(Italian Colonies)

The text of the draft treaty with Italy does not set forth any basis for an ultimate disposal of the colonial territories which Italy is called upon to renounce. The Chinese Delegation is of the opinion that this Conference should declare certain general principles upon which any [Page 690] final decision on this question is to be based. In particular, the Chinese Delegation believes that the principles underlying the trusteeship system as elaborated in the Charter of the United Nations can be usefully invoked in this connection, and in the case of Libya, such principles might find first application through the creation of a trusteeship under the United Nations for this territory.
As this Conference is the first body to give consideration to the future of non-self-governing territories to be detached from enemy states, the Chinese Delegation wishes to see it clearly declared that the interests and desires of the inhabitants of those territories rather than the interests and desires of other states are to be taken as the paramount and controlling factor in any decision which may be made. Such a declaration will give heart to the peoples of the whole world who are watching with earnest attention the labours of the Paris Conference. There is anxious questioning in every corner of the globe as to whether the victors who emerged from the second world war would fulfil their war-time pledges to secure for the peoples of the world an early and ample opportunity to choose the form of government under which they wish to live. The adoption of such guiding principles at this Conference will serve as a valuable precedent for the immediate future when peace settlements have to be made in other parts of the world. It will be also taken as a reassuring indication of the new attitude and policy of Members of the United Nations in respect of colonial problems.
It is to be conceded that under the general principles outlined above the disposition of all the Italian colonies need not follow a uniform pattern. These colonies have to be dealt with according to their geographical situation, their economic conditions and, above all, the stage of development of the peoples concerned. When a territory is inhabited by a people whose development has reached a relatively advanced stage, the Chinese Delegation thinks it essential that the independence of such territory should be envisaged either immediately or within a definite and short period of time. There is no denying the fact the component parts of Libya, namely, Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, have become communities which have attained an advanced degree of development as compared not only with other Italian colonies but also with many other dependent areas in the world.
The Chinese Delegation would therefore like to see Libya attain a full measure of self-government through the granting of immediate independence. Should this not be considered feasible, it should be placed under the trusteeship of the United Nations for a definite and short period of time during which preparations for self-government [Page 691] and independence would be completed. In the event of a trusteeship for Libya being created, it is of fundamental importance that the duration of the trusteeship should be explicitly fixed. This is necessary not only because the time limit will impose a responsibility on the administering authority to lose no time to promote to the utmost the well-being of the inhabitants of the territory but also because it will promote the confidence of the people in the territory that their independence can be achieved with certainty and they would thereby be spurred on to exert themselves for the attainment of independence. The mandate system under the League of Nations contemplated in no instance a time limit for the attainment of independence for the dependent peoples concerned, and this had been an inherent defect in the system which partly accounted for its failure to fulfil adequately the high purposes which underlay the system. It is therefore thought advisable that a short time limit should be specifically set to the trusteeship for Libya under the United Nations, in order that the eventual independence of Libya may be definitely envisaged at the present time.
In view of the above considerations, the Chinese Delegation wishes to propose that a recommendation in the name of the Conference be submitted to the Council of Foreign Ministers in the following sense:
The peace treaty with Italy should provide for the granting of immediate independence to Libya; or alternatively.
The peace treaty with Italy should provide for the creation of a trusteeship under the United Nations for Libya, and the trusteeship agreement in question should contain a definite promise of independence after a fixed and short period of trusteeship.