Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Dependent Area Affairs (Gerig)59

Report for the Acting Secretary

From June 12 to June 20, 1946, Mr. Smith and Mr. Gerig met in London with representatives of the British and French Governments to discuss, on the expert level, steps which will need to be taken to establish the trusteeship system of the United Nations.60

In particular, the discussions dealt with two questions: (1) the procedure by which trust agreements for mandated territories will be brought before the General Assembly, and (2) the precise terms of such draft agreements. Five meetings were held with the British and two with the French representatives. The following summary of conclusions will be of special interest:


It is now clear that the Trusteeship Council can be established by the General Assembly in September. This is made possible because France, as well as the United Kingdom and Belgium, will have draft [Page 602] agreements ready to submit in regard respectively to the Cameroons, Tanganyika, and Ruanda-Urundi.
Both the United Kingdom and France are prepared to present these draft agreements to the Assembly according to our preferred procedure, viz., that they will present them alone after consulting with a number of states, including the United States, which may be regarded as directly concerned or particularly interested. Neither of these states think it necessary that these draft agreements need be formally signed by the directly concerned states prior to submission, although the British Government is not certain whether an informal right of veto might not exist for those states referred to by the Prime Minister as in any event directly concerned in certain African mandates, namely, South Africa, Belgium, and France. No difficulty, however, is anticipated.
Both the British and French representatives received very cordially our suggestions for certain modifications and additions in the draft terms. A majority of our proposals were accepted in some form, several subject to further consideration at the ministerial level.
While tentatively accepting the draft terms so modified, we made it clear that our Government and the United States Delegation to the Assembly remained completely free to propose any modifications and changes. In this connection, we especially reserved our position regarding a provision giving the trust power authority to establish certain general monopolies in the trust territories when these are regarded by it to be in the interest of the inhabitants. We proposed, in line with our draft, that such monopolies be subject to approval by the Trusteeship Council, but the British and French thought this gave too much executive authority to the Trusteeship Council. They agreed with us to try to find a better formula.
The French representatives frankly stated their hope that the inhabitants of the Cameroons and Togoland, under their trust, would eventually choose to be assimilated to the French Union. An article in the draft dealing with political development was drawn up by them in a way to favor such development. We induced them to accept in the article a reference to Article 76(b) of the Charter envisaging “self-government or independence”, which they agreed to refer once more to the Cabinet.
The Soviet Union and China have received the British drafts but have made no proposals regarding them.
The French drafts will be submitted officially to the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China near the end of [Page 603] July. They thought it would include most or all of our suggestions agreed to.61
The British representatives feel certain that Australia and New Zealand will be prepared in September to present draft terms for their Pacific mandates. In this event, the occasion will arise to elect two states to the Trusteeship Council to retain the balance required under Article 86.
The British representative said their legal advisers were considering the question of what special procedure, if any, might be required to terminate the special treaties between the United States and Great Britain regarding the mandated territories when the new agreements are consummated. We said we would make similar inquiries.
No conversations were held with the Belgian representatives, who informed us through our Embassy in Brussels that they were not quite ready to discuss our proposals, but that they would soon be ready to discuss them through their Embassy in Washington.62
The French sent an official from Paris to London in order to avoid any possible suspicions on the part of the Soviet representatives now in Paris who, they thought, might have wished to participate in the conversations.63
Full texts of the draft terms as modified are annexed to this report.64
  • Benjamin Gerig
  • Edwin L. Smith
  1. Submitted to the Acting Secretary of State (Acheson) by the Deputy Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs (Ross) under a covering memorandum of July 2.
  2. A series of conversations planned to take place in London, Paris, and Brussels in that order began in London on June 12 and concluded there on June 19.

    The meetings with the United Kingdom officials took place at the Colonial Office on June 12–June 14 and June 19. Attending on the British side were Mr. Creech Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Colonies; Mr. A. H. Poynton, Head of the International Relations Department, Colonial Office; Mr. Melville, Economic Adviser, Colonial Office; Mr. J. G. Ward, Head of the United Nations Department, Foreign Office; Mr. Paul Mason of the North American Department, Foreign Office; and Mr. G. E. G. Shannon of the Dominions Office. On the American side, besides Messrs. Gerig and Smith, there were Mr. Harry Hawkins, Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs, and Mr. Raymond A. Hare, First Secretary of Embassy. Minutes of these meetings are found in the London Embassy Files (1946): 800–Trusteeship.

    The talks with the French also took place in London as a result of last-minute changes. The conversations were held at the French Embassy on June 18 and 19, with the French represented on June 18 by Mr. Le Roy, Second Secretary of the French Embassy in London (who had recently been in Paris for consultation on the trusteeship problem), and on June 19 by Mr. Le Roy and Mr. Lucas, French Foreign Ministry mandates expert who came from Paris especially for the talks. Minutes of these conversations are found in the office lot files of the Office of Special Political Affairs, Lot 61–D 146, Box 4581.

    Regarding the proposed talks with the Belgians, see footnote 62, p. 603.

  3. In the conversations of June 18 there was discussion of terms of agreement for Togoland and the Cameroons on the basis of drafts prepared in Paris. On June 20, however, a note was received by the U.S. Embassy in Paris from the French Foreign Ministry which stated that no final terms of trusteeship had yet been established and that the talks in London must be regarded as “strictly informal and unofficial” (telegram 448, Paris to London, June 20, repeated to the Department as No. 2986, File No. 880.014/6–2046). No official French drafts were in fact presented to the U.S. Government by the French Government until October 9.
  4. The Embassy at Brussels, however, on June 19 reported an initial and informal reaction on the part of the Belgians: The U.S. proposals might be appropriate for more advanced areas, but were feared to be “premature” and possibly “provocative” in their emphasis on freedom of political expression and specified progressive steps toward self government and independence “if applied to primitive tribes” in central Africa (telegram 760, June 19, from Brussels, File No. 862S.01/6–1946).
  5. Apparently this has reference to the presence in Paris at this time of the foreign ministers of the five great powers for meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers.
  6. Texts not attached. See infra for copy of draft agreement for Tanganyika agreed upon at London and forwarded by the Department to the Embassy at London on July 15. The draft terms for Tanganyika were identical, with a few minor exceptions, to the draft terms for Togoland and the Cameroons.