HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 c163W
10. Mr. C. Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why the British delegate on the Trusteeship Committee of the General Assembly voted against the resolution calling on the South African Government to place South-West Africa within the trusteeship system and to resume sending reports on the territory.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker:

As was explained to the House by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on Monday, the United Kingdom voted in the Fourth Committee of the Assembly against the first draft of the Resolution on the Submission of Reports by South Africa because, in our view, it contained a serious mis-statement of historical fact. The draft was later amended on this point and was adopted in the revised form by a plenary meeting of the Assembly. In the meantime, however, another Resolution had been adopted by the Fourth Committee, submitting to the International Court of Justice the question of South Africa's legal obligations. It seemed to us, therefore, inappropriate that any other Resolution on the subject should be adopted which might prejudge the issue before the Court. We. therefore, abstained in the Assembly on the revised Resolution on the Submission of Reports.