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

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius)35

On Monday, August 28, 1944, toward the end of a long and important meeting of the Joint Steering Committee of the Dumbarton Oaks conversations during the American, British and Soviet phase of those conversations, while the group was discussing which nations of the world should be the initial members of the Organization, we explained that we had in mind the same group of United Nations and associated nations36 which had been invited to attend the Food and Agriculture Conference, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Conference and the International Monetary Fund Conference. There was a good deal of discussion as to the details of this whole question.

There was general agreement that our proposal would be satisfactory. However, just after the discussion on this point appeared to have been concluded, Ambassador Gromyko stated, almost as if he were bringing up a separate and unrelated topic, in a definitely casual manner, that the sixteen republics comprising the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics should be included among the initiators. By our manner, Sir Alexander Cadogan and I both indicated our surprise and our anticipation of great difficulty from this proposal.

Sir Alexander said, with casualness equal to that of the Ambassador’s, that he had “no comment at this stage.” He then added that he thought his Government would have to talk to the Soviet Government about regularization of the international position of the Soviet [Page 752] republics (thus indicating a desire to keep the subject separate from the Dumbarton Oaks conversations.)

The Ambassador then observed something to the effect that each of the republics had its own separate governmental organization.

The American representatives (Mr. Dunn and Mr. Pasvolsky were with me) then said, in a quiet and deliberately informal and off-hand way, that the American side would have to think about the proposal.

There was no further discussion about the proposal and the Committee proceeded at once, and as if with relief, to discuss the practical matter of the schedule of meetings to be adopted for the next few days of the conversations.

We next discussed a proposed press release and then adjourned without further discussion of any substantive questions.

In reporting the progress of the Dumbarton Oaks conversations to the President on August 28, 1944, at 5:00 p.m.,38 I raised with him, among other things, the above-mentioned request of the Soviet Government. The President stated emphatically that this was a proposal that the United States could under no conditions accept, and he instructed me forthwith to explain to Ambassador Gromyko that this would complicate matters, that it would present untold difficulties, and there would be just as much logic for us to ask for the admittance of our forty-eight states as it would be to admit their sixteen republics.

This morning, Tuesday, August 29, 1944, I went to Mr. Hull’s apartment at 9:00 a.m. to discuss this matter. Mr. Hull stated that he was amazed that such a proposal had been made and that no such question had ever entered the minds of any of us in the American group who had been working on this. I told him that the President had instructed me to explain to Ambassador Gromyko promptly that such a proposal could not be considered by the Government of the United States.

At 11:15 a.m. today, August 29th, after the joint press conference of the heads of the three groups, Ambassador Gromyko stated that he wished to discuss a few private matters with me.39

We went into the garden at Dumbarton Oaks and the Ambassador raised a number of points about our discussions which have been recorded elsewhere.

At the close of this conversation, I advised the Ambassador that I had discussed the Ambassador’s statement as to the sixteen Soviet republics with the President and the Secretary of State. I said that it is 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 our present conversations. I said it was my earnest appeal that the Soviet group withdraw the request and said further [Page 753] that if the Soviet Government had such a thing in mind it should more properly be presented to the Council of the international organization in due course after its creation.

The Ambassador was most cooperative and in effect said, “The reason I raised this point at the meeting yesterday was merely to advise the United Kingdom and the American Governments that we had this matter in mind but I will agree, in our present meetings at Dumbarton Oaks, that there should be no further reference whatsoever to this subject, and I agree that we will define the initial membership as consisting of the United Nations and associated nations.”

At the outset of today’s 3:00 o’clock meeting of the Joint Steering Committee,40 I asked Ambassador Gromyko if it would be agreeable to him to have reference to this matter omitted from the minutes of the Committee’s meeting of yesterday. The Ambassador said something to the effect that what was said was said, but that he would not refer further to the matter during the present conversations. He did, however, indicate that on some other occasion the question would probably be raised again by his Government. It was agreed, in deference to the Ambassador’s position, to let the minutes include reference to this point but it was emphasized that, in accordance with prior general arrangements relating to these minutes, only two copies of the minutes containing this reference would be distributed to the Chairman of each of the three national groups.

I am retaining those pages of the minutes which contain reference to this matter in my office safe at the Department. Until further instructions are issued by me or Mr. Hull, those pages will not be available to anyone. This memorandum (of which there are no copies) will, after being read by Mr. Hull and by the President, also be retained in my office safe.

  1. Annex to minutes of meeting No. 6 of the Joint Steering Committee, August 28, 11 a.m., p. 738.
  2. See list of nations, pp. 757758.
  3. See extracts from Diary, August 28, p. 743.
  4. See extracts from Diary, August 29, p. 748.
  5. See supra.