Foreign Relations of the United States, Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943
Lot 60 D 224
The Secretary of State’s Special Assistant ( Pasvolsky ) to the Secretary of State
Memorandum for the Secretary
Subject: International Organization
Attached to this memorandum are additional copies of each of the following papers on the subject of international organization, the first three of which have been sent to the President:
- Memorandum for the President, dated August 11,1 which I prepared as a result of the meeting at the White House on August 10.
- Document, dated August 11, entitled, “Tentative Draft of a Four-Power Declaration.”2
- Document, dated August 14, entitled, “Tentative Draft of Propositions for a United Nations Protocol for the War and Transition Periods,”
- My memorandum to you, dated August 9, entitled, “International Activities in which the United States Must Participate to Re-establish and Maintain Peace and to Promote General Welfare.”
Draft Heads for a United Nations Protocol
Tentative Draft of Propositions for a United Nations Protocol for the War and Transition Periods
The purpose of the proposed protocol is to establish in the immediate future a Provisional Organization of the United Nations for functions other than those appertaining to the military conduct of the war which need to be performed during the war and the transition periods.[Page 707]
A. These functions would be:
- To formulate requirements to be imposed in connection with surrender and to provide for United Nations representation in their administration.
- To provide for United Nations representation in activities connected with occupation of enemy territories and assistance in administration of liberated areas.
- To provide for the maintenance of international peace and security in any area in which the United Nations military authorities consider military control no longer necessary.
- To coordinate the activities of existing ad hoc international agencies land such further agencies as the United Nations may decide to place within the field of competence of the provisional organization.
- To formulate and recommend to the United Nations a plan for a permanent international organization for the maintenance of peace and security and the promotion of general welfare.
- To institute procedures to assure as soon as practicable a general system of regulation of armaments.
B. The necessary general authority for the Provisional Organization would be vested in the organization by the ratification of the protocol by the specified number of signatories. It should expressly be provided that:
- Signatory states would cooperate in carrying out the measures determined upon by the Organization.
- Certain decisions (including amendments to the protocol) should be subject to approval by the signatories.
- Adherence to the protocol by states not original signatories should be made possible.
C. Instrumentalities which the Provisional Organization would appear to require initially would include:
- A Provisional Council of the United Nations, representative of all states parties to the Declaration by United Nations at Washington, January 1, 1942, and of the nations associated with them.
- A Commission to coordinate the execution of surrender requirements imposed on enemy states in Europe.
- A Commission to coordinate the execution of surrender requirements imposed on the enemy states in the Far East.
- A Security and Armaments Commission, composed of military, naval, aviation, and civil representatives of the states represented on the Council, and of other states designated by the Council, to be charged (a) with advising and assisting the Council in regard to security measures; (b) with proposing any modifications and amendments in the terms imposed upon enemy states; (c) with supervising [Page 708] the execution of armament stipulations required of the enemy states or adopted by the Council; (d) with making recommendations for the general regulation of armaments; and (e) with carrying out armament inspections and such other responsibilities as may be required by the Council and any agreements concluded in the future under the provisions of the protocol.
- Such coordinative and administrative machinery as the Council may deem necessary.
D. The Provisional Council should be composed of members designated one each by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China, together with not less than three nor more than seven members chosen by other states among the United Nations.
The selection of members of the Provisional Council other than those designated by the four major powers might be on the basis of one of the following two principles:
- Each of several regional groups of countries might be asked to select one or two outstanding individuals, without regard to nationality, to be the spokesmen for their respective groups of countries. For example, the countries of Europe and the American Republics might, as groups, have two representatives each, while the countries of the Far East, of Near and Middle East and Africa, and the British Dominions might, again as groups, have one representative each.
- By a process of negotiation among the United Nations, three to seven countries might be selected with due regard to their geographic distribution for individual representation on the Provisional Council for the duration of the war, with the understanding that, in connection with the permanent organization or even during the transitional period, there will be worked out by the Council, for submission to all signatories of the protocol, a regular procedure for the selection of representatives on the Council of other than the four major countries.
Decisions of the Provisional Council should be by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present, with the majority including the votes of the representatives of all of the four major countries, unless one of these, in advance of voting, declares its intention to abstain from voting.
E. The four major countries should take joint initiative in inviting the other United Nations to sign the protocol, which would become effective upon ratification by a specified number of countries. A general conference of the United Nations for formal signature of the protocol might be desirable. The convocation of further general conferences might be left to decision by the Provisional Council.
