320/12–1151: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Secretary of State

Delga 621. Subject: South West Africa. Committee 4 today adopted eight-power joint resolution on Southwest Africa by vote of 39–5 (Soviet bloc)–8 (Australia, Belgium, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, UK, Yugoslavia.)

Para 13 first eliminated on suggestion of Dominican Republic and agreed to by all sponsors. Reason given for its elimination was that it gave too much emphasis to proposals of Ad Hoc Committee (it was [Page 708]apparently not realized by proponents of elimination that this was the one para most unacceptable to Union). Consequential vote eliminated words “on basis of the Ad Hoc Committee” proposal from para 16.1

  1. For the proceedings of the Fourth Committee on this matter, December 5, 8, 10, and 11, see GA (VI), Fourth Committee, pp. 103–108, 125–133, 135–141, and 143–152.

    Concurrently, with the passage of the 8-power joint draft resolution, the Committee had entertained a 5-power (Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, India, and the Philippines) joint draft resolution (UN Doc. A/C.4/L.157). This proposed that the General Assembly would reaffirm the position stated in its resolution 449 B (V) of December 13, 1950, that the normal way of modifying the international status of the Territory of South West Africa would be to place it under the United Nations trusteeship system by means of an instrument negotiated under Chapter XII of the United Nations Charter. Immediately after the vote on the 8-power resolution extending the life of the Ad Hoc Committee on South West Africa, on December 11, the Fourth Committee adopted the 5-power draft resolution, 33 votes to none, with 17 abstentions. The United States abstained from voting.

    The following is the official summary record of the United States Delegate’s statement on this occasion:

    “82. Mr. Sayre (United States of America), in explanation of his vote, said that it was not obligatory for the Government of the Union of South Africa to put South West Africa under the International Trusteeship System, although that could be regarded as the desirable and normal procedure. He felt, therefore, that nothing was to be gained by repeating General Assembly resolution 449 (V), and that there would even be a danger of cheapening United Nations resolutions by reiterating the previous year’s resolution. A solemn appeal had already been made to the Government of the Union of South Africa to reconsider the implementation of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and he felt it inadvisable to urge that Government at present to go farther. He would therefore abstain from voting on draft resolution A/C.4/L.157.” (GA (VI), Fourth Committee, p. 152)