ODA Files, Lot 62 D 228

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Gerig) to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson)


Subject: Consultations on Dependent Area Questions with Non-Administering Powers


The problem is to determine whether and in what form it would be advisable and practicable to consult with non-administering Members of the United Nations on dependent area questions prior to the next session of the General Assembly, having regard to the successful results of our consultations last year with administering Members.

[Page 608]


It is recommended that:

Consultations be initiated with as many as possible of the non-administering countries, with the exception of the Soviet bloc, and that priority be given to certain key non-administering countries.
With the exception of certain European countries, all consultations be on a bilateral basis.
The consultations be held in Washington, on an informal basis, and generally at the Office Director level.
The attached outline of suggested topics be submitted to the various Governments invited to consult at the time the invitation is extended, with the understanding that the consultations will be sufficiently flexible to permit discussion of such other dependent area questions as they or we may wish to raise.1
The objective of the consultations be a frank and informal exchange of views on general dependent area questions arising in the United Nations, but that specific questions be discussed as appropriate with particular countries.
During the course of the consultations the attached aide-mémoire be handed to the representative concerned for transmission to his Government, if he deems such action desirable.2


1. The path of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly would undoubtedly be smoothed by as great a degree of consultation with the non-administering powers as is practicable, particularly since such countries know that the United States has already held similar conversations with certain administering powers. It might be held that an unfavorable impression would be created if the United States arranged wide-spread discussions with a large number of countries on what is primarily a United Nations matter, particularly if publicity is given to the discussions. Such a view does not appear to be valid, particularly if the discussions are held on an informal basis and it is emphasized that they are merely one aspect of the continuous consultation carried on by the United States with other United Nations Members on United Nations questions. Stress could be given to our belief that such consultations would provide an occasion for a mutually profitable exchange of views, affording each an opportunity to explain the basic motivations and objectives. Publicity of course should be limited to the minimum.

The major obstacle in the way of arranging consultations with all the non-administering countries, except the Soviet bloc, is the physical [Page 609] difficulty of completing the discussions in the time available before the next General Assembly session. The physical difficulty would be decreased, however, if consultations were initiated in the near future and, in the majority of cases, were limited to a brief discussion of selected dependent area questions arising in the United Nations. It is anticipated that the duration of the majority of the discussions would be about two hours. It is possible that some of the non-administering countries might not wish to enter into consultations, and the attitude of the countries should of course, be ascertained informally before the invitation is extended.

2. In general it is believed that bilateral discussions are preferable and would be more effective than multilateral discussions because representatives of the non-administering powers would probably speak more frankly in bilateral discussions, and would appreciate an invitation to participate in such discussions on an equal basis with the United States.

Nevertheless, there appears to be no objection to arranging consultation on a multilateral basis with some of the European non-administering powers such as Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Iceland.

3. It would be extremely difficult to hold discussions with a large number of countries prior to the next session of the General Assembly either in the capital of the particular country or in New York. Neither the Assistant Secretary or the Deputy Assistant Secretary is likely to have the time to participate in discussions with a large number of non-administering countries. Moreover, the holding of discussions on the Office Director level, or perhaps in some instances at a lower level, would have the effect of making the discussions more informal. In some cases, however, such as the Philippines, it might be desirable to have the Assistant Secretary or Deputy Assistant Secretary head the United States group. The participation of the geographic office concerned would be assumed.

4. The submission of an outline of suggested topics would be of value in that it would not only clarify, to the Government invited to enter into discussion, the scope and objectives of the consultation, but would also afford it an opportunity to prepare for discussion of the matters listed as well as related questions in which it might have a particular interest.

5. The primary objective of the consultations would be to obtain as wide an understanding and as full an acceptance as possible of the views of the United States on United Nations treatment of dependent area questions. Consequently, it is believed that the discussion should deal mainly with the broad subject of United Nations consideration of questions involving trust and other non-self-governing territories. It would also appear desirable to include some particular questions which [Page 610] are likely to come to the fore in the next session of the General Assembly.

6. It would seem helpful, both to this Government and to the various governments consulted, to hand to the representatives of the latter during the course of the consultation an aide-memoire summarizing the views of the United States on the various items on the outline of suggested topics. This would assist in ensuring that our views are fully, accurately, and uniformly reported to each government concerned.

B[enjamin] G[erig]
  1. Not printed; but for revised list, see memorandum dated August 19, p. 611.
  2. Not printed; but see Department of State memorandum (transmitted to the Embassy of Pakistan), dated August 29, p. 612. The final form of the memorandum was substantially the same as initial drafts, with the exception of revisions necessitated to bring the memorandum up-to-date by taking into account developments that had occurred since drafting began in March.