Lot 60–D 224, Box 56: D.O./Conv.A/JSC Mins. 1–12

Informal Minutes of Meeting No. 5 of the Joint Steering Committee Held at 11 a.m., August 25, at Dumbarton Oaks

Present: Sir Alexander Cadogan and Mr. Jebb of the British group;
Ambassador Gromyko, Mr. Sobolev, and Mr. Berezhkov of the Soviet group;
Mr. Stettinius, Mr. Dunn, and Mr. Pasvolsky of the American group.
Mr. Hiss also present, as secretary.

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The Committee then proceeded to consider part A of the list of questions20 which had been prepared by Mr. Pasvolsky, Mr. Sobolev, and Mr. Jebb yesterday afternoon.

1. Economic and Social Questions

Sir Alexander Cadogan pointed out that the British position is that important economic and social questions should somehow be [Page 735] dealt with as a part of the general organization. He said that he understood that the American view was somewhat similar to the British view but that the Soviet view lays emphasis upon the desirability of keeping these questions separate from matters of security. He said that he understood that the reason for the Soviet position was the feeling that the League had been over-loaded with matters unrelated to security. He made the point, however, that economic and social questions might lead to acute differences from which there might result threats to security. Consequently, he said, there was need for some liaison in this connection. He suggested that perhaps the Director General of the international organization might effect such liaison.

Ambassador Gromyko then stated that the Soviet Government considers that it is desirable that there be a separate economic organization. He pointed out that the League had actually considered more questions relating to general welfare than it had questions relating to security. He said that estimates prepared by Soviet officials indicated that some 77 percent of the questions dealt with by the League did not relate directly to the maintenance of peace and security. He said that the public in general had the impression that the League had constantly under consideration important matters relating to peace and security when in reality it was usually engaged only in consideration of secondary matters. The Soviet view, he said, is that the primary and indeed the only task of the international organization should be the maintenance of peace and security. This should satisfy the general aspiration for an organization having as its aim the preservation of peace. He added that some kind of liaison may be found between the security organization and other organizations, at least for purposes of information.

Mr. Stettinius stated that he was impressed by Ambassador Gromyko’s emphasis upon the main task of the proposed organization. He said that he did not consider that the various views were very far apart. He said that we are all agreed that the council should have the maintenance of peace as its task but that in the American view there should be only one over-all organization. He said that in the American opinion it is desirable that there be “one tent” covering international relations generally. He suggested that perhaps there might be general agreement upon a formula to the effect that from time to time the assembly may create such subsidiary commissions or bodies as it considers necessary to facilitate the maintenance of peace and security. The American group, he said, does not wish to press its suggestion for a definite detailed plan in this connection. For example, the reference to an Economic and Social Council of [Page 736] twenty-four members is merely a suggestion. The American group has an open mind on the whole subject but it does desire that the way be left open for action by the international organization in this general field.

Mr. Pasvolsky then stated certain of the reasons which had led the United States to the conclusion that an Economic and Social Council is desirable. He explained that it had been recognized that one of the difficulties with the League of Nations had been that the League’s Council was charged with the same responsibilities as was the League’s Assembly. Consequently, the League’s Council had had its attention diverted from security questions. Because of the League experience, it appeared desirable to provide that the council should be the primary body charged with the maintenance of peace and security. The assembly should not be an action body in the same sense as should be the council although it also should be concerned to some extent with the question of peace and security. He said that it is the American view that it is desirable to bring within the general scope of international concern as many economic and technical questions as possible. However, this in turn raises the question of the desirability of coordinating the policies of agencies established to deal with such matters. He emphasized that the international organization, in the American view, should not take over these functional agencies. They would remain quite autonomous but by the “tent” to which Mr. Stettinius had referred we would have a means of obtaining the coordination of these various international activities so as to obviate conflicts between agencies. Moreover, there will for some time, probably indefinitely, be various fields of economic and other activities for which no functioning international agencies will be in existence. The international organization, if the American view were to be adopted, would be able to promote better relations in these fields of activity. So long as no serious conflict arises, or is threatened, in regard to these matters, all such activities would be conducted entirely outside the council.

Mr. Stettinius pointed out that last winter President Roosevelt had suggested to Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin the need for an over-all steering committee to coordinate economic policy.21

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  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegram 476, February 23, from President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister, vol. ii, p. 14.