711C.02/10–2753: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Lodge) to the Department of State


Delga 175. Re Puerto Rican case Committee IV. Difficult atmosphere of Fourth Committee debate on cessation information Surinam and Netherlands Antilles and proposed amendments to Swedish draft resolution forecast probable adoption resolution asserting competence GA to share in decision when territory ceases to be NSG and urging resumption of reporting under Article 73(e). Dutch attempt to have discussion this item postponed until after roundtable conference failed completely with nine speeches today and at least ten scheduled for October 28.

In view foregoing, most likely committee will desire pronounce on Puerto Rico cessation by amending Committee on Information resolution to assert competence of Assembly to participate in decision to cease reporting.

A vote favoring US decision to cease reporting on Puerto Rico may be expected from all members present except Soviet bloc, probably 2–3 other members, with perhaps 10–12 abstentions. However, if competence issue raised, negative votes or abstentions might be increased by addition of seven administering powers although the number of abstentions among nonadministering members might diminish. Under two-thirds rule in plenary, favorable outcome could not be taken for granted.

Mrs. Bolton and Fourth Committee advisers suggest US delegation might abstain or not participate in vote, stressing our inability to accept GA competence and stating that US has faithfully fulfilled Assembly resolutions, action is completed by the USG, any further action is meaningless.

An alternative suggestion made is that US delegation, confronted by a large majority for a resolution in favor US action re Puerto Rico by clearly asserting GA competence, should vote affirmatively and explain after vote that we do not regard the GA as having competence.

Department is, therefore, being consulted as to what US delegation voting position should be on a resolution which clearly raises the question of competence.

Will advise Department soonest precise form of Puerto Rican resolution which may come to vote by Friday, October 30. Mrs. Bolton desires top-level position.1

  1. No record has been found in Department of State files of a response by the Department to this telegram.

    Discussion on the cessation of information on Puerto Rico began in the Fourth Committee on Oct. 30 with a statement by Fernos-Isern, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the United States and member of the U.S. Delegation, who was introduced by the U.S. Delegate on the Fourth Committee, Frances Bolton. Fernos-Isern described the process by which the Commonwealth had achieved “a full measure” of self-government and explained its political and economic relationship to the United States. As no other national delegation was prepared to speak, the Committee adjourned until Nov. 2. (New York telegram Delga 193, Oct. 31, 1952, 12:01 a.m., not printed, file 310.5/10–3153 (the Mission’s daily unclassified summary))