Australian Delegation, U.N. Preparatory Commission [1], to Dunk

Memorandum UNO/Rep 7 LONDON, 4 December 1945

1. At the first meeting of Committee 4 dealing with Trusteeship Mr. Belt of Cuba was elected Chairman and Mr. Kuzma V. Kiselev of the Byelo-Russian S.S.R. Vice-Chairman.

2. As soon as Hasluck, speaking as Deputy for Dr. Evatt, had introduced Chapter 4 of the Report of the Executive Committee the Soviet representative opposed the creation of the Interim Trusteeship Committee on the grounds that there was no provision for it in the Charter and the General Assembly did not have the power to constitute bodies as substitutes for the principal organs. He suggested as an alternative to the dilemma pointed out by Section 2 of Chap. 4 of the Executive Committee’s Report (page 55 of the Report), that mandatory powers might submit to the General Assembly at its first session draft trusteeship agreements for approval. If and when these were approved, the Trusteeship Council could be established.

3. The Yugoslav representative spoke in support of the Soviet representative’s statement which was then opposed by the United Kingdom and United States representatives. Both of these delegations pointed out that the Executive Committee’s recommendation was based upon a desire to bring the trusteeship system into operation as soon as possible, and the United Kingdom representative said that if the Soviet delegation were able to put forward a better solution to the problem than that suggested by the Executive Committee, the members of the Committee would give it serious consideration. The South African representative pointed out the need for some body to take over the functions hitherto exercised by the Permanent Mandates Commission and also the need for some expert body to work out problems involved in the trusteeship system, such as the definition of the phrase ‘states directly concerned’ in Article 79 of the Charter. The New Zealand and Egyptian representatives reserved their positions.

4. Bailey, the Australian representative, spoke strongly in support of the recommendation of the Executive Committee. He presented firstly legal arguments to show that the Interim Trusteeship Committee was a constitutional body based on a chain of authority the links of which were Articles 75, 85 and 22 of the Charter in that order. Secondly he showed the Committee was necessary for practical reasons. Pending the establishment of the Trusteeship Council the General Assembly would need the services of an expert body which would act in an advisory capacity. With the aid of this body the establishment of the Trusteeship system would be expedited.

5. At the next meeting of the Committee the Yugoslav Delegation presented a paper based upon the suggestions made by the Soviet representative at the previous meeting (see Document PC/TC3, copies of which will be forwarded with memo UNO/DOC 4). In this paper it was suggested that the General Assembly at the first part of its first meeting should invite mandatory powers to declare their willingness to place mandated territories under trusteeship and at the same time to state whom they considered were states directly concerned with these territories. Before the General Assembly met the mandatory states could prepare to respond to such an invitation. The Yugoslav Delegation stated that it considered the States directly concerned in these cases in the first place were the mandatory powers, the permanent members of the Security Council and perhaps neighbouring states. (For the full text of this paper see telegram UNO 8 of 1st December 1945.) [2]

6. At this meeting of the committee the representative of the Byelo-Russian S.S.R. supported remarks previously made by the Soviet representative upon the unconstitutionality of the Interim Trusteeship Committee. These remarks also secured support from the Egyptian and Philippines representatives, the latter of whom seemed to fear that use was being made of artful lawyers in an endeavour to alter the terms of the Charter to the prejudice of colonial peoples. The United Kingdom and United States representatives stated they were not prepared to admit that the creation of an Interim Trusteeship Committee would be unconstitutional but stated that it would be desirable for delegations to have time to examine the proposals of the Yugoslav representative.

7. At the meeting of Committee 4 on 1st December, 1945, Bailey, representing Australia, said that although the Yugoslav proposal was a constructive one, it over-simplified the process of formulating trusteeship agreements. A body of experts was needed to solve the problems involved in the trusteeship system and although this body would advise the General Assembly on these problems when the Assembly was in session, the need for it did not cease when the Assembly was not in session. The ad hoc committee proposed by the Yugoslav Delegation was therefore inadequate. He did not think that the trusteeship system could be brought into operation with such despatch as the Yugoslav Delegation envisaged.

Difficulties, such as the definition of the phrase ‘states directly concerned’, would operate to delay the process, and in any event the negotiation of trust agreements by each mandatory power with about six or more states which the Yugoslav Delegation considered ‘directly concerned’, would be a lengthy procedure.

Also divergent views might be held by states directly concerned on the question of designation of strategic and non-strategic areas, and even if these views were reconciled, they would not necessarily agree with the views of the Security Council on this question.

8. After the Australian representative had spoken the debate on the Interim Trusteeship Committee was adjourned until 4th December 1945, in order that delegations might have time to consider the Yugoslav plan. The Committee meanwhile turned its attention to Section 5 of Chapter 4 of the Executive Committee’s Report, being the Provisional Rules of Procedure for the Trusteeship Council. On the motion of the Soviet representative Rule 1 was amended to provide that the Trusteeship Council should hold two regular meetings per year, and as a consequence of this amendment Rule 9 was altered so as to provide that the elections of a Chairman and Vice-Chairman should take place at each regular meeting. Rule 24 was changed so that it now provides that meetings shall be held in public unless for exceptional reasons it is decided to make them private. It was agreed to redraft Rule 26 to read in similar terms. It was proposed by the representative of Egypt to elaborate Rule 27, but consideration of this proposal was stood over pending circulation of a text. With the exceptions already mentioned, the Committee approved Rules 1 to 27.

9. The Soviet Delegation have played a most active part in the deliberations of Committee 4 up to the present time. The tenacity with which their representatives and the representatives of satellite delegations have opposed the creation of the Temporary Trusteeship Committee and their insistence upon the unconstitutionality of such a body and upon the adoption of their alternative plan is out of proportion to the technical merits of the matter. This has aroused much speculation in the minds of other delegations, particularly the United Kingdom and United States, about their objectives. It appears, however, that no satisfactory indication of the intentions of the Soviet bloc has yet been found. All that can be said at present is that the Soviet Government is very much interested in the subject of trusteeship and intends to play a leading part in the proceedings of the Trusteeship Council.


1 The Preparatory Commission sat from 24 November. Evatt was chief delegate in absentia; the delegation was in fact led by Hodgson, with Bailey, Hasluck and Watt as substitute delegates and Tange, Glasheen and Renouf as advisers. On Evatt’s instruction Atyeo was also listed as adviser but appears not to have taken part. Hasluck was designated Executive Officer to the delegation, and Glasheen Secretary.

2 On file AA : A1066, H45/771/3.


[AA : A1066, H45/777/4/3]