Lot 60–D 224, Box 59: Stettinius Diary

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

Telephone Conversation with the Secretary.

I called Mr. Hull at 9:10 this morning and reported that we had had full working days Sunday and Labor Day and that the only note of discouragement was the slowness on the part of the Russians. Mr. Hull said, “Yes, your memorandum of yesterday was discouraging.” I said that this expressed the general sentiment of our group but that personally I felt we would work things out all right in the end and that in the end the Russians would come through but that we might have to be patient for a while. I said that as things looked now I didn’t think we could set a definite time for the termination of the Conversations.

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Mr. Hull then raised the question of his meeting with the Senators and Congressmen and said that he couldn’t put it off much longer.53 I asked him to try to wait until tomorrow as by noon tomorrow there was a good chance that we would be able to tell them considerably more than we could today. The Secretary said he would call Senator Connally and Speaker Eayburn54 on this as he wanted to avoid being put in such a position that they could accuse him of not giving them information.

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Lunch at the Soviet Embassy.

Gromyko entertained the top members of the three delegations at lunch at the Soviet Embassy this noon. Messrs. Dunn, Pasvolsky and I attended from our Group. Gromyko told me at luncheon that he felt the time had arrived when we should all begin to remove brackets but that each of us would have to concede on some points. He told me in a low voice—“I am ready to start to concede but I want you to know that we attach big importance to the voting procedure both on the matter of majority and the matter of dispute.” I replied that the question of voting when involved in a dispute was the aspect of the question that disturbed us most. The Ambassador concluded by saying—“I will be ready tomorrow to start getting down to cases.”

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Meeting with the Secretary.

I went directly from the press conference into the Secretary’s office and took McDermott with me and told him about the conference. He did not seem concerned with the fact that I had to give out some substance, saying, “The world is not going to come to an end if you give the press a little information to keep them happy.”

I also told him of our luncheon at the Soviet Embassy and he was pleased that we had attended. I told of my private conversation with Gromyko at the luncheon. I also reported to the Secretary on the rather alarming information which Cadogan had given me to the effect that the Prime Minister on his return to London had apparently looked over the papers on the international organization for the first time and had apparently been quite impressed by the Soviet proposal for an international air force. Cadogan feared he might overrule the Foreign Office and change his instructions on that matter. The Secretary [Page 770] seemed quite disturbed and I told him I would send for our generals and admirals immediately to discuss it.

I reviewed the X matter with the Secretary and left with him a copy of the memorandum I had prepared. He promised to read it tonight and return it tomorrow. If the Secretary and then the President approve it, it will then be placed in Mr. Hull’s safe as the only copy.

I left with the Secretary the memorandum outlining the tentative schedule with the goal of the United Nations Conference on October 25th. He promised to study it carefully and to let me know his reaction to it.

He thinks my idea of taking the Chinese and the British on a trip down to Virginia is a wonderful one.

I told the Secretary I did not think he should be concerned about the wording in the final document, telling him we would be very careful to couch it in phraseology which will leave no doubt that the proposals are tentative and not binding on our Governments.

The Secretary was very disturbed that he had not yet seen the eight Senators and the eight Congressmen and asked when he could do so. I repeated to him that if he could wait another day he might be able to tell them considerably more. He was somewhat irritated and said he had to keep them satisfied. He said he couldn’t just give them some general statement but that he had to tell them exactly what had taken place and he must do it tomorrow. I promised to have a memorandum in his hands which he could use tomorrow. (This meeting was later postponed until Thursday.)

During our conversation, the Secretary told me he had been considering the question of our statement on dependent peoples and was leaning toward the feeling that it should be published shortly after the end of the Dumbarton Conversations. I then inquired of the Secretary how he felt on the question of voting as between a simple majority and a ⅔ majority. He felt if it was a matter of reaching an agreement we could easily return to a majority but that he felt we would have to maintain our position that a great power involved in the dispute could not vote, and that if the Russians became immovable we might have to extend this conference for some time to come. He also suggested we explore the possibility of putting a statement in the document that this was a very important question on which all three Governments had strong views and that it was being left open for further consideration at a later date. I told him that the American Group generally felt that this might show weakness and perhaps a lack of unanimity and might be seized upon by the small nations as a reason for not attending the large conference feeling it would be useless if the Soviet Union maintained its view.

  1. Secretary Hull held consultations on September 12–13 with groups of Senators and Representatives to inform them of the status of agreement reached in the Conversations. For information on this subject, see Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, pp. 323–324.
  2. Tom Connally, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.