Memorandum by the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant (Pasvolsky)
International Activities in Which the United States Must Participate To Re-establish and Maintain Peace and To Promote General Welfare
This memorandum deals with the following subjects:
- Problems of machinery and procedure in connection with international activities involved in transition from war to peace.
- Problems of machinery and procedure in connection with international activities involved in future maintenance of peace and promotion of general welfare.
- Relation between short-run and long-run activities.
- Some crucial problems of organization and negotiation.
a. international activities involved in transition from war to peace
Apart from the conduct of the war, there are the following international activities in which the United States must, of necessity, participate with some or all of the United Nations during and immediately after the war by way of preparation and action:
- Determination of requirements to be imposed on the enemy nations in connection with their unconditional surrender.
- Occupation of enemy countries pending the establishment there of stable governments; including supervision over the carrying out of surrender and other requirements, aid in the re-establishment of economic life, and the creation of new governments based on the expression of popular will.
- Punishment of war criminals.
- Determination of territorial adjustments with respect to enemy nations.
- Formulation of restitution, reparation, and property rights demands to be made on the enemy nations.
- Operations in liberated areas pending re-establishment there of stable governments; including aid in the re-establishment of economic life and the creation of conditions for the expression of popular will as to the system and composition of government.
- Provision of relief.
- Handling of displaced populations.
- Depending on circumstances, some of which cannot now be foreseen, the United States may or may not wish to participate directly in, but cannot remain disinterested with respect to,
- Determination of frontier adjustments between some of the United Nations themselves, and
- Formation of regional or other groupings among some United Nations, with or without the inclusion in some cases of neutrals and of enemy countries.
The carrying on of each of the activities above enumerated is clearly a function that must be performed under some form of international arrangement. Appropriate machinery will be needed for each, and most of this machinery must be created during the war.
Specifically, agreement as to both policy and action is necessary as quickly as possible with respect to surrender requirements; punishment of war criminals; occupation of enemy countries; operations in liberated areas; relief; handling of refugees and other displaced populations; and, if possible, restitution, reparation and property rights demands. It will unquestionably be desirable also to secure early agreement with regard to enemy territorial adjustments, in order that provisions with respect to them may, if possible, be included in the surrender terms or in early declarations of occupying authorities. At the same time, there has been already demand, which may grow in insistence, for early agreement as regards frontier adjustments between Soviet Russia and her western neighbors, and as regards certain regional and other groupings.
So far, steps have been taken toward seeking agreement with respect to determination of policy and creation of machinery only as regards punishment of war criminals, relief, and the handling of refugees and other displaced populations. Recently, the British Government has placed before us a set of proposals for the creation of machinery to deal with the formulation of surrender requirements, for supervision over the carrying out of such requirements, and for arrangements for the occupation of enemy countries.3 A significant feature of the British plan is that the proposed machinery would be operative in Europe only. An even more significant feature of the plan is that the arrangement would also embrace, within the framework of the same machinery, a number of other functions, of both short-term and long-term character, with respect to Europe as a whole—for example, relief, refugees, inland transportation, power, etc.[Page 711]
The British proposal brings to a head the need for the following basic decisions:
- Should we insist on the continuation of the present procedure of creating, as we go along, ad hoc machinery for each particular short-run function and of leaving for the future the question of whether or not the separate pieces of machinery should be coordinated? Or should we press now toward the creation of some over-all United Nations agency to deal, through appropriate component pieces of machinery, with all or most of the various functions involved?
- Whichever course we select, should we agree that there should be a separate agency, or set of agencies, for Europe and presumably another for the Far East? Or should we insist that European operations and Far Eastern operations should be component parts of one general United Nations arrangement?
b. international, activities involved in future maintenance of peace and promotion of general welfare
Beyond these fields of immediate or transitional action, there are international activities involved in the maintenance of peace and the promotion of general welfare on a more permanent basis, in which the United States would have to participate if we decide to become a full-fledged partner in a system of organized and institutionalized arrangements for these purposes. They are as follows:
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for political settlement of international disputes and for promotion of good understanding between nations.
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for judicial settlement of international disputes.
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for enforcement of international decisions and for repression of threats to, or violations of, peace.
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for the regulation of armaments.
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for administration of, or supervision over, certain dependent areas and, possibly, security points.
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for promotion by international action of economic and social welfare.
- Creation and maintenance of machinery for promotion of observance of certain basic human rights.
