IO Files

Minutes of Meeting of Administering Members of the Trusteeship Council, New York, February 16, 1951


Subject: Meeting of Administering Members to Discuss Ewe Problem


Sir Alan Burns } United Kingdom Delegation
Mr. W. A. C. Mathieson
Ambassador Roger Garreau } French Delegation
Mr. Henri Laurentie
Mr. Francis Hure
Mr. Pierre Ryckmansl } Belgian Delegation
Mr. Jacques Houard
Mr. D.O. Hay } Australian Delegation
Mr.Roy Peachery
Mr. G.R. Laking } New Zealand Delegation
Mr. Charles C. Craw
Ambassador Francis B. Sayre } United States Delegation
Mr. Vernon McKay

Upon the invitation of Sir Alan Burns, representatives of the six administering Members of the Trusteeship Council met at the offices of the UK Delegation in the Empire State Building from 11:00 a. m. to 12:45 p. m. on Friday, February 16. The main purpose of the meeting, as stated by Sir Alan Burns, was to enable the British and French Delegations to explain their proposals for dealing with the Ewe problem. Sir Alan said the British and French Delegations hoped that the other Administering Authorities, and the Trusteeship Council, would be able to approve these proposals.

Sir Alan stated that either he or Ambassador Garreau would present to the Council a joint Anglo-French statement summarizing the facts regarding the elections to the enlarged Anglo-French Standing Consultative Commission. At the moment, he said, he and Ambassador Garreau each thought the other should introduce the joint statement. The Joint statement would be printed and circulated as a Council document.

With regard to the elections in British Togoland, Sir Alan said that there had been no difficulties. The people had been satisfied. Only one petition protesting these elections had been received, and it had no validity.

Ambassador Garreau then commented on the elections in French Togoland. He said that an investigation had been held and that a special representative was coming to the Trusteeship Council to present [Page 533] a report on this investigation. The investigation had revealed that the elections were perfectly fair, and that absolutely no pressure had been exerted by the government to influence the elections. The elections had shown that the Ewe unity party (Comite de l’Unite Togolaise) was only a small minority in the whole of the two Togos although it was a majority in the Ewe area. After the first stage of the elections, the Ewe unity party had seen that it would win only six seats, and had decided to boycott the second stage of the elections. The French had postponed the second stage of the voting. The French then held the elections anyway and the pro-French party, the Parti du Progres, had elected candidates to all six of the seats which otherwise would have gone to the unity party.

In this situation, Ambassador Garreau said, the French had to decide between two alternatives in formulating a position to be presented to the 8th session of the Trusteeship Council. On the one hand, they could unseat the six Parti du Progres candidates from the seats they won as a result of the unity party’s boycott. But they had decided this would be extremely difficult, in fact, illegal, as the Parti du Progres had won these seats in a fair election. Consequently, the French had decided upon a second alternative—to leave those six seats to the Parti du Progress, and to enlarge the Commission further in order to give seats to the unity party. Because of this enlargement of the Commission, the French had agreed to increase the extra seats for the unity party proportionately, from 6 to 8. As the unity party was given one seat in any case without an election, its total representation would be 9 seats out of 60 (38 for French Togoland and 22 for British Togoland). Sir Alan explained that this would also mean 5 extra seats for British Togoland, which would be divided up, one for each of five districts. Ambassador Garreau concluded by expressing the hope that the Trusteeship Council would adopt a resolution asking the Ewes to participate on this basis in the enlarged Commission.

Mr. Ryckmans (Belgium) expressed the belief that the first question in which the non-administering members of the Trusteeship Council would be interested was whether the elections were fair. Mr. Ryckmans (Belgium) asked Ambassador Garreau if the report which the Special Representative would bring to the Council was really convincing on this point. If not, the non-administering members would want new elections. Ambassador Garreau answered that the report would be absolutely convincing.

Mr. Laking (New Zealand) thought the non-administering members might take the following position: they might say they had accepted the British-French proposal for an enlarged commission in the beginning because the British and French had said it would contribute [Page 534] to a solution of the problem. But now it appeared that even if the Ewes were persuaded to participate, they would be completely outvoted. The non-administering members might therefore ask, “What does this do for the Ewes?” Ambassador Garreau’s only comment on this question was that the Ewes are a minority in the two Togos.

