Lot File 60–D 224, Box 59: Stettinius Diary

Extract From the Personal Diary of the Under Secretary of State ( Stettinius )14

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12:30 Meeting at the White House.

Messrs. Hackworth, Dunn, Pasvolsky and Bowman accompanied me. We started our discussion with the President at 12:45 and left at 1:10. The memorandum on the seven open points15 which I had left with the President the day before was on his desk, when we entered. We gathered around his desk but did not take seats. The following resulted from the meeting.

The President approved our proposal that at this stage the Executive Council should not be given the right to impose the terms of settlement of a dispute but that its function should be to promote peaceful settlement, to make recommendations to the parties and to settle disputes only on the request of the parties.
On the voting question, as to whether great powers parties to a dispute should be allowed to vote, there was only a brief discussion but the President approved our position that voting under such circumstances should not be permitted, and making a statement that our people would understand the principle that a man should not sit in judgment on his own case.
The President approved our recommendation that we stand for a two-year term for non-permanent members of the Council.
There was considerable discussion on the question of including France as a permanent member of the Council. The President felt we should not be too explicit on this point as difficulty might arise over the word “recognize”. It was decided that we should accept some provision which would provide for a permanent place for France when she has a permanent government. We also discussed the case of Brazil and the President finally expressed the view that he thought we should raise the question of an additional permanent seat in general terms but that we should not insist on it at this time. He thought in this connection that we might make informal references to Brazil in the discussion.
With only brief discussion the President approved our recommendation that we should accept a two-third rather than a majority vote in the Council except on minor decisions.
The President agreed with our position that the proposals should not contain provisions for withdrawal and suspension. He seemed to feel that such provision would tend to weaken the organization and that the matter should be left to further experience.
On ad hoc judges the President approved our position after a very brief discussion. (Our recommendation was that we should make it clear that we feel the principle of ad hoc judges is unwholesome but that we should not press the matter because we ourselves would always have a judge on the court.)
There was then some discussion of the name of the organization, its headquarters, and also of the seat for the world court. It developed that the President favors the name “The United Nations” and that he feels strongly that Geneva should not be the headquarters. He expressed the opinion that the permanent secretariat would require some fixed seat but that the Council and the Assembly could hold its sessions at different places, pointing to the experience on Pan-American conferences in this regard. He mentioned the Azores and Hawaii as possible places of meeting where ideal climates could be found. He referred to the Pentagon and Empire State Buildings as places where the permanent secretariat could be housed and did not seem to feel there would be too much difficulty in holding meetings in different places with the secretariat not located in the same city. He made inquiry as to the ownership of the World Court Building [Page 732] at The Hague, which we were unable to answer specifically, but we could tell him that it had proved to be adequate. The President expressed the opinion that the history of the Court was good. Opinion toward it was favorable and he felt that continued association of the court with The Hague would be desirable.
We discussed about the economic and social functions of the organization and the Soviet position that they should be entirely separate from the international security organization stating that the Soviets laid great emphasis upon the ineffective debates in the Assembly of the League and the apparent confusion of purposes in that body. After discussion the President expressed the conviction that the Assembly should have adequate functions with respect to economic and social problems but he felt the actual provisions written into the proposals might be in general terms.
After leaving the President the group went with me immediately to my office where I placed a call to Mr. Hull and I informed him in some detail of the outcome of the conversation with the President. When we came to the question of Brazil the Secretary indicated that he himself at several times, had supported the idea of a permanent seat for Brazil. Mr. Hull reported that the Senatorial group was coming in for a discussion with him tomorrow and asked that we get together adequate material for him. I arranged to have Pasvolsky prepare an appropriate memorandum and to hand it to Mr. Hull personally in the evening, with such oral explanation as might be advisable.

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  1. The personal diary of Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., covering the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, was based on personal conversations, correspondence, telegrams, minutes of meetings, and other documents; vol. i covers the period August 20 to September 7, 1944, and vol. ii, September 8 to October 7, 1944.
  2. See footnote 3, p. 717.