IO Files: USTC/Prel/31

United States Delegation Working Paper


Proposed Amendments to Section 1 of Chapter IV: Draft Resolution for the General Assembly 23

(Submitted by U.S. Delegation)

Add the following as a new first paragraph in the Preamble to the Draft Resolution:

“Chapters XI, XII, and XIII of the Charter recognize the problem of the non-self-governing peoples as of vital concern to the peace and general welfare of the world community.”

Substitute the following revised wording for paragraphs 1 and 2 of the proposed Resolution, following the introductory sentence:

“The United Nations, meeting in their First General Assembly, are keenly aware of the problems and aspirations of the peoples who are not directly represented here because they have not yet attained self-government. The General Assembly recalls with satisfaction the profound concern of the Charter for them, and, in particular, Chapter XI whereby Members which administer non-self-governing territories accept, as a sacred trust, various obligations, including the obligation to develop self-government and to assist the inhabitants in the progressive development of their free political institutions; and Chapters XII and XIII with reference to the establishment of an international trusteeship system for the purpose, among others, of promoting the progressive development towards self-government or independence of the peoples of trust territories.

[Page 560]

“The General Assembly regrets that it cannot, at this First Part of its First Session, establish the Trusteeship Council. This is not because of any lack of desire to do so, but because, before a Trusteeship Council can be established, trusteeship agreements must be concluded.

“Therefore the General Assembly particularly welcomes the expressed intention of certain Members to proceed forthwith to negotiate agreements for placing under the trusteeship system territories which are administered under League of Nations mandate. The General Assembly urges that this program be expedited by all states directly concerned so as to permit the establishment of the Trusteeship Council if possible not later than the Second Part of this First Session.

“The General Assembly expresses the hope that the progressive realization of the objectives of Chapters XI, XII, and XIII will make possible the attainment of the legitimate aspirations of non-self-governing peoples.”31

[Page 561]

[For a statement by Acting Secretary of State Acheson at a press and radio conference on January 22, regarding “procedure and principles involved in individual trusteeship”, see Department of State Bulletin, February 3, 1946, pages 150 and 151.]

  1. This refers to the draft resolution proposed by the Preparatory Commission; see footnote 7, p. 549. The U.S. amendment was submitted to the Fourth Committee by Mr. Dulles on January 24. In an introductory statement Mr. Dulles explained that this proposed change in the draft resolution of the Preparatory Commission was being made solely because “… the recent declarations of the intentions of the mandatory Powers promptly to negotiate trusteeship agreements had put the matter in a different light.

    “These declarations were a very significant development, a development which justified the hopes of the public in the General Assembly. The United Nations should publicly express satisfaction at the progress already made.

    “Another consideration underlying the United States amendment was the unrest which prevailed among dependent peoples generally. Beyond the probable zone of trusteeship, there were hundreds of millions of people who constituted a problem with which this Assembly should concern itself, as did the Charter. It was an urgent necessity that, on the one hand, dependent peoples should realize that the Charter, particularly Chapter XI, provided orderly processes for the attainment of their legitimate aspirations, while, on the other hand, the administering nations should quickly give concrete evidence of their intention to vitalize those processes.” (United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, First Part, Fourth Committee, p. 15; hereafter cited as GA(I/1), Fourth Committee)

  2. Subsequently amendments were submitted also by Canada, China, Iraq, Australia, India, Belgium, and the Netherlands (GA(I/1), Fourth Committee, pp. 43 ff.); and the matter was referred by the Committee to a sub-committee which was charged with preparing an agreed draft. For the deliberations of the Fourth Committee on the United States and other proposed amendments, see ibid., pp. 15 ff.

    In the course of the Fourth Committee’s discussions the question arose of fixing the criteria for determining who were the states directly concerned and whether the Committee’s competence extended to this area. Mr. Dulles defined the position of the United States on this matter in a statement to the Committee on January 25. “There was no doubt,” he said, “that, at some point, the General Assembly would have an opportunity to go into this matter. The normal procedure would be for the initiative to be taken by the mandatory Powers in drawing up agreements and in securing adhesion to such agreements by those States which, through diplomatic negotiations, might be considered as States directly concerned. When the agreements were finally submitted to the General Assembly for approval, the Assembly could then decide for itself whether the parties to the agreements were in fact the States directly concerned.

    “For this reason and because of the difficulty of solving the problem in general terms, it would be inappropriate for the Assembly now to engage in a long and academic discussion as to which were the ‘States directly concerned.’” (GA(I/1), Fourth Committee, pp. 19–20)

    For the report of the Fourth Committee to the General Assembly and its draft resolution see GA(I/1), Plenary, p. 588, annex 13. General Assembly debate and approval of the resolution took place on February 9 (ibid., pp. 366 ff.). For text of the resolution, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, First Part, Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly during the First Part of the First Session, p. 13.

    In the General Assembly debate Mr. Dulles underscored the importance that the United States attached to a revision of the Preparatory Commission’s proposed resolution, along the lines adopted: “There was one matter which the Preparatory Commission proposed which could significantly test the spirit of the United Nations. That was a suggested resolution which touched the fringes of the problem of dependent peoples. Your Fourth Committee took hold of that resolution and transformed it into a bold and significant advance. By the resolution now before you, the United Nations speaks out in relation to the whole colonial problem, involving hundreds of millions of dependent peoples, and not merely the fifteen millions who might come under trusteeship.

    “We make it clear once and for all that the declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories contained in Chapter XI of the Charter is not merely the concern of the colonial Powers, but also the concern of the United Nations.” (GA (I/1), Plenary, pp. 367–368)

    For an analytical summary in pertinent part of the problems, deliberations and actions of the General Assembly in the first part of the first session on the trusteeship question, see United Nations, Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs (1955 edition), vol. iv, pp. 175–300.