320/1–550: Telegram

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


58. Reference Department’s proposal for consultation with British, French and Belgians on colonial questions, Parrott1 UN Department Foreign Office had following comments:

British welcome idea of such consultation for Committee IV situation has caused grave concern here.
Consultations with French and Belgians in Paris before meeting of Trusteeship Council will be to discuss common problems not to “reach a common line.” British are under “pretty constant pressure” from French and Belgians on colonial matters. British Embassy Washington is being instructed to inform Department of British attitude towards these discussions.
Colonial Office White Paper is being held up and no public position will be taken at this time.2
Within next month British will be re-examining their policy on inter-departmental level and then Cabinet will probably be asked to make a decision. Parrott added in strictest confidence that British feel they are “on a slippery slope” in colonial matters and before any modification in their policy can take place they will want to be sure that they would gain rather than lose by such modification. In any case all implications of problem, including implications to UN, will be given careful attention before final conclusions are reached. In this connection opportunity to exchange views with US will be valuable.

Embassy would appreciate early advice as to Department’s thinking on anticipated timing and form of discussions. Embassy would also like to point out that impending election may influence British thinking on problem and delay final decision since Conservatives could be expected to endeavor to make political capital any apparent surrender of British Government on colonial matters.

  1. C. C. Parrott, Acting Head of the United Nations (Political) Department, British Foreign Office.
  2. The White Paper was published as Cmd. 8035, September 14, 1950, and was entitled General Assembly of the United Nations, 20th September–10th December, 1949, Memorandum on Proceedings relating to Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories.