Lot 60–D 224, Box 55: D.O./P.R./5

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

Subject: Progress Report on Dumbarton Oaks Conversations—Fifth Day

Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee

This meeting, the only one held today, was the most important of the entire conversations so far.

(a) Relation of the World Organization to Economic and Social Matters

This important topic, which when previously raised had been postponed for future discussion, was considered fully for the first time.17

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Unity of British and American Views.—The British indicated that they are prepared to accept our views that an Economic and Social Council should be created and should be an organ of the Assembly.
Full Presentation and Discussion of Soviet Views.—The Russians earnestly and exhaustively argued that the League’s experience demonstrates that an intermingling in the same organization of responsibilities for both the maintenance of peace and for economic and social matters will work out to the detriment of security. We presented at length our reasons for believing that the general organization must concern itself with all matters which bear upon the maintenance of conditions conducive to peace. We also urged that our proposal not only accomplishes this but leaves the executive Council free to concentrate on the primary task of security, thus obviating the defects in the League’s structure. We were encouraged by the attention which Ambassador Gromyko and Mr. Sobolev paid to our arguments. It was agreed that Ambassador Gromyko would report fully to his Government.

(b) Regional Organizations

We agreed to postpone consideration of this topic.

(c) Composition of the Executive Council

We agreed to postpone consideration of this topic.

(d) Expulsion and Withdrawal of Members 18

Ambassador Gromyko insisted that the power of expulsion is desirable for the “discipline” of members. The British, as a substitute, proposed suspending the privileges of membership of those states against which action is taken by the Council. This proposal was tentatively accepted, ad referendum.

(e) Should the Council make Decisions by ⅔ or Majority Vote?

We stated that we could agree to the British proposal that important questions should be decided by a ⅔ vote (including the unanimous vote of members having permanent seats on the Council). Ambassador Gromyko indicated no dissent and said he would inform his Government.

(f) Should Parties to a Dispute Vote?

We agreed to state our views early next week.

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(g) Composition of Military Staff Committee

The British clarified their proposal and said their military authorities regard it as of very great importance.19 We agreed to present our view on the British proposal next week. There was also tentative discussion, with little apparent divergence of view, of the question of the supreme commander for joint security forces.

(h) International Court of Justice

There appeared to be general agreement (1) that there should be a Court, (2) that the Court should be a part of the Organization, and (3) that there should be no attempt to draft the actual Statute of the Court during these conversations.

(i) Authority of Council to make its Decisions Obligatory

There appeared to be tentative agreement with the British proposal that the Council should have authority to make its recommendation obligatory in any dispute involving a clear threat to peace when all other methods of settlement have failed.

  1. See extracts on this subject from the minutes of meeting No. 5 of the Joint Steering Committee, infra.
  2. Mr. Stettinius suggested that the basic document not include any provision for withdrawal or expulsion of members. He said that we should simply assume that all members would remain within the organization. (Minutes of meeting No. 5 of the Joint Steering Committee, August 25, p. 12.)
  3. Sir Alexander Cadogan made plain the British position that all States having permanent places on the Council should be permanently represented on the military staff and that other States, whether having seats on the Council or not, should have representatives on the military staff only on an ad hoc basis depending upon the needs of the particular occasion. (Minutes of meeting No. 5 of the Joint Steering Committee, p. 14.)