174. Editorial Note

France boycotted the U.N. General Assembly special session on Bizerte, which began on August 21, 1961. The general debate, in which 53 delegations participated, continued until August 25. A draft resolution sponsored by 32 members was introduced calling “the presence of French armed forces in Tunisian territory against the express will of the Tunisian Government and people a violation of Tunisia’s sovereignty,” recognizing “the sovereign right of Tunisia to call for the withdrawal of all French armed forces present on its territory without its consent,” and calling upon the Governments of France and Tunisia “to enter into immediate negotiations to devise peaceful and agreed measures in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations for the withdrawal of all French armed forces from Tunisian territory.”

Speaking before the General Assembly on August 22, Ambassador Stevenson said that the United States believed that the only solution to the crisis was through negotiations between France and Tunisia and that it did not believe that it would be useful for the General Assembly to adopt “a resolution which, regardless of its merits, might serve only to prolong the present stalemate.” For text of his statement, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pages 743-746.

On August 25, the draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 66 to 0, with 30 abstentions (including the United States). For text of the resolution as adopted, 1622 (S-III), see ibid., pages 746-747. For a record of the proceedings, see U.N. Doc. A/L.351.