Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Curtis C. Strong, Assistant on Dependent Area Affairs
Subject: The Ewe Problem
|Participants:||Mr. J. K. Thompson, Colonial Attaché, British Embassy|
|Mr. D. C. Tebbit, Second Secretary, British Embassy|
|Mr. O. B, Gerig, UND, Department of State|
|Mr. W. I. Cargo, UND, Department of State|
|Mr. C. C. Strong, UND, Department of State|
Mr. Thompson and Mr. Tebbit called at the Department this morning. They were received by the above-named officers and presented them with a memorandum of today’s date on the Ewe question (copy attached).1 Mr. Thompson made clear that the contents were strictly in confidence between our two governments.
Mr. Gerig took the opportunity to hand Mr. Thompson a United States suggestion for an amendment to the proposed Anglo-French resolution on the Ewe question and to inform the British representatives that, as we had informed Ambassador Garreau yesterday, we were considering the possibility of introducing the modified language as an amendment and would like the reactions of the British and [Page 546] French to this proposal.2 (The principal point in the modified language was to provide for offering to the Ewe-unification group the choice of an additional alternative to the present Anglo-French proposal for securing Ewe participation to the Consultative Commission; namely, the holding of new elections in the five districts of the southern part of French Togoland.)
Mr. Thompson was aware of our proposal, having seen Ambassador Garreau after the latter’s call at the Department yesterday afternoon. He saw objections to our proposal, particularly from the viewpoint of the local administrators. He also felt that the holding of new elections would be harmful to the political education of the inhabitants of that part of West Africa, encouraging the belief that, if one lost an election, one only had to protest energetically to the United Nations to have a new election held. He felt that the holding of new elections where the first election was conceded to have been validly carried out was highly irregular. Mr. Gerig observed that the Anglo-French proposal to have a party which had failed to participate in the election select eight delegates was equally irregular; however, we were faced with a situation where exceptional measures were called for. He stressed the importance we attached to proposals being offered to the Ewes which provided the greatest likelihood of securing their participation in the work of the Consultative Commission, or, failing that, convincing the majority of United Nations Members that every possible effort had been made to secure their participation.
Mr. Thompson presumed that the French Government in Paris, having probably been informed by Ambassador Garreau of our proposal, might already be in touch with the British Government in London; however, he would also communicate with London and seek his Government’s reactions.