ODA Files, Lot 60 D 512

Discussion Brief for Bilateral Talks on Colonial Policy To Be Held at London and Paris (Agenda Item IV (a)3 (a))


Item IV [(a)] 3(a): Problems in Connection with the Definition of the Concept of “Non-Self-Governing Territory”

I. Problem: To determine position on definition by UN of term “non-self-governing”. Non-administering Members support right of UN to define term, some feel GA may apply definition. Administering Members do not oppose, on principle, right of UN to define, feel task sterile, oppose UN attempt to apply to particular territory.

II. Recommended United States Position:

A. U.S. maintains each administering Member has right to determine constitutional status of any territory under its sovereignty; however, assumes all Members would wish to respect any ICJ opinion on Chapter XI.

B. U.S. does not consider interpretation of terms in Chapter XI matter wholly for unilateral determination; therefore, considers that GA, under Article 10, not exceeding authority to

Discuss, attempt to define this expression,
Recommend that administering Members consider such definition,
Express opinion on guiding principles in determining status of territories.

C. U.S. should urge administering Members to participate, offer constructive suggestions in Special Committee discussions of “factors to be taken into account” in determining status of any territory (Res. 334 (IV)); since

Further discussion this problem in UN cannot be avoided,
Smaller, balanced Committee best forum.

D. U.S. still considering best course for Committee to follow pursuant to Res. 334 (IV):

We think that
Committee should undertake comply with invitation of GA
In the course of our participation in the discussion, we might point out difficulties of definition as educative process for non-administering Members.
We feel it would be extremely difficult, and probably politically unwise, to formulate all-inclusive definition but list of factors which should obviously be taken into account might be drawn up for consideration by GA.

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E. If unacceptable definition emerges, U.S. inclines to view submission some aspects of problem to ICJ for advisory opinion might be appropriate.