Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Vincent Cannato

Second Advisor

Spencer Di Scala

Third Advisor

Timothy Hasci


During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt directed planning for the United Nations, which would be formed at the end of the war. As part of this planning, Roosevelt developed mechanisms for handling territories in a manner that benefitted both the local population and the world at large. Roosevelt referred to this mechanism as trusteeship and proposed two types. One type, referred to in this thesis as American Trusteeship, provided a mechanism for the international supervision of decolonization. The other, here referred to as International Security Trusteeship, involved either: 1) placing locations around the world in an international trust to base military forces that could quickly respond to unlawful military aggression; or 2) placing those locations in trust to avoid nations going to war over them.

Roosevelt repeatedly proposed both types of trusteeship during the planning process with limited success. While Roosevelt's subordinates properly planned for American Trusteeship, they were only able to secure agreement for American Trusteeship to apply to colonies not controlled either by the British or the French. International Security Trusteeship suffered from different problems. Planners never made a good faith effort to develop viable plans for International Security Trusteeship. Roosevelt ignored these problems, then compounded this error by starting negotiations with other nations while lacking any specific proposals. Without detailed plans, American diplomats were unable to successfully negotiate agreements for International Security Trusteeship outside of several Pacific islands already controlled by the United States. While trusteeship would not be as expansive as Roosevelt hoped for, the final draft of the Charter of the United Nations contained provisions for both types of trusteeship.

This thesis examines how Roosevelt and his subordinates planned for the postwar world, with a particular emphasis on trusteeship, and how successful their efforts were. It also shows the relationship between Roosevelt and his wartime allies and how postwar considerations affected their relationship. Last, it demonstrates what considerations led to the development of certain provisions contained within the Charter of the United Nations.


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