Decolonisation: Cooperation and Confrontation at the United Nations

  • John Sankey


Those who drafted the United Nations Charter in 1945 did not use the word ‘decolonisation’, but they were clear and precise in their references to ‘trust territories’. Chapter XII established an international trusteeship system comparable to the mandate system of the League of Nations. Among the basic objectives of trusteeship was ‘progressive development towards self-government or independence’, while Chapter XIII created a Trusteeship Council as a principal organ of the United Nations, working under the aegis of the General Assembly, with authority to require annual reports on each trust territory, to receive petitions from the inhabitants of the territories and to send periodic visiting missions. The interests of the administering powers were to some extent protected by the fact that the Trusteeship Council had a balanced membership — half administering powers, half non-administering. However, the Council reported to the General Assembly’s Fourth (Trusteeship) Committee, which comprised all member states and often took a more radical view than the more cautious Council.


Security Council British Government Gold Coast Falkland Island General Assembly Resolution 
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  1. 1.
    Sir Alan Burns, In Defence of Colonies: British Colonial Territories in International Affairs (London: Allen & Unwin, 1957) p. 8.Google Scholar
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    Sir Hugh Foot, A Start in Freedom (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1964) p. 190.Google Scholar
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    Blundell, So Rough a Wind (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1964) p. 262.Google Scholar
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    Nigel Fisher, Harold Macmillan (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1982) p. 236.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Erik Jensen and Thomas Fisher 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sankey

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