ODA files, lot 62 D 225, “Trust Territory of Pacific Islands”

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Gerig)1

  • Subject:
  • Possible questions which may be put forward by India or other UN Member re March 1 H–Bomb explosion2

At the staff meeting yesterday it was reported that we might be faced with certain rather hostile questions, either from Nehru or someone else, [Page 1478] in regard to the H-bomb explosion. I said I hardly thought the matter would arise until the June session of the Council, but it would surely arise then. However, it was felt that we ought to anticipate certain such questions and be preparing answers to them. I imagine the answers could first be drafted here, particularly as the Strauss statement pretty fully covers the subject, and would then have to be cleared in other parts of the Department and in AEC. The following are some of the questions which I think might be formulated. You will think of others.

What kind of land mass in the Trust Territory was destroyed, and in view of the fact that the trust power is not sovereign in the Trust Territory, by what legal right may the trust power destroy such territory?
Was adequate provision made for removing indigenous inhabitants, either from the island itself or from surrounding islands which were in the danger zone?
Was the island which was destroyed of any agricultural or economic value, and if so, what are the trust power’s plans for adequate compensation to the owners or users?
What effects has the explosion had on marine life (a) within the three-mile limit, and (b) outside this limit, and what arrangements are being made to provide adequate substitute sources of food supply?
Is the trust power contemplating further H-bomb experimentation in this area, and, if so, what steps are contemplated to provide adequate safeguards for inhabitants who might be affected by “fall out” radioactive material at an even greater distance than before?
Does the Administering Authority feel satisfied that no long-run effects on the inhabitants, either physical or psychological, will result from these even larger and more incalculable destructive devices?
Does the Administering Authority feel that it is justified, in this area, in experimenting with weapons over which it has no control.
  1. Addressed to the Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Robbins) and the Acting Officer in Charge of Trusteeship Affairs (McKay).
  2. A second H-bomb explosion occurred in the same area on Apr. 5.