordinary trusteeship agreements” and “strategic [trusteeship] areas” has its origin in Article 82 of the United Nations Charter, which reads in part: “There may be designated, in any trusteeship agreement, a strategic area or areas which may include part or all of the trust territory to which the agreement applies. …” Goodrich and Hambro note that “This Article, taken together with Article 83, provides a special regime for those areas in which a Member or Members of the United Nations, or the United Nations, may have special interests of a strategic character. Presumably the interest in question may result either from the defense requirements of a particular state or states or from the needs of the Organization for maintaining peace and security.” (Leland M. Goodrich and E. Hambro, Charter of the United Nations Commentary and Documents, Boston, 1949, p. 452) See also Marjorie M. Whiteman, Digest of International Law, vol. i, pp. 765 ff.

    In a Department of State memorandum submitted to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) in June 1946 the following appears: “From a practical point of view, in the placing of a territory under trusteeship, the most important difference betwen the strategic area agreement and the non-strategic area agreement is that a strategic agreement must be approved by ‘an affirmative vote of seven members [of the Security Council] including the concurring votes of the permanent members’ and that a non-strategic area agreement must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly (in which the approval of all permanent members of the Security Council need not be included).” (Appendix “B” to SWNCC document 59/1, June 24, 1946)