500.CC/12–2943

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 2

I transmit herewith for your consideration a statement of the basic ideas which might be embodied in a constitution of an international organization for the maintenance of peace and security, to be established in accordance with the provisions of the Atlantic Charter,3 of Point 4 of the Moscow Declaration,4 and of the Congressional Resolutions.5 The statement was prepared by our group working on the problems of international organization.6 Attached to the statement is a memorandum on the principal obligations which would have to be assumed by the members of the projected international organization.

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The drafters of the statement recommend

(1)
That there should be a small Executive Council with adequate powers and adequate means to investigate conditions, situations and disputes likely to impair security or to lead to a breach of the peace; to recommend measures for the adjustment of such conditions, situations and disputes; to employ the processes of mediation, conciliation, arbitration, etc., for the settlement of disputes; to prescribe the terms of settlement where other procedures have failed; to enforce its decisions; and to repress acts or threats of aggression;
(2)
That there should be a General Assembly, composed of all member states, whose principal functions and powers should relate to the setting up of a general framework of policy, the development of international law, and the promotion of international cooperation in general;
(3)
That there should be an International Court of Justice; and
(4)
That, as needed, there should be created or brought within the framework of the international organization agencies for cooperation in economic and social activities, for trusteeship responsibilities, and for other appropriate purposes.

The drafters have not been able to reach definitive conclusions on a number of crucial questions which are presented in the statement in the form of alternatives. These are indicated on pages 3, 4 and 5.

The entire plan is based on two central assumptions:

  • First, that the four major powers will pledge themselves and will consider themselves morally bound not to go to war against each other or against any other nation, and to cooperate with each other and with other peace-loving states in maintaining the peace; and
  • Second, that each of them will maintain adequate forces and will be willing to use such forces as circumstances require to prevent or suppress all cases of aggression.

I hope that at our meeting tomorrow you will find it possible to discuss these matters with us.

C[ordell] H[ull]
[Annex 1]

Plan for the Establishment of an International Organization for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security

i. functions and purposes

The primary functions of the international organization to be established in accordance with the provisions of the Atlantic Charter, of Point 4 of the Moscow Declaration, and of the Congressional Resolutions, should be, first, to establish and maintain peace and security, by force if necessary; and, second, to foster cooperative effort among the nations for the progressive improvement of the general welfare. The organization should provide means of cooperative action for the [Page 616]creation, operation, and coordination of agencies and procedures for the following purposes;

1.
to prevent the use of force or of threats to use force in international relations except by authority of the international organization itself;
2.
to settle disputes between nations likely to lead to a breach of the peace;
3.
to strengthen and develop the rule of law in international relations;
4.
to facilitate the adjustment of conditions likely to impair the security or undermine the general welfare of the peace-loving nations;
5.
to promote through international cooperative effort the political, economic, and social advancement of nations and peoples.

ii. structure and powers

For purposes of maintaining peace and security, the international organization should have the following organs:

1.
An Executive Council
2.
A General Assembly
3.
An International Court of Justice

All members of the organization should be represented on the General Assembly. The representation on the Executive Council should be limited, as indicated below.

For purposes of fostering good international relations and promoting general welfare, the organization should have, in addition to the organs above indicated, an agency for cooperation in economic and social activities, an agency for trusteeship responsibilities, and such other agencies as may be found necessary.

The various component organs and agencies of the organization should have appropriate administrative staffs.

The organization should have powers as follows:

1.
to examine and investigate any condition or situation the continuation of which is likely to impair the security or undermine the general welfare of the peace-loving nations;
2.
to recommend measures for the adjustment of such conditions and situations;
3.
to prescribe the terms of settlement of disputes referred to it when the parties to the disputes have failed to find other means of pacific settlement;
4.
to take jurisdiction over disputes upon its own initiative;
5.
to enforce its decisions with regard to the settlement of disputes;
6.
to determine the existence of threats or acts of aggression and to take measures necessary to repress such threats or acts;
7.
to establish a system of armaments regulation upon the basis of international agreement.

These powers should be exercised by the respective organs of the international organization in the manner indicated below.

