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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Nixon-Ford Administrations > Volume V
Foreign Relations, 1969-1971, Volume V, United Nations, 1969-1972
Released by the Office of the Historian

Committee of 24

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

New York, March 13, 1969, 2010Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Confidential.

748. Subj: Trip to Africa by Committee of 24.

1. Shaw (UK) told MisOff Mar. 11 UKUN had received word from London that UK has decided not to participate in Committee of 24 trip to Africa this year. UKUN had raised question with London few weeks ago when Committee Chairman Mestiri queried UKUN on its intentions re participation in trip, in connection with possible invitation by Mestiri for Committee to visit Tunisia (USUN 305)./2/ Shaw said UK did not intend inform Mestiri or any other Committee member of UK decision for time being.

/2/ In telegram 305, February 3, Yost reported that Shaw had said that Mestiri favored a short (about 10 days with two stops) trip by the Committee to Africa. One of the two stops would be in Tunis. (Ibid.)

2. Committee has not formally decided to make Africa trip but general expectation is that there will be trip, probably to Tunisia, Zambia and Tanzania, in May, and next meeting of working group is expected to recommend Africa trip. Mestiri has not specifically queried us on our intentions but he has mentioned trip as foregone conclusion in course of our informal discussions with him. We have made point to Mestiri and to all others who have raised subject that we seriously question usefulness of Africa trip and that in any case, we consider trip by entire Committee unnecessary and wasteful in funds in terms of practical results and have suggested that trip by small sub-committee, representative of all groups, might be considered instead. Mestiri thought this idea was non-starter for this year but that it might be possibility for future.

3. As Dept aware, Mission’s assessment of desirability of US participation in future Committee trips to Africa significantly influenced by experience of 1967 trip. That trip revealed that Committee’s importance to bone fide African petitioners had diminished considerably and petitioners who were in one way or another persuaded to appear tended be purveyors of trumped-up anti-Western charges and noticeably susceptible to leading questions of anti-US Committee members. Trip turned out to be grand exercise in vituperation against Western countries by radical ASAFs and Soviets and, in absence of UK, all fire was directed at US. Although present chairman, unlike predecessor, would not be active participant in such hostile proceedings, we believe situation which US would encounter on trip this year would not be essentially different from that of 1967.

4. As noted above, we have repeatedly expressed our serious doubts over utility of African trip and these reservations continue with even greater force in light of Committee’s work program this year. Committee has decided take up Rhodesia and Namibia as first items of business and it will, therefore, have completed its consideration of these major African interests (and quite possibly of Portuguese territories also) before getting to Africa. In these circumstances, most members of Committee privately seek justify trip only on grounds that Committee’s on-the-spot presence would be manifestation of continuing UN interest in African problems.

5. Mission strongly believes US should this year join UK in deciding not to participate in Committee’s trip to Africa. In explaining decision, we would reiterate our strong doubts over usefulness of trip, particularly in view of fact African problems will already have been considered, and we would recall excesses of 1967 trip. As a positive element, we would suggest dispatch of a small sub-group which could have contact with petitioners and host governments–ostensible reason for trip–as effectively as full Committee. While trip would probably be held without US and UK participation, absence of two leading Western states would clearly undermine prestige of operation, very likely diminish Committee’s enthusiasm for trip, and might prove coup-de-grace to future trips. (Since such trips are expensive and, from US standpoint, produce negative results, this would be welcome development.) It is possible Italy and/or Norway might also decide not participate and in any case, absence of US and UK might well persuade Mestiri not to invite group to Tunisia. Most importantly, we believe US non-participation on trip would be desirable (and not unexpected) balance to decision remain on Committee for another year and would hopefully serve to encourage moderate forces in Committee by highlighting, in meaningful way, another aspect of Committee’s performance with which we are dissatisfied.


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

New York, March 19, 1969, 0034Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to Capetown, London, and Pretoria.

817. Committee of 24 Africa Trip. Ref: State 40540./2/

/2/ In telegram 40540, March 15, the Department concurred that participation in the Committee’s African trip was not in U.S. interests, and authorized the Mission to inform Mestiri that the United States had serious reservations about the usefulness of the trip and would not participate in it. (Ibid.)

1. We informed UK, Italy and Norway March 17 of US decision not to participate in Committee’s Africa trip. Shaw (UK) said UK intended inform Mestiri of UK decision on trip by end of week and, therefore, he saw no reason why we should not proceed to tell Mestiri as soon as we wished.

2. Finger accordingly met with Mestiri late afternoon Mar. 17 and conveyed our decision. Mestiri said he very much regretted we had decided not participate; he had expected UK would not participate but had believed US would go on trip. He said he would have to inform Afro-Asian group and Committee working group of US decision but would like to think about how best use this info. When Finger suggested desirability of not informing Afro-Asians for few days in order avoid possible risk to SC negotiations re Namibia which now in progress, Mestiri readily agreed and said he would hold off until next week before informing Afro-Asians.

3. Mestiri then said that trip without US and UK would obviously be less effective, and he would like to avoid doing anything which would harm prestige of Committee and of UN. However, there was very strong sentiment in Committee for trip and Mestiri thought it would not be possible to put off trip this year. He said he had given considerable thought to matter of Africa trip and that his discouraging of trip last year was part of his strategy of trying to put increasingly long intervals of time between trips, i.e., two-year interval now, perhaps three-year interval next time.

4. Mestiri then suggested that it would be very useful, in this connection, if visiting missions could be arranged to other territories. This, he said, would help serve as deterrent to regular Africa trips by whole Committee and would enable Committee to divide into sub-groups to visit various territories, so that, for example, one group might visit Africa, another an American territory, and while still another might go to a British territory. Mestiri then mentioned desirability of visiting mission to US Virgin Islands, saying he thought it could be arranged that responsible group of Committee members could be chosen for such trips, with US having a say in selection. He said he has been generally encouraged by developments within Committee because moderate elements appeared to be showing more strength and radicals like Tanzania becoming increasingly isolated. He noted as case in point that Tanzania, although strongly opposed to Committee’s undertaking study of small territories, had been unable to make its view prevail. Mestiri urged we give serious consideration to possibility of visiting mission to one of our territories and thought Virgin Islands might be easiest one from our point of view. He said that if we were to agree to such a visiting mission, he was confident that demand for visiting missions to other US territories could be held off for at least three years, adding that a lot can happen in three years, including possibility that such a mission could make important contribution to greater realism in Committee.


49. Airgram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/


New York, April 16, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Drafted by Seymour M. Finger. Also sent to Dar es Salaam, Kinshasa, and Lusaka.

1. Committee of 24
2. South Africa

At lunch with Finger today Issoufou Djermakoye, the UN Under Secretary for Non-Self-Governing Territories, discussed following subjects:

1. Committee of 24 Trip to Africa. Djermakoye said he had decided not to go to Africa with the Committee of 24 next month. His decision was prompted by the fact that the Committee will begin its work in Kinshasa. Since he recently was in Kinshasa for an OCAM meeting and delivered a statement on behalf of the Secretary General, he saw little point in going there again so soon. He has also been in Dar Es Salaam recently and that is another point on the itinerary of the Committee of 24 next month. Had the Committee decided to go first to Zambia, which was the first government to issue an invitation, he would have gone there at least for that portion of the trip. Djermakoye said he realized he might be criticized by some Africans on the grounds that his decision not to take the trip was influenced by the fact that the US and the UK were not going; nevertheless, he would stick to his decision for the reasons he had given.

Comment: The absence of the Under Secretary as well as the UK and the US, plus other information indicating that a number of prominent representatives on the Committee of 24 will not go to Africa, would appear to put a damper on the trip.

[Omitted here is discussion of maintaining a Chemical Bank branch at the UN Secretariat despite the Bank’s ties with South Africa, and about African countries that continued to trade with South Africa.]


50. Editorial Note

The Committee of 24 held meetings in Kinshasa (May 4–8, 1969), Lusaka (May 9–16), and Dar es Salaam (May 17–23). At all three locations it heard from representatives of liberation movements in Southern Rhodesia, Namibia, South Africa, and the Portuguese territories in Africa. On May 22 it adopted a consensus statement on Namibia. The statement expressed concern at South African actions there; called "upon the governments concerned immediately to cease extending assistance and co-operation to South Africa;" and urged support for liberation movements, extension of the Geneva Conventions to "POWs," and a Security Council meeting to determine steps to be taken after South Africa’s failure to comply with earlier Security Council resolutions. (Telegram 1531 from Dar es Salaam, May 24; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN) The final session on May 23 discussed the situation in Portugal’s African territories and approved a resolution of thanks to the Governments of Congo (Kinshasa), Zambia, and Tanzania. No other actions were taken by the Committee. (Telegram 1542 from Dar es Salaam, May 25; ibid.) Reports describing the Committee meetings are ibid.

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

Geneva, July 30, 1969, 1800Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Repeated to USUN.

2696. Subject: ECOSOC–Implementation Decolonialism Declaration–(Item 20).

1. Secretariat paper on this item circulated July 29 as report of President of Council. Summary follows:

A. President of Council held consultation with Chairman of Committee of 24 in Geneva July 17.

B. Chairman of Committee of 24 observed that Committee members appreciated serious effects by number of SA’s and international institutions to find ways to implement declaration. Members also welcomed positive results flowing from offers of increased support to Southern African refugees by most members of UN system. Noted also that arrangements agreed at January 1969 inter-agency meeting convened by UNHCR were promising and that arrangements for working out increased assistance to refugees through UNHCR and OAU were progressing.

C. On other hand only few SA’s and other international institutions have submitted concrete suggestions for best way to achieve speedy implementation of relevant resolutions in accordance GA Res. 2426 (XXIII)./2/

/2/ Resolution 2426 (XXIII), approved by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1968, by a vote of 82 to 7 (U.S.), with 25 abstentions, called on specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the UN to cooperate in implementing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; and particularly to provide assistance, with the cooperation of the OAU, to liberation movements in Southern Rhodesia, Namibia, and the Portuguese African territories. It also called for the termination of IBRD loans and grants to Portugal and South Africa.

D. President and Chairman agreed that Council might invite SA’s to participate fully in discussion at 47th session on further and coordinated implementation.

E. Chairman of Committee of 24 suggested SA’s work out arrangements with OAU in order to facilitate formulation programmes of assistance as envisaged in operative para 3 of GA res. 2426 (XXIII) (Assistance to Liberation Movements).

