Trusteeship in the Pacific

May 3, 1945

Report Outline
United States Defense Needs in the Pacific
Struggle of Powers for Pacific Islands
League Mandates and Proposed Trusteeships

United States Defense Needs in the Pacific

Events of the present war have made it clear that complete defense of the continental United States against aggression requires adequate naval and air bases in the far Pacific. All branches of the government are agreed upon the necessity of arrangements that will give this country full security against attack. Differences have arisen, not over the end to be achieved, but over the method of achieving it that will best serve the long-range interests of the United States. The Navy has contended, with vigorous support from Congress, that outright ownership of island bases is necessary to give the fleet complete freedom of action—freedom “to strike anywhere from any place in the Pacific.” The State Department has favored a system of trusteeship, or administration by individual governments under international supervision, as permitting all necessary freedom of action and at the same time affording safeguards against future wars.

President Roosevelt said upon his return from an inspection of United States bases in the Hawaiian Islands and the Aleutians in the summer of 1944 that all Americans “understand at last the importance of the Hawaiian Islands.”

It is important [he continued] that we have other bases, forward bases nearer to Japan than Hawaii lies. The same thing holds true in regard to the defense of the other American republics form Mexico down past the Panama Canal and all the way down to Chile…. These islands are mostly in the possession of the British Empire and the French…. We have no desire to ask for any possessions of the United Nations. But the United Nations who are working with us to win the war will, I am confident, be glad to join us in protection against aggression and in machinery to prevent aggression.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Policy in the Pacific
Apr. 20, 1990  Should the U.S. Reduce Its Pacific Forces?
Apr. 07, 1989  Pacific Rim Challenges
Apr. 25, 1986  The Strategic Pacific
Jul. 05, 1985  Dawn of the Pacific Era
Jun. 06, 1975  Changing Status of Micronesia
Aug. 17, 1966  Australia: Pacific Ally
Nov. 04, 1964  Indonesia vs. Malaysia
Jul. 24, 1963  Malaysian Federation: Union of Convenience
Jul. 05, 1962  West New Guinea: Pacific Trouble Spot
Jan. 28, 1953  Pacific Defense
Sep. 09, 1949  Pacific Dependencies
May 03, 1945  Trusteeship in the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
U.S. at War: World War II