320/12–1551: Telegram

The Acting Chairman of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly (Roosevelt) to the Secretary of State

Delga 679. For release on delivery. Fol is text Gross statement on Moroccan case in plenary December 13th.

Statement by Ambassador Ernest A. Gross, United States represenative, in plenary session of the General Assembly on the question of placing the Moroccan item on the final agenda of the General Assembly.

The General Committee has recommended that consideration of the question of placing the Moroccan item on the final agenda of the General Assembly should be postponed for the time being. This is a recommendation which the United States delegation supported in the General Committee and supports here.

I think that the distinguished delegate of the Soviet Union, if he was translated correctly, referred to the recommendation of the general committee as a postponement for some time. I think the precise recommendation was in fact, postponement for the time being of the question of placing the Moroccan item on the agenda.

The foreign minister and representative of France has stated that France has accepted as a sacred trust under Article 73 of Chapter XI, the obligation to promote, within the system of international peace and security established by the charter, the well being of the peoples of Morocco, to ensure their advancement and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions. The representative of France has told the General Assembly that these freely undertaken obligations have been and continue to be performed by France. We feel that France should not be hindered in its opportunity to put reforms into effect under conditions favorable to their successful execution.

The United States has given careful attention to the views expressed by the representatives of the six states which have proposed this item. We are aware of their common bonds with the peoples of Morocco and the position they, as members of the United Nations, have taken on their duties and responsibilities under the charter. We share their concern for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States has approached the question before us today from the point of view of its considered estimation of the highest interests of the peoples of Morocco.

The powers and responsibilities of the General Assembly shld be discharged with regard to the principle of the charter that persons concerned with problems and controversies shld in good faith exhaust [Page 161] efforts for their solution by less formal means than debate in the General Assembly. The representative of Brazil in opening the general debate was, I think, developing this principle. He put this thought in felicitous language when he said:

“At the present time it is urgent that peoples which aspire to total liberation and emancipation should act with prudence and serenity necessary to safeguard the structure of security that has been built up so slowly and painfully, and which represents the best guarantee of their own aspirations. It is, therefore, indispensable to seek compensatory agreements through friendly negotiations. To bring any dispute to the United Nations without having previously exhausted all other methods of peaceful settlement would be to run counter to the spirit of the Charter of San Francisco. It would, furthermore, be causing considerable harm to that spirit.”

The question, then, is whether the best interest of the peoples of Morocco will be promoted by debates now in the General Assembly on the complaint made by the six states. We do not believe their interests would best be served by this course. Indeed, the Government of France has recently renewed the expression of its desire and intention to follow the course of finding a solution of mutual problems by less formal means. The distinguished foreign minister of France in the General Assembly on November 15 referred to conversations under way which are designed to hasten the democratic reforms proposed by France in Morocco. He has with great statesmanship expressed his desire for rapid action upon reforms, the study of which would be the responsibility of a joint France-Moroccan commission.

So also, His Majesty the Sultan of Morocco has reaffirmed his desire for negotiations with a view to reaching agreement with the Government of France.

Under these circumstances, is it not entirely in accordance with the highest objective of the charter to leave to those intimately concerned to pursue their own avenues of settlement?

The tradition and policies of the United States demonstrate our friendship for the peoples of Morocco and our interest in their aspirations. All members here know this, except for that small minority whose views are based upon dogma and autocratic decree.

The representative of Syria proved his awareness of this great tradition by his eloquent references to the first President of the United States. The distinguished foreign minister of Egypt spoke of President Roosevelt1 and Senator Vandenberg.2

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It is in the light of this proud history that we believe, upon careful consideration, that our position on this matter is sound, logical and forward-looking.

My government feels that the general committee correctly concluded that this is an item in which debate at this time within the United Nations would not serve the best interests of the peoples directly concerned. It would in no way detract from the dignity and prestige of the Assembly to recognize that it is highly expedient to postpone this item as recommended by the general committee.

  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, 1933–1945.
  2. Arthur H. Vandenberg, ranking Senator of the Republican Party on the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate and foremost Republican exponent of “bipartisanship” in United States foreign policy.