F. UNHCR thinks arrangements for inter-agency cooperation should be strengthened and that SA’s assume greater procedural flexibility in assisting refugees. ILO arrangements with UNHCR cited as example.

G. Chairman of Committee of 24 suggested (and President had no objection) that Council should consider inviting executive heads of SA’s to bring to attention of SA’s specific problems being encountered in giving effect to GA resolutions. Thus states members could take action under para 6 of GA res. 2426 (XXIII) to initiate changes required for speedy and full implementation. President added that executive heads might be asked to report results to SYG.

H. President and Chairman agreed that Council give continuing attention to question.

2. No talk as yet of any formal proposals or resolutions under this item. Expect debate, which begins in plenary July 31, to follow same pattern as last year, i.e., reports by SA’s and recriminations by Africans and EE’s. Del plans remain silent during debate unless it becomes necessary to respond specific attacks.

3. Del aware that US vote against GA res. 2426 (XXIII) principally because it sought to have IBRD and IMF perform functions prohibited by their statutes.


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

Geneva, August 4, 1969, 1209Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Repeated to USUN.

2763. Subject: ECOSOC–Declaration on Colonialism (Item 20). Ref: Geneva 2696./2/

/2/ Document 51.

1. Summary: Debate on implementation colonialism declaration by specialized agencies completed in extended Friday p.m. meeting of Council. SA’s reported on their implementation of declaration and Africans and others chastized non-implementation of IBRD and IMF. Speeches were rambling and emotional, but Africans better prepared than last year, and it seems likely that resolution will emerge. End Summary.

2. Number of SA’s reported on implementation during past year, most of which was already included in reports to Committee of 24 (A/AC.109/333, July 3, 1969). UNESCO and ILO got good marks from African dels particularly for their willingness conclude agreements with OAU for assistance to liberation movements. This course of action was strongly recommended by several speakers to those who have "quibbled" about problems of not being able deal directly with administering powers. IMF and UNDP (neither of which spoke) came in for scolding for failure to make meaningful report to Committee of 24. Fund called "succinctly obstreperous" by Tanzania (Waldron-Ramsey) and "recalcitrant" by Upper Volta (Diallo) and Sierra Leone (Cole). Soviets and Congo (B) also blasted Fund for supporting South Africa to tune of $62 million in 1968. IBRD was again favorite target, criticism reaching climax with charge by Congo (B) that it was "life insurance of imperialism." Bank wisely changed tactics from last year’s session during which Bank engaged Africans in legal arguments on question of compliance with GA resolution. This year Bank spoke only of being willing consider seriously assistance to refugees. Tanzania asked if Bank willing to make agreements with OAU.

3. Waldron-Ramsey spoke for nearly an hour and had apparently coordinated his well organized presentation. His specific proposals were endorsed by most African dels, and they will probably appear in form of draft resolution during final week. Specific proposals were as follows:

A. ECOSOC should recommend that legislative bodies of SA’s and other international institutions:

(1) Request following information from their executive director:
(A) History of GA "legislation" this issue;
(B) Implementation action taken;
(C) What implementing action can still be taken;
(D) What difficulties are encountered in executing GA resolutions or mandates of legislative bodies themselves.

(2) Establish small "watch-do" committee of 5 or 6 members for continuing surveillance of implementation, reporting back to parent bodies of difficulties encountered.

B. ECOSOC should also recommend that item remain on agenda ACC and CPC so that there can be continuing coordinated review. Waldron-Ramsey also suggested that legislative bodies of SA’s and other institutions should "reaffirm" decision not to assist Portugal and South Africa since assistance is clearly being used to suppress legitimate desire for self-determination, although he did not make clear whether this latter point should be included in ECOSOC resolution.

4. There were fewer than usual attacks on policies of individual governments. UK came in for restrained criticism on SR, but did not reply during debate. Soviets confined their criticism exclusively to SA’s. US mentioned only by Cuban observer (as helper of colonialists and imperialists) and by Sierra Leone (for having recently concluded agreement with Portugal to mine diamonds in Portuguese territory).

5. Only non-Africans to speak were Soviets, Bulgarians (who initiated debate and took credit for giving birth to item in GA), India, and Jamaica.

6. Chairman announced that debate was closed on item, but that Council would take up on Thursday, August 7, any resolution that is tabled.

7. It seems likely that draft resolution containing Waldron-Ramsey recommendations (para 3 above) will be tabled. Also reasonable expect that more strident demands will be included, for example, would expect stress on cooperative arrangements with OAU (para 3, GA Res 2426 XXIII, para 7 of E/4712, reported reftel).

8. Any preliminary guidance on what US Del would be able support would be appreciated.


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

Geneva, August 5, 1969, 1754Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to USUN.

2800. Subject: ECOSOC’s Implementation of Colonialism Declaration (Item 20). Refs: A. Geneva 2797, B. Geneva 2696, C. Geneva 2763./2/

/2/ Telegram 2797, August 5, transmitted the text of the draft resolution. (Ibid.) Telegrams 2696 and 2763 are Documents 51 and 52.

1. Despite some rough edges lengthy draft resolution reported Ref. A seems on whole slightly more restrained than past efforts this subject. Comments on specific operative paras follow:

Para 2. Since our negative votes on GA Res 2311 (XXII) and GA Res 2426 (XXIII) were prompted largely by insistence on Bank and Fund’s implementation of resolutions which are inconsistent with their own charters, assume we would oppose this para.

Para 3. Although most of recommendations in President’s report seem unobjectionable, del notes that this would include suggestion para 1.E. Ref. B concerning arrangements with OAU envisaged para 3 of GA Res 2426 (XXIII).

Para 4. This was key point in many of statements made during general debate and Africans are undoubtedly intractable on this one.

Para 7. This is substantially same as proposal elaborated byWaldron-Ramsey (Tanzania) and supported by number of delegations during general debate (Ref. C). Subparagraph V, which he referred to in debate as "watchdog committee" seems superfluous at best although it does not specify that "machinery" must be committee of member states.

2. Preliminary reaction from Belgian Del off is that they will likely abstain on resolution as whole, probably voting no on paras 2 and 4 and perhaps 7 V if there is separate vote. He reports that French share this view and are also objecting to para 5 which brings UNDP into picture. UK Del off somewhat more negative and very preliminary reading suggests negative vote on resolution as whole. US Del will be meeting with several WEO dels Wednesday morning to discuss strategy and will report and make recommendations following that meeting. Schedule calls for resolution to come to floor on Thursday.


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

Geneva, August 6, 1969, 1548Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to USUN.

2817. Subject: ECOSOC–Implementation of Colonialism Resolution (Item 20). Refs: A. Geneva 2797, B. Geneva 2800./2/

/2/ See Document 53 and footnote 2 thereto.

1. Del off spoke with UK (Allen) Wednesday A.M. about draft resolution contained in Ref A. Allen also feels that on whole this draft is less objectionable than prior GA resolutions this subject. Given this premise it was agreed that it most unlikely that there will be any negative votes on resolution as whole by other delegations since other five negative votes on GA Res 2426 (XXIII) are not represented on ECOSOC. On looking over operative para Allen said they would undoubtedly oppose paras 2 and 4 as inconsistent with their stand in past. Para 3 not completely acceptable since it incorporates objectionable reference to assistance to liberation movements (para 2 Ref B), but Allen thinks abstention (along with US) would be appropriate in circumstances. Allen has same problem mentioned para 1 Ref B with para 7 V but says that vote on this para or subparagraph would probably depend on whether they abstain or vote no on resolution as whole. On para 8 Allen pointed out that this paragraph could be objected to for legitimate organizational reasons, particularly involvement of CPC and joint meeting of CPC and APC, and again that final position would probably depend on overall position.

2. Allen and del off spoke with IBRD and IMF reps who were generally relaxed about draft resolution. They both felt that para 2 could be much worse and that it even implies recognition of fact that they have extended some cooperation. They both would feel more comfortable if there were no separate vote on para 2 which they feel would precipitate unwelcome harangue this point. US-UK abstention on resolution as whole would be quite satisfactory to them.

3. Belgian del off confirmed position reported Ref A, saying he now has instruction to abstain on resolution as whole and authority to vote no on paras 2, 4, 7 V if there is separate vote, with flexibility on paras 5 and 8.

4. Del off heard in corridors that several amendments will be offered by co-sponsors. In para 7, recommendation will be directed to SA’s themselves rather than governing bodies or deliberative organs. In para 4, on suggestion of UNESCO, ILO and WHO will be added to list of "good guys."

5. In view foregoing and in order to further our efforts to minimize polarization and confrontation with LDC’s, particularly Africans, del strongly recommends that we abstain. British are making similar recommendation so that in abstaining we would presumably be joining UK, other WEO and LA’s (with possible exception Jamaica). On question separate vote on objectionable paras del would be inclined not to request it. We would note our objections in brief explanation of vote which would also indicate our support for positive aspect of resolution and would specifically call attention to fact that we are abstaining rather than voting against because of more constructive tone of resolution and because we sense attempt on part of co-sponsors to take into account known objections of other members.

6. Would also appreciate instructions in para by para vote in event someone calls for it. UK and Belgians have both indicated they do not intend to do so.


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

Washington, August 6, 1969, 1935Z.

/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.

131120. Subj: ECOSOC–Declaration on Colonialism (Item 20). Ref: Geneva 2817./2/

/2/ Document 54.

1. Dept concurs recommendation para 5 reftel that US abstain on res as whole and not request paragraph by paragraph vote.

2. Delegation may wish to incorporate following language, as appropriate, in any statement it may make.

a. 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.

b. 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.

c. 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.

d. 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.

e. 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.

3. Instructions on para by para vote and further recommendations on explanation of vote will be sent septel./3/

/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.)


56. Airgram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/


New York, December 15, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Drafted by Finger, cleared by Sacksteder, and approved by Michael H. Newlin. Repeated to Canberra and Madrid.

Committee of 24 and Colonial Issues

Under Secretary Djermakoye reported to Finger today that Ambassador German Nava Carillo of Venezuela would become the next Chairman of the Committee of 24. As a counterpart for African agreement to his chairmanship, Djermakoye expects the Latin Americans to support allocation of the seat vacated by Australia to Algeria. Previously, Barbados had been interested in replacing Australia but Djermakoye did not believe the Latin Americans would now contest the Algerian candidacy. For himself, he did not think Algerian membership in the Committee of 24 would be a bad thing. He thought he could moderate the Algerian viewpoint if they joined the Committee and believed they would be more dangerous outside the Committee than inside. Comment: Djermakoye may be overly sanguine about this ability to exercise influence on the Algerians. In fact, Algerian membership is likely to stir the Committee out of the apathy which has characterized it during 1969.

