381. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Office of Eastern and Southern African Affairs (Wight) to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Williams)0


  • Consideration of South West African Item in the 16th General Assembly

Recently you asked for information concerning the position on items involving the Republic of South Africa which may be expected to come up at the 16th Session of the General Assembly. I am attaching for [Page 595] your information an excellent background paper on the subject of South West Africa which discusses in detail the actions taken by the United States up to the present.1

Between now and the 16th General Assembly I believe we should instruct Ambassador Satterthwaite to approach the Republic Government to urge it to cooperate with the United Nations in carrying out its obligations with respect to South West Africa. At a minimum, we feel that South Africa should resume reporting on the territory in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Mandate Agreement.

Even though the International Court of Justice now has the case of South West Africa, we may be faced with extreme resolutions in the 16th General Assembly calling for diplomatic or economic sanctions, divestiture of the Mandate or expulsion from the United Nations. We believe it would be preferable to oppose such extreme resolutions (which in any event may be illegal or unenforceable) and to await the judgment of the ICJ. Then, if the Republic should fail to abide by the Court’s decision, the matter could be taken to the Security Council, under Article 94 of the Charter.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 745X.00/6-661. Confidential. Also sent to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Fredericks.
  2. The background paper is attached to the source text, but is not printed. On March 16, the United States voted for U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1593 (XV), which appealed to those U.N. members having particularly close and continuous relations with the Government of South Africa to bring all their influence to bear on that government with a view to ensuring that it would live up to its U.N. Charter obligations and give effect to previous U.N. General Assembly resolutions on South West Africa. On April 7, the United States voted for Resolution 1596 (XV) which noted with regret that the South African Government had refused to cooperate with the U.N. Committee on South West Africa and requested that the Committee proceed with its investigation—with or without that government’s cooperation.