The Department of State to the British Embassy



The United States Government has carefully considered the views of the United Kingdom Government expressed in an aide-mémoire of May 24, 1946 replying to the Acting Secretary of State’s Note of May 7, 1946 concerning the negotiation of trusteeship agreements with respect to Tanganyika and the Cameroons and Togoland under British mandate.

The United States Government is gratified with the sympathetic consideration which the United Kingdom Government is disposed to give to its comments on the draft terms of trusteeship and welcomes the opportunity to discuss these comments further with representatives of the United Kingdom Government in London.

As to the question of the states which should be signatories to the draft agreements and thus recognized as states directly concerned under Article 79 of the Charter of the United Nations, the United States Government regrets that the United Kingdom Government feel that they have already been committed to a specific definition in this respect according to which France, Belgium, and the Union of South Africa should in any event be included as states directly concerned.

The United States Government notes that this commitment was made without consultation with it and hopes that the United Kingdom Government and the Governments of the three States referred to will yet be able to agree not only that the procedure would be simplified but also that no real advantage to them would be lost if these three Governments would be satisfied with a procedure of consultation on these terms of agreement as proposed by the United States Government. Indeed, it appears to the United States Government that to be a signatory of an initial draft agreement as a state directly concerned gives no greater advantage than would obtain under the exercise of consultation, unless it be the doubtful negative advantage of being able to veto proposals made by the other signatories.

The United States Government, therefore, hopes that the Government of the United Kingdom will agree to make either by itself or jointly with the United States an approach to these three Governments asking them in the circumstances to consider the procedure of consultation as a substitute for negotiation and signature in formulating the initial terms of the draft agreements in question.

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Should such an agreement not be reached, the United States Government would feel obliged to reconsider its position and to examine again whether and under what conditions it should press its claim also to be a signatory of the initial draft agreement as a state directly concerned, a claim which, under the condition specified in its Note of May 7, it was prepared to waive in the interest of speeding up the conclusion of trusteeship agreements. It should be noted that the United States Government has not, as suggested in the British aide-mémoire, waived the claim of the United States to be recognized as a state directly concerned. This Government merely expressed its willingness to waive its right, subject to certain conditions stated in its Note of May 7, to sign the draft agreement.54

With reference to publishing the draft terms of trusteeship when the United Kingdom Government has “received the concurrence of the states directly concerned”, the United States Government had hoped that this might follow rather than precede the consultations with the other particularly interested states, including the United States, especially as several other states had previously been consulted in the drafting of the terms.

The United States Government does not wish unduly to delay the publication of the drafts since promises of publication have been made to local territorial authorities and to Parliament, whose delayed fulfillment might cause embarrassment. It sees no great inconvenience in this procedure since, as stated in the aide-mémoire, “there is nothing to preclude His Majesty’s Government accepting amendments after publication of the original draft either at the General Assembly or earlier” if they are considered satisfactory, and that such amendments could perhaps be incorporated before formal submission of the texts to the United Nations. It does, however, hope that publication will be in the form of a draft proposal by the United Kingdom rather than as an agreement between certain “states directly concerned”.

The United States Government agrees with the suggestion contained in the aide-mémoire to the effect that it will be desirable to have conversations between the two Governments take place in London at an early date. The Secretary of State has designated for this purpose [Page 595] Mr. Benjamin Gerig, Chief of the Division of Dependent Area Affairs, and Mr. Edwin L. Smith, of the Division of African Affairs, who, if agreeable to the United Kingdom Government, will be prepared to go to London next week to carry on conversations on these questions.55

  1. In the drafting history of this aide-mémoire a paragraph reading substantially as this one had first appeared and then disappeared. When the draft aide-mémoire was circulated by the Division of Dependent Area Affairs to the interested offices for initialling on May 29 it was accompanied by a memorandum from the Chief of the Division (Gerig) recommending that consideration be given to restoring the paragraph. This proposal was concurred in and the paragraph was re-inserted in the final draft with two changes which made the statement both clearer and more firm. (Memorandum by Mr. Gerig to the Office of European Affairs, the Counselor of the Department, the Under Secretary of State, the Office of Special Political Affairs, the Division of African Affairs, the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs and the Division of British Commonwealth Affairs, May 29, File No. 862P.01/5–2446.)
  2. In telegram 4407, May 31, to London, the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Harriman) was brought up-to-date on developments since telegram 3829, May 8, had been cabled to him. Specifically he was apprised of the May 24–May 31 exchange between the Department and the British Embassy and the impending trip to London by Messrs. Gerig and Smith. (862P.01/5–2346)