Djermakoye expressed great satisfaction at the adoption of a resolution on Papua and New Guinea with the affirmative votes of Australia and the US. On the key amendment by Liberia (leaving the decision on membership of the Visiting Mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea in the hands of the Trusteeship Council), Djermakoye said he had spent two hours persuading Abdel-Wahab (UAR) to accept the substance of the Liberian amendment. Abdel-Wahab had finally told him it was the Soviets who kept insisting on getting the Committee of 24 into the act of choosing a mission. Djermakoye was finally able, he said, to persuade the Africans not to go along with the Soviets. He argued strongly that Australia had a relatively good record compared to the administering authorities for the Southern African territories. Failure to acknowledge Australia’s better performance, he argued, would be a mistake.

Djermakoye stated that the Africans were completely disillusioned with Spain. The Africans had noticed the abrupt change in Spanish voting patterns on colonial issues when Spain decided not to press the Gibraltar issue in the UN General Assembly. Consequently, they considered Spain cynical and hypocritical, and this would have an impact on their attitude on other issues in which Spain is involved.


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

New York, February 13, 1970, 1702Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use; Priority. Repeated to Caracas.

228. Subj: UN Comite of 24 Chairmanship. Ref: Caracas 720./2/

/2/ In telegram 720, February 12, the Embassy in Caracas reported that the Venezuelan Government sought U.S. support for Nava Carillo’s candidacy for chairman of the Committee. (Ibid.)

1. Opening meeting of Comite of 24’s 1970 session postponed to Feb 16 at request of Afro-Asian majority of Comite. Reason for delay is African group’s inability to decide on chairmanship of Comite during coming session, and its desire avoid contested election. A number of African and Asian members of Comite, perhaps abetted by Soviets and their Bulgarian and Polish cohorts, reportedly decided during informal discussions and caucuses this past week to renege on understanding they had previously reached with Venezuela representative on Comite, Amb Nava Carillo. Alleged reasons for change in position as follows: 1) During past nine years since its establishment, Comite has been chaired by a permanent representative (Nava is Venezuela Deputy PermRep); 2) All previous chairmen have been Africans, and some of this group probably consider the Comite of 24 chairmanship theirs by "right"; 3) 1970 will mark 10th anniversary of Comite (and 25th of UN) with greater than usual attendance of African Chiefs of State at 25th GA; 4) Coming Comite session will have to consider plans for future, and will therefore take on greater significance than previous sessions. For these reasons, Africans alleged to believe that giving chairmanship to any other than African PermRep would represent downgrading of Comite.

2. Rumors emanating from Afro-Asian caucuses indicate some confusion and divisions. However there is persistent story that Africans seeking to promote candidacy of Sierra Leone despite fact that Sierra Leone currently serving on Security Council, and, with small permanent mission, would have difficulty effectively chairing Comite.

3. Venezuelan candidate contacted MisOff to say he was aware of Afro-Asian maneuvers but that LA group had decided to maintain his candidacy. Ecuador was inscribed at inaugural meeting to propose Venezuela, and Honduras agreed to second. Nava Carillo said that LA group refused to accept African argument that Comite of 24 was African preserve. Mission recommends that in event of contested election we cast our vote for Venezuela. But we should not lobby for Nava Carillo. Such efforts likely to be counter-productive rather than helpful in view of composition of Comite./3/

/3/ On March 5 Nava Carillo withdrew his candidacy after learning that the Asian and African members of the Committee of 24 had decided to support Davidson Nicol of Sierra Leone as chairman. (Telegram 346 from USUN, March 5; ibid.)


58. Airgram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, May 4, 1970.


/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Algiers, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, and Lusaka. Drafted by Sacksteder, cleared by Finger and E. C. Grigg, and approved by Newlin.

Committee of 24 Ad Hoc Group Africa Trip

At its 741st meeting on May 4, the Committee of 24 approved recommendations of its working group that an ad hoc group of representatives of the Committee make a trip to Africa. The trip will be undertaken in connection with preparations for the Tenth Anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. The purpose of the trip is to establish contact with leaders of national liberation movements in Africa.

The ad hoc group will consist of the following: Chairman: Ambassador Davidson Nicol of Sierra Leone, Chairman of the Committee of 24; Rapporteur: Mr. S.M.S. Chadha of India, Rapporteur of the Committee of 24; and representatives of the following six delegations: Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Italy, Poland and Tunisia. The ad hoc group will be accompanied by a small number of Secretariat personnel. It is tentatively scheduled to depart from New York on May 24 with the following itinerary: Lusaka, two to three working days; Dar es Salaam, two to three working days; Addis Ababa, two working days; Algiers, two working days.

The Committee further approved a recommendation that in the interval before its departure, the ad hoc group contact the leaders of the national liberation movements involved and make appropriate arrangements with the governments concerned and with the Organization of African Unity. The addressees of this airgram will be informed by telegram of the exact composition of the ad hoc group and its final itinerary.

Comment: The U.S. Representative to the Special Committee of 24 concurred in the plans for this trip to Africa with some misgiving. However, the decision to limit the trip to eight members of the Committee and its duration to approximately two weeks was, in our view, the lesser of possible evils. There was sentiment among members of the Committee for a full fledged trip by the whole Committee to include commemorative sessions at the seat of the OAU in this Tenth Anniversary year. Such a junket would have entailed the same kind of extensive staff support as previous African trips of the Committee at five or six times the cost of the proposed trip by the ad hoc group. The Mission will be interested to receive such reports on this trip and on the activities of its members as the addressees may be in a position to furnish.


59. Editorial Note

The Ad Hoc Group of representatives from the Committee of 24 traveled to Addis Ababa (May 28–30, 1970), Dar es Salaam (May 30–June 2), and Lusaka (June 3–5). The Group heard from representatives of the various African liberation movements and urged that the UN provide more active support for them. After arriving in Lusaka, Chairman Nicol told reporters that the Committee was working with UN agencies to establish hospitals and clinics in "liberated areas of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea Bissau," while UN agencies and independent African states would be encouraged to train "nationals of countries under European domination" as doctors, teachers, and administrators. (Telegram 918 from Lusaka, June 4; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN) After the last meeting, the Embassy in Lusaka reported: "Sessions were brief, routine, and unexciting. Neither liberation movements reps nor delegates appeared to be very enthusiastic and GRZ seemed take little interest in proceedings." (Telegram 935 from Lusaka, June 8; ibid.)

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

Washington, September 11, 1970, 2011Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Samuel R. Peale; cleared by Norman Frisbie, Martin Jacobs, and Donald S. Spigler; and approved by Morris Rothenberg.

149085. Subj: Joint Session Comite of 24, Comite on Apartheid and Council for Namibia. Ref: A. USUN 1868;/2/ B. State 51370./3/

/2/ In telegram 1868, September 10, USUN reported that, on the one hand, the proposed joint session of the Committee of 24, the Committee on Apartheid, and the Council for Namibia would only involve an exchange of views and was unlikely to produce any resolutions. On the other hand, the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Namibia, its Sanctions Committee on Southern Rhodesia, and the UN Human Rights Commission would be invited to attend. This would pose difficulties since the United States was not represented on either the Council for Namibia or the Committee on Apartheid, and had voted against Resolution 2506 (XXIV) on apartheid. (Ibid.)

/3/ Telegram 51370 to USUN, April 8, spelled out objections to the joint session: it seemed unnecessary when the Committee of 24 was giving adequate attention to southern Africa, and the proposal exceeded the terms of reference of the other bodies. It would be difficult for the United States to participate in a joint session since it was not a member of the Council for Namibia or the Committee on Apartheid, had abstained on the resolution establishing the former and voted against the resolution establishing the latter, and had voted against Resolution 2506 (XXIV), which had called for the joint session. (Ibid.)

1. Dept still not inclined participate in proposed joint session. Mission should approach Nicol and reiterate position essentially as in ref B. Mission should also point out increasingly cumbersome nature of proposed session, financial implications, obvious duplication with work of Fourth Comite, and particularly ill timing and inappropriateness of meeting during GA. Mission should use similar points as necessary in explaining position to Sanctions Committee and Namibia Subcomite and should discuss matter with UKUN and other friendlies on all three bodies, particularly re possibility their taking similar positions.

2. Dept still sees no need for or likely benefit from type of joint meeting described ref A. Fact it now proposed to invite two additional bodies only compounds duplication of Fourth Comite effort. Present timing, with GA and particularly Fourth Comite about commence sessions, makes duplication of effort all more apparent.

3. US membership on three out of five proposed comites does pose additional problem. However, point made ref B regarding limited functions of organs other than Comite of 24 equally valid for SC Sanctions Comite and Namibia Subcomite. As member these subcomites US has particular responsibility oppose extraneous activities not within terms of reference.

4. Dept also notes with regard Comite of 24 that bureau acting very freely without meaningful consultations or debate. While such activity not inconsistent with normal character of Comite, Dept finds in it ample reason for not being bound by Committee decision./4/

/4/ Ambassador Finger explained to Nicol that the United States was not inclined to participate in the joint session for the reasons outlined. Nicol replied that he hoped that if one were held, the United States "might be present on a low-key basis," or else its absence would be misunderstood. (Telegram 1944 from USUN, September 16; ibid.)


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

New York, October 8, 1970, 0001Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential.

2309. Subj: 10th Anniversary Program of Action of Decolonization. Ref: USUN 2207 and 2276./2/

/2/ Telegram 2207, October 2, described meetings of the Committee of 24 that were held September 25, 28, and 30 to discuss the Draft Program of Action to commemorate the Committee’s 10th anniversary. The draft proved unacceptable to the United States and many WEOs, which submitted an extensive list of amendments on September 30. The United States tabled its amendments informally after meeting that afternoon. (Ibid.) In telegram 2276, October 6, Yost reported that the President of the General Assembly and the chairmen of the Committee of 24 and the 25th Anniversary Committee had met on October 6 and agreed to discuss the 10th anniversary program on October 12. (Ibid.)