Mr. Ryckmans said, in partial response to Mr. Laking’s question, that the Ewes might have a chance to convince the others of the merits of their case. If the results of the Consultative Commission indicate that the majority does not want unification, then the Trusteeship Council could take up the question of whether the Ewes could secede from the two Togolands.

Mr. Sayre remarked that the immediate objective was to get the Ewes to participate. The question before the group, he said, was a practical one. It was not a question of apportioning blame or challenging the validity of the elections. Everyone might agree that the Ewes were at fault in boycotting the elections. But what of it? A practical solution which would induce them to participate must now be searched for, in order to enable the Trusteeship Council to complete the consultation process it had agreed upon. Mr. Sayre quoted the conclusion of the visiting mission: “In closing these observations the Mission feels that it is its duty to point out that the problem has attained the force and dimensions of a nationalistic movement and that a solution should be sought with urgency in the interest of peace and stability in that part of the world.” He pointed out that the Mission was made up of practical and responsible persons, including Mr. Gerig of the United States.

The question in his own mind, Mr. Sayre said, was whether the Ewes would accept the Anglo-French proposal. Whether it was a fair proposal or an unfair proposal, would the Ewes accept it? Mr. Sayre then asked Sir Alan and Ambassador Garreau if they thought the Ewes would accept it. Ambassador Garreau said he didn’t know. He then asserted that the Trusteeship Council had decided to appoint a Consultative Commission. The first duty of the petitioners, he declared, was to comply with the Trusteeship Council decision. But they had not done so. He declared that France could not be “bullied” by a small fraction of the population; this would be undemocratic and contrary to the Charter of the United Nations (at this point, Mr. Ryckmans intervened to comment that a statement such as the one just made by Ambassador Garreau should not be made publicly before the Trusteeship Council).

Sir Alan also said he didn’t know whether the Ewes would accept the new Anglo-French proposal. Following Ryckmans’ suggestion, he said that if they did participate, they would have an opportunity to convert others to their point of view.

[Page 535]

Mr. Sayre then stated that the Department of State was at present studying the problem, and had instructed him to seek certain information from the United Kingdom and France which would help the Department in formulating a position. He then read from the Department’s telegraphed instructions the following question: “Would it be feasible to hold new elections to the Consultative Commission organized on a simplified basis in both Togolands?”

Ambassador Garreau said he had no instructions from his government on this point, but he was positive that new elections would be unacceptable to France, as they would imply a condemnation of France. Moreover, new elections would lose time and the Ewe unity party might not get as many seats as they were now assured of under the new Anglo-French proposal. The Communist party, he asserted, had entered the picture and was now exploiting the situation, which was bad for France because France was responsible for maintaining peace. Ambassador Garreau concluded with the categorical statement that France would not accept new elections.

Mr. Sayre again stated that there was no question of doubting the validity of the first elections. The question was a practical one of finding a proposal which the Ewes and the United Nations would accept, thereby enabling the Council to complete the consultative process it had begun.

Mr. Ryckmans, in partial response to Mr. Sayre’s question, thought that the Ewes probably would not accept the proposal—but he thought the Council should tell them anyway that they should participate. After they had participated, if their views did not prevail, they could appeal to the Council again, and the Council could take up the question of whether the Ewes had a “right of succession”. Mr. Ryckmans doubted the advisability of new elections. The Africans, he said, were not ripe for elections. If the Trusteeship Council asked for another vote, the people might vote differently, against their own convictions.

Sir Alan stated that the British had never considered the possibility of new elections in British Togoland.

Ambassador Garreau intervened to say that if the question of elections were raised in the Trusteeship Council, a proposal might be made for an international supervisory committee for the elections. This would be quite intolerable as it would enable the Secretariat to intervene. Ambassador Garreau then repeated at some length a denunciation he had made on several previous occasions of Daniel Chapman, a Gold Coast Ewe on the UN Secretariat. Chapman is now in the Gold Coast on leave from his UN job. Garreau said Chapman may not be making public speeches now, but is certainly intriguing privately on behalf of the Ewes. Ambassador Garreau also said that he has a photostatic copy of a long letter from Chapman to Sylvanus Olympio giving Olympio advice on the Ewe question.

