54. Editorial Note
On December 14, 1961, Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson sent to the Department of State the text of a draft U.N. resolution on Algeria which had been given to the U.S. Delegation by Tunisian Ambassador to the United Nations Habib Bourguiba, Jr., and had the preliminary approval of the Afro-Asian bloc in the United Nations. The draft included an operative paragraph calling on “the two parties to resume negotiations with a view to implementing the right of the Algerian people to self-determination and independence respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Algeria” and a preambular paragraph expressing regret at the suspension of negotiations between the Government of France and the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic. In a separate telegram, Stevenson described the draft as “moderate,” and noted that the only significant objection he saw was the reference to the PGAR. (Telegrams 2141 and 2142 from USUN; Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/12-1461) On December 15, the Department authorized Stevenson to tell the French, Algerian, and Tunisian representatives that the United States could support the resolution if the reference to the PGAR and the phrase “and respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Algeria” was eliminated. (Telegram 1594 to USUN; ibid.)
On December 15, 34 Afro-Asian countries submitted the draft resolution to the First (Political and Security) Committee with the text unchanged except for a reversal in the position of two of its paragraphs. On December 18, Assistant Secretary Williams sent a memorandum to Under Secretary Ball informing him that Chanderli had told Stevenson he thought the reference to the PGAR could be eliminated but not the phrase “and respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Algeria,” to which only the U.S. Delegation had objected. After noting that the French did not want the United States to vote for any resolution on Algeria, Williams argued that “the benefits to be gained from support of the resolution (with reference to PGAR eliminated) will outweigh possible disadvantages in both the short run and long run.” (Ibid., 751S.00/12-1861)
That afternoon, the Department cabled to USUN that it was “authorized to make it known publicly (in any way and at any time you deem best) that US prepared to vote for this resolution if those two elements, which would make an already difficult negotiation more difficult, are corrected.” The telegram noted that the reference to the “unity and territorial integrity of Algeria” was a clear attempt to prejudice the outcome of the negotiations on the Sahara. (Telegram 1612 to USUN; ibid., 751S.00/12-1461)[Page 78]
Despite U.S. efforts, the text of the resolution as submitted on December 15 remained unchanged. U.S. Representative Charles W. Yost explained the U.S. decision to abstain on the resolution to the First Committee on December 19. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pages 725-726. The Committee subsequently adopted the resolution by a vote of 61 to 0, with 34 abstentions (including the United States). For a record of these proceedings, see U.N. Doc. A/C.1/L.308 and Add.1, 2. On December 20, Resolution 1724 (XVI) as recommended by the First Committee was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly without debate by a vote of 62 to 0, with 38 abstentions. For text of the resolution, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pages 726-727. For a record of these proceedings, see U.N. Doc. A/5070.