Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Curtis C. Strong, Assistant on Dependent Area Affairs
Subject: The Ewe Problem
|Participants:||Ambassador Garreau, French Representative on the Trusteeship Council|
|M. Paulin Baptiste, French legal expert who investigated Consultative Commission elections in French Togoland|
|M. Gabriel Rosaz, Attache, French Embassy|
Ambassador Garreau summarized the Anglo-French proposal for obtaining the participation of the pro-Ewe-unification parties in the Enlarged Standing Consultative Commission. He stressed the fact that, although an investigation had shown the entire correctness of the elections in French Togoland, the French and British considered it desirable to make another attempt to obtain the participation in the Commission of the abstaining parties. They wished the Commission to carry out the functions for which it was designed and hoped that it might contribute to a solution of this complex problem.
Mr. Sandifer said that the chief concern of the United States was that any proposal made should enlist the cooperation of the Ewes and secure majority support in the United Nations. He said that we had studied the Anglo-French proposals, as well as the proposed joint resolution whereby the Trusteeship Council would endorse these proposals, and that we had an additional alternative to suggest. It was embodied in a modified version of the draft Anglo-French resolution, which he would ask Mr. Gerig to explain.
Mr. Gerig handed to Ambassador Garreau and the others present a draft containing the suggested modifications in language (copy attached). The principal new element would be to offer the Ewe-unification group a choice of an additional alternative consisting of the holding of new elections in the five districts of the southern part of French Togoland (namely Lome-town, Lome-subdivision, Tsevie, Palime (Klouto), Anecho, and Atakpame).
Ambassador Garreau said he had indicated to Mr. Gerig in their earlier conversation that the French Government might be willing to [Page 543] propose the holding of new elections in those areas where the anti-unification party had been elected by a minority of electors due to the abstention of the pro-unification party (namely Lome-town, Lome subdivision, Tsevie, and Palime (Klouto)), but he saw no reason for new elections in Anecho and Atakpame, where he understood that the anti-unification party had clearly won the election.
Mr. Gerig thought that new elections might be proposed in all areas where the Ewes were the predominant, or a substantial, element of the population even though in the two districts the result might be the same. This would obviate most of the C.U.T. complaints.
There was some discussion of possible modifications in the language of the United States alternative relative to the holding of new elections. Mr. Strong asked if it were not true that the pro-unification party had abstained from participation in the elections in Anecho and Atakpame, as well as in the other four districts and M. Baptiste indicated that this was true, although in these two districts a majority of the electors had participated and had voted for the Parti du Progres. To hold new elections in these two districts would throw into question the validity of elections properly won by majority votes.
Ambassador Garreau agreed and did not think the French Government could agree to new elections in these two districts. He noted the serious difficulties that such a decision would make for local administrators, and indicated that he felt sure the local administration would strongly oppose this part of the proposal.
Mr. Sandifer said we did not question the validity of the elections and that we appreciated the difficulties that new elections might cause. To offer new elections in all six of the southern districts would indeed be a concession on the part of the French Government, but we were inclined to feel that it would be an act of statesmanship. We thought that to make a proposal that would not obtain the participation of the pro-unification group would not be fruitful, and that every effort should be made to frame a proposal that would obtain such participation, as well as the support of a majority of the Members of the United Nations. Taking these considerations into account, we felt that new elections in the six districts would offer a reasonable choice.
Ambassador Garreau asked as a matter of tactics whether we had in mind joining the British and French in sponsoring the resolution as modified, or whether we were considering introducing the modified language as an amendment. If the latter, were we considering obtaining co-sponsorship of the amendment from one or two non-administering Members of the Council. Mr. Gerig said that we were considering an amendment and would probably seek co-sponsorship of it along the lines Ambassador Garreau mentioned.
Mr. Sandifer said we would wish to know, before submitting such an amendment, whether it was acceptable to the French and British.[Page 544]
Ambassador Garreau said he would have to refer our proposal to his government and to the British Government. He was extremely doubtful as to the acceptability to his government of new elections in Anecho and Atakpame; however, he would transmit the United States alternative to his government in the language of our modified draft. He wished to know whether, if our amendment were adopted, we would support the amended resolution as a whole. Mr. Sandifer replied that if our amendment was accepted we would be able to support the proposal as a whole.
Ambassador Garreau, in closing, indicated that it would be necessary to postpone consideration of the Ewe question by the Trusteeship Council, presently scheduled to begin Monday, February 26, as it might take at least a week to receive a reply from Paris.
Note: Mr. Godley and Mr. Lavalle, after the departure of the French representatives, indicated general agreement with the approach contained in the United States proposal as explained by Messrs. Sandifer and Gerig.