310.5/11–2753: Telegram

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

Delga 331. USUN Information Digest No. 47. Meeting Highlights. General Assembly—Puerto Rico, factors, UNRWA, etc.—By simple majority, the GA Nov. 27 approved without change the Committee 4 resolution considering it appropriate information on Puerto Rico should cease. The vote was 26–16 (Australia, Belgium, Burma, Canada, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, South Africa, Yugoslavia, Soviet Bloc)–18 (Afghanistan, Argentina, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Iceland, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Syria, UK, Venezuela, Yemen). The competence para was retained 34–19–7.

Action followed an extended procedural debate precipitated by President Pandit’s (India) ruling that an earlier 30–26–0 decision [Page 1477]that the factors resolution could be adopted by simple majority also applied to the two resolutions on transmission of information.1 The President’s ruling was eventually upheld 34–21 (US)–4.

Prior to the vote, Lodge informed the Assembly he had been authorized to state on behalf of President Eisenhower that “if at any time the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico adopts a resolution in favor of more complete or even absolute independence” he would immediately recommend to Congress that such independence be granted.2 Vote explanations on the Puerto Rico text were offered by Liberia, Belgium, Guatemala, Australia, the US, the Dominican Republic, and India.

[Here follows remainder of the information summary.]

  1. For documentation regarding the “factors question”, see pp. 1168 ff.
  2. The following is the actual text of Ambassador Lodge’s statement:

    Madame President: The United States is proud of its new relationship with Puerto Rico and of the joint contribution to political progress which our two peoples have made. While, of course, I strongly favor the new status of Puerto Rico as a self-governing commonwealth associated with the United States, I am not here to review the facts which my colleagues, Mrs. Bolton and Dr. Fernos, have already explained fully to the Fourth Committee.

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

    “I am authorized to say on behalf of the President that if at any time the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico adopts a resolution in favor of more complete or even absolute independence, he will immediately thereafter recommend to Congress that such independence be granted. The President also wishes me to say that in this event he would welcome Puerto Rico’s adherence to the Rio Pact and the United Nations Charter.

    “The President’s statement is an expression of the traditional interest which the United States 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 or external pressures.

    “Thank you, Madame President.” (Source text from ODA files, lot 62 D 225, “Speeches/Statements 1953”) (USUN press release 1833, Nov. 27, 1953)