Memorandum by Mr. Robert R. Robbins of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson)


Subject: Statements by Ambassador Jooste re United States Position on South West Africa

A memo of conversation of December 7, 1951,1 reports that in a recent conversation with Mr. Ross (GADel) Ambassador Jooste made the following three points concerning the United States position on South West Africa:

That you and other United States representatives had assured him that “the Allied and Associated Powers idea” merited consideration;
That he had also been assured the United States would not join in any action condemnatory of the Union;
That characterizing the Ad Hoc Committee’s proposals as a “minimum” left “no room for negotiation”.

With respect to these points you may be interested in the following information:

1. Records of the several conversations between you and Ambassador Jooste refer to the “Allied and Associated Powers idea” only once, (July 17 [16], 1951).2 Ambassador Jooste remarked that he did not believe that the Ad Hoc Committee would accept that idea. Mr. Gerig remarked that the Committee had not rejected the idea that the agreement be between the Powers and the Union with Assembly approval. The United States was quite prepared to join the United Kingdom and France as contracting powers provided the latter were willing and the Assembly did not oppose this procedure. This position was also stated in the Ad Hoc Committee and has been the consistent United States position on so much of the Union’s proposal as dealt with the parties to an agreement.

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Jooste’s statement to Ross appears to confuse the issues of procedure and substance and to imply that the United States had been sympathetic to the Union proposal on both. While the United States has never opposed idea of the remaining Allied and Associated Powers as parties to the Agreement, it has never indicated any support for the Union’s proposal that the terms of agreement be limited to a resumption of Articles 2–5 of the original Mandate and has always told the Union that it strongly supported the Committee’s draft of the terms of an agreement.

2. Whether the resolution recently adopted by the Fourth Committee may be termed “condemnatory” or not is obviously a matter of interpretation. It seems almost certain, however, that had the United States not taken the initiative in co-sponsoring a moderate resolution—which in final form merely “regretted” rather than “deplored” the Union’s action—proposals indubitably condemnatory would have been made. Thus the United States not only did not support “condemnatory” action by the Assembly, but played an active part in the formulation and approval of a resolution which, in the circumstances, was extremely moderate.

3. With respect to the Committee’s proposal as a basis of negotiation, you told Jooste in the July 17 conversation that while we believed there was a chance of getting Assembly approval for the Committee’s proposal, we were firmly convinced that anything less would fail to get a two-thirds majority. Jooste should therefore have been aware that the United States would support the provision in the resolution (which was eliminated in final voting), by which the Assembly endorsed the Committee’s proposal “in principle, as a minimum”.

Copies of this memorandum are being sent to the Delegation for information.

  1. Not found in Department of State files.
  2. See memorandum of conversation, July 16, p. 684.