711.5611/7–654: Telegram

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

official use only

11. Re Marshallese petition. Sears today handed informally to UK TCDel following draft resolution, approved by Midkiff, as indicative of kind of resolution US would like to see emerge from TC consideration of Marshallese petition. Its informal and suggestive character was emphasized. UKDel indicated it would give text careful study and see how far it could go toward introducing resolution along these lines in petitions committee: Having examined the petition from the Marshallese people concerning the trust territory of the Pacific Islands under US administration in consultation with the US as the administering authority concerned (T/P 10/28, T/OBS. 10/3, T.L. blank) [sic]: Bearing in mind the terms of the trusteeship agreement for this territory, and in particular that in article 1 of the agreement, the territory is designated as a strategic area, that according to article 13 the administering authority may specify any areas in the territory as closed for security reasons, and that according to article 5 the territory shall play its part in the maintenance of world peace and security:

Expressed its genuine and deep regret that a number of inhabitants of two atolls in the Marshall Islands suffered ill-effects as a consequence of the recent series of nuclear tests conducted by the administering authority in the territory, that these two atolls suffered some damage, and that the inhabitants of one of them will be unable to return to their homes for about a year;
Notes the measure taken by the administering authority to provide the necessary medical attention and care for the personal well-being of all the affected inhabitants;
Notes with satisfaction that the good health of those affected is now reported to be completely restored, that the inhabitants of Utirik, the larger of the two atolls, have been returned to their homes where new housing and other facilities have been provided them, and that provision has been made for the payment of any justified claims that may be submitted by the two atolls affected;
Notes the assurance of the administering authority that the best medical advice indicates that there will be no permanent deleterious after effects on the general health of the inhabitants affected:
Notes also the concern of the petitioners that additional Marshallese may be removed from their home atolls;
Welcomes the assurance of the administering authority that it does not intend to remove any further inhabitants from their present homes;
Urges the administering authority to return the inhabitants of Rongelap to their homes as soon as the condition of the atoll permits and to provide them all possible assistance in their re-settlement;
Recommends that all affected inhabitants be given periodical medical examination to assure that no unexpected or belated aftereffects are overlooked;
Urges that prompt and sympathetic attention be given to all justified claims for damages submitted by the affected inhabitants, as well as to any justified remaining claims on the part of inhabitants removed from Bikini and Eniwetok;
Recommends that if the administering authority considers it necessary in the interests of world peace and security to conduct further nuclear experiments in the territory, it take such precautions as will ensure that no inhabitants of the territory are again endangered, including those precautionary measures requested by the petitioners.”

Although draft resolution has been shown only to UKDel, China and New Zealand have already indicated general support of US on this matter.1

  1. A draft resolution along the lines of the above was introduced by Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom and was circulated as a revised draft resolution on July 9 in UN Doc. T/C.2/L.102/Rev. 1. This three-power draft reflected changes of substance with respect to paragraphs 6 and 9 (in the end paragraph 9 was dropped altogether) which the Department of State communicated to the Mission at the United Nations on July 8 (Gerig memorandum, July 8, 1954, ODA files, lot 62 D 225, “Trust Territory of Pacific Islands”).