ODA files, lot 62 D 225, “United Kingdom”

The British Embassy to the Department of State





It will be recalled that Togoland was the subject of Her Majesty’s Embassy’s Aide-Mémoire 1510/2/9/54 of the 29th of January, and of the Department of State’s Aide-Mémoire of the 12th of February.

Now that the Gold Coast is moving toward self-government, Her Majesty’s Government have decided that the time is ripe for consideration of the future of Togoland under United Kingdom Trusteeship. British Togoland is a narrow landlocked strip of territory on the eastern border of the Gold Coast with a population of about 400,000; it is too small and poor to stand alone and has close economic and ethnicties [Page 1391]west and east with the neighbouring Gold Coast and French Togo-land. British Togoland is administered under a Trusteeship Agreement which is a bilateral agreement between Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the United Nations. Any decision on the future of Togoland involving a change in the Agreement is therefore the joint concern of Her Majesty’s Government and the United Nations.
Article 5 of the Trusteeship Agreement provides that Her Majesty’s Government shall administer British Togoland as an integral part of their territory. When the Agreement was signed, the United Kingdom representative explained that this meant that British Togoland was to be administered as an integral part of the Gold Coast. The new Gold Coast Constitution formally preserves the responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government as administering authority for Togoland. It leaves the Governor responsible in his discretion for Togoland and provides that any functions relating to Togoland exercised by Gold Coast Ministers shall be subject to the Governor’s directions.
On the 28th of April last a declaration was made in Parliament that the Gold Coast would, at the appropriate time, be granted self-government, and the territory is now entering the last stage of constitutional development before attaining this status. When the Gold Coast becomes fully responsible it will no longer be constitutionally possible for the United Kingdom to administer the Trust Territory as an integral part of the Gold Coast. Nor, in the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, would it be possible for them at that stage to administer the Territory independently of the Gold Coast. After forty years of common administration, Gold Coast and Togoland affairs are so closely mingled that the separate administration of this inland territory would be against the interests and also the wishes of its peoples. Such an arrangement could not be effective, and would therefore destroy the hope of any further progress in realising the aims of the Trusteeship system.
There has been some agitation in recent sessions of the United Nations General Assembly for the unification of British and French Togoland in one separate state. This has been stimulated largely by the desire for tribal unity of some groups of the Ewe tribe living in the southeastern corner of the Gold Coast and in the southern parts of both Trust Territories. In the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, unification of the two Togolands would solve nothing but would, on the other hand, create fresh difficulties: it would cut off the Ewes in the Gold Coast from those in Togoland and the tribes of the northern section of British Togoland from their kinsmen in the northern territories of the Gold Coast.
Her Majesty’s Government have therefore no alternative but to seek the termination of the present Trusteeship Agreement when the [Page 1392]Gold Coast assumes full responsibility for its own affairs and, together with the General Assembly, must consider what other arrangements should be made for the future of Togoland. As this situation may well come about within a measurable period and as the United Nations will probably require about two years to reach a final conclusion on the future of British-administered Togoland, it is considered necessary to put the problem to the United Nations forthwith in order that they may start without delay to consider what that future should be. A Memorandum has accordingly been prepared on the subject for transmission to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which indicates that in our view the basic objectives of the Trusteeship System will best be fulfilled by the integration of British-administered Togoland with the Gold Coast.
The Memorandum will be transmitted to the Secretary-General on the 21st of June under cover of a letter which will request him to include the following item in the Agenda for the Ninth Session of the General Assembly: “The future of the Trust Territory of Togoland under United Kingdom Trusteeship”. A copy of the Memorandum will be sent simultaneously to the President of the Trusteeship Council for the consideration of the Council at its Fourteenth Session, which began on the 2nd of June.1
The Memorandum, a copy of which is attached,2 has been discussed with the French Government as part of the normal procedure of Anglo-French consultation on colonial questions of mutual concern.
Her Majesty’s Government would be grateful for the support of the United States Government in the General Assembly and the Trusteeship Council. They would also be glad if the whole matter could be treated as confidential until the 21st of June, in courtesy to the Secretary-General and the Trusteeship Council.
A communication in similar terms is being addressed by Her Majesty’s Representatives at Brussels, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and The Hague, to the Governments to which they are accredited.
  1. The 14th Session of the Trusteeship Council met June 2–July 16, 1954.
  2. Not attached; not found in the Department of State files.