It is assumed that mutual financial obligations and other questions between the United States and individual United Nations, arising out of the war, will be settled by direct negotiations.[Page 712]
The carrying on of each of the international activities above enumerated is also clearly a function that must be performed under some form of international arrangement—in this case, on a more permanent basis. In connection with some of these long-range activities—particularly in the economic and financial fields and in the treatment of dependent areas—at least partial machinery will need to become operative as soon as possible after the termination of hostilities. In connection with others, at least general agreements and preparatory arrangements will be highly desirable before the end of the war—partly in order that adequate guidance be provided for political and economic transitional activities, especially under military government.
In this regard, our procedure so far has also been on an ad hoc basis. Steps have so far been taken only with respect to two aspects of the machinery for promotion by international action of economic and social welfare—namely, food and agriculture, and monetary stabilization. There is pressing need for action with respect to numerous other problems, each of which is going to raise, more and more insistently, the question already raised in connection with the first two steps—namely, whether the agencies thus separately created will operate as independent entities or whether they will become component parts of a comprehensive international organization.
Here again, therefore, there is rapidly being brought to a head the need for the following decision:
Should the initial steps toward creating machinery for long-range international activities continue to be taken on an ad hoc basis? Or should there be created now a coordinated basis for activities in this direction?
c. relation between short-run and long-run activities
It is clear that there is bound to be much parallel development, as well as much overlapping, as between short-run and long-run activities, which may tend to become crystallized in two types of machinery, whether on an ad hoc or a coordinated basis. Hence, there is pressing need for the following fundamental decision:
Should consultations and negotiations among the United Nations with respect to long-range post-war policies, whether they are carried on an ad hoc or on a coordinated basis, be divorced from whatever arrangements may be created for immediate and transitional action? Or should there be created now an even more comprehensive United Nations agency than the one referred to above—an agency which would be sufficiently flexible to carry out the special functions of bringing about a transition from war to peace, and, at the same time, to build up gradually effective machinery for a permanent international organization?
Discussion so far has pointed emphatically to the desirability of a vigorous attempt to create a comprehensive and flexible agency of the type referred to immediately above. As the war draws to a close, there will be increasing danger that the ties of association among the United Nations will loosen. It would seem to be of the utmost importance, if possible, to keep the United Nations working together on a broad basis of dealing jointly and cooperatively with post-war tasks as they present themselves in point of time. There are indications that this danger is not likely to be dispelled by the method of dealing with individual functions separately. There is accumulating evidence of a feeling of uneasiness on the part of both large and small nations over the manner in which the relief, food, and monetary problems have been handled—especially on the score of our single-handed initiative and dominant position. While the ad hoc approach on a single-nation initiative has many advantages, we now know that the three other large countries and at least some of the smaller ones, including some of the Latin American countries, feel that they should participate effectively in decisions leading up to the launching of any particular set of negotiations or conferences. Even if we were to agree to such procedural consultations on separate problems, the process is likely to become increasingly difficult and cumbersome as the number of problems taken up multiplies. On the other hand, a continuation by us of single-handed initiative may well lead to a competition in initiative on the part of Britain and possibly other countries.
This line of reasoning is strengthened greatly by what appears to be the emerging attitude of Soviet Russia. It may well be that, in the end, Moscow may decide in favor of very limited participation in world affairs and of correspondingly limited commitments. The sooner and the more fully we test out Moscow’s intentions, the clearer will be our own tasks, as well as the possibilities open to us. Affording Moscow an opportunity to participate fully at all stages of preparation and action will provide an excellent test of this sort. This may well be an important element in inducing Moscow to accept extended participation. On the other hand, if it should happen that Moscow will be reluctant to participate in a comprehensive procedure, the need for creating a closely knit agency of cooperation among the other United Nations will become even more emphatic.
The procedure here outlined would also be, for other countries, a test of our intentions.
From the domestic point of view, the continuation of an ad hoc procedure has already led to some confusion as to our ultimate objectives. It may increasingly do so. The adoption of a coordinated procedure [Page 714] may serve to clarify this situation and help focus public opinion on the central issue of our participation in an effective international organization. The securing of widespread public support for the creation now of a comprehensive international agency will, of course, present many domestic difficulties. However, from this point of view, the difficulties may be greatly lessened if the over-all agency to be created be given initially the following functions and powers:
- To prepare plans for dealing with enemy countries and with liberated areas, and, upon the ratification of such plans by the various governments, to put them into execution through appropriate machinery.
- To prepare plans for the handling of the various long-range problems and to create and set into motion various pieces of necessary machinery, each step to be subject to ratification by the constituent governments.
