Department of State Instruction to the United States Delegation to the Eighth Session of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations2
Item 14 (Table of Contents): Problems Relating to the Somaliland Trusteeship Agreement (Item 23 of Provisional Agenda)
The problem is to determine the position which the Delegation should take on certain problems relating to the implementation of the Trusteeship Agreement for Somaliland under Italian administration; namely, the question of Italian representation in the Trusteeship Council, the question of the preparation of the first report on Somaliland by the administering authority, and the question of the sending of a visiting mission to Somaliland.
- The Delegation should take the position that Italy should be invited to designate a representative to sit regularly in the Trusteeship Council with the right to participate fully, except for the right to vote, in the deliberations of the Council relating directly or indirectly to the administration of Somaliland and the position of Italy as an administering authority. The United States should oppose efforts to limit Italian participation in the Trusteeship Council’s deliberations specifically to those occasions when reports or petitions relating to Somaliland are being examined.
- The Delegation should support the transmission of the provisional questionnaire to Italy as the Administering Authority for Somaliland. In view of the fact that Italy has been administering Somaliland since April 1, 1950 and of the Charter requirement of an annual report by the Administering Authority on each trust territory, the Delegation should urge on the Italian Delegation that Italy agree to submit a report on Somaliland in time for examination by the Trusteeship Council at its ninth session (June–July 1951).
- If the question arises, the Delegation should support the inclusion of Somaliland among the territories to be visited by the forthcoming visiting mission to the trust territories in East Africa.
Basis of Recommendations
The General Assembly on December 2, 1950 approved the draft Trusteeship Agreement for the Territory of Somaliland under Italian administration. The purpose of this paper is to deal with certain problems which may be expected to arise in the Trusteeship Council as the result of the approval of the Agreement.
The trusteeship arrangements for Somaliland are unique in that the administering authority (Italy) is not a Member of the United Nations. Accordingly, Italy cannot be a Member of the Trusteeship Council, since the Council’s membership is restricted to “Members of the United Nations” (Article 86 of the Charter). It will be necessary, therefore, for the Council to make the necessary arrangements for participation by Italy in the work of the Council so that the provisions of the Trusteeship Agreement for Somaliland may be effectively carried out.
It is believed that the Delegation should take a broad view of Italian participation in the work of the Council. No purpose would appear to be served by an effort to limit Italian participation to those occasions when the Trust Territory of Somaliland is under examination. While Italy is precluded from exercising a vote by the terms of Articles 86 and 89 of the Charter, the Charter imposes no other restrictions regarding participation of an Italian representative. Recommendation 1 suggests that Italy should be invited to designate a representative to sit regularly in the Trusteeship Council. Except for the right to vote, he would be able to participate fully in all deliberations of the Council relating both directly and indirectly to Somaliland. The nature of the Council’s deliberations is such that it is impossible to determine in advance when some matter of general application to all trust territories or of concern to Italy as the administering authority of Somaliland might arise. For example, the Council’s consideration of a petition relating to Western Samoa might be of interest and concern to Italy because of analogous circumstances which might exist in Somaliland. Therefore, it is believed desirable for a representative of Italy to sit regularly with the Council with rights of participation as indicated in the recommendation.
It may be noted that the question of Italian participation in the work of the Trusteeship Council would not arise if Italy were a Member of the United Nations and, as a consequence, a Member of the Trusteeship Council. Except for the opposition of the Soviet Union, Italy would no doubt now be a Member of the United Nations. It is believed that the United States, which has consistently supported Italian membership in the United Nations, should oppose any efforts that might be made to narrowly restrict Italian participation in the deliberations of the Trusteeship Council.[Page 293]
[Here follow recommendations regarding the question of the preparation of the first report on Somaliland by Italy, and the question of the sending of a UN visiting mission to Somaliland.]
- Files of the Reference and Documents Section, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State (hereafter cited as “IO Files”).↩
- The United Nations Trusteeship Council held its Eighth Session at Lake Success, New York, January 30-March 16, 1951. This document is located in a “position book” which includes instructions to the Delegation on all matters on the agenda of the Eighth Session.↩