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) 6)


Item IV(b)6: Colonial Application Clause

I. Problem: To determine U.S. position with respect to inclusion of “colonial application article” in international treaties, conventions or agreements.

II. Recommended United States Position:

A. U.S. should maintain attitude of sympathetic understanding of the constitutional problem of the U.K. and other metropolitan states which in some cases cannot extend the application of a convention to a territory without the consent of the local government.

B. U.S. does not desire to have problem of federal-state article linked with colonial article in U.N. formulation of treaties, but U.S. desires that special constitutional problem of this country in this connection be recognized.

C. While U.S. thus recognizes in principle the legal requirements of some metropolitan states, consideration should be given to measures for securing more general understanding of the problem.

Legal issues involved have been skillfully confused so that many governments normally anti-Soviet consider colonial application clause to be a legal device for imperialistic exploitation, as evidenced by substantial majorities against the colonial clause in past two sessions of Committee 3.
Much misunderstanding might be eliminated by more precise explanation of constitutional problem to other states outside U.N. sessions.
U.S. believes that prompt consideration should be given to finding an acceptable formula for a colonial clause which will make clear to other states the fact that the metropolitan states do desire to apply conventions as widely as possible.
The U.S. believes that in cases where the (clause) convention would be suitable for application and could be applied, prompt action to secure application would remove unnecessary suspicion.