In this manner, a system of organized international relations would become established and would have an opportunity to evolve into a fully operating, permanent international organization through a process of continuous adaptation. The development would be along functional, and in some cases regional, lines, but always within the framework of unified policy. The agency would be a central body, operating through specialized arrangements for various purposes. As time goes on, some of its early functions would disappear, while some would be merged with more permanent functions as they develop.
The key to the success of such an agency is that it be given, from the outset, concrete tasks and adequate authority to perform them, rather than a broad grant of general powers, and that means be provided for enlarging its essential powers as need for such enlargement becomes demonstrated and as the agency itself proves capable of exercising them.
d. some crucial problems of organization and negotiation
Whatever method is finally chosen, there will inevitably be presented several crucial problems, relating both to organization and to steps to be undertaken in the process of negotiation.
The first of these is the problem of the relative positions of large and small countries. This problem has already arisen in connection with the steps toward post-war United Nations action so far taken. It is bound to arise whether we proceed to set up specific agencies independently of each other or an over-all agency with specialized component parts.[Page 715]
It has become axiomatic that each agency must have a relatively small executive body, and that each of the large countries must be individually represented on such a body. It seems clear that each of the large countries will wish to reserve veto power in connection with any action which touches its vital interests—although the concept of “vital interest” must be defined, not in general terms, but specifically with respect to each important function. It is equally clear that all of the other member-countries cannot be individually represented on the executive body. The problem is to find some reasonably satisfactory method in which the smaller nations can, for this purpose, be associated with the larger nations.
So far, discussion has narrowed down to a choice between three intrinsically unsatisfactory solutions, as follows:
- The League of Nations solved the problem by having its
Council composed of four types of members:
- Each of the great powers had a permanent seat;
- Some countries had semi-permanent seats in the sense that they were eligible for annual re-election;
- Some countries, by voluntary association assured that one of them in annual rotation would always have a Council seat;
- The other countries took their chances in annual elections without the right of immediate re-election.
- There are several current proposals under which the world would be divided into regional groups, each of which would designate one or more members of the Council, to represent the group as a whole rather than and one country of the group. This method has the advantage of not making the Council vary from year to year as regards the areas represented on it. But it has, from the viewpoint of the small countries, the great disadvantage of increasing the disparity between them and the large countries and of thus tending to deprive them more and more of individual identity.
- There is a possibility of simplifying the League formula by dropping the semi-permanent seats, by encouraging groups of countries to associate themselves voluntarily into rotation representation groups, and by letting those countries which do not so associate themselves take their chances in periodic elections.
This whole problem has a special application to the initial step in setting up any United Nations agency under present conditions. The method of creating a small executive body must be specified in whatever instrument the United Nations conclude as the basis for an international agency. Restriction of membership to the four great powers appears at this stage to be only a theoretical possibility. It should not, however, be impossible to negotiate the choice of the specific smaller [Page 716] nations to be given seats on the executive body for the duration of the war with an understanding that a regular and systematic procedure for small-country representation will become operative after the war.
Another crucial problem is that of voting. The League procedure was largely based on unanimity, which afforded each member of the Council, large and small, single veto power. A possible compromise between this and a majority vote has been prepared in the form of a procedure under which decisions would be by a simple or extraordinary majority, but with the provision that the majority must include (with some possible exceptions) the votes of all of the permanent members. In this manner, each of the large countries would have single veto power, while the smaller countries would have veto power by acting together. This would require that the number of elective seats be somewhat greater than the number of permanent seats. An arrangement along these lines could be worked out for the transitional period.
Still another crucial problem is whether or not such voting arrangements, while constituting adequate protection for the large countries, especially as regards enforcement procedures for the maintenance of the peace, would provide a sufficiently speedy and effective machinery for action in this vital field. Under it, the small countries would not be able to compel any of the large countries to use its armed forces when it does not desire to do so, but the small countries could, by joining together, prevent the large countries from acting. It does not appear, however, that the risk involved on this score is likely to be serious.
Finally, there is the problem of the negotiation steps to be taken. The first necessary step is clearly to secure accord among the four great powers, as to their intentions and as to the responsibilities which they would be willing to undertake. This accord can be embodied in a formal protocol, in a joint declaration, or in parallel declarations. Whatever the form, it would appear to be very important that the document be communicated to the other United Nations only as a part of an invitation, issued jointly by the four great powers, for the negotiation of a formal United Nations protocol as the basis for the creation of the agency in view.
Draft protocols have been worked out for both purposes. They may need to be reconsidered in some aspects once the basic decisions are reached on some of the problems indicated above. Sufficient progress has been made in the study of the various phases of the international organization question to render possible fruitful negotiations with respect to it at any time.