320/10–1351: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


2198. In line with Secy’s statement to Amb Bonnet (Deptel 2177 sent to USUN as 199), request you reaffirm to FonOff Dept’s strong belief Fr shld not fight placing Morocco question on GA Agenda, but shld in first place attempt induce Egyptians withdraw or agree to postponement of item. If not successful they shld support insertion on ground that it presents useful opportunity for Fr to present their record in Morocco and tell world about it. We gratified note from Paris Embtel 2102 Oct 9 Fr Del will make complete statement before GA showing Fr carrying out provisions Art 73 UN Charter.2 Above view re tactics in GA supported by fol reasons:

1. In light of past practice of GA under which no item proposed for insertion in Agenda has ever been rejected by vote of GA it is most unlikely that General Comite or GA wld vote to reject item even [Page 138] if US shld fully support Fr. In our view Fr case wld suffer by defeat on agenda issue and our own capabilities of helping Fr out in later stages might be adversely affected. Moreover, in such event result wld be adding debate in General Comité to debate in main Comite.

2. Under established GA practice placing item on GA agenda does not prejudice question of jurisdiction of GA to deal with it. US has taken this position consistently in GA and in SC, most recently in SC proceeding on Iran. Discussion fol placing matter on agenda wld clarify jurisdictional issue.

3. US itself has never opposed placing of any consequential matter on agenda. This is essential part of our philosophy that GA is “town meeting of world”, in sense that all matters which appear of serious concern to any Member of UN can at least be raised for discussion in GA. We are most anxious avoid abandoning this firmly established US position.

4. Explanatory memo forwarded by Egypt to SYG alleges (a) conflict between Fr and Morocco reaching “highly critical phase” with incidents; (b) violation of Treaty of 1911 [1912]; (c) violation of principles and provisions of Charter and Declaration of Human Rights. It will be argued in GA that protectorate relationship rests upon Treaty of Fez concluded between sovereign states of Morocco and France; that issues involving treaty relationships are of international concern and no single party to treaty may claim exclusive control of its effect by invoking Art 2 para 7 of its Charter. It will be pointed out claim made by Fr in 1921 that dispute with Great Britain arising out of nationality decrees in Morocco was by international law solely within its domestic jurisdiction was held invalid by Permanent Court of Justice; Court based its opinion on fact that resolution of dispute wld have involved interpretation of treaties. Moreover, it will be argued that even if Art 2 para 7 shld be applicable in this matter; GA under Arts 10 and 14 has competence consider the matter under these Arts because such consideration does not constitute intervention within meaning of Art 2 para 7. Precedents will be cited of GA action in cases of Indians in South Africa, observance of human rights in satellite states, Chilean wives, etc., where GA passed condemnatory resolutions. We anticipate force of these arguments will be such as to rally substantial majority for inclusion of item on agenda and possibly for proposition that GA has jurisdiction to consider matter. By attempting to fight these arguments particularly prior to the inclusion on agenda Fr will weaken their case.

It has been consistent US position avoid wherever possible jurisdictional issue.

Regardless of jurisdictional problem we believe GA may place matter on agenda. Again regardless of jurisdictional problem, we strongly believe it wld be most inadvisable and inappropriate for [Page 139] GA to pass condemnatory res in Moroccan matter or establish commission of investigation. In line with Secy’s assurances to Bonnet we intend strongly oppose such action stressing that it wld not be warranted in light of statement Fr Del will make in GA.

We also believe every effort shld be made by Fr to induce Egyptians withdraw or agree to postponement of their item. You shld follow up with FonOff Secy’s suggestion to Bonnet that if negotiations with Egyptians on defense matters went well it might be possible to persuade them withdraw their request for debate on Morocco.

If withdrawal of item shld appear impossible Fr shld make every effort obtain postponement of consideration of question in GA. We shall support appropriate Fr proposal that question be placed at bottom of agenda in Comite with view to ensuring adequate time for negotiations for possible agreement on withdrawal of item or indefinite postponement.

USUN pass above to Lacoste3 in response to his approach reported in urtel 434 Oct 8.4

FYI Oct 11 Bonnet asked Asst Secy Hickerson specifically whether US will support Fr Del in Gen Comite to keep Moroccan item off agenda and whether US will oppose any res other than one which wld drop item from agenda on ground GA lacks jurisdiction. Hickerson explained our traditional attitude toward placing matters on agenda along lines of para nr 3 above. He told Bonnet his two specific questions will be taken up with Secy.

  1. Sent also to New York for USUN as 202 and repeated for information to Paris for Sanders as 2010.
  2. Not printed. The Embassy reported the French news organs Figaro and Monde had published officially inspired articles to the effect that the United Nations was not competent to examine questions relating to Morocco. When questioned by the Embassy, a French Foreign Office spokesman had stated that this essentially was the line the French Government contemplated taking regarding the Moroccan case submitted to the General Assembly by Egypt. The Embassy was told that “French would not only declare UN incompetent this question but refuse carry out any UN resolution thereon. French delegation would make complete statement before General Assembly showing France was carrying out provisions Article 23 [73] UN charter. [Official] stated Embassy Washington had been asked convey Department French attitude as above.” (320/10–951)
  3. Francis Lacoste, Minister in the Permanent French Delegation to the United Nations.
  4. Telegram 434 not printed; it informed the United States Mission at the United Nations that Egypt had requested the inscription of the Moroccan item on the agenda of the General Assembly. (771.00/10–851)