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Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 22, Apr- Jun 1950) online

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conceded as a question of practical politics that
partition would be no solution if not favored by
a majority in each province but noted that "a hard
core of Copts'" desired reunion with Ethiopia. As
the administering authority, the United Kingdom
did not relish the position of holding a "scream-
ing baby". Mr. Glutton still felt that the best way
of consulting the wishes of the population was
through a plebiscite or a special tjnited Nations
commission of investigation.

Mr. Aklilou (Ethiopia) shared the objections
to the Argentine proposal voiced by Messrs. Jessup
and Glutton and opposed particularly the giving
the right of decision to the Italians. Mr. Aklilou
felt that the Argentine plan developed further the
threat already existing in having Somaliland
under Italian trusteeship. Mr. Arutiunian
(U.S.S.R) likewise voiced opposition to the
Argentine plan, which infer alia he said, provided
for arbitrai"y selection of local representatives by
the commissioner. Messrs. Cooper (Liberia) and
Hood (Australia), on October 26, were likewise
critical. Mr. Hood particularly felt that the
Argentine proposal was unworkable and unsatis-
factory, although he thought that the amended
joint compromise proposal for federation con-
tained more difficulties than it sought to solve.
Mr. Hood again endorsed his proposal for a study
and inquiry and was supported by Mr. Bauer

After Sir B. N. Rau had again defended the
joint compromise proposal as amended, Mr.
Aklilou, although appreciative of the efforts of the
five co-sponsors, said that the proposal would be
difficult to accept it in its present form. He said
that it was well-known that Eritrea was unable to
lead an independent economic life. Under the
proposed joint compromise, Eritrea with a popula-
tion one-fourteenth that of Ethiopia would be
placed on an equal political footing; yet Ethiopia
would have to assume a very heavy economic and
financial burden with no economic means granted
under the proposal for fulfilling her obligations.
Ethiopia would have to take over the task of meet-
ing the annual Eritrean deficit, but, under the pro-
posed federation, as he understood it, Ethioi)ia
would be unable to unify the customs or tax systems
of the two territories. She would have to pay for
the upkeep of the port of Massawa, already de-
pendent on Ethiopian trade but without a share in
the port receipts. Ethiopia, under the federation,
M'ould be unable to use in Eritrea the many

Eiitreans at present in the Elhopian Govern-
menlai and police services. If the proposal were
modified to include local autonomy for Eritrea
and a special regime for Massawa, Ethiopia, he
said, might (hen bo williu" to accept it.

In tile afternoon, Mr. lioss (U.S.) introduced
an amendment to the Guatemalan proposal to
set u]) a conunission of investigation.'- Mr. Ross
noteil that the debate in the Subcommittee
had convinced his delegation that the original
United States resolution was the best and that no
substantive proposal on Eritrea was likely to get
the required two-thirds majority of the General
Assembly. He added that the provision for In-
terirn Committee examination of the Special Com-
mission's report was to give an opportunity for
the United Nations members to review the com-
mission's proposals prior to the fifth session of the
Genera] Assembly. Mr. Santa Cruz (Chile) sup-
ported Mr. Ross. But Mr. Arutiunian strongly
objected to what he described as a "parliamentary
guillotine" of his proposal for Eritrean independ-
ence. He insisted on a prior vote on his text and
objected to any postponement of substantive action
on Eritrea when a decision was in the making for
Libya and Somaliland. By a vote of 15 in favor,
3 against, and 3 abstentions, the Subcommittee
adopted a Chilean motion to deal first with the
proposal of establishing a United Nations com-
mission of investigation. It was agreed before
adjournment that the sponsors and other inter-
ested members would attempt to draft a composite
text, which would include a Chilean revision con-
densing the detailed terms of reference of the
commission proposed in the United States amend-

At its meeting on October 27, the Subcommit-
tee, after protracted debate, adopted by a vote of
15 in favor, 3 against, with 2 abstentions, one mem-
ber being absent " a Guatemalan-Australian draft
creating a five-member commission with instruc-
tions :

"to ascertain more fully the wishes and the best
means of promoting the welfare of the inhabitants
of Eritrea, to examine the question of the disposal
of Eritrea, and to prepare a report for the General
Assembly together with such proposal or proposals
as it may deem appropriate for the solution of the
problem of Eritrea."

This text included a United States amendment —
approved earlier bj' a vote of 10 in favor, 4 against,
6 abstentions, one member being absent — instruct-
ing the Interim Committee to consider the Com-
mission's report and proposals and to report with
its conclusions to the fifth General Assembly ses-
sion.'" Mr. Jooste (South Africa) stated that it
was his understanding that the Commission in
ascertaining all the relevant facts on Eritrea
should make a particular study of the viability of
the area. The representatives of Australia and

May 29, 1950


Guatemala agreed that this interpretation was

Before the vote on the resolution as amended,
Mr. Aklilou declared that his delegation would not
support the proposal for it did not constitute a
positive solution to the question of Eritrea nor
did it satisfy Ethiopian claims. The proposal
merely delayed a final solution for 1 year.
Ethiopia, he said, was not afraid of a commission
being sent to Eritrea or of a plebiscite being car-
ried out in that territory. The results obtained
by either of these means, he saidj would only verify
the well-known fact that the majority of the people
of Eritrea, particularly the eastern part of that
territory, desired only to be united with Ethiopia.

At the Subcommittee's morning meeting on Oc-
tober 28, it was decided by 12 votes to 1, with 8
abstentions, to refer to the First Committee the
decision as to the composition of the commission.
Amendments to the draft resolution were adopted
changing the date by which the commission was to
communicate its report to the Secretary-General
of the United Nations from May 15 to June 15,
1950, and directing the commission to assemble
"as soon as possible".