[Page 536]

Mr. McKay1 remarked that he thought Mr. Ryckmans was right in saying that the Trusteeship Council ought to try to carry through the consultative process it had begun. Mr. McKay hoped a way could be found to induce the Ewes to participate. Since the administering authorities considered that new elections were not feasible, he wondered if the discussion could revert for a moment to the two alternatives Ambassador Garreau had mentioned in his opening remarks. Ambassador Garreau had said that the second alternative had been decided upon, namely, the present Anglo-French proposal. Mr. McKay wondered if the first alternative, namely, placing six Comité de l’Unité Togolaise candidates in the seats won by default by the Parti du Progres, would be more likely to induce the Comite de l’Unité Togolaise to participate in the work of the Commission. He wondered if there was any possibility of reconsidering the decision, and reverting to this first alternative. Mr. Laurentie responded in the negative.

Sir Alan then asked whether he should approach Mr. Khalidy2 to see if Mr. Khalidy would be willing to sponsor the resolution proposed by the British and French (the text of this resolution is attached). Mr. Sayre thought it would be better to wait until the administering authorities had further time to study the Anglo-French proposal.

Mr. Sayre wondered what would happen if the Ewes refused to participate in the Commission on the basis of the present proposals. Ambassador Garreau did not answer this question precisely, but gave a general reply to the effect that the Ewe unity faction was an insignificant group. At this point Mr. Ryckmans intervened to remind Ambassador Garreau that one couldn’t get away from the fact that the Visiting Mission had concluded that the Ewe unity movement was very strong, and that the Trusteeship Council had endorsed this conclusion. He hoped that Ambassador Garreau would not state publicly in the Council that the Ewe unity group was insignificant. The question now was to find means of reconciling Ewe aspirations with the wishes of the rest of the Togolanders.

Mr. Mathieson (UK) expressed the opinion that the Council should tell the Ewes to take part in the Commission, and the Council should not allow itself to be blackmailed by the Ewes.

Mr. Laking replied that he thought, on the contrary, that the Trusteeship Council would serve no useful purpose in passing this resolution if it would not be accepted.

Mr. Huré (France), in response to Mr. Laking’s earlier question, said that nobody knew whether the Ewes would abide by the terms of the resolution being proposed by the British and French.

[Page 537]

Mr. Lairing wondered whether the Council would want to pass such a resolution if nobody knows what results it might produce.

Mr. Mathieson (presiding following Sir Alan’s departure for another engagement at 12:30), suggested adjournment in order to give those present further time for study of the Anglo-French proposals. It was tentatively agreed that a second meeting on the subject would be held at 11 a. m. on Wednesday, February 21.

Mr. Sayre again remarked that he wanted to make it clear the US had not yet taken a position, but had asked its questions today for the purpose of obtaining information.

[Here follow informal, off-the-record remarks by some of the representatives.]



Skeleton Draft Resolution to Indicate the Main Points Which the French and United Kingdom Delegations Would Wish to See Embodied in the Trusteeship Council’s Resolution on the Ewe Problem

The Trusteeship Council

Having considered the General Assembly resolution of the 2nd December, 1950 (document A/1616) on the subject of the Ewe problem;

Noting with satisfaction the statements made by the Administering Authorities regarding the electoral methods adopted for elections to the enlarged Consultative Commission for the Trust Territories of Togoland under French Administration and Togoland under British Administration;

Considering that these methods were such as to enable all sections of the population to express their true opinions;

Noting that certain groups in the two Trust Territories declined to take part either in certain stages of the elections or in the proceedings of the enlarged Consultative Commission;

Regrets that, as a result, it has not been possible for certain points of view to be expressed in the Commission;

Notes with approval the steps which the Administering Authorities propose to take in order to encourage these groups to take part hereafter in the work of the Commission;

Urges these groups to take advantage of these proposals and to take part accordingly in the second session of the Commission;

Recalls its resolution of the 14th July, 1950; and

Invites the Administering Authorities to proceed as soon as possible with further implementation of the plans set out in document T/702 and to report to the Council at its next session on the work of the enlarged Consultative Commission.

  1. Donald Vernon McKay, Specialist on Dependent Area Affairs. McKay drafted this U.S. version of the minutes of meeting.
  2. Awni Khalidy, Representative of Iraq on the Trusteeship Council.