The Acting Director of the Office of European Affairs ( Hickerson ) to the Division of Dependent Area Affairs


The New Zealand Minister came in to see me in the late afternoon day before yesterday by an appointment made at his request. Sir Carl Berendsen handed me the attached note dated July 23, 1946, enclosing [Page 610] a draft of the trusteeship agreement proposed by New Zealand in respect of Western Samoa.85

You will observe that the second paragraph of the note states that the New Zealand Government is prepared to regard the United States as a “state directly concerned” within the meaning of that Article, and that the New Zealand Government accordingly invites the comments of the United States on this draft. You will also observe that the note states that a similar approach is being made to the Governments of the United Kingdom and France, and that the comments of Australia have already been received.

Sir Carl Berendsen also handed me the attached aide-mémoire dated July 23, 1946, which should be read in connection with his note.

Last February at the Secretary’s request I discussed with the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Peter Fraser; Sir Carl Berendsen, and Mr. A. D. McIntosh, Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, a proposal of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved by the President, that the United States Government be granted by New Zealand joint rights of military use of certain facilities constructed by the United States during the war on Upolo Island in Western Samoa.86 I am taking up the New Zealand note and aide-mémoire with the War and Navy Departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff insofar as it relates to base rights.87 I shall be glad to [Page 611] collaborate with you in bringing together in a single document all of our comments on this draft agreement.

When I read this note in Sir Carl’s presence I inquired whether he had heard of the development of our thoughts in regard to the interpretation of the phrase “states directly concerned”. He replied that he had not. I then explained to him briefly our views and told him of Mr. Gerig’s conversations in London with the British and the French. Sir Carl said that he was completely in accord with these views “on common sense grounds”, but that he did not know whether the language of the Charter could be “so stretched”. He said that he was confident that the New Zealand Government would be glad, however, to go along with this interpretation. He added that if there were general agreement with that interpretation, their note could be regarded as part of the consultation process.

John Hickerson

The New Zealand Legation to the Department of State


In the preparation of the draft Trusteeship Agreement for Western Samoa, the New Zealand Government have endeavoured to meet the point of view of the United States (as expressed in discussions on bases, and in comments on draft agreements prepared by the Government of the United Kingdom) as far as possible, without sacrifice of the following main principles, from which they are unable to depart:
That the agreement should adhere as closely as possible to the form of the Mandate;
That it is unnecessary and most undesirable that Western Samoa or any part of it should be declared a strategic area;
That the grant of base rights to the United States or to any other state under bilateral arrangements should be subsequent to the conclusion of the Trusteeship Agreement, and should be made on lines consistent with New Zealand’s obligations to the United Nations.
Subject to these considerations, the New Zealand Government will be happy to consider and to discuss any views which the United States Government may feel it desirable to express.
It is the general desire of the New Zealand Government that the agreement should be a simple document, susceptible of easy translation into the Samoan language, and reasonably comprehensible to the Samoans.
The New Zealand Government hold no strong views as to the method by which the agreement of the United States might finally be expressed. They do, however, contemplate an informal exchange of notes, but if this procedure should raise any difficulties for the United States Government, then the New Zealand Government would be satisfied with an unqualified assurance that the draft, as finally agreed upon, is acceptable to the United States and will have the active support of the United States before the General Assembly.
  1. Neither printed, but see footnote 87 below regarding the text of Article IX of the proposed agreement.
  2. For documentation on discussions between the United States and New Zealand regarding the desire of the United States to acquire base rights in Western Samoa, see vol v, pp. 1 ff. At the time that these negotiations were initiated by the United States in talks at Washington in February 1946 the New Zealand representatives were handed a draft agreement which described United States views as to the nature of a trusteeship that New Zealand might set up over an area in which the United States might acquire base rights ( ibid., p. 3; the draft was handed to the New Zealanders on February 21). The New Zealand representatives at the same time had presented to the Department of State on a most informal basis proposals described as a sketch of the form a trusteeship agreement for Western Samoa might take, having regard to Western Samoa’s status as a “C” mandate; this text apparently had been drafted before the Washington talks on bases, and it was noted by the New Zealand Legation that “some use has been made of the United Kingdom draft for Tanganyika”. (811.24590/3–146)
  3. This was done in an “official letter” from the Acting Secretary of State to the Secretaries of War and Navy respectively on July 30 in which especial attention was directed to Article IX, section 3, of the proposed trusteeship agreement. Article IX provided that:

    “The administering authority shall ensure that the trust territory of Western Samoa shall play its part, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, in the maintenance of international peace and security. To this end the administering authority shall be entitled:—

    to establish naval, military and air bases and to erect fortifications in the trust territory;
    to station and employ armed forces in the territory;
    to enter into such agreements in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations as it may deem necessary or desirable with other members of the United Nations with respect to sharing rights of occupation and operation, and responsibility for the establishment, maintenance and control of existing or additional military bases and facilities in the trust territory; and
    to make use of volunteer forces, facilities and assistance from the trust territory in carrying out the obligations towards the Security Council undertaken in this regard by the administering authority, as well as for the local defence and the maintenance of law and order within the trust territory.” (text from draft agreement, dated July 23, 1946, File No. 890.0146/7–2346)

    In the same letters it was stated by the Acting Secretary that “After handing [the] note and aide-mémoire to Mr. Hickerson, Sir Carl Berendsen stated orally that he was authorized to inform the United States Government that New Zealand was prepared to work out a bilateral agreement with the United States giving the United States joint military rights in Western Samoa which he believed would be satisfactory to both governments,” (811.24590/7–3046)