55. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the European Office of the United Nations 1

131120. Subj: ECOSOC—Declaration on Colonialism (Item 20). Ref: Geneva 2817.2

Dept concurs recommendation para 5 reftel that US abstain on res as whole and not request paragraph by paragraph vote.
Delegation may wish to incorporate following language, as appropriate, in any statement it may make.
The US Government believes that ECOSOC in coordinating the activities of the specialized agencies, may legitimately consider appropriate programs which contribute directly or indirectly to the exercise of the right of self-determination by dependent peoples.
The US Government opposes colonialism and is a strong advocate of self-determination for dependent peoples. At same time, we believe that UN’s role in promoting self-determination must conform to actions which are consistent with the Charter and enjoy broad support among members.
The US has consistently advocated the view that actions undertaken by the specialized agencies and other UN-related organs must be guided by the constitutions of these agencies and their agreements with the UN.
In addition, the introduction of essentially political issues into the deliberations of technical bodies and the various specialized agencies can serve only to undermine effectiveness of those bodies as mechanisms for cooperation in technical fields among states of widely differing political systems and policies.
Most important, political actions of the kind contemplated by resolutions 2311 (XXII) and 2426 (XXIII) should come only after a determination by the Security Council that a threat to international peace and security exists. Although the Security Council has made such a finding regarding Southern Rhodesia, no such determination has been made in the case of South Africa or Portugal.
Instructions on para by para vote and further recommendations on explanation of vote will be sent septel.3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use; Immediate. Drafted by Norman Frisbie and Samuel R. Peale, approved by Elizabeth Ann Brown, and cleared by William Witman II and Richard D. Harding.
  2. Document 54.
  3. Telegram 131554 to Geneva, August 6, authorized the U.S. delegation to vote against paragraphs 2 and 4, to abstain on paragraphs 5, 6, 8, and 9, and to abstain on paragraphs 3 and 7 unless other Western European delegates wanted to vote against them. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN) The resolution was adopted on August 8 by a vote of 17–0, with 9 abstentions (Argentina, Belgium, United States, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Turkey, United Kingdom). There was no paragraph-by-paragraph vote. (Telegram 2868 from Geneva, August 8; ibid.)