39. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, August 7, 1956, 4:42 p.m.1


  • Forthcoming Vote on Resolution in Trusteeship Council with Regard to Referendum in French Togoland


  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Maurice Couve de Murville, French Ambassador
  • Mr. Jacques Vimont, Minister, French Embassy
  • Mr. Francis O. Wilcox, Assistant Secretary, IO
  • Mr. William R. Tyler, WE

The Ambassador told the Secretary that his Government attaches great importance to U.S. support in the forthcoming vote. He said that if the U.S. voted for the resolution, the Chinese Delegate and the Guatemalan Delegate would probably go along too, and that this would insure passage of the resolution. If the U.S. abstained, as the French Delegate had reason to believe it intended to do, this would probably swing the vote against the resolution. Such a result [Page 158] would be unfortunate and would create hard feelings in Paris, the Ambassador said.

Mr. Wilcox explained that the difficulty arose from the fact that the original intention of the U.S. to support the resolution was based on the belief that France had a majority of votes lined up in favor of it, whereas this had been subsequently proved not to be the case. In particular, the Indian Delegate, who had at first been favorable, had been overruled by Krishna Menon.2 and the Chinese Delegate3 was now also apparently resolved to vote against the resolution. It seemed that India dislikes the alternatives which the French law places before the people of Togoland, which it interprets as excluding or indefinitely postponing the prospect of independence for Togoland. It would certainly help matters if the French could propose a way of dispelling the Indian doubts so as to make the resolution acceptable to them, either by a modification of the text or by a preamble.

The Secretary said that he hoped that something mutually acceptable could be worked out as we wanted to be helpful in this matter. After this conversation, the French Ambassador told Mr. Wilcox that he was going to call the French Delegate on the Trusteeship Council and explore the possibilities of accompanying the resolution by a preamble which would revalidate previous statements by French representatives before the Trusteeship Council to the effect that local autonomy within the French Union does not foreclose further evolution toward independence.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320.14/8–756. Confidential. Drafted by Tyler.
  2. On July 23 and August 2, Indian Permanant Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Arthur S. Lall indicated to Mason Sears his expectation that India would support the French proposal. Later on August 2, however, the United States was informed that India would oppose the proposal as Lall had misinterpreted Menon’s view. (Draft memorandum from Edward Mulcahy to Gerig, August 22; ibid., IO/ODA Files: Lot 62 D 225, Togolands)
  3. Chiping H.C. Kiang.