1. WEO Group of Comite 4, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, US, UK, held informal meeting on 10th anniversary draft program of action prepared by Comite 24. In general, reaction among WEOs was unfavorable. None of dels present liked sweeping generalizations and found certain paras particularly objectionable. The general feeling was also that text represented culmination of Sov attempt force wedge between West and Africans.

2. Most dels stated they had no instructions, but New Zealand and UK stated that, as long as text remained unchanged, they had instructions vote against draft program of action. US del stated it too would vote against if text remained unchanged. Australia expected vote against text and has so recommended to Canberra. France, in arguing that text contained many paras which it could not support, thought it might vote against text, but had no instructions. Belgium Rep said he had not had time study text, but his personal reaction was to vote against. He was awaiting instructions. Austria, Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Netherlands, while pointing out general unacceptability of draft program of action, thought they might be instructed abstain. Canada and Netherlands in particular said there was general reluctance of their governments to vote against res. Spanish Del said he had no instructions and would prefer not to comment.

3. Scandinavian Dels did not make any comment on text, but prior to meeting Muller (Finland) told MisOff that at first consultations among Scan Dels it generally agreed they would probably abstain on draft program of action. Italy announced it had instructions abstain.

4. During course of day, Oct 6, MisOff learned that Sovs were very concerned re possibility modifying draft program of action and have urged certain AF dels to ensure that program adopted as submitted to GA by Comite 24.

5. In evening, Oct 6, MisOff had occasion discuss 10th anniversary program of action with Tanzanian PermRep Salim and Chairman Tanzanian Del, Minister Babu. MisOff argued it necessary obtain program of action which would receive general acquiescence of GA and no negative votes. When asked what specific points US objected to, MisOff replied US could not agree that colonialism constituted a crime nor could it accept constitutionality of GA dictating to SC measures it should take concerning different territories. MisOff also said US could not accept sweeping generalizations made in program of action, particularly with respect to foreign economic interests. No distinction was made between the Southern Africa territories and other territories, and this was not acceptable to US. MisOff further stated purpose of US amendments had been to cooperate with ASAFs in effort secure general agreement and we regretted fact ASAFs did not adopt one of our amendments. MisOff said these same points had been made to Chairman Comite 24 when he consulted with us. Salim alleged points had not been transmitted to ASAF group and that, therefore, there had been a failure of communication between two groups. MisOff acknowledged this may have been the case, but urged Salim and Babu to see whether at this late hour it possible get generally acceptable text. Neither committed themselves, but did reply that there were several days before plenary would discuss program of action.

6. During WEO group mtg Oct 7, there had been no discussion of tactics to be followed in plenary.


62. Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts in Africa/1/

Washington, October 12, 1970, 2027Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Peter C. Walker, approved by Donald S. Spigler, and cleared by Samuel R. Peale. Also sent to Lourenco Marques and Luanda, and repeated to USUN.

167826. Reference: (a) State 167451,/2/ (b) State 166107,/3/ (c) USUN 2367,/4/ (d) State 167419./5/

/2/ Telegram 167451, October 10, alerted all posts in Africa of the likelihood that the United States would have to vote against the Program of Action marking the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. (Ibid.)

/3/ Telegram 166107, October 8, described the Department’s objection to the Draft Declaration on the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations, particularly since paragraphs 6 and 7 singled out specific areas for censure while ignoring "other obvious examples of oppression and tyranny of which members and world community well aware." (Ibid., UN 30)

/4/ Telegram 2367 from USUN, October 10, reported that proposed U.S. revisions received no support, even from the U.K. Delegation, and were adamantly opposed by African delegations. (Ibid.)

/5/ Telegram 167419, October 9, supplied a statement for use in the October 9 meeting of the Committee for the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations. (Ibid.) The text of the statement as delivered by Ambassador Finger is printed in Department of State Bulletin, November 16, 1970, pp. 631–632.

Subject: Action Program on 10th Anniversary Decolonization


1. For your background, following are key paras (condensed) of "Action Program" submitted by Committee of 24 to UNGA for vote possibly today or tomorrow:

Begin Summary:

3(a)–Member states shall do utmost promote in UN and international institutions and organizations within UN system, effective measures for full implementation of Declaration . . . including adoption by Security Council of effective measures against governments and regimes engaging in any form of repression colonial peoples which would seriously impede maintenance of international peace and security.

3(b)–Member states shall render all necessary moral and material assistance to peoples in colonial territories in struggle attain freedom and independence. . . .

3(c)ii–GA draws attention of SC to need continue giving special attention to problems of Southern Africa by adopting measures ensure full implementation Resolution 1514 (XV) and its own resolutions, and in particular:

–To widen scope of sanctions against illegal regime of Southern Rhodesia by declaring mandatory all measures in . . . Article 41 of the Charter;

–To impose sanctions on South Africa and Portugal whose governments have blatantly refused to carry out mandatory decisions of Security Council;

–To give urgent consideration . . . to promoting speedy elimination of colonialism, to . . . imposing fully and unconditionally, under international supervision, embargo on arms of all kinds to government of South Africa and illegal regime of Southern Rhodesia;

–To consider urgently adoption measures prevent supply of arms of all kinds to Portugal as these enable that country deny right of self-determination and independence to peoples of the territories under its domination. End Summary.

2. Re separate but inter-related problem of 25th Anniversary Declaration para 6 on Colonialism and para. 7 on Apartheid (see ref B.), US del agreed, after recording US objections to language paras. 6–7 (see refs C and D), to submission of whole declaration to Plenary.

3. Septel will follow re US explanation of vote on 10th Anniversary declaration and voting pattern./6/

/6/ Transmitted in telegram 167972 to all posts in Africa, October 12. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN) The General Assembly approved the Draft Program of Action on the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration on Decolonization on October 12, by a vote of 86 to 5, with 15 abstentions. The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa voted against it. Ambassador Finger’s statement in explanation of the U.S. vote is printed in Department of State Bulletin, November 16, 1970, p. 635.


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

New York, December 4, 1970, 2018Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–4. Confidential.

3537. Subj: US Participation in Comite of 24. Ref: A) USUN 8082 Nov. 26, 1968; B) USUN 3486 Dec. 2, 1970./2/

/2/ Telegram 8082 is printed in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXXIII, Document 436. In telegram 3486, December 3, Yost reported that Italy was considering withdrawing from the Committee of 24. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–4)

1. Two years ago the US delegation recommended that the US should leave the Comite of 24. We noted then that the Comite has produced absolutely no positive results, multiplies points of friction between the US and Afro-Asian group, and generally detracts from effectiveness and credibility of UN in whole colonial area (reftel A).

2. While Dept generally concurred with USUN reasoning, Secretary Rusk decided leaving Comite of 24 should not be a final act of an outgoing administration. USUN and Dept subsequently reasoned that it would be unwise for such departure to be first act of an incoming administration. Last January we reasoned that we should be patient for one more year, for two reasons: A) election of moderate and objective chairman, Amb Nicol of Sierra Leone; B) possibility US might have some influence on program of action to be worked out as part of Tenth Anniversary of Declaration against Colonialism.

3. Nicol has in fact been a good chairman, but Comite of 24 has sunk into general apathy interrupted by bursts of activity on proposals pressed by Soviets and radical Africans which emerge as its final product. We made extensive and genuine effort this year to reach agreement with moderates on a Program of Action which would be realistic and constructive in terms of working toward the end of colonialism. We were not successful in informal consultations because Tanzanians and Bulgarians, backed by Soviets and other radicals, rejected any attempt to modify Program of Action drafted principally by Tanzania and Bulgaria. Moderates either could not or would not stand up to them. We presented 15 amendments in Comite of 24 and explained them most carefully and in most conciliatory manner possible. Nevertheless all 15 amendments were rejected. Rejection much regretted by chairman, by Under Secretary Djermakoye and SYG. Nevertheless Comite of 24 now has a Program of Action adopted by GA which virtually ensures it will continue to be unproductive and to detract from the effectiveness and credibility of UN in colonial area. I therefore believe that time has come for us to withdraw from membership on this Comite. I noted that Italy is doing so and UK, which has for ten years rejected even any thought of leaving Comite, is now seriously considering possibility.

4. I suggest our notice of withdrawal not be given to Pres of GA before last day of session. Alternatively we can write him in January. We would not want our notice of withdrawal to have repercussions on important issues such as seabeds and High Commissioner for Human Rights which currently before comites of GA.

5. We recognize that there will be some adverse reaction from some of our African and Asian friends when we announce our decision to leave. We believe this could be minimized by discussing with them in advance the reasons for our decision. We can point out to them that our trial extension of our membership during past two years produced no evidence that there could be any material improvement in Comite’s work. Furthermore, members of Comite are by now fully aware that it produces nothing of consequence and we doubt that their disappointment over our decision will be long lived. As for product of Comite it is not likely to get appreciably worse than it is now, whether we stay on or leave. In any case, we can participate on items involving US interests, as other non-members of Comite do. Moreover, we shall have an opportunity to participate in GA consideration of all these questions, and recent developments in Fourth Comite suggest that our chances of meaningful influence are better there than in Comite of 24–a point we can make in explaining our move to friendly Africans and Asians. Finally, scene of greatest interest to Africans on main colonial problems–Rhodesia, Namibia, and Portuguese territories–has been shifted to Security Council, where they can be discussed in a more serious fashion. (Italians citing forthcoming membership on Council as reason for leaving Comite of 24.)


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

New York, December 19, 1970, 0007Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to London.

3747. Subj: UK Considering Withdrawal from Comite of 24.

1. UK PermRep Crowe mentioned possible UK withdrawal from Comite of 24 during discussion with MisOff of other changes in Comite. Amb. Crowe said FCO was considering UKUN suggestion that he be authorized withdraw from Comite, primarily on grounds that UK would not wish to remain associated with decolonization "program of action" approved by GA. UK Amb. said timing would be principal problem for his mission since he would want to announce decision before Comite next met, probably during latter part of January 1971. At same time, Crowe said his rep on Comite, Counselor Shaw, hoped Comite Chairman Nicol (Sierra Leone) would be able successfully conclude his negotiations for elimination of Assoc. States of West Indies from list of dependent territories subject to reporting requirements of Art. 73(E) of Charter. Shaw reportedly believes addition of Trinidad and Tobago to Comite will help Nicol achieve UK objective. Crowe enquired about US thinking on continued membership.

