ODA Files, Lot 60 D 512

Discussion Brief for Bilateral Talks on Colonial Policy To Be Held at London and Paris (Agenda Item IV (b) 2)


Item IV (b) 2: Handling of the 1951 Special Committee including the General Assembly Resolution on the implementation of the Declaration of Human Rights in non-self-governing territories, and including the question of the revision of the Standard Form (including the possibility of making arrangements whereby the smaller colonial territories would be required to transmit information at intervals longer than one year).

I. Problem: To determine the best methods of handling the work of the 1951 Special Committee, including the questions of human rights and the revision of the Standard Form.*

II. Recommendations:

A. It is recommended that the British [French] [Belgians]1 be informed that:

The United States believes
that the constructive approach of the Administering authorities in dealing with educational problems at the 1950 Session of the Special Committee was beneficial to and was appreciated by other Members of the Committee;
that the same constructive approach, including the assignment of an expert to each delegation if at all practicable, should be continued.
In keeping with its policy of according full respect to recommendations of the General Assembly, the United States has already prepared, and intends to submit to the Secretary General, a detailed Report on the Application of Human Rights in Non-Self-Governing Territories Administered by the United States. The United States believes
that no useful purpose would be served by failing to submit this information, particularly if any attempt were made to justify the failure to submit information on the ground that such information should be submitted by self-governing as well as non-self-governing territories;
that such an attitude of non-cooperation might tend to disrupt the work of the Committee, and might jeopardize the harmonious and constructive trend which characterized the discussions of the 1950 Session;
that the other administering Members should likewise submit information on human rights in their territories, and that if they do not have this information ready for submission by the time the Special Committee meets, that they inform the Special Committee that the information is in preparation;
that the submission of this information would strengthen the position of the Administering Authorities in the Third Committee in supporting Article 60 of the Draft Covenant on Human Rights in which the signatories of the Covenant undertake to submit reports concerning progress made in achieving the observance of human rights;
and that the actions of the Administering Members, in respect to submitting information on human rights in their non-self-governing territories will be a significant step forward in the furtherance in all countries of the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
With regard to the revision of the Standard Form, the United States Delegation intends to await further clarification of the proposals by the United Kingdom and to await the reaction of the other members of the Special Committee, especially the non-administering members. The United States understands from this document (A/AC.35/SC.1/L.4)
that the United Kingdom wishes to reduce the burdens on the small administrative staff in 19 of its smaller colonies by submitting full information from those colonies every three years beginning in 1952 instead of annually;
that the Secretary General would be empowered to use any supplementary material in his summaries and analyses prepared in three years placed at his disposal by administering members concerned, relating to educational, social, and economic conditions in those territories;
that the United Kingdom would, in addition, supply annually to the Secretary General the information described in the introduction to the revised Standard Form relating to significant developments in the 19 territories concerned;
The United States is aware, however, [Page 637]
that the United Kingdom proposal might lead to the charge by the non-administering Members that it is a plan to withdraw further from the obligations of Article 73(e) of the Charter;
that some difficulty might be experienced in defining the term “small” territory; and
that the action of the United Kingdom in withdrawing from annual reporting on 19 of its small territories would establish a precedent which might be followed by other administering Members.

  1. This paper was drafted prior to the meeting of the Special Committee in 1951. Some of the recommendations contained herein may be obviated by the results of that Committee’s work. [Footnote in the source text.]
  2. Brackets in the source text.