Lot 60–D 224, Box 55: D.O./PR-/15

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

Subject: Progress Report on Dumbarton Oaks Conversations—Sixteenth Day

Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee

The Joint Steering Committee met at 10:00 o’clock this morning and had before it a draft of the entire proposed document in eleven chapters. We gave special attention to the “open items”. Points of interest were brought out as follows:

(a) Economic and Social Council

The Soviet representatives maintained their reservation as to this point. However, it is significant that they have participated fully in the drafting of the provisions covering this point so that only the matter of inclusion or exclusion of these provisions remains open.

(b) Initial Membership

The Soviet representatives maintained their position that the initial members should be only the United Nations. When we pointed out [Page 777] that such a proposal is not consistent with the participation, already agreed to by the Soviet Government, of other nations in UNRRA, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Monetary Fund,61 Ambassador Gromyko said that perhaps the other nations could be admitted to membership “immediately after” the United Nations.

(c) Suspension and Expulsion

The Soviet representatives agreed to the elimination of their proposal for the express provision of expulsion powers. Interestingly enough Sir Alexander Cadogan stated that he had been prepared to agree to the inclusion of the expulsion agreements.

(d) Amendment Process

The Soviet representatives proposed their own formula, namely that amendments should be proposed by a simple majority of the assembly and should become effective when ratified by a simple majority. We suggested a new approach, i.e., that procedural amendments should require only a simple majority and that substantive amendments should require something more than a mere majority.

(e) Should the Council Normally Vote by 2/3 or by Simple Majority?

The British representatives maintained their position in favor of a 2/3 majority. Here also we proposed a new approach and suggested that an affirmative vote required approval of seven of the eleven members.62

(f) Voting by a Great Power Involved in a Dispute

No progress was made on this point, the Soviet representatives maintaining without discussion their reservation to the British and American proposals that a great power involved in a dispute should not be entitled to vote.

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(g) Soviet Proposal that Small Powers grant Sites for Bases

Discussion of this point was inconclusive. However, there appeared to be some possibility that agreement can be reached on this question.

(h) International Air Force

The British proposed, as a compromise, that after the creation of the organization member states should undertake to examine the practicability of organizing international air forces.

(i) Regionalism

This subject, which the British have urged us to consider on several prior occasions, was discussed in general terms. The British stated that they did not favor regional groups having political functions but that they did think that regional groups might prove very helpful to the council in carrying out military action decided upon by the council.

  1. See list of nations, pp. 757758.
  2. The question was also raised whether the decisions requiring a unanimous consent of the permanent members should be enumerated. Sir Alexander noted that the most important matter was to agree that procedural decisions do not require unanimity of permanent members and proposed that a general provision to that effect be agreed upon with a further statement that on all other questions the unanimity of permanent members was necessary. Mr. Pasvolsky argued in favor of the enumeration in that thereby large countries are assured of the particular questions as to which they are entitled to the rule of unanimity.

    It was also pointed out that the question whether provision should be made for voluntary abstention had arisen as a result of the United States tentative proposals of July 18, 1944 (III C (4)). Sir Alexander said that if it was clearly understood that any decision reached by the Council is to be accepted and acted upon by the member abstaining from voting, and that abstention does not adversely affect the principle of unanimity, he saw no objection to the provision for voluntary abstention. (Minutes of meeting of Joint Steering Committee, September 7.)