320/11–750: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Secretary of State


Delga 249. Thurston and Allen1 discussed question of Indians in South Africa with Mrs. Pandit2 at lunch today after which she gave them draft resolution which represents present Indian thinking on subject:

The GA

Recalling its resolution of the 16th May 1949, relating to the treatment of people of Indian origin in the Union of South Africa,

Having considered the communication by the permanent representative of India to the SYG of the UN dated the 10th of July 1950,

Having in mind its resolution No. 103(I) of the 19th November 1946 against racial persecution and discrimination and its resolution No. 217(III) dated the 10th December 1948 relating to the universal declaration of human rights,

Is of the opinion that the legislation recently enacted in the Union of South Africa under the title ‘The Group Areas Act,’ entails contravention of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN and the Declaration of Human Rights:

Notes with regret that this enactment and the policy of apartheid or total segregation on which it is based have prejudiced and rendered infructuous the recommendation contained in its resolution of the 16th May 1949 to the effect that the Governments of India, Pakistan and the Union of South Africa should enter into a discussion at a round table conference in the light of the Charter of the UN and the Declaration of Human Rights; and

Recommends to the Government of the Union of South Africa to take all steps necessary speedily to bring its treatment of the people [Page 563] of Indian origin in the Union of South Africa into conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN, and the Declaration of Human Rights, bearing in mind the vital importance of these principles to the securing of international peace as well as the strengthening of democratic forces throughout the world.”

Mrs. Pandit said Indonesia had agreed to co-sponsor resolution, and Zafrullah Khan3 later told Thurston that Pakistan would also probably be co-sponsor. According to Mrs. Pandit, Padilla Nervo (Mexico)4 and she have had talk on subject from which she gathered that Mexico would be glad to assist in working out of appropriate resolution. US representatives got definite impression that her purpose in handing Indian draft was to invite comment and perhaps amendments of such nature as would assure US support and support of other western countries.

In discussion possible alternatives to approach envisaged resolution Mrs. Pandit appeared receptive idea that GA might limit action this time to selection conciliator from panel established last GA whose purpose would be bring parties together in round table conference as envisaged 1949 GA resolution. Later informal discussions with South African representatives brought initial reaction along line that if appointment such conciliator could be construed as “intervention”, then South Africa would be adverse to such move because of its stand that question is one of essentially domestic jurisdiction.

Would appreciate Department’s views for guidance US delegation soonest since matter may come up Ad Hoc Committee either November 8 or 9. It would be particularly helpful have statement Department’s attitude on whether desirable US delegation sound out other interested delegates on formulation resolution which simply note failure parties thus far hold round table conference envisaged 1949 resolution and providing for selection conciliator with terms of reference as indicated above.

  1. Ray L. Thurston and Ward P. Allen of the United States Delegation Staff of Advisers.
  2. Mme. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Indian Ambassador to the United States.
  3. Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani Minister for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations and Chairman of the Pakistani Delegation to the General Assembly.
  4. Luis Padilla Nervo, Permanent, Representative of Mexico at the United Nations and Chairman of the Mexican Delegation to the General Assembly.