Lot 60–D 224, Box 55: D.O./P.R./4

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State ( Stettinius ) to the Secretary of State

Subject: Progress Report on Dumbarton Oaks Conversations—Fourth Day

Meeting of the Subcommittee on Organization

(a) Soviet Views Concerning the Council

Settlement of Disputes.—We agreed in principle that the Council should be empowered to consider the settlement of disputes in accordance with the Statute. The British and ourselves felt the power to impose settlement should apply only when a breach of peace is involved. The Soviet group seemed to agree, but the matter is to be studied further.
Provision of Forces.—We agreed, subject to further study, that forces should be provided on the basis of a separate general agreement, subject to the constitutional processes of each state.
Consideration of Matters Pertaining to Peace and Security.—Ambassador Gromyko clarified the Soviet view that the Council should examine all questions relating to peace and security before they are discussed in the Assembly.
Voting.—We and the Soviet group proposed that questions of peace and security be decided by a simple majority including all permanent members, but agreed to consider the British preference for a two-thirds majority.11
The British favored excluding from voting a state party to a dispute, on grounds that the veto power of a permanent member might prove difficult for smaller countries to accept. We called attention to our interest in this matter. The Russians are studying the subject.

(b) American Views on the Organization

General Assembly.—We proposed and the British agreed that the Assembly might examine representations and reports on matters of concern to the Organization, and act on matters not allocated to other organs. The Soviet group felt that matters relating to security should be brought to the Assembly by the Council, and they reserved judgment on our proposal that the Assembly make recommendations for peaceful adjustment of questions affecting general welfare.
Amendment.—Our view was accepted in principle that amendments should be proposed by a simple majority of the Assembly and ratified by two-thirds of the states, including the permanent members of the Council. The British felt that imposition of an amendment on the remaining one-third might offer difficulties.
Voting.—The differences between our proposal and the Soviet view on voting in the Assembly appeared to be a matter of drafting. Both views were generally acceptable to the British.
The Council.—We suggested that non-permanent members be elected for one year but agreed to consider the British proposal of three years with rotating retirement, and the Soviet view of one or two years. It was agreed in principle that states not on the Council should attend and be heard on matters affecting them. The British suggested that such states might be given the right to vote on matters not affecting peace and security. Our view was that such matters would not ordinarily be a concern of the Council.
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Meeting of the Legal Subcommittee

The subcommittee discussed the American views on the International Court.12 The British commented but the Soviet group reserved comment until later except to agree the Court should be part of the Organization.

Meeting of the Special Military Subcommittee 13

Military representatives discussed the provision of forces, particularly the Soviet view that an international air force corps should be integrated and under the direct control of the Council.

  1. Sir Alexander explained his Government’s preference that decisions of a procedural nature should be taken by a majority vote, including the vote of all permanent members of the Council, while holding to the preference that in other questions a two-thirds majority should be required in order to avoid the appearance of trampling on the rights of the smaller states; it was the feeling among his Government that it would be more just to give the smaller states a larger voice and that this would facilitate their consent to the organization. (Conversations, Phase A, General Organization Notes 2, August 24, 1944.)
  2. The tentative views of the American Group were presented in a document distributed at the August 24 meeting of the Legal Subcommittee for consideration by the British and Soviet Groups: “Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice with the Revisions Proposed”; for text of this document, see Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, p. 666.
  3. The establishment of this subcommittee, whose name was later changed to “Special Informal Military Group,” grew out of desires expressed in the meeting of the Subcommittee on Security Questions on August 23 for study of the technical aspects of a general proposal for an international air force corps advanced in the Soviet memorandum. The members talked together informally throughout the first phase, but the only formal meetings of the Military Group, over which Vice Adm. Russell Willson presided, were held on August 24 and 30.