JOHN HORRIS SPROCKEL REPRESENTED CURAÇAO AT BIRTH OF UNITED NATIONS AND TRUSTEESHIP FOR NON-SELF GOVERNING TERRITORIES

The Charter of the United Nations (UN) was signed in San Fransisco on 26 June, 1945 by 50 nations creating a strong peace structure in order to build a better world. Unbeknownst to many of us, Curaçao had an official representative, Mr. John Horris Sprockel, both at the signing ceremony and in one of the preparatory subcommittees charged with drafting of the Charter. Mr. Sprockel, our first President of Parliament (1938-1945), was recommended by the Governor of Curaçao, Mr. Piet Kasteel, to represent our country in the delegation of the Kingdom of The Netherlands at the San Fransisco Conference. Mr. Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez who usually represented our country at such important international conferences decided to stay behind in Curaçao to prepare for parliamentary elections that would take place in November 1945. Mr. da Costa Gomez’s (and Sprockel’s) party, the Curaçao Roman Catholic Party (CRKP), was feeling the heat from the newly formed Democratic Party (DP) so it was decided that da Costa Gomez could not be missed for two months.

It was very fitting that while Curaçao was intensively engaged with The Netherlands to concretize self-government for the islands, Mr. Sprockel was appointed in San Fransisco to the subcommittee responsible for the drafting of the International Trusteeship System which goal was to promote the political, economic and social advancement of the non-self-governing territories and their development towards self-government and self-determination. Interestingly, the Australian delegation in San Francisco wanted to broaden the scope of the Trusteeship which would have possibly included Curaçao, Suriname and Indonesia. The Dutch delegation in the aforementioned subcommittee consisting of Mr. Boernahoedin and Mr. Moesa from Indonesia, Mr. Sprockel from Curaçao and Mr. van der Plas from The Netherlands (the delegate of Suriname never made it to San Francisco due to illness) contended that: “The Kingdom of The Netherlands was far more ahead regarding decolonization than what was the initial goals of the UN Trusteeship. This, according to the article by Mr. Sprockel: “Curaçao’s Belang bij San Francisco” (Curaçao’s Interest in San Francisco) which appeared in Amigoe di Curaçao, 28 July 1945.

With the independence of Palau in 1994, the Security Council in 1994 terminated the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement. With no Territories left in its agenda, the Trusteeship System had completed its historic task. Soon after he returned to Curaçao from San Francisco, Mr. Sprockel tendered his resignation as President of Parliament.

Photo (United Nations): Alexander Loudon signs the United Nations Manifest on behalf of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Behind him, second from the left, John Horris Sprockel.

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

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