Mr. Arutiunian, supported by Mr. Houdek
(Czechoslovakia) then insisted that a vote be taken
on his proposal for Eritrean independence, recall-
ing the Chairman's assurance on this point. Mr.
Glutton, after moving that no vote should be taken
on the U.S.S.R. text or any other substantive
resolution, pointed out that it would be somewhat
ridiculous to vote on a substantive solution on
Eritrea after a request for further information
had already been approved by the Subcommittee
in recommending the setting up of a commission to
inquire into the facts. Mr. Arutiunian, supported
by Mr. Boratynsky (Poland) called for fair play
and reminded the Chairman of the assurances he
gave that a vote would be taken on the Soviet

proposal. After a warm exchange between Mr.
Arutiunian and Mr. Couve de Murville, the meet-
ing adjourned without a vote being taken on the
Soviet proposal.

At the beginning of the afternoon session, Mr.
Glutton withdrew his motion that no vote be taken
on the U.S.S.R. proposal. The Subcommittee un-
der pressure from Mr. Arutiunian, and after vari-
ous explanations of the way in which the members
of the Subcommittee would vote on the Soviet pro-
posal, then defeated it by a vote of 4 in favor, 14
against, with 3 abstentions.^" In view of the adop-
tion of the Australian-Guatemalan draft resolu-
tion, the other delegations concerned did not ask
for a vote upon their proposals but reserved their
right to submit them at a later stage.

After 3 weeks of deliberation. Subcommittee 17
on November 1 concluded the task assigned to it by
Committee 1. By a vote of 10 in favor, 9 against,
with 2 abstentions,^' the Subcommittee decided to
submit its decisions to the First Committee in the
form of one resolution with three parts relating
respectively to Libya, Somaliland, and Eritrea.
Mr. Arce had proposed the submission of one
omnibus draft, basing his proposal on the proposi-
tion tliat the Subcommittee had been asked to de-
cide on the whole question of partition, all of
which were linked. Mv. Jessup maintained that a
separate examination of each colony had been
made, thus separate drafts would be better. Fawzi
Bey (Egypt), Mr. Kaufmann (Denmark), Sir
ZafruUah Kahn (Pakistan) had argued for sep-
arate drafts. Mr. Arutiunian had supported Mr.
Arce as had Mr. Fausto Soto (Chile) and Mr.
Couve de Murville.

The Subcommittee, at the suggestion of Mr.
Jessup agreed not to take a vote on the resolution
on the Italian colonies as a whole. The text of
this single resolution relating to Libya, Somali-
land, and Eritrea was contained in the rappor-
teur's report.^'

Editor's Note : The second part of this article, together
with appendixes, will appear in the next issue.



Deparfment of Stafe Bulletin


' For a rcviow of the tilplomntlc bnckpround of the
problem of the former Italian colonies and for a detailed
account of the |)roceedin;:s of the third session of the
General Assembly (April-May ]!)4'J) on this question, see:
The I'robhm of the Former Itnliiin Colonien at the Third
Session of the General Assembly, by David \V. Wainhouse
and I'hilip A. Manfjano ; IUli.ktin of Sept. 12, llM'.t, p. MV.i.
The annexes, referred to tliroughoiit the article, will
apiiear in the next issue of the Bulletin.

' U.N. doc. A/l'V 222.

' Ibid.

' U.N. doc. A/PV 223.

' U.N. doc. A/PV 225.

• Ibid.

' U.N. docs. A/PV 220. and 228.
' U.N. doc. A/PV 227.

• Ibid.
"" Ibid.

" U.N. d(K-. A/PV 228.

"Cyrenaica and Tripolitania are the two parts of Libya
which have remained under British administration since
the war ; the third part, the Fezzan, has been under French

" U.N. doc. A/PV 229.

"U.N. doc. A/C.1/SR.278. The Chairman simply re-
ferred to the Committee I decision at the preceding spring
session which granted Italy's representative the oppor-
tunity to sit, without vote, with the Committee during its
consideration of the problem for the purpose of answering
questions, providing assistance, and making statements.
The text of the Committee's original decision of Apr. 6,
1949, on this point is found in U.N. doc. A/C.1/431.

" U.N. docs. A/C.1/SR,279 and A/C.1/4S8.

"Mr. McNeil's reference at this point probably was to
the action, in September of his Government's granting to
the Emir of Cyreuaica "full powers over all internal
Cyrenaican affairs" within the limits referred to and
without prejuilice to the questions of Libyan unity.

" U.N. doc. A/C.1/SR.278.


"U.N. doc. A/C.l/SR. 279.

" U.N. doc. A/C.l/SR. 281.

" U.N. doc. A/C.1/4S7. The Soviet proposals for Eritrea
and Somaliland were markedly similar to the proposals
made for these territories by the U.S.S.R. at the spring
session, except that in each case the U.S.S.R. now pro-
posed 5 instead of 10 years of trusteeship prior to

-U.N. doc. A/C.1/SR.278.

" Count Sforza began by vigorously protesting Italy's
continuing expulsion from membership in the United Na-
tions as a result of the Soviet position in the Security
Council that Italy's admission was dependent on the
admission of certain countries sponsored bv the U.S.S.R.

" U.N. doc. A/C.1/SR.279, and Italian delegation press
release of Oct. 1, 1949.

=• U.N. doc. A/C.l/SR. 279.

" U.N. doc. A/C.l/SR. 2S0.

;' U.N.

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 22, Apr- Jun 1950) → online text (page 68 of 116)