Press Release No. 1808 Issued by the Mission at the United Nations, New York, November 6, 1953 1

Statement by the Honorable Frances P. Bolton, U.S. Representative, in Committee Four, in Explanation of Vote on the Puerto Rican Item. [November 6]

As indicated yesterday, the United States favored the Resolution sponsored by seven Delegations because that Resolution expressed in its original form the agreement of the General Assembly with the decision reached by the United States Government that Puerto Rico has ceased to be a non-self-governing territory within the meaning of Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter.

However, because that part of the five-Delegation-amendment which clearly asserts the competence of the General Assembly was adopted, we were obliged to abstain. We did so, Mr. Chairman, because the argument in favor of the original resolution, as clearly stated by its sponsors, namely, that it recognized facts, became no longer true.

The Fourth Committee, in dealing with this item, has attempted to do two things simultaneously. It has undertaken to judge the Puerto Rico case which, viewed solely on its merits clearly has the support of a large majority of the members of this Committee. At the same time it has gone out of its way to try to establish the competence of the General Assembly in the question of cessation of transmission of information under Article 73(e) of the Charter. By so doing, a number of delegations have been deprived of the opportunity of voting solely on the merits of the case.

Whatever the majority views in favor of such efforts may be, we believe it would have been preferable to handle the two distinct matters separately, and not in the midst of considering a particular case to take advantage of the situation to inject the competence issue.

  1. Source: ODA files, lot 62 D 225, “Speeches/Statements 1953”.