2. MisOff told UK Amb. Dept. was once more seriously considering question of withdrawal, and decision do so was distinct possibility. If such decision was reached, MisOff added, UKUN would be consulted prior to notification of Chairman and public announcement. Program of Action was major new contributing factor in US decision. MisOff expressed serious doubt that Nicol, with or without Trinidad’s help, could bring off removal of Associated States from dependent territories list. Soviet bloc members and African extremists effectively control Comite, and would strenuously oppose deletion. Crowe said UKUN would keep USUN informed of British plans.


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

Washington, December 28, 1970, 1745Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Drafted by Samuel R. Peale; cleared by Morris Rothenberg, Daniel Goott, Margaret J. Tibbetts, Peter C. Walker, Assistant Secretary Newsom, Robert T. Curran, George N. Monsma, Louise McNutt, Heller (Interior), Assistant Secretary De Palma, and Alexander Haig; and approved by the Under Secretary. A December 24 memorandum from Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to Haig noted that "if our UN Mission and State both believe that withdrawing from the committee would have no serious adverse effect in the UN or elsewhere, it should not be an outlandishly hawkish action. Also, the cable has high level clearance–Irwin, De Palma, and Newsom–and we were prepared to take this step two years ago." Lord expressed concern about whether withdrawing from a UN committee might set an unfavorable precedent should another nation, such as the Soviet Union, withdraw from a committee considered important by the United States. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 299, USUN, Vol. V)

209450. Subj: Withdrawal From Committee of 24. Ref: USUN 3537./2/

/2/ Document 63.

1. Dept concurs in recommendation ref tel. Believes suggestion of letter to Pres of GA in early January more consistent with objectives not have repercussions on important issues and allow time prepare detailed guidance to field on announcement.

2. Mission may discuss with UKUN and Australian Mission this decision immediately with appropriate cautions as to intended timing of announcement. As for other Comite members, Dept believes selected ASAF’s and others should be "informed" rather than consulted so as avoid problems which arose 1967/68 when nature US presentation of decision had appearance of consultations and allowed others talk us into giving Comite another chance. In all cases, except for UK and Australia, Dept believes notification or discussion should not take place until just prior date public announcement. Dept will also inform Puerto Rico.

3. Dept would appreciate Mission recommendations as to delegations, in addition to non-bloc members of Comite, which should be informed in advance. Dept also would appreciate Mission recommendations as to exact timing with particular view to presence in New York after end of GA of reps to whom info might be given.

4. Dept will wish coordinate further with Mission on nature of presentation to ASAF’s and others both at UN and in field.


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

New York, December 29, 1970, 2234Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to London.

3803. Subj: Withdrawal From Committee of 24. Ref: A. State 209450, B. USUN 3747./2/

/2/ Documents 65 and 64, respectively.

1. Act. PolCouns informed Shaw (UK) of USG decision withdraw from Committee of 24. Recalling conversation with UK Amb Crowe reported reftel B, Shaw was told decision withdraw from Comite had been made. In accordance earlier undertaking UKUN was being informed confidentially in advance, among other reasons in view possible bearing this might have on FCO consideration of possible UK withdrawal from Committee. Shaw said this info would be of great interest to FCO which he understood was giving most serious consideration ever to question of continued UK participation in Comite. Shaw asked when withdrawal decision would be announced and was told this would probably be in approximately one week, i.e. by middle of week of Jan 4.

2. Referring to UKUN efforts to have West Indies Associated States deleted from list of non-self-governing territories, Shaw said he was now somewhat pessimistic re outcome. Principal problem according to Shaw lies in inability of Associated States premiers reaching agreement on formula proposed by Comite of 24 Chairman Davidson Nicol (Sierra Leone) to introduce some form of UN presence into territories for purpose verifying their self-governing status. Shaw does not believe Nicol has reached agreement with premiers despite meeting with Bradshaw at Georgetown Dec 18. Shaw anticipates Comite 24 chairmanship will next pass to former Comite VP Nava Carrillo (Venezuela) who is unlikely to have Nicol’s interest settling this problem, both for reasons of Venezuelan policy and for personal reasons. Accordingly, Shaw implies that hope to work this out was no longer major reason for UK remaining member of Comite.

3. We do not expect be able see Australians until later this week due protracted Christmas closing of mission here. Mission recommendations requested para 3 reftel A will follow./3/

/3/ In telegram 3812 from USUN, December 30, Finger recommended that, in addition to the United Kingdom and Australia, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Japan, and New Zealand, the chairmen of the African, Asian, and Latin American groups and Under Secretary-General Djermakoye should be notified. Fiji, Sweden, and Trinidad/Tobago would be advised of the reasons for the U.S. decision in view of their having agreed to join the Committee. Finger expected to approach these persons and delegations January 7 and 8, and to submit an official notification on January 11. He recommended that the letter to the Secretary-General not go into detail about the reasons for withdrawal, and that posts in Africa and Asia be supplied with guidance to answer any questions. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN)


67. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

Washington, January 5, 1971, 0120Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Drafted by Peale, Peter C. Walker, and Frank R. Golino; cleared by Witman, Goott, McNutt, Geraldine Jenkins, Stanley D. Schiff, and Morris Rothenberg; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Sent to Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Bamako, Brussels, Canberra, Caracas, Dar es Salaam, Freetown, The Hague, Kabul, Lisbon, London, Madrid, New Delhi, Oslo, Paris, Port-of-Spain, Quito, Rome, Stockholm, Tananarive, Tehran, Tokyo, Tunis, and Wellington; and repeated to Belgrade, Moscow, Sofia, Warsaw, USUN, and all other African and Latin American posts.

832. Subject: Withdrawal from UN Comite of 24 (Decolonization Comite). Ref: (A) State 167972 (notal),/2/ (B) State 169085 (notal),/3/ (C) USUN 3812 (notal)./4/

/2/ See footnote 6, Document 62.

/3/ Not printed. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN)

/4/ See footnote 3, Document 66.

1. USG has decided withdraw from membership on UN Comite of 24 and USUN plans notify GA Pres of this decision by letter on January 11. USUN has already informed UK and Australian UN Missions and will on Jan 7 & 8 notify other interested parties, including SYG, Comite Chairman Nicol (Sierra Leone), and UN reps of host govts of action addressees, i.e. non EE Comite members and others including administering powers.

2. For Action Addressees: London and Canberra may notify appropriate officials of USG decision immediately. Other posts may either use info below to respond to questions regarding US action or take initiative to bring matter to attention of host government in manner deemed appropriate. In latter case, posts should not approach local officials prior to Jan 8.

3. Info Addressees: Although Dept and USUN see no need notify host govt or UN reps prior public announcement, posts may, if deemed appropriate, notify appropriate officials of decision and reasons therefor as of date of announcement.

4. In discussing US withdrawal, you may draw on following reasons for our decision:

(a) Since establishment of Comite of 24 US has participated with hope it could make valid and constructive contribution to problems decolonization. We welcomed opportunity to work on these problems with others concerned and hoped our views would be given due consideration in framing serious and workable resolutions. However, as time has passed and as we have stated in Committee, we have had increasingly serious reservations with regard to method of operation as well as conclusions and actions of Committee. Only after consultations with Comite members in early 1968 did USG decide defer decision to withdraw from Comite at that time and instead seek, through frank statements of US views, acceptable changes in Comite performance. We have since reiterated these reservations. We have been increasingly concerned at Comite’s apparent unwillingness to take US views into account, as in case action program on decolonization in which not single one of some twenty suggested changes submitted by US was reflected in any form in Comite drafting.

(b) Comite has consistently refused follow course pursued in other committees of consulting on proposed actions and resolutions in order to gain support necessary to insure consensus and effective implementation.

(c) Comite has increasingly advocated extreme and unworkable measures, condoning use of violence, which we unable support. This performance now reflected and in effect codified in unworkable program of action for 10th anniversary Colonialism Declaration which will serve as guideline for future operations of Comite.

(d) In view all these factors, after careful consideration over a considerable period of time, after repeated warnings to Comite and in light recent developments, USG has reluctantly decided that Comite has not allowed US to play constructive role and that goal of practical progress toward decolonization cannot be served by continued US presence on Comite. We have therefore notified appropriate UN authorities of our withdrawal.

5. Post should point out that USG will continue to meet UN Charter responsibilities regarding US territories including reporting on them and participating in Comite consideration of them, if invited. US will also continue active interest in problems of decolonization and unswerving endorsement of right of self-determination. US believes it will have ample opportunity to consider and hopefully contribute to progress on these issues through participation in GA (Fourth Comite) and SC consideration the issues./5/

/5/ Further guidance was transmitted to African posts in telegram 4222, January 11. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN)


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

New York, January 9, 1971, 0137Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Bamako, Brussels, Canberra, Caracas, Dar es Salaam, Freetown, The Hague, Kabul, Lisbon, London, Madrid, New Delhi, Oslo, Paris, Port-of-Spain, Quito, Rome, Stockholm, Tananarive, Tehran, Tokyo, Tunis, and Wellington.

54. Subj: Withdrawal From the Committee of 24. Ref: State’s 209450, State’s 832./2/

/2/ Documents 65 and 67.

1. Pursuant instructions contained reftels and telcons with Dept, USUN informed dels of all addressee posts (except Tanzania which unable reach) plus Fiji as well as Chrmn of LA, Asian and AF groups re US decision withdraw from Comite 24, SYG informed through Under SYG Djermakoye. Reaction among WEO dels was generally congratulatory with statements that US move had been anticipated.

2. ASAF dels, while not expressing surprise at move, were concerned over effect US withdrawal would have on Comite and several wondered about future of Comite. Most of dels contacted wondered what UK would do in light of US withdrawal and they generally anticipated UK would soon follow. Some dels sought to get us to reconsider position but gave up when told decision already made.

3. LA’s (Ecuador Chargé Sefilla-Borja and Venezuela Dep PermRep Nava Carillo) expressed regret over US action but said that his efforts reorganize Comite along more constructive lines if he is elected Pres [Chairman]. He admitted not being sanguine re prospects of breaking Communist-ASAF extremists control of Comite. In fact we hear Africans may renege on "deal" by which Amb Nicol (Sierra Leone) was elected Chrmn of Comite in 1970 at expense of Amb Nava in exchange for AF support for Venezuelan in 1971.

