IO Files

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Trusteeship Affairs (Cargo)


Subject: The Ewe Question

Participants: M. Jean Daridan, Minister Counselor, French Embassy
M. Gabriel Eosaz, Attaché, French Embassy
Mr. Benjamin Gerig, UND
Mr. William Cargo, UND
Mr. G. McMurtrie Godley, WE

M. Daridan called, at his request, on Mr. Gerig to give to the Department the views of the French Government with regard to the possible amendment to the Anglo-French proposals suggested by the United States. (The proposal was to establish an additional alternative under which new elections would be held at both the first and second stages in the southern districts of French Togoland, including Anecho and Atakpamé.) M. Daridan explained that the French Government was greatly concerned about the Ewe problem. They regarded the Ewe movement as subject to communist influence and, in that sense, a danger. They believed that new elections would further disturb the political situation in the area and consequently were opposed to them. He expressed the hope that the United States would be able to support the original Anglo-French proposals and would not feel obliged to pursue the suggested amendment.

Mr. Gerig said that the United States had put forward the suggestion only in an effort to be helpful to France and thereby, of course, to be helpful to the United States and the other administering powers. M. Daridan replied that his Government understood that this was the spirit in which the suggestion had been made and regretted that there was not a meeting of minds at this stage about it. Mr. Gerig said that we felt that a proposal on the Ewe problem should either result in the participation of the pro-unification groups in the Consultative Commission or, in the event that these groups should still be unwilling [Page 554] to participate, should make the refusal of these groups appear unreasonable to the great majority of Members of the United Nations. He said that the United States would be quite happy about the Anglo-French proposals if we could be assured that they would meet one of these objectives. Our present information, however, indicated that they would achieve neither. Mr. Gerig said that even if the United States supported the Anglo-French proposals, we believed that they could not receive more than the votes of the six administering powers and perhaps not all of those. They would accordingly not carry in the Trusteeship Council. In the General Assembly, he pointed out, the situation would be serious indeed, in view of the fact that the administering powers are but a small minority of the total membership. In that body, far-reaching proposals involving United Nations investigations or supervised elections might readily be made. On the other hand, if Iraq and other non-administering Members of the Trusteeship Council were to give their support to a suggestion such as the United States proposal, we believe that serious difficulties in the General Assembly might be averted. It was recognized that a proposal such as the one we had suggested would involve difficulties for the local administration, but it was felt that the facing of such problems now might avoid greater difficulties at a subsequent time.

M. Daridan indicated that he appreciated the force of these arguments, but that he was instructed by his Government to state that the amendment suggested by the United States was unacceptable and that if it was pursued in the Trusteeship Council the French Delegation would vote against it. He observed that the Ewe question was very complex and regretted that he had no compromise solution to put forward. Consequently, the position, at the present time, was as he had stated it.

M. Rosaz said that the position in the Trusteeship Council would no doubt be clearer after the various delegations had had an opportunity to study the report on the previous elections in French Togoland presented by Mr. Baptiste. Mr. Gerig said that this was no doubt true and that we felt that we should proceed slowly in this matter, taking into account the views of other Council Members.

M. Daridan said that he expected to have further communications from his Government on the Ewe question and that he would therefore hope to be able to discuss it further with Mr. Gerig. Mr. Gerig said that he would be glad to discuss the matter at any time.