The Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Key) to the Chairman, United States Atomic Energy Commission (Strauss)
Dear Mr. Strauss: I wish to call your attention to the fact that certain questions concerning the effects of the recent thermonuclear weapons tests conducted at the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands may be raised in the United Nations Trusteeship Council in July when it examines the administration of the Trust Territory. Normally the proceedings of the Council do not attract much publicity. It is probable, however, that the USSR, and possibly one or two other Members of the Council, such as India and Syria, will criticize the United States for testing such destructive weapons in a trust territory, in which event the press might give the matter considerable attention.
The Trusteeship Council, which is composed of twelve members (Australia, Belgium, China, El Salvador, France, Haiti, India, New Zealand, Syria, United Kingdom, United States, and the USSR) conducts a detailed study annually of developments in each trust territory. This annual examination is a feature of the International Trusteeship System established by Chapters XII and XIII of the United Nations Charter. It was under the provisions of these Chapters and more specifically the terms of the Trusteeship Agreement approved by the Security Council on April 2, 1947 and by the President on July 18, 1947, that the United States undertook the administration of the Trust Territory.
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands differs from other trust territories in that it has been designated a strategic area. According to Article 83(1) of the Charter, the Security Council is to exercise all functions of the United Nations relating to such areas. However, the Security Council has, pursuant to section 3 of that Article, availed itself of the assistance of the Trusteeship Council in performing those functions of the United Nations under the Trusteeship System relating to political, economic, social, and educational matters in strategic areas. Thus, the Trusteeship Council has a legitimate interest in the effects of the recent tests on the manner in which the United States is carrying out its international obligations with respect to the welfare of the inhabitants of the Territory.
Under these circumstances it is desirable to anticipate as far as possible questions that may arise at the Fourteenth Session of the Trusteeship Council, which convenes on June 2, and to collect and prepare material for use in answering and forestalling such questions. In this way the United States Representative will be better prepared to [Page 1486] allay the possible concern of any members of the Trusteeship Council and to minimize the propaganda advantages which the USSR may seek to derive from this situation.
There is attached a list of questions suggestive of the type that may be asked by Trusteeship Council members. The answers to come of these questions can be found in your statement of March 31. I will be grateful for any additional information or suggestions which might assist the Department of State in its preparations for the Fourteenth Session of the Trusteeship Council. Mr. Benjamin Gerig, Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs in the Department is in charge of these preparations, and will be glad to discuss the matter further with your office.
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