4. New members, Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji, called on by LA adviser who explained in detail past US experience with Comite, earlier misgivings about continued participation, and general and specific grounds for decision withdraw. Amb Solomon of T&T reacted aggressively, charging US withdrawal would be regretted as petulant reaction to failure have their own way and as disregard of will of majority. He said it would have been nobler to remain in Comite and work from within for its improvement. He said T&T decision join Comite in no way affected by US decision and was based exclusively on T&T belief Comite’s cause was just and its work important to UN. However, he, Solomon, recognized US right act in what it considered its best interests whether rightly or wrongly. Specifically said he supported Program of Action’s endorsement of use of force as only way left to oppressed people of South Africa. Said US used force in SEAsia, and could hardly be critical of resort to such extreme measures by others. LA adviser refuted Solomon’s arguments and challenged premises on which these were based and interview ended amicably with an agreement to disagree.

5. Fiji Chargé Baker said decision join Comite would perhaps not have been made if they had known US planned withdraw. Fiji joined in hopes it could contribute to work to decolonization in smaller territories, particularly insular territories on basis their own experience of gradual progress to independence. He wondered whether US decision would influence UK do likewise and admitted Fiji mission had only consulted UKUN in general terms re desirability of joining Comite. Baker said Fiji naturally regretted US decision but, on basis explanation, understood our motives. He was told that Suva was being informed by AmConsul. He said Amb Sikivou returning Jan 9 with family and was invited to advise Amb to call Amb Finger next week if he had any additional questions.

6. Djermakoye (Under SYG for Trusteeship and NSGT) expressed "profound regret and grave concern" at US decision. Withdrawal would "seriously undermine" Comite’s ability carry out its task. However, it was abundantly clear above remarks pro-forma and US decision came as no surprise to him or, presumably, SYG.

7. USUN plans send formal ltr SYG as misfaxed from UNP Jan 11.


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

New York, January 11, 1971, 1745Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to London.

56. Subj: UK Withdrawal From Comite of 24.

1. Shaw (UK) informed Finger January 9 that UKUN had received instructions inform SYG UK withdrawing from Comite of 24./2/

/2/ Telegram 113 from London, January 6, informed the Department that the U.K. Government was considering withdrawing from the Committee. (Ibid.)

2. UKUN submitting its letter of withdrawal to SYG 4 P.M. January 11./3/ Shaw also said that UKUN did not want knowledge of UK’s withdrawal from Comite to be public until letter submitted SYG.

/3/ The U.K. note was transmitted to the Department in telegram 84 from USUN, January 13. (Ibid.)

3. Shaw further reported there would be stimulated question in Parliament January 12 in afternoon re UK’s withdrawal from Comite. He expected as result of stimulated question information would not be in press until Wednesday, January 13.

4. In response to question from MisOff, Shaw said UKUN will be stating privately that it prepared consider possibility of participation in Comite’s work on UK territories if invited, but will not commit itself to actual participation. Shaw expressed personal view that he felt once ties have been cut with Comite, UK should not participate at all in work of Comite, even when UK territories discussed in subcommittees. He did not know what final decision would be re this matter.


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

New York, January 12, 1971, 2350Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential.

79. Subj: US Withdrawal From Comite of 24. Ref: USUN 054./2/

/2/ Document 68.

1. Talk in UN corridors seems to be concentrating on US–UK withdrawals from C–24. General question has been what do these withdrawals do to the C–24. Press in general appears to have been caught off guard by announcements and SYG is reportedly not offering any comment to press re withdrawals. SYG’s reasoning is that he did not comment on withdrawals of Italy, Norway and Honduras; and, consequently, does not propose to comment on US and UK withdrawals from Comite.

2. Moderate AF’s are particularly concerned over US withdrawal. Tunisian, Malagasy, Senegalese, USSR, Ugandan, Ivory Coast and Liberian Dels have commented to MisOff that they were very concerned over US withdrawal from Comite; and Francophone AF’s in particular have privately called us quitters (lacheurs) for not being willing to withstand attacks. Moderate Francophones in particular have expressed serious concern over fact that US withdrawal from C–24 would give EE bloc and radicals free rein in Comite and thus undercut opportunities for moderates to counter effectively extreme views. When confronted with fact that US presence did not appear to have given much support to moderate views in Comite, moderate AF’s implied that, while this may have been true, they generally felt they could count on US support for stands which went contrary to extreme views. US presence, they argued, had moral value; and, although they had frequently had to adhere to general Afro-Asian line, minority viewpoints were assured expression by US. They further argued that US should have consulted with them, rather than simply informed them of decision to withdraw from C–24. Most dels were not concerned over UK withdrawal from Comite. At same time, because of seeming simultaneity of announcement, most dels felt there had been collusion between US and UK.

3. Most ASAF dels expressed view that US, which had been in forefront of decolonization, was now no longer interested. USUN has sought to make it clear that US interest in decolonization has not diminished and that it will be following process of decolonization both in Fourth Comite of GA and when raised in SC. Some dels wondered whether Comite should continue in light of US-UK defections, but were of opinion that, despite these setbacks, Comite will still operate.

4. Interesting note, bloc countries caught completely by surprise and Niklessa (USSR) wondered if US planning to withdraw from other comites dealing with decolonization. Specifically, he referred to subcommittees of SC on Rhodesia and Namibia. MisOff stated that, as permanent SC members, there no inclination for US withdraw from SC subcomites and expressed view Niklessa conclusion slightly farfetched.

5. Reactions among ASAF’s predictable. Some were caught by surprise, but did not appear to harbor any strong ill-will against US for its decision withdraw from C–24. It can be generally assumed that all have reported back to their governments re US decision. Nicol (Sierra Leone), who currently not in New York and who outgoing Chairman C–24, had instructed his del to approach USUN in order get US reconsider our decision. Having learnt, however, that US letter of withdrawal had already been transmitted to SYG, Sierra Leone Mission did not contact USUN in formal meeting, but expressed appreciation of Nicol for having been notified in advance of withdrawal.


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

New York, February 11, 1971, 2355Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use.

424. Subject: Comite of 24 Statements on US–UK Withdrawal.

1. Comite of 24 held its first meeting for 1971 and elected as Chairman Nava Carrillo (Venezuela) and as Vice Chairmen Jouejati (Syria) and Grinberg (Bulgaria) and as rapporteur Tadesse (Ethiopia).

2. In opening 1971 session, SYG expressed regret over departure of US and UK "which had served on Comite since it was first established and which had played a particularly useful role in the Comite owing to their position as administering powers". He further stated US–UK departure especially regretted because it meant Comite would be deprived of full-time participation of two administering powers which together were responsible for administration of majority of remaining dependent territories. SYG took due note of assurances given by USG re its continued adherence to its obligations under Charter and its readiness to attend meetings of Comite when latter discusses territories under its administration. He expressed hope UK would provide similar cooperation and expressed confidence that both countries would continue to cooperate fully in UN efforts bring speedy end to colonialism in all of its forms and manifestations.

3. Chairman Nava Carrillo in his thank-you speech expressed sorrow over US–UK withdrawal but took pleasure in noting US offer to participate in work of Comite when US territories under discussion. He expressed view, however, it would have been preferable for US–UK remain members. Vice Chairman Grinberg stated US–UK withdrawal should be interpreted as making work of Comite difficult and that there hardening of attitudes by administering powers. Other members of Comite expressed similar regrets over US–UK withdrawal.

4. Statements of first meeting on US–UK withdrawals from Comite tended to be relatively mild except for perhaps Grinberg’s statement. Soviets, however, have not yet spoken and it can be presumed their comments may be much harsher.

Interesting to note that US willingness cooperate with Comite was emphasized in contrast with absence of UK statement of intentions. Indication of US willingness cooperate with Comite on its territories may have been reason for generally mild statements at opening meeting.


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

New York, June 7, 1971, 2349Z.

/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.

1512. Subj: Comite of 24 Visiting Missions. Ref: USUN 1483./2/

/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)

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 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.

5. 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/

/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)


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

New York, June 24, 1971, 2200Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential.

1694. Subj: Comite of 24 Visiting Missions. Ref: State 104797./2/

/2/ See footnote 3, Document 72.

1. Amb Bennett took opportunity of small luncheon for departing Chairman of Comite 24, Venezuelan Amb Designate to Addis Ababa and Cairo, Nava Carrillo, to convey instructions reftel concerning US position on question of visiting missions. Nava Carrillo did not appear in any way surprised by US response, and did not question Bennett assertion that there was no evidence people in American Samoa, Guam or Virgin Islands desired visit by a UN group at this time. Nava Carrillo did call attention to problems UK had brought on itself by failing to invite UN presence during Act of Self-Determination in West Indies Associated States. Bennett responded that Washington was well aware of this situation.

2. With respect to Comite of 24 participation in mixed Trusteeship Council mission to observe Papua-New Guinea elections in March–April 1972, Nava Carrillo volunteered that certain members of Comite were being "very difficult". Although agreement had been reached that one East European and one Asian should be the non-members of TC on this mission, and although it looked as if Yugoslav likely to be EE rep, young Afghanistan First Secretary Aryubi (who is chairman of Pacific area sub-comite of Comite of 24) was insisting he should be Asian rep, although many members of Comite favored designation of a Fiji representative. Nava Carrillo made it plain that he considered Fiji more logical and sensible choice.

3. In parting, Nava Carrillo said he planned relinquish chairmanship of Comite of 24 July 9 in order to comply with his govt’s insistent orders that he proceed to his new post. In view of impending departure also of Bulgarian rep who is one of two vice chairmen, Comite will probably be chaired for balance current session by other vice chairman, Jouejati (Syrian Dep PermRep).


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

New York, October 9, 1971, 0052Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to Pretoria.

3343. Subj: Comite 4/2/–Possible Observer Status for SWAPO in Comite.

/2/ The Fourth, or Trusteeship, Committee of the General Assembly, was responsible for questions relating to non-self-governing territories.

1. Tothill (SA) informed MisOff October 8 that he had picked up rumor that ASAF’s, particularly members of Council for Namibia, would be seeking to get observer status for SWAPO in Comite 4 this year. He interpreted various maneuvers by Egyptian Del re insuring separate discussion on Namibia as part of this ploy. Tothill asked MisOff what US planned to do and stated that he personally would not object to having SWAPO as observer, but felt that his government would request SA Del to withdraw from Comite 4 during discussion on Namibia.

