South-West Africa

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South-West Africa

On 18 October 1946 the Cabinet discussed the proposal of the South African Government to incorporate South-West Africa in the Union. The Cabinet discussed whether they should support Smuts and the possible outcome of any discussion or vote at the UN.

The following extracts give a flavour of what was said in Cabinet:

A.

Recalled earlier discussion. Quoted formula. Smuts strongly objects to last part of formula. I agree with him. Indicates indecision as to our line in U.N. - are we going to support them at U.N. or not? I recommend we do. Risk of re-action on us. We might have to submit to independ. enquiry e.g. in Tanganyika or Austr. mandates. We shall lose nil. by supportg. our best friends. Bad effect if we don't.

P.M.

Mandates Commn no longer exists. Respons. with mandatory. Not therefore an appln to U.N. but a notification. S.A. will resent U.S. suggn: & doubtful if U.N. have a locus in this. We handed over Trans-Jordan w'out enquiry of inhabitants. If raised, acrimonious debate. Hailey satisfied with method of enquiry. Diff. for us to vote v. S. Africa in this. Recognise however tht. if there is a vote in U.N. it will be against B. Comm.

A.

Yes: & Smuts will then carry on.

E.B.

Baltic States - there was plebiscite conducted unilaterally

H.D.

To what extent does U.N. inherit mandates rights of L/N.

C.J.

Nothing legal: mandatories to carry on "until other arrangemts. made". S. Afr. have said they wd. bring this to notice of U.N.

A.B.

Legal rights of U.N. irrelevant. Ques: is this right: shd. we support it

merely because S.A. is member of B. Commonwealth.

T.W.

Geogr. link. Are we satisf. tht. S. Afr. have taken only practical steps they cd. have taken? If so, can we do other than support?

E.B.

Was mistake to bring this up now. T. Council not establd - no rules etc. Will lead to acrimonious debate & will put us in awkward posn.

A.

He only intends to notify. But can't prevent debate. And expects adverse vote. He won't take it off Agenda because of his domestic politics.

E.Sh.

He asks for our support. We shd. give it because of Comm. solidarity, irrespective of merits. Must take long view.

C.J.

Commonw. won't be united. N.Z. led opposition previously to proposal of incorpn.

A.

He won't now.

C.J.

In our trust negotns we shall be embarrassed by support of this. Will Smuts declare tht. he will continue in acc. with principles of mandate itself?

A.

Yes: he will do that.

E.B.

Annexations - by U.S.S.R. in Poland - also China.

H.D.

Main point = don't school ma'am Smuts in public, for sake of pedantry. Mustn't get in posn of voting v. him.

C.J.

We have agreed to inspection. A's point on Tanganyika won't arise. We're safeguarded - right of veto on transfer to trusteeship.

J.

Must support Smuts.

A.B.

We must soon establ. some internatl principles to which we will stand. Otherwise we are in a swither of expediencies. E.g. that wishes of inhabitants be ascertained by means acceptable to international opinion.

E.Sh.

B. Comm. is a reality. Internationalism & intern. co-opn is in speculative posn.

P.M.

General view: support Smuts. We can omit final part of formula because we now see tht. this is notification, not appln, to U.N.

E.B.

Authorise me to support Smuts at U.N. - subject to prior consultn with Doms. as a whole. There are similar territories in Samoa & Manns.

R.S.C.

Is it necessary to "support" a notification?

E.B.

I can oppose suggn of addl. machinery - if it's made - because T. Council rules not made.

Taken from C.M. 88(46) - Meeting held on 18 October 1946