396.1 LO/5–450: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State

Secto 130. From Jessup. Tripartite [meeting] colonial questions took place this morning.1 Following attended: France—De la Tournelle, LeRoy, Henri, Monod; UK—Foreign Office, Wright, Parrott, Hildyard, Colonial Office—Martin, Galsworthy, Wilson, US—Hare, Sanders, Utter, Palmer, Tibbetts.

Wright suggested that purpose of meeting was to decide on questions to be submitted to respective Foreign Ministers. He expressed view that one such item was colonial question in UN.

La Tournelle agreed stressing that common action indispensable and all subjects of possible differences should be studied. Hare concurred, remarking that while our roles not identical we should be able narrow substantive gap and by tactical means reduce friction in respect any remaining divergencies.

Wright then suggested that enumeration be made of specific points which should come up for consideration in bilateral discussions of handling of colonial matters in UN. Martin identified along lines of yesterday’s bilateral meeting following particular points:

Non-self-governing territories: Principle of international accountability, including:
Special committee on information;
Submission of political information to UN;
Question of who decides when territory is self-governing.
Trust territories:
Relative functions of UN and administering authorities;
Relationship between TC and GA.

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Sanders said that in future talks on colonial questions, US would want to listen but also to talk. In this latter connection, he inquired whether it might not be desirable establish context within which two main points raised by Martin with respect chapters 11 and 12 might be discussed. This context was realities of situation which confronts us in UN and in virtually all areas of world. Situation was created by great force of emerging nationalism which was dynamic tide, which we all recognize cannot be stopped even if we desire, and can only be led either in constructive or destructive channels. This created grave problems for us in cold war. It was clear that if we did not offer some leadership, others would. An attitude of adamant opposition and of inflexible reliance on legal and technical positions would have far reaching implications on and in UN and other areas of world. It was our feeling France and UK had good story to tell about what they were doing and about their accomplishments, and that problem was how to put this story across in way that would engender greater sense of responsibility on part some countries which now were prone to free-wheeling criticism.

It was agreed that in view importance public relations and tactical aspects whole problem, questions enumerated above should be considered in bilateral discussions in context of (1) critical world situation, (2) atmosphere in UN itself, (3) administrative realities as well as on purely technical grounds.

Wright concluded meeting by stating that there was machinery for adequate consideration of other topics on agenda (economic development and Africa).2

  1. This meeting, the first session of tripartite Subcommittee D, which was concerned with the colonial question and Africa, was held in the India Office, May 4, 10:30 a. m.
  2. Telegram Secto 141, May 5, from London, not printed, reported that Monod, obviously disappointed at the relatively short time allotted to the discussion of African topics, indicated to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hare after the meeting reported upon here that the French Delegation had come prepared for an exhaustive study of the economic development and future of Africa. Hare explained the reason Africa had been placed on the agenda of the meetings was the American intention principally to exchange views on general objectives and reassure the French regarding American intentions and desire to cooperate. Hare indicated that the nature of the conference agenda and the limitation of time did not permit more than a general exchange of basic views. (396.1–LO/5–550)