2. In querying MisOff re US attitude on possible observer status of SWAPO, Tothill pointed out that such a move could present serious precedent in which PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) would also seek observer status, as would members representing groups from Portuguese territories. MisOff replied he unaware what US position would be on this matter, but pointed out that, in view UN legal situation re Namibia, it might be difficult to oppose observer status for SWAPO. MisOff further pointed out, in response to Tothill query re other Nami-bian organizations, that OAU recognizes SWAPO and that by implication, if not in fact, UN would also recognize SWAPO as only Nami-bian group to deal with.

3. USUN would appreciate ASAP any comments Department may have re US attitude toward accepting SWAPO as observer to Comite 4./3/

/3/ On October 14 the Department expressed its opposition to granting observer status to SWAPO. In addition to the reasons stated, it would be improper for the UN to endorse one group (especially a group representing a single tribe) in the absence of the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Namibian people. The Department had no objection to SWAPO representatives appearing before the Fourth Committee under the procedures usually followed by outside groups. (Telegram 188050 to USUN, October 14; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN)


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

New York, December 21, 1971, 1855Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated to Taipei and Hong Kong.

5170. Subj: New Composition of Comite of 24.

1. At end of long meeting in plenary on Comite Four items, GA Pres announced appointment of two new members to Comite-24 and change of membership for one delegation.

2. New members of Comite-24 will be China and Indonesia, who presumably replace two of the WE countries which have left Comite. Poland has withdrawn from Comite and is to be replaced by Czechoslovakia.

3. Addition of China to Comite-24, as well as Indonesia, makes Comite become predominantly ASAF Comite with only Sweden representing West, although not terribly effectively, and EE’s and LA’s maintaining same number of seats in Comite. Comite can now be more likened to Apartheid Comite in terms of its composition.

4. Presence of China on Comite may not augur well for its future work. While Chinese have not participated in any of the colonial discussions in the GA, either in plenary or in Comite Four, their participation in Comite-24 will certainly serve as development ground for them for next year’s GA discussion on colonial questions. In addition, it can be anticipated that Chinese will follow very militant line with respect to Southern African issues. Re issues dealing with territories in Pacific, Caribbean, and Atlantic, it can be expected the Chinese may seek to capitalize on US absence from Comite-24 by attempting get stronger reses on Guam and American Samoa in particular, as well as on TTPI. In this connection, they may try play up presence of military base in Guam at a time when interest in this has been relatively pro forma with not much discussion. Department should expect to provide essential rebuttal material to Chinese particularly on US territories, inasmuch as US does participate in discussion of American Samoa, Guam and Virgin Islands.

5. It entirely possible that presence of Chinese may further bring into focus Sino-Soviet differences with Chinese attempting introduce questions relating to "Soviet colonialism" and it possible that two powers will be vying against each other for leadership on colonial questions among third world dels. All in all, Comite-24 may suddenly be of interest with addition of China. Understand that Ethiopian and Iraqi reps of Comite-24 are ones who urged China serve on Comite.

6. Addition of Czechoslovakia to Comite is no surprise since over years they have demonstrated unusual interest in activities of Comite-24 to point of even serving as observers to Comite’s trips around Africa.


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

New York, January 21, 1972, 2247Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Dar es Salaam.

253. Subj: Comite of 24.

1. Comite-24 held first meeting of 1972 on January 21. After hearing from SYG, Comite elected Salim (Tanzania) as its chairman and Abdulah (Trinidad and Tobago) and Hulinsky (Czechoslovakia) as vice chairmen with Aryubi (Afghanistan) being elected as rapporteur.

2. In his maiden speech, Salim attacked the UK for what was going on in SR, as well as US for its violation of sanctions and its agreement on Azores with Portugal. He also said Comite must find practical means for helping liberation movements in African colonial territories. He welcomed China, Indonesia, Czechoslovakia to the Comite.

3. Chinese made mild pro forma statement in which they supported people of African colonial territories in their struggle against colonialism and neocolonialism.

4. Comment: Comite has decided to send its chairman to observe SC meeting in Africa. Understand that Congo has been named to replace Madagascar, but that there possibility it may not take seat until 27th GA because of question of whether pres of 26th GA can officially name it to Comite-24. Addition of Congo will bring strength of Comite to 23 with at least 12 of its members being on extremist side. Election of Salim will mean that Tanzania will have had seat for second time. While Salim not likely be as harsh and irresponsible as his predecessor, Malecela, there every likelihood that he will, however, be more prone to extremist positions for Comite. Three subcomites of Comite-24 have not yet been formed. This should probably take place at a subsequent meeting.


77. Telegram From the Embassy in Guinea to the Department of State/1/

Conakry, April 14, 1972, 1318Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Repeated to USIA, Dakar, Lisbon, Monrovia, and USUN.

470. Subj: Comite of 24. Ref Conakry 467./2/

/2/ Telegram 467 from Conakry, April 13, described a resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee of 24 that recognized the Liberation Movement of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) as the sole representative of the people of these territories and called on all UN member states, specialized agencies, and other organizations to render "all the moral and material assistance necessary to continue their struggle for the restoration of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence." (Ibid.)

1. Summary: Comite of 24 and staff departed Conakry early morning Apr 14 by Air Guinea for Monrovia and connecting flight. Unprecedented direct Comite contact with PAIGC and its leaders, including first visit of a UN group to "liberated" territory, greatly enhanced PAIGC status. Comite resolution (reftel), adopted unanimously, gave PAIGC virtually everything it asked for and is likely to be followed by increased material and moral support in months to come. Following preliminary observations and impressions emerge from brief informal talks with cross-section of Comite of 24 and staff, colleagues and GOG officials. End Summary.

2. First, it is generally agreed visit was huge success for PAIGC which got virtually everything it wanted, e.g., recognition as "only and authentic" rep of the people of Guinea-Bissau and "request" to all states and UN to take this into account. According to UN staff official, GOG pushed harder than PAIGC for diplomatic recognition, going even beyond what UN understood OAU had asked for. Only PRC, Soviets and their friends voiced dissatisfaction with the resolution because it did not condemn NATO allies by name and strongly enough for assisting Portugal. However, in interest of obtaining unanimous agreement, Soviets and PRC sacrificed this point of substance.

3. As for diplomatic recognition, it appears PAIGC was principally interested in obtaining assurances it would be forthcoming; however, they reportedly want to control the timing, in harmony with OAU according to one UN staffer. Timing will depend upon conclusion of series of elections now in progress scheduled to culminate in proclamation in "about six months" of "national assembly."

4. In practical terms, PAIGC’s enhanced popularity and diplomatic support is certain to lead to additional material assistance. UN specialized agencies will be under increasing pressure to help the PAIGC. Several countries, e.g. Sweden, noted increased contributions. Swedish rep expected its govt contribution for next year to go from $2.4 million to $3 million. PAIGC already receives $900,000 which, Swedish del noted, being disproportionate to size of territory or number of people involved, was a tribute to PAIGC.

5. Perhaps most serious consequence of meetings for US is apparent unquestioning acceptance by all delegations that, without aid from its NATO allies, Portugal’s policies of "domination and oppression" in Portuguese territories could not continue. Since US and NATO are virtually synonymous in people’s minds, the US is clearly regarded as principal source of such support, even if not mentioned by name. Our argument that there is no proven case where Portugal has used either NATO or bilaterally-supplied arms in Afrik falls on deaf ears; inevitable counter argument is that by aiding Portugal militarily, or even economically, we liberate resources which latter can use in Africa. Interestingly, the subject of Vietnam, or US role there, was strikingly absent from discussions.

6. Conclusion. PAIGC has been given significant moral and promised important material support as a result of Comite meetings. SecGen Amilcar Cabral’s stature has been enormously enhanced. PAIGC and GOG pleas for more help for PAIGC were echoed by virtually all Comite members. One can only conclude that prospects for even wider support have been immeasurably strengthened.


78. Airgram From the Embassy in Zambia to the Department of State/1/


Lusaka, May 3, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Unclassified. Drafted by R. C. Reis and approved by Deputy Chief of Mission Arthur T. Tienken. Repeated to Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Lisbon, Pretoria, Lourenco Marques, Luanda, and USUN.

UN Decolonization Committee Meeting in Lusaka


From April 17 to 21 the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization met at Mulungushi Hall in Lusaka. The Zambian Government received the Committee warmly. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Timothy Kankasa gave a party for the Committee members and, later in the week, President Kaunda hosted a dinner for them. At the State House dinner, the President disclosed that on April 17 Portuguese airplanes had violated Zambian airspace near Chadiza in Eastern Province.

In his speech opening the Committee’s hearings, Kankasa criticized NATO assistance to Portugal and attacked the import of Rhodesian chrome by the United States. In their appearance before the Committee, spokesmen of the national liberation movements urged that the UN specialized agencies grant them assistance for education and health care. At the conclusion of its stay in Lusaka, the Committee issued a communiqué containing resolutions condemning Portugal and calling on her to withdraw from her African territories.

Zambia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs opened the Decolonization Committee’s meeting in Lusaka with a speech on April 17. In his address, Kankasa said that Zambia stands side by side with Tanzania in her struggle against the racist regimes in southern Africa. Referring to Portugal’s bombing of a Tanzanian village near the Mozambique border, he stated that "Zambia supports the Tanzanian peoples’ refusal to bow down before Portugal’s oppression." Kankasa also attacked members of NATO for their continued support of Portugal. He observed that "there appears to be growing a very dangerous trend to allow economic considerations to take the upper hand in decisions taken in some Western capitals." Kankasa asserted that the recent United States legislation to authorize the import of Rhodesian chrome "was based on economic and selfish grounds." He termed the United States’ violation of UN sanctions "unforgiveable."

Responding to Kankasa’s speech, the Tanzanian Chairman of the Decolonization Committee, Salim Ahmed Salim, expressed the Committee’s pleasure to be in Lusaka and outlined the week’s agenda. Salim called attention to the visit of three Committee members to the "liberated areas" of Guinea-Bissau and said, "The mission has in fact dealt a decisive blow to the Portuguese propaganda machinery by bringing vividly to the attention of the international community the true situation in the territory and making it abundantly clear that the collapse of Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands is both inevitable and imminent." In a Committee session later in the week Salim remarked that it would be "a step in the right direction, and a return to sanity" if the United States reimposed a bar on the import of Rhodesian chrome.

