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Togoland (United Kingdom Trusteeship)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 21 June 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any changes are now envisaged in the Trusteeship Agreement for British Togoland when the Gold Coast becomes self-governing.

Under Article 5 (a) of the Trusteeship Agreement approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations Her Majesty's Government, on behalf of Her Majesty who is the Administering Authority, are bound to administer British Togoland as an integral part of Her territory. It has, in practice, been administered as an integral part of the Gold Coast for the past 40 years.The Gold Coast is now at the last stage before assuming full responsibility for its own affairs. When it does so the United Kingdom Government will no longer be able to administer the Trust Territory as an integral part of the Gold Coast. Other arrangements will then need to be made for the administration of the Territory involving in practice the revision or termination of the Trusteeship Agreement. This would of course require the consent of both parties to it, namely the United Nations and the United Kingdom.Her Majesty's Government have considered in the light of the situation how best the aims of the Trusteeship system can be fulfilled. A memorandum has today been sent by the United Kingdom representative at the United Nations to the President of the Trusteeship Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council have been asked to give preliminary consideration to the question, and the Secretary-General has been asked to include an item "The Future of Togoland under United Kingdom Trusteeship" in the agenda for the coming Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.In this memorandum, copies of which are available in the Library of the House, Her Majesty's Government have emphasised the need to take into account the particular circumstances of the Trust Territory and the freely expressed wishes of its peoples before any conclusions are reached. The memorandum expresses the view of Her Majesty's Government that the objectives of the Trusteeship system will best be achieved by the integration of Togoland with the Gold Coast when that territory becomes self-governing. This would involve the termination of the Agreement. It also suggests that the General Assembly will wish to ascertain the opinions of the inhabitants of the Trust Territory, and it invites the Assembly to do so at the appropriate time by whatever method seems most satisfactory, including, if necessary, the holding of a plebiscite.