800.42/281: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

6797. Department’s 6089, October 2. The Conference of Ministers of Education of the Allied Governments at the meeting of October 5 set up a bureau of 11 members to coordinate the work of its commissions and sub-committees. This action was taken with the understanding that it would not prejudice future organization if and when the Conference becomes a United Nations body.

Turner explained that, as an observer for the Department of State, he is studying the Conference and its work in order to recommend measures of cooperation which the United States Government may consider in connection with the development of programs of educational reconstruction and cultural rehabilitation. He expressed a desire to discuss relevant matters with the members and observers of the Conference and with its committees.

The position of the Conference does not appear to Turner to be different from that which was recognized in Washington before he came to London. The British have initiated it and are guiding it. Butler, the President of the Board of Education, as Chairman, desires to develop the Conference, step by step, into a United Nations agency in the educational and cultural fields. The delegates of the European Allied Governments appear to be dependent upon the British in policy, financial, and organizational matters. The Norwegian delegates have a greater independence of viewpoint than the others. The Russian and Chinese observers expressed a willingness to discuss the Conference and its future development. The British seem willing to adapt themselves to an American viewpoint. These circumstances appear to offer an opportunity for taking steps to transform the Conference into a United Nations body.

The first step in this transformation should be the determination of a principle of representation. It seems clear that until the end of the war membership should be restricted to the United Nations. The question now is: Shall the United Nations be represented on an equal basis (perhaps two delegates each) or shall a weighted representation favoring the largest United Nations (U.S.S.R., Great Britain, China, U.S.A.) be adopted? The committee which planned the bureau set up at the October 5 meeting acted upon the second principle. The Norwegian delegates vigorously argued for the first principle, and there is considerable sentiment in favor of their position, even among the British.

[Page 1157]

Turner believes that the United States Government should favor the representation of states on an equal basis. In the educational and cultural fields democratic cooperation and international goodwill require the free and equal association of peoples. At least these are fields in which power, prestige and material interests should have least effect upon the relations of nations.

Acceptance of this principle would reduce the present British representation from 13 to 2. However, the admission of the Dominions and India would bring the delegates from the British Empire to the total of 12. The United States should ask for the representation of the Latin-American signatories of the Atlantic Charter and also for the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

The Department’s views on the foregoing points are desired in order that Turner may proceed.

The matter of Mr. Studebaker’s proposed visit requires consideration. American educators, recently here, have tended to create a confused state of mind about American policy and plans. Even Mr. Butler, President of the Board of Education, is uncertain about the agency of the United States Government which will deal with problems of educational reconstruction and cultural rehabilitation. In view of these facts, it would seem wise to frame Mr. Studebaker’s instruction in such a manner that he would not discuss international action or organization in the educational and cultural fields; he could reasonably study the domestic programs of education which the British and Allied Governments may undertake in the postwar period.