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iii. the executive council

The composition of the Executive Council should be determined upon the principle that certain nations have exceptional responsibilities for the maintenance of international security and therefore should have indeterminate tenure; the responsibility of other states for the maintenance of security should be reflected by membership of a number of such states elected for limited periods.

The Executive Council should accordingly consist initially of: The United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China (members with indeterminate tenure), together with

1.
three other members, with the understanding that the Executive Council should always consist of members with indeterminate tenure and an equal number less one of elected members, or
2.
not less than three nor more than eleven other members.

The elected members should be chosen annually by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, but should not be immediately eligible for re-election. The General Assembly may alter the total membership of the Executive Council, the membership with indeterminate tenure, the method of selecting other members and the length of their tenure. Such alterations should be effected by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, provided all the members having indeterminate tenure on the Executive Council vote in the affirmative.

Alternatively

[The Executive Council might initially be composed of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China solely.]7

The Executive Council should be in continuous session and should have primary responsibility with respect to the security functions and security powers of the international organization. Except for procedural decisions, which should be taken by a majority vote, all other decisions should be by a two-thirds vote, with the qualifications indicated below. In no decision of the Executive Council should the vote of a party directly involved in a dispute and represented on the Executive Council be counted. A party deemed by the Executive Council to be directly involved in a dispute and not represented on the Council should be invited to participate in the consideration of the dispute in the Council, without right of vote.

The Executive Council should operate as follows:

1.
Any member of the International organization may bring to the attention of the Executive Council any condition, situation, or dispute the continuation of which is likely to impair the security of itself or of any other member of the organization, or to lead to a breach of the [Page 618]peace. The Executive Council should have the right to institute an investigation of any such condition, situation, or dispute, and to make recommendations to the states concerned.
2.
Any member of the international organization may refer to the Executive Council for settlement any dispute in which it may be involved. The Executive Council should have the right, upon its own initiative to take jurisdiction over any dispute the continuation of which, in its judgment, may lead to a breach of the peace.
3.
The Executive Council should have the right (a) to prescribe the terms of settlement of a dispute within its jurisdiction, (b) to institute measures for the enforcement of its decisions, (c) to determine the existence of a threat or act of aggression, and (d) to institute measures to repress such threat or act. The decision of the Executive Council in these matters should require:
unanimity of all members with indeterminate tenure

Alternatively

[three-fourths vote of the members with indeterminate tenure

  • [a. any abstaining or dissenting member being obligated by the decision; or
  • [b. any abstaining member being obligated, but a dissenting member not being obligated by the decision though bound not to obstruct action; or
  • [c. any abstaining or dissenting member not being obligated by the decision but obligated not to obstruct action.]

4.
The Executive Council should have the right to ask the assistance of the General Assembly in the settlement of any dispute pending before it, and it should inform the General Assembly of any decisions or recommendations made by it. Whenever feasible, the Executive Council should ask the General Assembly for its assistance in the enforcement of its decisions.
5.
The Executive Council should have the right to request from the International Court of Justice an advisory opinion on the legal aspects of any question pending before it.
6.
The Executive Council should have the right to set up any technical agencies it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions.

iv. the general assembly

The initial membership of the General Assembly should comprise all of the United Nations and nations associated with them. The General Assembly should meet annually, but it may be convened in special session on its own initiative or on the initiative of the Executive Council. Its decisions should be by a majority vote, except as indicated below.

Alternatively

[The International Organization should be instituted by the United and Associated Nations. But when the basic document secures the requisite ratifications to become effective, all duly recognized independent [Page 619]states should be considered member states. In case of doubt, the Executive Council should determine whether a state is a duly recognized independent state.

[A state which in the judgment of the Executive Council has violated the peace of nations may be debarred by the Executive Council from exercising any or all of the rights given to member states under this Constitution for a stated period of time.]

