Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Jones)


Subject: Ewe Question

Participants: Sir Alan Burns, United Kingdom Representative in the Trusteeship Council
Mr. C. A. Gerald Meade, Counselor, British Embassy
Mr. J. K. Thompson, Colonial Attaché, British Embassy
Mr. Hayden Raynor, BNA
Mr. Ward P. Allen, EUR
Mr. J. Jefferson Jones III, UND

Sir Alan Burns stated that he would like to bring before the Department the views of the British with respect to the Ewe problem. He expressed the opinion that the gravity of the situation should not be minimized as he believed that failure to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the problems would have unfortunate repercussions not only in the areas directly concerned but throughout the whole African continent. Failure to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the Ewe problem might also adversely affect the procurement of strategic materials in Africa. Sir Alan asked if Department officials had observed a recent statement of the South African Prime Minister which was critical of the policy followed by the British in the Gold Coast on the basis that the British were moving too fast in granting self-government to the Colony. Sir Alan believed that if the Ewe problem was not solved it might afford a basis for further criticism by Mr. Malan of the British policy of promoting self-government in Africa with the greatest possible rapidity.

Sir Alan stated that the United Kingdom Government had been giving a great deal of thought to a means of reconciling the views of the French and United States Governments on the Ewe question. He wondered if the United States could accept a proposal whereby new secondary elections would be held for the six delegates from the four districts in French Togoland where the Ewe-unification group had a clear majority. He felt that there was some basis for the French objections to holding new elections in the two districts of Anecho and Atakpame (with a total of eight delegates), since the Baptiste Report clearly demonstrated that the Parti Togolais du Progrès had a clear majority in those two areas. Sir Alan said that if such a proposal was acceptable to the United States the British would strongly urge the French to accept. Mr. Jones said that, speaking personally, he doubted that the proposal which Sir Alan had advanced would fulfill [Page 560] the objectives which the United States had in mind in suggesting its proposal to the French viz, the adoption of the Trusteeship Council of a resolution which would secure the cooperation of the Ewe-unification groups or, at the very least, would appear sufficiently reasonable to the majority of the non-administering Members of the United Nations as to obtain their approval. Mr. Raynor said that if the British submitted their proposal, as outlined above, to the French it would be better if they did not indicate to the French that such a proposal was acceptable to the United States.

Sir Alan said that since it was the preliminary reaction of the United States officials present that the proposal which he had sketched was not acceptable, he wondered if it would not be preferable for the Council to approve a resolution merely taking note of the statements of the two Administering Authorities concerned and inviting them to continue their efforts to complete the participation in the Consultative Commission in such a way that it would reflect the views of all sections of the population. He believed that the adoption of a “holding resolution” would give more time to the French and British in their attempts to solve the problem. He also said that he thought that French, British, and United States Governments should consult closely during the interim period that the passage of such a resolution would afford in order to cooperate in working out substantive proposals. He hoped that the Department would participate in such discussions in order to assist the British in prevailing upon the French to take a more reasonable line in connection with this problem than they had heretofore adopted.

Mr. Jones remarked that of the two proposals which Sir Alan had described he thought that a resolution along the lines of the last proposal was to be preferred. He asked what Sir Alan would think of adding another paragraph to such a resolution requesting the Administering Authorities to present proposals for the substantive solution of the problem at the next meeting of the Council. Sir Alan replied that while he anticipated that the French and British would be in a position to present substantive proposals at the next Council meeting he did not think that it would be necessary to spell this out in the resolution. Mr. Jones also asked what the British reaction would be to a proposal providing for the establishment of a committee to assist the Administering Authorities concerned in working out substantive proposals for the solution of the Ewe problem. Sir Alan said that he would not object to the establishment of such a committee provided that it did not visit the two Trust Territories of Togoland.

At the end of the meeting arrangements were made for Sir Alan to call upon Mr. Sandifer the next day at 10 a. m., and he was informed that at that time the Department would be in a position to give a definitive reply to the proposals which he had advanced.