West Papua Information Kit
General Assembly Resolution 1541
1541 (XV). Principles which should guide Members in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for under Article 73 e of the Charter
The General Assembly,
Considering the objectives set forth in Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations,
Bearing in mind the list of factors annexed to General Assembly resolution 742 (VIII) of 27 November 1953,
Having examined the report of the Special Committee of Six on the Transmission of Information under Article 73 e of the Charter, appointed under General Assembly resolution 1467 (XIV) of 12 December 1959 to study the principles which should guide Members in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for in Article 73 e of the Charter and to report on the results of its study to the Assembly at its fifteenth session,
1. Expresses its appreciation of the work of the Special Committee of Six on the Transmission of Information under Article 73 e of the Charter;
2. Approves the principles set out in section V, part B, of the report of the Committee, as amended and as they appear in the annex to the present resolution;
3. Decides that these principles should be applied in the light of the facts and the circumstances od each case to determine whether or not an obligation exists to transmit information under Article 73 e of the Charter.
948th plenary meeting,
15th December 1960.
Principles which should guide Members in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for in Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations
The authors of the Charter of the United Nations had in mind that Chapter XI should be applicable to territories which were then known to be of the colonial type. An obligation exists to transmit information under Article 73 e of the Charter in respect of such territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.
Chapter XI of the Charter embodies the concept of Non-Self-Governing Territories in a dynamic state of evolution and progress towards a "full measure of self-government". As soon as a territory and its peoples attain a full measure of self-government, the obligation ceases. Until this comes about, the obligation to transmit information under Article 73 e continues.
The obligation to transmit information under Article 73 e of the Charter constitutes an international obligation and should be carried our with due regard to the fulfilment of international law.
Prima facie there is an obligation to transmit information in respect of a territory which is geographically separate and distinct ethnically and/or culturally from the country administrating it.
Once it has been established that such a prima facie case of geographical and ethnical or cultural distinctness of a territory exists, other elements may then be brought into consideration. These additional elements may be, inter alia, of an administrative, political, juridical, economic or historical nature. If they affect the relationship between the metropolitan State and the territory concerned in a manner which arbitrarily places the latter in a position or status of subordination, they support the presumption that there is an obligation to transmit information under Article 73 e of the Charter.
A Non-Self-Governing Territory can be said to have reached a full measure of self-government by : (a) Emergence as a sovereign independent State; (b) Free association with an independent State; or (c) Integration with an independent State.
(a) Free association should be the result of a free and voluntary choice by the peoples of the territory concerned expressed through informed and democratic processes. It should be one which respects the individuality and cultural characteristics of the territory and its peoples, and retains for the peoples of the territory which is associated with an independent State the freedom to modify the status of that territory through the expression of their will by democratic means and through constitutional processes. (b) The associated territory should have the right to determine its internal constitution without outside interference, in accordance with due constitutional processes and the freely expressed wishes of the people. This does not preclude consultations as appropriate or necessary under the terms of the free association agreed upon.
Integration with an independent State should be on the basis of complete equality between the peoples of the erstwhile Non-Self-Governing Territory and those of the independent country with which it is integrated. The peoples of both territories should have equal status and rights of citizenship and equal guarantees of fundamental rights and freedoms without any distinction or discrimination; both should have equal rights and opportunities for representation and effective participation at all levels in the executive, legislative and judicial organs of government.
Integration should have come about in the following circumstances:
(a) The integrating territory should have attained an advanced stage of self-government with free political institutions, so that its peoples would have the capacity to make a responsible choice through informed and democratic processes;
(b) The integration should be the result of freely expressed wishes of the territory's peoples acting with full knowledge of the change in their status, their wishes having been expressed through informed and democratic processes, impartially conducted and based on universal adult suffrage. The United Nations could, when it deems it necessary, supervise these processes.
The transmission of information in respect of Non-Self-Governing Territories under Article 73 e of the Charter is subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require. This means that the extent of the information may be limited in certain circumstances, but the limitation in Article 73 e cannot relieve a Member State of the obligations of Chapter XI. The "limitation" can relate only to the quantum of information of economic, social and educational nature to be transmitted.
The only constitutional considerations to which 73 e of the Charter refers are those arising from constitutional relations of the territory with the Administrating Member. They refer to a situation in which the constitution of the territory gives it self-government in economic, social and educational matters through freely elected institutions. Nevertheless, the responsibility for transmitting information under Article 73 e continues, unless these constitutional relations preclude the Government or parliament of the Administering Member from receiving statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social and educational conditions in the territory.
Security considerations have not been invoked in the past. Only in very exceptional circumstances can information on economic, social and educational conditions have any security aspect. In other circumstances, therefore, there should be no necessity to limit the transmission of information on security grounds.
- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)