24 MARCH 1967, Page 29

`Chaos or civilisation'

Sir: As former counsel for Ethiopia and Liberia in the .South West Africa case before the International Court of Justice, may I call attention to certain considerations additional to those adverted to by Judge Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice in his letter of 24 February, with regard to advertisements sponsored by the Republic of South Africa, which appeared in your issues of 17 and 24 February.

Contrary to assertions appearing in the advertise- ments, the judicial proceedings left unimpaired the authoritative weight of the Court's Advisory Opin- ion of 1950. In that Opinion, the Court held that South Africa remains under an obligation to report to the United Nations General Assembly with re- gard to its administration of the territory of South West Africa, and to transmit petitions from the in- habitants.

Equally misleading is the assertion that South

Africa issued an 'unqualified invitation' to the court to visit the territory. The invitation was heavily qualified indeed, as appears from the admission in open court by South African counsel, that the court was not to take testimony, interview witnesses, or hold any discussions with inhabitants.

The advertisements also reiterate the absurdly incorrect contention that the applicant states 'abandoned allegations of oppression and injustice.' In fact, the applicants submitted from first to last that South African racial policies in the territory are 'inherently and per se incompatible with moral well-being and social progress,' are 'inherently injurious' and are 'impermissible under the Man- date.'

Similarly deceptive is the South African averment that the applicants 'accepted as truth all the statements of fact submitted by South Africa.' The truth is that the applicants insisted that all facts set out in the record which, 'upon the applicants' theory of the case are relevant to their contentions of law, are undisputed.' The applicants always made clear what facts were 'relevant,' and, need- less to say, South African characterisations of its conduct in the territory were never accepted or credited by the applicants.

Ernest A. Gross Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law, 63 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005