The General Assembly should operate as follows:

1.
Any member may bring to the attention of the General Assembly any condition, situation, or dispute the continuation of which is likely to impair the security or the general welfare of itself or of any other member of the organization, or to lead to a breach of the peace. The General Assembly should refer to the Executive Council, for the institution of measures, any condition, situation, or dispute related to security which it deems of sufficient gravity to require immediate consideration. It should refer to the Executive Council or to the appropriate agencies of the international organization any condition or situation not directly related to security which it deems to merit their consideration.
2.
The General Assembly should receive from the Executive Council, from the agency for cooperation in economic and social activities, from the agency for trusteeship responsibilities, and from other agencies, reports of their decisions and recommendations.
3.
The General Assembly should initiate studies and make recommendations concerning (a) the interpretation and revision of rules of international law and (b) the promotion of international cooperation.
4.
The General Assembly should, by a two-thirds vote, admit other nations to membership in the international organization.
Alternatively
[All duly recognized independent states shall be considered member states. In case of doubt the Executive Council shall determine whether a state is a duly recognized independent state.]
5.
The General Assembly may alter the total membership of the Executive Council, the membership with indeterminate tenure, the method of selecting other members and the length of their tenure. Such alterations should be effected by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, provided all members having indeterminate tenure on the Executive Council vote in the affirmative.
6.
The General Assembly should, by a two-thirds vote, select judges of the International Court of Justice.
7.
Except for such agencies as may be created by the Executive Council, the approval of the General Assembly should be required for the creation or modification of permanent technical agencies included within the framework of the international organization.
8.
All administrative and budgetary arrangements should require approval of the General Assembly, except such arrangements as the General Assembly may empower agencies of the organization to make on their own initiative.

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[Annex 2]

Principal Obligations of a Member State

1.
To refrain from use of force or threat to use force in its relations with other states and from any intervention in the internal affairs of other states, except in performance of its obligation to contribute to the enforcement procedures instituted by the Executive Council.
2.
To settle all disputes with other states by pacific means and, failing such settlement, to submit any such dispute likely to endanger the peace to the Executive Council or to such agencies or procedures as the Council may designate.
3.
To recognize the right of the Executive Council, on its own initiative or on the initiative of any member state, to examine, investigate, and act upon any dispute, condition, or situation deemed by it as likely to endanger the peace.
4.
To accept as binding the decisions of the Executive Council in the settlement of a dispute of which the Council takes jurisdiction and to carry out in good faith the recommendations of the Council with respect to conditions or situations deemed by it as likely to endanger the peace.
5.
To submit all justiciable disputes in which it may be engaged to the International Court of Justice and to accept as binding the decisions of the Court.
6.
To make such contribution to the facilities and means which the Council may require for the enforcement of its decisions or for the prevention or repression of aggression as may be agreed upon in advance or, in the absence of such agreement, as the Executive Council may deem appropriate.
7.
To enter into an eventual general agreement with other member states for the regulation of national armaments.
  1. Copy obtained from the Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, papers of Mr. Leo Pasvolsky, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State. President Roosevelt gave the draft his general approval and initialled the memorandum “OK FDR” at a meeting at the White House on February 3, 1944, attended by Secretary Hull and some of his “consulting group” (a group which began in the summer of 1943 to accompany the Secretary to the White House for Presidential discussions). See notes by Mr. Pasvolsky on that meeting, infra.
  2. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, August 14, 1941; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.
  3. Joint Four Nation Declaration on General Security, signed at Moscow, October 30, 1943, ibid., 1943, vol. i, p. 755.
  4. For the Fulbright Resolution, September 21, 1943, and the Connally Resolution, November 5, 1943, see Senate Document No. 123, 81st Cong., 1st sess.: A Decade of American Foreign Policy, Basic Documents, 1941–49 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1950), pp. 9 and 14, respectively.
  5. The statement was prepared by the Informal Political Agenda Group which decided at its first meeting on December 9, 1943, after the negotiation of the Moscow Declaration to prepare a draft of basic proposals on this subject for recommendation to the Secretary. The draft was completed on December 23 (the Group’s tenth meeting) and submitted to President Roosevelt in response to his request of Secretary Hull for the Department’s latest ideas on international organization, made at luncheon on December 21, directly after the President’s return from the Conferences at Cairo and Tehran where the question was discussed with the British Prime Minister (Churchill) and the Chairman of the Council of Commissars of the Soviet Union (Stalin): see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943. For additional information on preparation of the statement, see Department of State, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, pp. 246 ff.
  6. Brackets throughout this document appear in the original.