343. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Liberia0

387. Department appreciative difficulties referred to Embtel 5281 and tendency equate South West Africa with Hungary and Tibet. Moreover, US of course concerned for welfare of inhabitants South West Africa and that obligations of Mandate should be carried out.

At same time Department anxious US not encourage situations which would unneccessarily offend Union Government or lead to unfavorable developments in already highly difficult situation now prevailing in Union.

Department infers Liberia may be planning to go ahead with ICJ case regardless of expression of US views, and has been informed by James N. Hyde (New York lawyer) that GOL has approached him re presentation of case to ICJ and is seeking funds from US private sources.

Having in mind above considerations, Department suggests your reply to Grimes might be made along following lines:

As GOL knows from stand taken by US in UNGA, we regard avenue of ICJ contentious case as open to qualified UN member such as Liberia.
US is concerned for welfare of inhabitants of South West Africa and for carrying out of obligations of Mandate.
US wld point out that decision whether to institute ICJ proceedings is for Liberia to make and that we wld not wish to influence GOL one way or other.
US wld wish nevertheless to observe that in event of failure of South Africa to carry out ICJ judgment serious difficulties might be entailed by SC proceedings under Article 94 of UN Charter, possibly leading to withdrawal of South Africa from UN.
If GOL decides to submit case to ICJ we wld hope that it be handled as regular legal case designed to secure helpful and workable legal judgment and in such manner as to avoid political and propaganda exploitation of grievances against Union.

In your discretion you may also draw on information on latest Fabregat initiative contained Depcirtel 1075,2 stressing confidential nature that information.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 745X.00/2–1960. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Assistant Legal Adviser for United Nations Affairs Leonard C. Meeker and Officer in Charge of Trusteeship Affairs Robert A. Acly; cleared by Gerig, United Nations Adviser for African Affairs Martin Herz, and Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs William I. Cargo; and approved by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Woodruff Wallner. Repeated to Capetown.
  2. Dated February 19. (Ibid.) Telegram 513 from Monrovia, February 12, reported that Secretary of State Joseph R. Grimes had told the Ambassador that Liberia was considering taking a case to the International Court of Justice against South African administration of South West Africa and hoped to have U.S. sympathy and moral support. (Ibid., 745X.00/2–1260) Telegram 372 to Monrovia, February 16, stated that the U.S. position with respect to legal action was made clear by its support of Resolution 1361 (XIV) (see Document 342) but that the Department did not wish to encourage such action (Department of State, Central Files, 745X.00/2–1260) Telegram 528 urged reconsideration of this position, noting that in African eyes, “Union actions in South West Africa are as bad as those of ChiComs in Tibet and USSR in Hungary.”
  3. Airgram G–64 from Monrovia, March 7, reported a March 2 conversation with Grimes in which Ambassador Mathews gave him the Department’s views. (Ibid., 745X.00/3–760)