72. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

1512. Subj: Comite of 24 Visiting Missions. Ref: USUN 1483.2

At conclusion of discussion reported reftel, Comite 24 Chairman Nava Carillo referred to exchange of correspondence with US Mission re basic US position on question of visiting missions. This query is consequence of Comite’s request that its Chairman consult with administering authorities to ascertain if they would be willing to receive Comite of 24 VM’s to non-self-governing territories.
Amb Bennett and MISOFF said there was no reason to suppose that US position with respect to VM’s to its territories would change. US as administering authority furnished Comite of 24 extensive info on conditions in American Samoa, Guam and Virgin Islands. In addition to this Comite, through UN Secretariat, received newspapers and other printed material directly from territories where conditions were widely discussed in the free press. Finally there was no restriction on access to the territories by visitors. For these reasons US position would undoubtedly remain unchanged.
MISOFF observed that as Comite of 24 was well aware, significant political development had taken place in Guam and Virgin Islands with the popular election of governors in November 1970. This, as US had pointed out during consideration of these territories by Comite in 1970 and 1969, constitute significant further step forward toward full internal self-government. MISOFF remarked that it was possible USG might wish to ascertain views of governors of Guam and Virgin Islands on question of receiving a UN VM at some time in future. In final analysis, wishes of the people, best ascertained through their elected reps, would have to be given consideration by administering authority before it could change position it has been holding.
Nava Carillo said he was not under immediate pressure to report to Comite on this question but hoped USUN would explore with Dept possibility of consulting governors and elected reps in Guam and Virgin Islands with regard to this question. He said he would consider discussion with Bennett on this subject as preliminary only. He was [Page 113]urged not to place excessive hopes on possibility of a change in US position but assured that he would be advised promptly of Dept reaction to foregoing.
Comment: Our decision refuse permit Comite of 24 to accept Micronesian Senate’s invitation for visit will irritate Committee but we are on sound Charter grounds in this refusal. We believe, however, that time is fast approaching when we should proceed with Act of Self-Determination in both Guam and Virgin Islands and thereafter cease reporting on these two territories. The elected governors and legislators should in our opinion be informed that US has taken its responsibilities under UN Charter seriously and would not want to blemish this record by failing to comply with letter and spirit of Charter. We therefore believe there is merit in USG obtaining views of governors on question of role which they envisage for UN with respect to attainment of self-determination. Should be made clear to governors that whether we like it or not UN will continue to insist on considering territories as NSGTs unless UN is associated in some manner in procedures leading to self-determination. Such association could be controlled by governors and USG to the extent that we could veto any members visiting missions of whom we disapprove and we could choose occasion for visit. Election period might be chosen, for example, or governors themselves might be able to suggest better occasion for visiting mission. We are aware that Guamanians in particular have strongly opposed UN “interference” in their affairs but believe it is in Guamanians’ and Virgin Islanders’ interest to play the game according to the rules and finish with obligations to the UN under Article 73E of Charter. Case of Cook Islands and Assoc. States of West Indies (ASWI) is pertinent in this connection. Cook Island Act Self-Determination took place with US presence and territory was removed from NSGT list. ASWI acted without including UN and GA has refused to accept act self-determination as valid, annually criticizing UK for failing to report on these territories.3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to the High Commissioner for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
  2. Telegram 1483, June 4, described a discussion between Bennett and Nava Carillo concerning the admission of visiting UN missions to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. (Ibid., POL 19 PACTT/UN)
  3. The Department replied on June 12 that Nava Carillo should be informed that the United States, not territorial governors, should decide whether to admit visiting UN missions to U.S. territories. Further steps toward full self-government might enable the eventual removal of at least Guam and the Virgin Islands from the UN’s list of non-self-governing territories. (Telegram 104797 to USUN, June 12; ibid., POL 19 UN)