452 Addison to Australian Government

Cablegram D143 LONDON, 14 February 1947, 9.10 p.m.


My telegram D.39 of 18th January.

United States draft terms of trusteeship for Japanese mandated islands.

1. The United Kingdom Ambassador in Washington approached the State Department on the lines indicated in my telegram D.19 of 9th January.

2. On 7th February, however, General Marshall in a statement to the press indicated that the United States proposals to place Japanese mandated islands under strategic trusteeship would be submitted to the Security Council on or about 17th February despite suggestions by the United Kingdom, Russia and Australia that a disposition of the islands should be postponed until after the peace treaty has been negotiated; he added that while he saw no reason for postponement the United States Government would be willing to consider any postponement proposed by the Security Council.

3. We do not feel that we can modify our basic attitude towards the United States proposal. We appreciate, however, that the United States desire a public presentation of their case and we for our part feel that the best course would be for the Council merely to express its appreciation of the action taken by the United States in submitting draft terms as an earnest of their intention of abiding by trusteeship principle and then decide not to proceed with consideration of the terms of trusteeship for the islands in advance of peace treaty with Japan. (CF paragraph 2 of my telegram D.19).

4. We think that the State Department may not fully realise the many difficulties which are involved in asking the Security Council at this stage to approve the draft terms and to designate the United States as the administering authority of the islands.

The position as we see it is as follows: The Japanese Government is at present under the control of the allies and particularly of the United States. Although this means that the United States carry out the functions of the Government on the islands it does not alter the fact that the mandatory is still de jure Japan. The islands can only come under trusteeship under Article 79 of the Charter which requires agreement of the mandatory powers.

Therefore, it would seem to follow that no trusteeship agreement can be approved in respect of the islands in advance of the peace treaty under which Japan will presumably surrender her mandate for the islands. [1]

5. In the unlikely event of a decision by the Security Council to consider the terms with a view to approving them it will be necessary for us to make the detailed comments set out in my telegram D.19 of 9th January. The Security Council in any case would, we hope, be prepared to delay consideration for some weeks at least during the course of which further consultation of text could take place. We could at that stage also consider whether certain other countries which will be closely concerned with the peace settlement with Japan should as suggested in paragraph 2 of my telegram from New Zealand Government No.13 of 21St January be associated with Security Council when draft terms come before it.

6. United Kingdom representative on Security Council has been informed in the sense of the foregoing and the United Kingdom Ambassador has been requested to inform the State Department of the line which we are likely to adopt when this question comes up for consideration in the Security Council.

1 In Cablegram D.53, dispatched 15 February, Addison pointed out that 'Article 79 of Charter only states that agreement of mandatory is required in the case of territories held under mandate by a member of the United Nations and that it does not in itself provide either way for the position of a territory held under mandate by a State not a member of the United Nations'. In light of this reassessment, Addison amended paragraph 4 of this document to read: 'Although this means that the United States carries out the functions of Government in the Islands it does nor alter fact that mandatory is de jure Japan and that this situation cannot be changed except by means of provisions in the Peace Treaty. The Security Council does not have the power under the Charter to withdraw the mandate from Japan. Therefore it would seem to follow...'

[AA : A1067, P46/10/61, i]