The United Nations was formed, in part, to win a war (WWII.)
Representatives of 26 countries fighting the German, Italian and Japanese Axis, decided to affirm their support by signing the Declaration of the United Nations.
This document pledged the signatory governments to the maximum war effort and bound them against making a separate peace. (UN)
In part, the Declaration states, “Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world.”
“Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military and economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact (Germany, Italy and Japan) and its adherents with which such government is at war.” (Declaration by UN)
But the UN does not intervene in the members’ domestic issues. “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state …”
“… or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.” (UN Charter, Chapter 1, Article 2)
The Charter of the United Nations was signed on June 26, 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization.
The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter was ratified by China, France, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States and by a majority of other signatories. (UN)
Some have cited the United Nations and its ‘Non-Self-Governing Territory’ listing and process as the means to Hawaiian self-determination.
One even suggested that “In 1954 the UN tendered independence to Hawai‘i under the Decolonization Act”. But searching the UN documents did not verify this; and repeated requests for documentation from the one who made the statement were denied (so that scenario appears not likely.)
“Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount …”
“… and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories”.
Members commit “to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General for information purposes, subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social and educational conditions in the territories for which they are respectively responsible other than those territories to which Chapters XII and XIII apply.”
In 1946, the eight Administering Powers (Australia, Belgium. Denmark, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States) submitted a total of 74 countries to be listed as Non-Self-Governing Territories under Chapter XI of the Charter.
These territories under Chapter XI were administered by the Allied powers before the war, and do not include the countries ruled by the Axis powers (German, Italy and Japan) before the war. Those territories fell under what was called a “Trusteeship,” and listed under Articles XII and XIII of the Charter.
Listed as non-self-governing territories under the jurisdiction of the United States were Hawai‘i, Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
According to UN General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV), 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.”
By the end of World War II, the political status of many countries remained unresolved. An important factor in the creation of the United Nations in 1945 was to determine what was going to happen to the territories which had been acquired by the larger powers – and some smaller powers. This was the beginning of the era of decolonization. (Corbin)
Over time, some UN member countries notified the UN of changes in status of Non-Self-Governing territories under their control. Sometimes, these territories obtained independent status; sometimes, they achieved integration with another country. (Corbin)
UN records note that Martinique and Guadeloupe had ‘Change of Status’ in 1947 and were removed from the UN listing. (UN) First sighted by Columbus on his initial expedition in 1493, Martinique played host to its first European “tourists” in 1502 when Columbus landed there during his fourth voyage.
Dubbed Martinique by Columbus, the island was inhabited by Carib Indians who had driven away the Arawaks who, like themselves, had come to the island from South America.
Martinique and Guadeloupe were claimed by France in 1635 and officially annexed in 1674. In 1946, Martinique became a Department of France and in 1974 a Region of France, its current status. (Martinique, Minahan)
“In the period from 1953-1969, the General Assembly, having examined the information transmitted in accordance with resolution 222 (III), approved the cessation of information on six territories.”
“In the order of the decisions taken, they were, under resolution 748 (VIII) of 27 November 1953, Puerto Rico, which became a Commonwealth associated with the United States …”
“… under resolution 849 (IX) of 22 November 1954, Greenland, which was integrated with Denmark; under resolution 945 (X) of 15 December 1955, Netherlands Antilles (originally listed as Curacao) and Surinam, which became self-governing parts of the Netherlands …”
“… and, under resolution 1469 (XIV) of 12 December 1959, Alaska and Hawai‘i, which were integrated with the United States. (UN)
With respect to Hawai‘i, “The General Assembly … Having received from the Government of the United States of America communications dated 2 June 1959 and 17 September 1959 informing the Secretary-General that Alaska and Hawai‘i, respectively …”
“… have, as a result of their admission into the United States as the forty-ninth and fiftieth States, attained a full measure of self-government and that, as a consequence of this change in their constitutional status, the United States Government would cease to transmit information under Article 73 (e) of the Charter in respect of Alaska and Hawaii”.
“Bearing in mind the competence of the General Assembly to decide whether a Non-Self-Governing Territory has or has not attained a full measure of self-government as referred to in Chapter XI of the Charter …”
“… Considers that, owing to the circumstances mentioned above, the declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories and the provisions established under it in Chapter XI of the Charter can no longer be applied to Alaska and Hawaii…”
“… Considers it appropriate that the transmission of information in respect of Alaska and Hawaii under Article 73 (e) of the Charter should cease.” (UN Resolution 1469 (XIV))
The UN General Assembly concluded that since Hawai‘i joined the United States as a state in 1959 it was no longer designed as a Non-Self-Governing Territory.
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