Lot 60–D 224, Box 59: Stettinius Diary

Extracts From the Personal Diary of the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius)

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Private Talk with Gromyko.—After the press conference this morning Gromyko asked if he could have a private talk with me and we went down into the garden and sat by the swimming pool for a half hour. The Ambassador stated he was concerned and wished to discuss several points with me. The question of the ⅔ vote, the Ambassador said, he and his colleagues in Moscow had been greatly pleased with the proposal in the American document with a simple majority vote and that he was now very discouraged over the fact that we had retreated from that and were prepared to agree to a two-thirds majority. He was afraid this would cause great difficulty with his government and hoped we could reconsider our position. I assured the Ambassador we would give the matter further study. He then talked about the voting issue when big powers were involved in a dispute, and stated that he had a firm feeling which was also the official view of his government that the unanimity of the four powers must be preserved and he hoped it would be possible for us to reconsider our position on this matter. I explained to the Ambassador this was a question to which we had given great study, which had been reviewed carefully both with the President and Mr. Hull and that only last night the President had asked me to explain to him that it would cause great difficulty in presenting the plan to the American public if it provided that a party involved in a dispute could vote on its own case. The Ambassador then replied that it was clear this would be a point of actual disagreement but that perhaps we could find some general language to cover it so that it could be dealt with at a later date and that a definite position would not have to be arrived at during these conversations. I emphasized again this would be very disappointing to our government and that I hoped it would be possible to find a solution during the conversations which we could all support. The Ambassador then said he had two other points he wished to make but which he did not consider as important as the first two. On both of these latter questions I got the distinct impression that we should not have much difficulty in reaching satisfactory solutions. The first was the matter of the international air force for which they wished to press. I asked him to explain exactly what he now had in mind on this and he said that they visualized each of the four powers placing at the disposal of the council airplanes and forces which could be used very promptly without the delay of many [Page 749] days which the procurement of authorization from a government would cause. I then said, “Mr. Ambassador, you don’t mean a new uniform with a special insignia on the plane under command of some officer of the council” and he replied “Not at all”. I then went on and said in effect “I understand you mean joint operations with a plane of the RAF32 and a plane of the Red Army and a plane of the USAF33 all operating together under same Allied command.” The Ambassador agreed and added that the Soviets think of troops and naval vessels in the same way. I told him that on the question of the authority of the council to utilize these forces on a moment’s notice we would have to study further because by the terms of our Constitution, Senate relations are involved in that position.34 He replied he understood that and knew we were studying the entire matter.

The Ambassador then stated he was impressed by our arguments relative to an economic and social council and would be available to discuss it in more detail at any time at my convenience. At the close of the conversation, I told the Ambassador I had discussed his statement on the matter both with the President and Secretary. I told him it was the opinion of the American government that the suggestion is out of order and that pressing the point at this time might jeopardize the success of the conversations. I said it was my earnest appeal the Soviet group withdraw the request and added that if the Soviet government had such a thing in mind, it should more properly be presented to the international organization in due course after its creation. The Ambassador was most cooperative and indicated that he had raised the point at the meeting merely to inform us that they had this matter in mind but said he would agree in the present meetings at Dumbarton Oaks there should be no further reference whatsoever to the subject. He added that he would agree to define the initial membership as consisting of the United Nations and the Associated Nations.

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Tea with Cadogan and Gromyko

Immediately after the conclusion of the Joint Steering Committee I took Cadogan and Gromyko to tea in the garden and we had another frank talk. Cadogan inquired of Gromyko how much longer he felt it would take to finish the conversations, volunteering that he (Cadogan) hoped they could be completed by the middle of next week. Gromyko agreed to this and said he could see no reason why we should not end up by the middle of the week.

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Gromyko asked Cadogan if he had studied the Chinese plan and Cadogan replied that he had and that there seemed to be nothing in it which would cause difficulty. Cadogan referred to the mention in the Chinese document of the equality of race question.

Gromyko then stated the only points he could see that were really open and might cause difficulty was the question of the two-thirds vote, the question of voting when a big power was involved in a dispute; international air force, the economic and social council, and the military committee. He admitted he had heard from home on all these points but said it was taking him about three days to get an exchange of views between Washington and Moscow.

Cadogan and I both talked very frankly with the Ambassador on the question of a country voting when it was involved in a dispute. Among other things we stressed that such a procedure would be entirely unacceptable to the small nations. The Ambassador refused to recognize the validity of that point or of our other arguments.

Cadogan then stated at lunch to me that he had had the thought we might work on another formula along the lines that the council could be empowered to request such a government not to vote. If that country then insisted on voting we would then know where we stood. After a 45-minute talk, I left as Cadogan had not previously had an opportunity for talking with Gromyko today.

Gromyko seemed most enthusiastic and most encouraged with the way matters were proceeding. Cadogan said facetiously that we would certainly have to speed things along and end up before the collapse of Germany as this just couldn’t occur without his being in at the kill.

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  1. Royal Air Force.
  2. United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).
  3. Article I, section 8, includes among the powers of Congress the power to declare war, to raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy and to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.