862R.014/10–1546: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State

secret
us urgent

8857. I have just seen High Commissioner Heaton Nicholls.12 He told me he was authorized by Field Marshal Smuts, who has not as yet returned to London, to hand me following reply to aide-mémoire given Andrews on September 25, copy of which we sent the Field Marshal through High Commissioner on September 30. (See our 8441, September 26, 7 p.m., and Department’s 6880, September 27, 6. p.m.13)

“His Majesty’s Government in the Union of South Africa have given most earnest consideration to the proposal in the aide-mémoire handed by the Department of State to the South African Minister in Washington on September 25, that the substantive discussion of the future of the mandated territory of South West Africa should be deferred this year in order to have ample time available for consideration of the trusteeship agreements which will be presented for approval to the forthcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Union Government appreciate that this proposal is actuated by a desire to ensure that there should not be any delay in the establishment of the trusteeship system and the Union Government are anxious that no action on their part should militate against the setting up of the Trusteeship Council at the forthcoming session of the General Assembly.

The Union Government note with appreciation also that the US Government recognize that the future of South West Africa should not be kept uncertain over too long a period. In this connection, the Union Government would invite attention to the pledges given to the people of South West Africa, to the Union Parliament, to the United Nations General Assembly in January and to the league meeting at Geneva in April that they would bring the question of South West Africa’s future before the next session of the General Assembly.

The Union Government feel that they would be breaking faith particularly with the people of South West Africa were they now to go back on that pledge. In the same way as other mandatory powers have felt it incumbent upon them to make every effort to arrange for [Page 126]the presentation of trusteeship agreements in time for the forthcoming General Assembly notwithstanding all the difficulties in the way, so the Union Government similarly feel that they should do everything in their power to honour their pledge to the people of South West Africa that they would endeavour at the earliest possible moment to secure a settlement of the future status of the mandated territory.

For these reasons, the Union Government propose to submit to the General Assembly a statement on the outcome of their consultation with the peoples of South West Africa re the future status of the mandated territory and on the implementation to be given to the wishes thus expressed.”15

In handing me reply, Heaton Nicholls emphasized that no more would be done at this General Assembly than to submit the statement mentioned in the final sentence of above-quoted reply. He added that there was no intention of introducing a resolution calling for annexation or any other kind of resolution or motion.

Gallman
  1. G. Heaton Nicholls was also a member of the Union of South Africa delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.
  2. Neither printed. See telegram 6827, September 25, p. 123.
  3. Copy of this aide-mémoire, dated October 16, 1946, was given by the South African Legation in Washington to the Department of State. In it the Minister expressed the wish of his Government that discussions regarding South West Africa be continued with the United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly when the South African delegation arrived in New York (862R.014/10–1646).

    At a meeting of the General Assembly in New York the delegation of the Union of South Africa submitted a proposal that the Assembly approve the annexation of South West Africa. The Assembly referred the question to the Fourth Committee (Trusteeship). For text of the discussions at the meetings of the Fourth Committee on November 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 14, and December 8, and its Sub-Committee 2 on November 27, 28, and 29, see United Nations: Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, Second Part, Fourth Committee, Part I, pp. 62–87, 96–124, and Part III, pp. 44–58, respectively.