40. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, August 9, 19561


  • French request for United States support for resolution on French Togoland


  • Mr. Charles Lucet, Minister, French Embassy
  • Assistant Secretary WilcoxIO
  • Mr. RobertsEUR
  • Mr. DumontAF
  • Mr. McKayODA

Mr. Wilcox telephoned the French Ambassador this morning in order to give the Department’s reply to the request made by the Ambassador to the Secretary on August 7th2 for United States support for a French request to the Trusteeship Council to send observers to a forthcoming referendum in French Togoland.

Mr. Lucet, the French Minister, came to Mr. Wilcox’ office shortly afterward. Mr. Wilcox handed him the attached memorandum, the underlined portions of which are to be introduced in the Trusteeship Council by the United States Delegation as amendments to the text which is being introduced by the French Delegation.3 These amendments were previously cleared by EUR, WE, AF, and ODA.

Mr. Wilcox explained the U.S. position to Mr. Lucet in the following terms:

We do not like the French text because we are afraid that it will cause future difficulties for both France and the U.S.;
However, because we appreciate the importance which France attaches to the problem, as indicated by the Ambassador’s call on the Secretary, we are not going to vote against the French text;
We are willing either to:
abstain on the present French text, or
vote for it after formally introducing the attached amendments. (Mr. Wilcox explained that we felt it necessary to introduce these amendments in order to clarify our position in the TC.)
We cannot commit ourselves regarding the position we would take on any amendments that might be proposed by other delegations; we would have to deal with any such amendments on their merits;
We want to make it clear to the French Government that our vote in favor of the resolution would not in any way commit us to support France in any future UN difficulties that might arise from the present French course of action.

Mr. Wilcox added that the same amendments with the same explanation had just been handed to Mr. Bargues, the head of the French Delegation in New York, by Mr. Sears, the head of the U.S. Delegation.

In view of the fact that the Council may end its session tomorrow, the French text and the U.S. amendments might have to be introduced in the Council this afternoon in order to be reproduced by the Secretariat for the vote tomorrow.

Mr. Lucet thanked Mr. Wilcox and said that he would study the amendments and contact Mr. Bargues immediately. It was pointed out to him that in view of the urgency of the matter that it would probably be better to leave any future negotiations to Mr. Bargues and Mr. Sears in New York.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 350/8–956. Confidential. Drafted by McKay.
  2. See supra.
  3. The attachment is not printed. See U.N. doc. T/L.731 and Add.1, and Rev.1 for text of the French draft resolution and revision, together with the Secretary-General’s statement with regard to the financial implications of the proposal. For the U.S. amendments to the draft resolution, see U.N. doc. T/L.732.
  4. The French introduced their draft resolution in the Trusteeship Council on August 9 and the United States followed by introducing its three amendments. Lucet telephoned Wilcox on August 10 and asked the United States to substitute for the words “without endorsing the referendum terms” in its third amendment the following: “while reserving its final position as to the terms of the referendum and its stand with regard to future UN action in conformity with Article 76(b).” This was agreed to in the Council later that day. (Memorandum of conversation by McKay, August 13; Department of State, IO/ODA Files: Lot 62 D 225, Togolands) At its 744th meeting on August 14 the Council was twice deadlocked 7 to 7 on the French draft resolution, which thus was defeated. The French announced their intention of proceeding with the referendum anyway. At its 745th meeting, on the same date, the Council adopted a draft resolution introduced by Burma, Guatemala, India, and Syria by a vote of 7 to 5 (France), with 2 abstentions (New Zealand and the United States). For text of Resolution 1499 (XVIII), see Yearbook of the United Nations 1956, pp. 372-373, and 375.