The first freedom group to appear before the Decolonization Committee was the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Pascal Luvuala, a member of MPLA’s central committee, repeated an invitation, extended earlier, to Committee members to visit the "liberated areas of Angola."

Luvuala said that the guerrilla conflict in Angola has turned into total war with 287 Portuguese killed in the last five months. He criticized Western nations for indirectly helping Portugal maintain its colonial wars through NATO. Luvuala asked the Committee to recognize the MPLA as the sole Angolan liberation movement and called for aid to MPLA-controlled areas in Angola from UN specialized agencies. Another MPLA member claimed in his testimony that Portuguese serving in Angola had been sent to the United States for "psycho-political propaganda training."

In his four hours before the Decolonization Committee, FRELIMO Vice President Marcellino dos Santos said that his organization had not been able to halt construction on the Cabora Bassa dam but was making it very costly. He claimed that 2900 Portuguese were killed in Mozambique in 1971. Like the MPLA spokesman, dos Santos asked the UN specialized agencies to grant the liberation movements aid for education and health care. The FRELIMO leader stated that the freedom fighters in Mozambique were willing to negotiate with the Portuguese provided that the Portuguese recognized the right of the Mozambican people to self-determination and independence. Dos Santos invited members of the UN committee to send observers to the liberated areas of Mozambique.

COREMO’s President, Paulo Gumane, called on the UN Decolonization Committee to become more practical in passing and implementing its resolutions. He charged that active support from NATO countries has enabled Portuguese settlers in Mozambique to step up efforts to build new military bases.

Calling on the UN to establish a special fund to support the armed struggle for Zimbabwe, Edward Ndhlovu, the Deputy National Secretary of ZAPU, rejected the possibility of a negotiated settlement. Such an agreement, he asserted, would be designed only to protect Britain’s political and economic interests in Rhodesia.

In his statement to the Committee, SWAPO’s Administrative Secretary, Moses Garoeb, accused Malawi and Lesotho of collaborating with South Africa and causing a setback for freedom in Africa. Garoeb alleged that soon after African workers in Namibia went on strike early this year, large numbers of laborers from Lesotho and Malawi were brought into the territory. Garoeb charged that South Africa broke the strike by mass intimidations, arrests, deportations, and internments of Namibian workers. The SWAPO official scoffed at UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s visit to Namibia, calling it "a guided tour organized by the South African Government." Garoeb asked the UN to give SWAPO financial aid, medicine, propaganda facilities, and scholarships. He noted that while he would like to see a peaceful solution to the Namibian problem, "the reality of the situation indicates that we are not going to have one."

At its final session, the Decolonization Committee issued a communiqué containing a number of resolutions passed during its week in Lusaka. The communiqué states that the Decolonization Committee resolved to consult with the OAU and the liberation movements concerned on sending UN missions to liberated areas in Angola and Mozambique. Another resolution calls on "all states and specialized agencies and other organizations within the UN system" to give the national liberation movements all necessary moral and material assistance. Portugal is condemned for its "repeated violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of independent African states bordering its colonial territories, in particular for its recent act of aggression committed against Tanzania." The Committee called upon the Portuguese government "to cease forthwith all military operations and other repressive measures against the peoples of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde, and to withdraw . . . all its forces from these territories" in accord with previous UN resolutions. Another resolution urges other nations to stop all military aid and arms sales to Portugal and to discourage their nationals from doing business in the Portuguese territories. The final resolution draws the attention of the UN Security Council to the "explosive situation" in the Portuguese territories caused by Portugal’s disregard of past UN resolutions. It urges the Security Council to take "further effective measures" to insure the compliance of Portugal with these resolutions.

The Zambian press gave the Decolonization Committee’s visit thorough coverage. Each day the Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia carried articles summarizing the previous day’s testimony. On April 19 both newspapers printed photographs of members of the UN team which visited Guinea-Bissau looking at an "American made" bomb dropped in a village in Guinea-Bissau. In an editorial on April 22, the Times of Zambia said that the Committee has been criticized for not having freed any territories. The Times observed that while some criticism is justified, most is based on a misunderstanding of the Committee’s mandate and the "severe obstacles placed in its way by members of NATO." The Committee’s main task, the newspaper said, is to accelerate the decolonization process and to supplement the efforts of the liberation movements. "The freedom fighters must be made to understand that it is their responsibility to achieve it" (freedom). In his statement marking the close of the Decolonization Committee’s meeting in Lusaka, Timothy Kankasa agreed with the Times. He said that the responsibility for delivering the final blow against colonial rule in Africa rested with the oppressed peoples themselves. "We do not want talking freedom fighters but fighting freedom fighters."


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

New York, September 19, 1972, 2233Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential.

3355. Subj: Colonialism in GA: Item 23: National Liberation Movements.

1. Understand from reliable source in Secretariat that AF’s are planning to seek priority for item 23 which is general item on colonialism. Item which normally discussed towards end of GA may now be discussed as early as October. Reason for AF desire have item 23 discussed early is in order to have it discussed when AF FonMins are in town.

2. ALs understand there possibility AF’s will seek have national liberation movements of Southern Africa and Guinea Bissau seated as observers during discussion of item 23 as well as during discussion of Southern Africa issues in Fourth Comite.

3. Department will recall that members of national liberation movements appeared before Fourth Comite as petitioners, but so far have not been invited to sit as observers in same capacity as OAU or observer nations. If there move in this direction, believe it will be necessary to seek legal advice of Secretariat on this matter. Main problem of course will be, if PAIGC accepted as observer, that there may be attempts to get it recognized as government in exile. Department’s views requested./2/

/2/ The Department replied on September 25 that neither this telegram nor a letter from the Chairman of the Committee of 24 made clear what was envisioned by "observer" status. The Department was inclined to oppose granting observer status to groups other than well-recognized international organizations, and recommended that the Mission vote against granting that status if it implied officially recognizing them as representatives of the territories concerned. (Telegram 174972 to USUN, September 25; ibid.)


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

New York, September 26, 1972, 1332Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential; Priority.

3473. Subj: Comite Four: Invitation to National Liberation Movements To Sit in Observer Capacity. Ref: USUN 3355./2/

/2/ Document 79.

1. At its first meeting September 25, Comite 4, after agreeing to take up Portuguese territories, SR and Namibia separately and in this order, discussed letter from chairman of Comite 24 requesting Comite 4 to allow reps of liberation movements to participate in observer capacity in examination of these questions. No action was taken on letter. Action expected take place September 27 at Comite 4’s 10:30 meeting.

2. Re letter of chairman of Comite 24 (copy datafaxed UNP), South African and Portuguese reps protested granting observer status to liberation movements from Namibia and Port. Terrs. Portuguese rep requested legal opinion on this matter.

3. WE’s on Comite in slight disarray on this item. UK has instructions to oppose granting observer status to reps of liberation movements, but at same time sees that, if there consensus, it would simply make reservations that only administering powers can determine who reps of territories should be. French, Italians, and Scans are perplexed as to what position to take. Scans in particular are troubled by stand taken by Sweden re PAIGC when Comite 24 met in Conakry this summer. French and Italians are undecided on whether they should vote against or abstain on recommendation from chairman of Comite 24.

4. After meeting, MisOff sought views of Tanaka (Secretariat) on chairman of Comite 24’s letter. According Tanaka, reps of liberation movements would be those recognized by OAU. Status given them would be glorified status of petitioner, but would allow them to participate in debate. There would be no name plates indicating their affiliation. Reps would be in a reserved section of Comite hall. Tanaka also said that he had sought legal opinion and that Stavropoulos’ office said that Comite was master of its own procedure and that any non-member could be invited in an observer capacity as long as he showed that he had a bona fide interest in the item under consideration. The granting of observer status would not confer any recognition on their status as either reps of the territories concerned or as a government. For these two latter points to occur, it would be necessary for Comite to adopt a res specifically changing status of individuals concerned. Reps would, however, be chosen in consultation with OAU and in fact national liberation movements represented would be those that are formally recognized by OAU. Understand from Tanaka that AF’s accept this interpretation of granting of observer status to national liberation movement reps.

5. In light of these considerations and unless AF’s do not seek put different interpretation on this question of granting observer status, US Del believes we can go along with granting observer status to these movements. Understand that there may be attempt to have consensus on matter. Believe, however, that in light of Portuguese and South African objections, matter may be pushed to vote. If there consensus, believe we could accept and perhaps make statement along lines outlined to MisOff by Tanaka. If there vote, believe US can support with similar statement. If on other hand there attempt to reinterpret meaning of observer status, believe US should abstain, rather than vote against unless there appears be sufficient number of other dels outside of SA and Portugal voting against item. Request Dept’s views soonest./3/

/3/ The Department advised that Bush should vote against the proposal and seek support from other Western countries on the grounds that there was no precedent for granting special status to non-governmental entities, that further examination of the implications was necessary, and that the groups in question already had been able to receive a full hearing as petitioners. (Telegram 176468 to USUN, September 27; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN) The Fourth Committee, however, voted on September 27 to grant observer status to representatives of national liberation movements in Rhodesia, Namibia, and the Portuguese territories. The vote was 78 to 13 (U.S.), with 16 abstentions. (Telegram 3515 from USUN, September 28; ibid.)


81. Editorial Note

The UN General Assembly held a series of plenary meetings between October 17 and November 2, 1972, on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. It adopted a series of resolutions on November 2. Resolution 2908 (XXVII) expressed concern that 12 years after the Declaration, "millions of persons still lived under conditions of ruthless colonialist and racialist repression." It reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggles for liberation of colonial peoples, particularly in Africa, and urged UN member states, agencies, and organizations to provide them with moral and material support and to withhold assistance to Portugal, South Africa, and Southern Rhodesia. Resolution 2909 (XXVII) called for a broader campaign of publicity on behalf of UN efforts to promote decolonization. Resolution 2910 (XXVII) requested that the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity, convene an International Conference of Experts for the Support of Victims of Colonialism and Apartheid in Southern Africa, to be held in Oslo in 1973. Resolution 2911 (XXVII) proclaimed the week beginning May 25, 1973, a Week of Solidarity with the Colonial Peoples of Southern Africa and Guinea (Bissau) and Cape Verde Fighting for Freedom, Independence, and Equal Rights.

The United States voted against Resolution 2908 and abstained on the other three resolutions. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1972, pages 544–553; U.S. Participation in the United Nations, 1972, pages 182–183)


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