SPA Files: Lot 61–D 146, Box 4581

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Associate Chief of the Division of Dependent Area Affairs (Bunche)

Participants: Mr. Creech-Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Mr. Poynton, Assistant Secretary, Colonial Office.
Mr. Ralph J. Bunche

Following Mr. Bevin’s speech before the General Assembly18 this morning Mr. Creech-Jones and Mr. Poynton undertook to explain to me the meaning of the statement in Mr. Bevin’s speech that “preliminary negotiations have already started” in connection with placing the British African Mandates under the trusteeship system. They stated that the United Kingdom Government had formulated draft trusteeship agreements for these territories and that these agreements were in process of transmittal to the several states which they thought might be interested.

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Copies of the agreements have been sent to Washington for transmittal to the Department and to the American Embassy here.19

Mr. Creech-Jones and Mr. Poynton further stated that they had not known how to define with any accuracy the “states directly concerned” in these territories but that they had sent the agreements for review to the states which appeared most likely to be interested, namely, the other four great powers and also to Belgium and the Union of South Africa because of their proximity to and direct interest in the African mandated territories. Mr. Creech-Jones admitted that this was in effect an indication of his Government’s conception of the states which might be concerned in the agreements for these territories.

Mr. Creech-Jones also stated that the agreements would be discussed with the Dominions, but that with respect to all of them except South Africa this would be considered as purely a matter of domestic relations. There would be no suggestion, therefore, that the Dominions other than South Africa would be parties directly concerned in the African mandates.

  1. For the statement by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Bevin) to the General Assembly on January 17 as regards the intention of the British Government to enter into negotiations for placing the British mandated territories of Tanganyika, the Cameroons, and Togoland under the United Nations trusteeship system, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, First Part, Plenary Meetings, p. 166; hereafter cited as GA (I/1), Plenary.
  2. Copies were received by the United States Delegation on January 19 under cover of a Foreign Office note of January 18 (IO Files: document USTC/Prel/33). Copies were transmitted by the British Embassy at Washington to the Department of State on February 5 under cover of an aide-mémoire dated February 4, not printed; see p. 561.