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) 5)


Item IV, (b), 5: Revision of the Trusteeship Council’s Questionnaire

I. Problem: To determine the position of the United States on the question of the revision of the Trusteeship Council’s Provisional Questionnaire.

II. Recommended United States Position:

A. The U.S. considers the reporting function to be among the most important features of the Trusteeship System since

it provides a standard, authoritative method of publicizing policies and accomplishments of administering authorities in the trust territories, and
full, accurate information is best weapon against generalized, tendentious criticism.

B. U.S. believes, therefore, that in revision of questionnaire the tactical, political advantages of full and frank reporting as well as considerations of the substantive value and usefulness of information for purposes of Trusteeship Council should be kept in mind.

C. In view of above, U.S. position on revision of questionnaire will be based on following principles:

Questionnaire should be sufficiently inclusive and detailed to provide opportunity for complete reporting on all important aspects of administration,
Emphasis should be placed on information which will assist TC to perform review, supervisory functions,
Every effort should be made to eliminate redundancy, duplication and to insure conciseness without sacrifice of completeness,
A short, unduly vague questionnaire is not necessarily advantageous since from point of view of preparation of reports, a full and specific outline is helpful, and since, from tactical point of view it is important to avoid grounds for suspicion that administering authorities are attempting to subordinate reporting function,
In the absence of overriding considerations to the contrary, the U.S. believes that efforts should be made to determine what information, particularly statistical information, will be requested from administering authorities on annual basis by specialized agencies, other UN bodies and make provision for such information in questionnaire thus enabling all regular requests for information be met in a single report,
Form of questionnaire should be that of topical outline rather than series of questions thus being consistent with preferred narrative-type report and allowing more flexibility in presentation information,
Following revision questionnaire, administering authorities should make every effort to follow outline closely and consistently in order to facilitate examination of reports. Where items in questionnaire [Page 640] do not apply, report should so state with explanation, if necessary, in order to avoid implication of omission or suppression of information.

D. U.S. has submitted Secretariat draft revision of questionnaire to appropriate administrative officials for comment, but until such comments are received we are not able to comment in detail on specific points in Secretariat draft.