Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 20
Report of Subcommittee D to the Foreign Ministers 1
Item 7: The Colonial Question
1. subjects discussed
- Colonial questions in the United Nations
2. colonial questions in the united nations
It was agreed that Ministers should be asked to take note that further conversations on this important problem were considered desirable and should be held as soon as possible.2 The main issues it was desired to discuss were:
(A) Non-self-governing Territories
- International accountability to the United Nations in
respect of Colonial policies and activities:
- The question of principle.
- The attitude to be adopted towards the Special Committee on information transmitted under Article 73 (e).
- The submission of political information to the United Nations.
- Problems in connexion with the definition of the conception of “non-self-governing territory.”
(B) Trust Territories
- The relative functions of the United Nations and of the administering authorities and the tendency of the United Nations to concern itself with administration as well as supervision of the Trust Territories.
- The relationship between the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly and the question of whether the Trusteeship Council [Page 1094] is obliged to carry out any decision of the Assembly or has the power to reach its own conclusions on the point at issue.
(C) Any other questions concerning the General Assembly’s Resolutions of December 1949 relating to Chapters 11, 12, and 13 of the Charter
In considering the above it was agreed to take into account both the present world situation and the implications of the emergence of dependent peoples, and also political and administrative realities in the Colonies. It was also agreed that the tactical and public relations aspects of this question should be carefully studied.
The French, American and British representatives each made a statement on the approach of their respective Governments to African problems. Their respective views are set out in the three Annexes to this Paper.
The French representative explained, in regard to Africa south of the Sahara, that it was important to prevent the progress of African peoples being retarded or diverted by interference from irresponsible and possibly malevolent critics in the United Nations or elsewhere. It should be recognised that the future of Africa was a matter of great importance to the democracies of Western Europe and the Americas and it was thus essential that they should co-operate in the development of Africa’s social and economic standards by the provision of all appropriate assistance. These views are set out in Annex I to this paper.
The American representative explained that his Government was appreciative of the achievements of the Colonial Powers in Africa and the object of the United States in interesting itself in Africa was to co-operate with those Powers in developing the part Africa could play in the world. He then outlined the recent thinking of the State Department concerning United States policy towards Africa. These views are set out in Annex II to this Paper,
The British representative was in general agreement with the views expressed by his French and American colleagues. He emphasized that continuing collaboration between the Colonial Powers on African questions already existed, particularly between France and the United Kingdom in West Africa, where very close Anglo-French co-operation was especially important for the solution of the pressing political, social and economic problems of that area. He welcomed the intention of the United States Government to interest itself in the future of Africa since he felt that co-operation and assistance of the United States in international bodies and in other ways would help greatly [Page 1095] to mitigate the effects of ignorant and irresponsible criticism on the strength and stability of the Colonial Powers in Africa. These views are set out in Annex III of this paper.
It was agreed
- that the three countries are basically in agreement as to the broad lines to be followed in the political development of the peoples of Africa and to the achievement of improved economic and social conditions; and to this end recognise the importance of developing the existing co-operation among France, the United Kingdom and the other African Powers, and of establishing close co-operation between those countries and the United States;
- that the fact that such a large measure of agreement on principles had been reached on this important matter should be drawn to the attention of the Secretaries of State.
That the questions and policies raised in the annexed statements should be considered in detail at a later date.[Page 1099]
The cover sheet attached to the source text indicates that the plenary meeting of tripartite officials did not have the opportunity to examine this report. The meetings of Subcommittee D leading to this report were reported upon in Secto 130, May 4, and Secto 165, May 5, from London, pp. 952 and 953, respectively. This report was approved by the American, British, and French Foreign Ministers at their meeing on the morning of May 13; see Secto 246, May 13, from London, p. 1052.
Some papers in the files of the Department of State appear erroneously to attribute this report to Subcommittee Q concerned with Near Eastern questions.↩
- Bilateral (American-British, American-French, and American-Belgian) conversations on the colonial question in the United Nations were subsequently held in Washington in July 1950. For documentation on those talks, see vol. ii, pp. 434 ff.↩