711C.02/11–2353: Telegram

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

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274. Eyes only for Secretary from Lodge. Reference urtel 256, November 24, concerning Puerto Rico. I assume that the President’s statement to me was made after adequate consideration and weighing of the relevant facts and have no reason to think that it was not. I intend to notify Doctor Fernos on Thursday so as to give Governor Munoz-Marin time to issue a press statement taking full advantage of this dramatic confirmation of Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination.

Frankly, I do not believe that the reactions in France or NYC should stand in the way of a gesture which is typical of the President’s [Page 1476]political genius and which will help American prestige in quarters where we need it. This is a good chance to recoup some of the unavoidable losses which we suffered during the Tunisian-Moroccan debates and to put the responsibility where it belongs concerning Puerto Rican independence.

I agree with you about the word “glad” and also have inserted language making clear the paramount authority of Congress. Following is the text of my proposed statement:

Madame President: While, of course, I strongly favor the new status of Puerto Rico as self-governing commonwealth associated with the US, I am not here to review the events which led to its adoption.

“My purpose in seeking recognition is to bring to the Assembly the following important message from the President of the US.

“I am authorized to say on behalf of the President that if at any time the legislature of Puerto Rico adopts a resolution in favor of complete independence, he will immediately thereafter recommend to Congress that such independence be granted and he would in addition welcome Puerto Rico’s adherence to the Rio Pact.

“Madame President, we are proud of our new relationship with Puerto Rico and of the joint contribution to political progress which our two peoples have made. The President’s statement is an expression of the traditional interest which the US has always had in encouraging and promoting political freedom for all people in all parts of the world whenever conditions are such that their freedom will not be jeopardized by internal weaknesses or external pressures.”1

Lodge
  1. In telegram 258, Nov. 25, 1953, 7:58 p.m., Secretary of State Dulles responded on an eyes only priority basis: “Your 274, think well of revised statement.” (711C.02/11–2553)