IO Files

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. D. Vernon McKay of the United States Delegation to the Trusteeship Council


Subject: The Ewe Problem

Participants: Mr. Awni Khalidy, Iraqi Delegation
Ambassador Francis B. Sayre, US Delegation
Mr. Vernon McKay, US Delegation

On Mr. Sayre’s invitation, Mr. Khalidy called this morning to discuss the Ewe problem.

Mr. Sayre opened the discussion by recalling that Mr. Khalidy and Mr. Gerig had worked together on the Visiting Mission to West Africa which had studied the Ewe problem. He hoped that the US and Iraq could continue to work together and could come up with a constructive proposal for dealing with this difficult question. Mr. Khalidy thanked Mr. Sayre and said he accepted this suggestion with enthusiasm. He said that as yet his own thinking had not crystallized into a definite plan.

Mr. Sayre then asked if Mr. Khalidy had heard of the Anglo-French proposal for dealing with the problem. Mr. Khalidy said that [Page 548] he had been informed of the general lines of the Anglo-French proposal. However, he stated that he knew from one dependable source that the Sylvanus Olympio party would reject a proposal along these lines.

In order to obtain a further clarification of Mr. Khalidy’s views, Mr. Sayre read the Anglo-French proposal (without the proposed US amendment) to Mr. Khalidy, and Mr. McKay pointed out what the practical effect of this proposal would be in terms of the relative strength of the P.T.P. (Parti Togolais du Progres) and C.U.T. (Comite de l’Unite Togolaise) in the Consultative Commission.

Mr. Khalidy commented that any proposal of this sort would result in the Ewe unification party being overwhelmingly outnumbered. He said that in the south of French Togoland, for all practical purposes, there is no other party than the Ewe unification party of Sylvanus Olympio. The Pedro Olympio faction (P.T.P.) he said, is a very weak, make-shift pro-French arrangement which was artificially inspired and had no actual roots in the history, tradition and culture of the people. The Anglo-French proposal was thus nothing but a joke. (This is particularly interesting because the UK and French Delegations had previously informed the US Delegation that they felt that Mr. Khalidy could be persuaded to co-sponsor the Anglo-French proposal.)

The discussion then turned to the report on the elections in French Togoland which a special representative from France is expected to present to the Council next week. Mr. Sayre commented that Garreau had told him that this report would show that the elections were absolutely free, and that there had been no coercion by the government. Mr. Khalidy responded that this report would be quite “immaterial”. Mr. McKay asked if Mr. Khalidy would explain why he considered that this report would be immaterial. Mr. Khalidy responded that of course the report would say that the elections were honest. Perhaps it might even be partly true that the French government did not exert direct pressure to induce voters to support the P.T.P. But the very nature of the French election system made it impossible for the C.U.T. to win a fair representation in the Consultative Commission. What happened in the French elections was this: in each district the chiefs or elders owed their position to the French, and these chiefs made it clear to the voters who they should vote for. This explained, he said, why the Parti du Progres won the election in Anecho and Atakpame, where the great majority of the people were actually supporters of the unification party. In other places he thought the local administrator probably did call together the chiefs or the government clerks and tell them how to vote.

Mr. McKay asked if Mr. Khalidy intended to express this view publicly in the Council. Mr. Khalidy responded that he certainly would [Page 549] express the above opinions publicly in the Council. This was not only his Government’s policy, but he considered that his personal honor and honesty as Chairman of the Visiting Mission was involved.

Mr. Sayre then asked Mr. Khalidy what ideas he could suggest for a solution. Mr. Khalidy responded that tentatively he thought new elections should be held, with the Council having agreed in advance On a fixed number of seats to be given to P.T.P. and C.U.T. Mr. Sayre wondered if new elections in the south would not be enough. Mr. Khalidy responded that this might be enough but the important thing was to fix the ratio of seats.

Mr. Sayre wondered if the C.U.T. would accept a proposal for new elections if the US and Iraq could join in such a proposal. Mr. Khalidy responded that he was afraid the C.U.T. would be very “vehement”, although he said that he would accept anything that the C.U.T. would accept. He said that De Souza and Sylvanus Olympio are writing him regularly. Mr. Sayre asked if there was any way by which Mr. Khalidy could contact Olmypio to see if the unification party would accept a proposal for new elections. Mr. Khalidy responded that the French would know what he said if he cabled, and would open any letter that he wrote, so he did not think it would be possible to make such a contact.

Mr. Khalidy thought that possibly the oral petitioners from the Togoland Congress, if they appeared, could answer this question. Mr. McKay wondered if any rivalry were developing between Sylvanus Olympio and Togoland Congress leaders. Mr. Khalidy thought this was possible, but felt that the only thing to do under the circumstances was to wait and find out whether the Togoland Congress representatives could tell us what the C.U.T. would accept. Mr. Khalidy also thought it possible that Sylvanus Olympio might come again to the Council.

Mr. McKay called attention to the fact that it was important that Mr. Khalidy and Mr. Sayre have a common understanding of what kind of elections they were each referring to. On the one hand there might be new elections at the primary and secondary stages under the system used by the French in the previous elections. Mr. McKay assumed, from the remarks of Mr. Khalidy, however, that such an arrangement would not be satisfactory to him since the results of new elections on this basis would very likely return so large a number of Parti du Progres candidates that Mr. Khalidy would not find it acceptable. Mr. Khalidy responded that this was precisely the case. He was opposed to new elections on the old basis.

Mr. Khalidy again insisted that the ratio of P.T.P. and C.U.T. seats in the Consultative Commission was the important thing. Mr. McKay asked if Mr. Khalidy did not agree since the northerners outnumbered the southerners, that the C.U.T. would be outnumbered in the Commission. [Page 550] Mr. Khalidy agreed, saying that he only insisted that in the south, where the C.U.T.’s following overwhelmingly outnumbered the P.T.P., the C.U.T. should have most of the representation. Mr. McKay asked if Mr. Khalidy had any figures in mind for this ratio. Mr. Khalidy responded that for French Togoland as a whole, the P.T.P. might be given 23 seats and the C.U.T. 18.

In response to a further question from Mr. Sayre, Mr. Khalidy made the following five suggestions (some of which overlap) as alternative proposals for dealing with the Ewe problem: (1) Do away with the Consultative Commission entirely and ask the administering authorities to come up with a new plan; (2) Do away with the Consultative Commission entirely and have the Trusteeship Council present a new plan to the administering authorities; (3) New elections to the Consultative Commission in all French Togoland on a new basis; (4) Have the Trusteeship Council and the administering authorities, either publicly in the Council or privately behind the scenes agree on a fixed ratio of P.T.P. and C.U.T. seats. (If 23 and 18 were decided upon, for example, the P.T.P. could then elect any 23 people it wanted, and the C.U.T. could elect any 18 people it wanted); (5) Do away with the present Consultative Commission in favor of a Mixed Advisory Commission consisting of representatives of (a) the administering authorities, (b) the Trusteeship Council, (c) the C.U.T., and (d) the P.T.P.

Mr. Khalidy also stated that he would gladly accept a UN supervised election or plebiscite. He pointed out that at the seventh session of the Council he had remarked that the elections proposed by the administering authorities would not be satisfactory unless they were under some form of Trusteeship Council control.

Mr. Sayre thanked Mr. Khalidy for these interesting suggestions, and it was agreed that Mr. Khalidy would call on Mr. Sayre again on Tuesday February 27 at 11 a. m. to discuss the problem further.

Vernon McKat