Evatt to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram E36 (extracts) SAN FRANCISCO, 28 May 1945, 3.52 p.m.


SFC27 Trusteeship (1) 1. Committee’s discussions have been based on ‘Working Paper’ prepared by Stassen. [1] This paper was designed to consolidate the proposals made by the United States, United Kingdom, Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, China, France, Australia. It was accepted by the Committee as a working document without commitment on the part of any of the Powers mentioned. See text in Trusteeship telegram 2. [2]

2. In Committee, Delegations including those which had put forward proposals made statements of their position. Detailed discussion then proceeded on the basis of the Working Paper. The position at 24th May is shown in Trusteeship telegram 3 containing document entitled ‘Text of Working Paper as approved and amended in full Committee through the 10th meeting’.

This paper was basis of work in first Drafting Committee. Minor verbal amendments have been adopted in Drafting Committee but consideration is incomplete.

3. At 10th meeting an Australian amendment to Working Paper was handed in for circulation. Text is contained in Trusteeship telegram 4. The objectives are:-

(A) To provide means by which the general principles in part ‘A’ concerning the welfare of dependent peoples may be effected;

(B) To obtain inclusion in the Charter of ‘Safeguards’ along the lines of Article 22 of League Covenant;

(C) To give more moral appeal to what is so far a very barren and arid document, and (D) To endeavour to implement the policy laid down at Wellington in November.

4. These Australian proposals are at present under consultation with United States and United Kingdom. A meeting of British Commonwealth Representatives on 25th May discussed the proposals.

Consultation is as yet incomplete but there are signs that many points are favourably regarded by Americans and British.

5. It will be noted that four things of special interest to Australia have so far been accepted- (A) That there should be in the Charter a declaration of the general principle of trusteeship. This is a notable step forward and can rightly be claimed to be due mainly to Australian initiative;

(B) That there can be no change in the terms of any mandate without the full consent of the Mandatory Power. This will fully protect our rights in New Guinea;

(C) Changes in terms can be obtained. We could therefore get rid of the non-fortification provision in the New Guinea Mandate. This establishes a principle which could possibly be applied outside the specific United Nations Trusteeship system in the event that we decided not to place New Guinea under this system. There is of course no binding commitment to make a new agreement placing a mandated territory under this system;

(D) The principle of an International Expert Body is accepted.

Similar remarks to those in (V[C]) above apply, i.e. the Trusteeship Council is to be concerned only with Territories placed under the United Nations System. Our proposals, however, might possibly result in the functions of this body being extended at least to the regular receiving of information in respect of non-trusteeship Colonial territories.

Australian influence on the treatment of trusteeship at this Conference has been considerable.

[matter omitted]

Trusteeship (4) Proposed new part (C) to be added to working paper.

C. Promotion of Welfare and Development 1. Member States responsible for the administration of territories of the type referred to in Part ‘A’ undertake- (A) To secure just treatment of the native inhabitants of such territories.

(B) To maintain freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals.

(C) To prohibit and suppress abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic.

(D) To abstain from the Military training of natives for other than Police purposes and defence purposes.

(E) To encourage by financial and other appropriate means research into the economic and social problems of dependent peoples, including research into Health, Anthropological, Agricultural and other like problems.

(F) To furnish regularly to the Secretariat of the United Nations all available statistics and other information of a technical nature relating to the health, nutrition, welfare, education, economic and labour conditions of the peoples of each such territory.

(G) To promote in territories under their administration, and to co-operate with other states in promoting positive measures for economic development calculated to raise the standards of living of the peoples of the territories concerned, and (H) To co-operate with one another and other states, but through functional organisation of or associated with the United Nations and through regional bodies with a view to giving practical effect to the principles affirmed in Part ‘A’ and the safeguards and measures mentioned in this paragraph.

2. (A) In order to give fuller effect to the general principles declared in Section A, the General Assembly may specify territories in respect of which it shall be the duty of the States responsible for their administration to furnish annual reports to the United Nations upon the economic, social and political development of the territories concerned.

(B) Before specifying any such territories the General Assembly shall convene a conference or conferences of states responsible for the administration of territories inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand alone under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, and shall take into account the recommendations made by any such conference.


1 Member of the U.S. Delegation to the San Francisco Conference;

Governor of Minnesota 1939-43.

2 Sections of this document headed ‘Trusteeship 2’ and ‘Trusteeship 3’ have been omitted.


[AA : A1066, P45/153/2, ii]