USUN Files

The Permanent Delegation of the United Kingdom at the United Nations to the United States ission at the United Nations


Aide-Mémoire—Ewe Problem

(Position as on the 5th February, 1951)

1. In implementation of the proposals put forward by the two Administering Authorities and endorsed by a resolution of the Trusteeship Council on the 14th July, 1950, the enlarged Standing Consultative Commission was duly set up in Togoland in order to ascertain the real wishes of the whole population of the two Trust Territories with regard to their political future.

2. Elections to seats on the Commission were held in British Togo-land in September and in French Togoland in October.

3. In British Togoland all 17 representatives were elected by the local authorities in accordance with the normal practice.

4. In French Togoland the elections were held in two stages. It became clear, at the “primary stage” that the representatives of the Comite de l’Unite Togolaise, led by Sylvanus Olympio (who favoured [Page 530] the unification of the Ewe-inhabitated area of the two Togolands) would only secure election to 6 seats out of a total of 30.

5. The C.U.T. therefore decided to boycott the second stage of the elections and addressed petitions to the United Nations General Assembly regarding the electoral methods and the manner in which these elections had been conducted.

6. Representation of six constituencies where there was a clear C.U.T. majority was held open by the French Government until the last moment, but the C.U.T. nevertheless persisted in their boycott and, in accordance with the electoral law, these seats were therefore filled by those candidates who secured the next highest number of votes.

7. The C.U.T. petitions referred to above reached the General Assembly at the moment when the Trusteeship Council’s report on the Ewe question was being considered by the 4th Committee.

8. The 4th Committee therefore adopted a resolution (later adopted by the General Assembly on the 2nd December) calling upon the French authorities to investigate the complaints made and to report to the 8th Session of the Trusteeship Council.

9. This resolution, as adopted by the General Assembly, tacitly endorsed the Anglo-French proposals for the establishment of the Standing Consultative Commission, but it had no effect in inducing the C.U.T. to change their attitude.

10. When the Consultative Commission met on the 7th November, the C.U.T. was unrepresented, and out of sympathy with their French colleagues five representatives of southern British Togoland decided not to attend.

11. The final figures therefore of those attending were 29 out of 30 representatives for French Togoland and 12 out of 17 representatives for British Togoland.

12. Statements made at this first session of the Consultative Commission indicate clearly a majority, not only of those present but also of the Commission as a whole, in favour of maintaining the existing system of administration in the two Trust Territories.

13. Nevertheless, both the British and French authorities consider that before the two Administering Authorities can communicate to the Trusteeship Council the conclusion that the status quo should be maintained, the representatives of the Ewe unification parties in both Trust Territories should be given a further opportunity of attending the Commission and of expressing their views.

14. It is also considered that a second session of the Commission should in any case be held in order to enable members further to consider the various solutions put forward and thus to complete the implementation of its terms of reference.

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15. For both these reasons it is proposed to arrange for a second session of the Commission in the near future and to provide the unification parties with another opportunity of sending representatives to this second session of the Commission. The precise way in which this can be done is still under discussion in the two Trust Territories. The final formula will be worked out in time for a full statement to be made by the two Administering Authorities at the present session of the Council and it is hoped that this will be ready by the 26th February.

16. The French Government has undertaken to make a statement on the electoral methods to which reference was made in the petitions which came before the 4th Committee, and the British authorities are confident that the French delegation will be able to show from the results of the investigation undertaken by the French Government that, as already stated by the French representative at the 4th Committee, the electoral methods employed in French Togoland were fair and that the election results accurately reflect opinion in the two Trust Territories.

17. Against this background it is the hope of the two Administering Authorities that the Trusteeship Council will be able to endorse the proposals for the future operation of the Consultative Commission outlined above and that it will urge the unification parties to join in the work of the Commission so that it may fulfill the terms of reference which have already been endorsed by the Trusteeship Council.

18. The two Administering Authorities regard it as of the utmost importance that a satisfactory solution to the Ewe problem be found and in order to enlist as much support as possible for this action, it is hoped that the other Administering Authorities on the Council will be able to support this line of approach. If the other Administering Authorities find it possible to support this line, it is proposed to convey to them in due course the full text of the Anglo-French statement referred to above before it is delivered to the full Council.

19. For tactical reasons it is not the intention of the two Administering Authorities to make any approach to the non-Administering Authorities since they are of the opinion that any such approach would result in a leakage to the unification parties in West Africa and thereby lead to a series of artificially stimulated demonstrations and petitions which might jeopardise the success of the plan for securing the participation of the dissident parties in West Africa.

20. An approach has been made in the capitals of all the Administering Authorities seeking their support for this line and it is to be hoped that their Delegations to the Trusteeship Council will be able to lend their support to this as being the only practical procedure in all the circumstances.