The Destruction of the Legitimacy of Trusteeship

William Bain

in Between Anarchy and Society

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260263
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600975 | DOI:
 The Destruction of the Legitimacy of Trusteeship

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The place and purpose of trusteeship in the post‐Second World War world order aroused passions and suspicions that were no less pronounced than those which threatened to disrupt the peace negotiations at Versailles two decades earlier, and these tensions, which divided the US and Britain in particular, emanated from a fundamental disagreement over the purpose of trusteeship and its relation to the future of empire in world affairs. British commentators on empire tended to interpret the idea of trusteeship in the context of an imperial tradition that dated back to Edmund Burke's interest in the affairs of the East India Company, invoking trusteeship as a principle against which to judge colonial administration and, therefore, understood the tutelage of dependent peoples as a justification of empire. Americans, who were born of a very different colonial and political experience, were a great deal less inclined to see trusteeship as a justification of empire than as an alternative to the perpetuation of empire. Interrogates the claims that structured the terms of this debate, how they shaped the purpose of trusteeship as contemplated in the Charter of the UN, and the ideas upon which the anti‐colonial movement seized in order to destroy the legitimacy of trusteeship in international society. There are five sections: The Atlantic Charter and the Future of Empire; The Reform of Empire; Trusteeship and the Charter of the UN; The End of Empire; and Human Equality and the Illegitimacy of Trusteeship.

Keywords: abuse of trust; anti‐colonialism; Atlantic Charter; Britain; Charter of the UN; colonial administration; decolonization; empire; Equality; human rights; imperial tradition; imperial trusteeship; international peace and security; international trusteeship; justification of empire; legitimacy; legitimacy of trusteeship; Margery Perham; perpetuation of empire; Reform of Empire; Resolution 1514; Franklin Roosevelt; San Francisco Conference; Second World War; self‐determination; South‐west Africa; trusteeship; UN; US; Winston Churchill; Yalta Conference

Chapter.  14862 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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