Trusteeship Council Calls Termination of Micronesia Agreement 'Appropriate.'

UN Chronicle, August 1986 | Go to article overview

Trusteeship Council Calls Termination of Micronesia Agreement 'Appropriate.'


Trusteeship Council calls termination of Micronesia Agreement "appropriate'

The Trusteeship Council on 28 May stated it considered that the United States, as Administering Authority of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, had "satisfactorily discharged its obligations under the terms of the Trusteeship Agreement' and that it was "appropriate for that Agreement to be terminated' upon the entry into force of the Compact of Free Association for the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau, and the Commonwealth Covenant in respect of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Territory consists of three archipelagos of more than 2,100 islands and atolls scattered over some 7.8 million square kilometres of the western Pacific. Its population is 161,000; its total land area 1,854 square kilometres. Designated as a "strategic territory', it has been administered by the United States as a United Nations Trust Territory since 1947.

In adopting its resolution 2183 (LIII) on the future of the Territory, the Trusteeship Council also noted that after freely exercising their right to self-determination in plebiscites observed by Visiting Missions of the Council, the peoples of the Marshall Islands (in 1983), the Federated States of Micronesia (in 1983) and Palau (in 1986) had chosen free association with the United States; those of the Northern Mariana Islands had chosen Commonwealth status (in 1975).

The Council asked the United States, in consultation with the governments of those four entities, to agree on a date not later than 30 September 1986 for the full entry into force of the Compact of Free Association and Commonwealth Covenant, and to inform the Secretary-General of that date.

Resolution 2183 (LIII) was adopted by a vote of 3 in favour (France, United Kingdom, United States) to 1 against (USSR). The Council's fifth member--China--does not participate in the body's work.

The USSR, in explanation of vote, said that the resolution had been adopted "undemocratically'. The question of the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement should be considered by the Security Council, it said. The Trusteeship Council had no power to consider termination of Micronesia's trusteeship. The USSR maintained that the United States had not fulfilled its obligations under the Trusteeship Agreement, the Charter and the Declaration on decolonization.

On 4 June, in adopting the report of its Drafting Committee, composed of the United Kingdom and France, the Council also recommended that the United States complete at the earliest possible date its internal process of approval of the Compact of Free Association for Palau. The vote was 3 (France, United Kingdom, United States) to 1 (USSR). On 1 July, the Council adopted, by the same vote, its report to the Security Council.

After the adoption of the Drafting Committee report on 4 June, the United States said the Council's 1986 session had been "historic' for the International Trusteeship System. The Council deserved its reputation for "careful and consistent fostering of self-determination and self-government' in the trusteeship areas, "in a manner fully reflecting the wishes of the inhabitants of those areas.' The United States said it had "adhered scrupulously' to its obligations under the Charter and the Trusteeship Agreement in its years of administration in Micronesia.

Because of its "strategic' status, the Trusteeship Council reports to the Security Council about conditions in Micronesia. According to Article 83 of the United Nations Charter, "all functions of the United Nations relating to strategic areas, including the approval of the terms of the Trusteeship Agreement and of their alteration or amendment, shall be exercised by the Security Council'.

Other issues: At its fifty-third session (12 May-30 June, New York), the Trusteeship Council also adopted two other resolutions (2181 and 2182 (LIII)), both by votes of 3 to 1, noting the report (T/1878) of its 1985 periodic Visiting Mission to Micronesia and the report (T/1885) of its Visiting Mission to Observe the Plebiscite in Palau in February 1986.

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