Editorial Note

On July 11 the International Court of Justice handed down an advisory opinion on the international status of Southwest Africa, as requested by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1949. The Court stated that the Union of South Africa was under no obligation to submit a trusteeship agreement for Southwest Africa to the UN but held that South Africa could not unilaterally alter the international status of Southwest Africa and was obliged to submit reports to the UN on its administration of the territory. The Court’s advisory opinion was considered at the Fifth United Nations General Assembly which opened in New York on September 17. On December 13 the General Assembly adopted a resolution, supported by the United States, which accepted the International Court’s opinion, urged South Africa to do the same, and set up a committee of five nations (including the United States) to negotiate with South Africa on the procedural arrangements necessary to give effect to the opinion. For documentation on the Southwest Africa question, from the handing down of the opinion of the International Court through the discussions in the UN General Assembly, see volume II, pages 474 ff. For views of the United States on the question, see also the aide-mémoire of February 20, from the Department of State to the South African Embassy, page 1813.