Lot 60–D 224, Box 55: D.O./P.R./35

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

Subject: Progress Report on Dumbarton Oaks Conversations—Thirty-seventh Day

Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee at 10:00 a.m.

(a) Procedural Arrangements

We held the first meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (with Chinese members substituted for the Soviet members68) and agreed upon matters of procedure. Dr. Koo and Mr. Jebb (representing the Earl of Halifax) insisted that I continue as chairman.

(b) Emphasis on Publishing the Document on October 9

I impressed upon Dr. Koo our desire to publish the agreed proposals on Monday, October 9, as scheduled. Dr. Koo was hopeful that it will be possible to meet this schedule but asked to defer any commitment, adding that by tomorrow evening he might be in a position to comment further.

(c) Tentative Agreement to Publish Present Document

Mr. Jebb and I made clear to Dr. Koo the desirability of publishing the present text without changes, since any changes would necessitate consultation with the Soviet Government and consequent delay. We suggested that any additional points which might develop during the Chinese conversations could be incorporated in a separate document for release at the same time. While Dr. Koo did not wish to commit himself to make no recommendations for change in the present document, he tentatively agreed with our proposal.

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The First Plenary Business Session 69

The first plenary session was devoted to clarification of certain points in the document. Dr. Koo’s questions showed the care with which the Chinese group had studied the document. Among points of interest raised by Dr. Koo were the following:

(a) Absence of Detailed Statement of Principles

Dr. Koo commented that the stated principles of the proposed organization are quite general, but expressed some satisfaction with the explanations as to the desirability of dealing with these matters in general terms.

(b) Council’s Authority to Deal with Breaches of the Peace

Dr. Koo noted that the document refers in several passages both to “acts of aggression” and to “breaches of the peace”. He seemed satisfied with the explanations that the latter term is regarded as the more inclusive and that the council would have full authority to deal both with acts of aggression and with other breaches of or threats to the peace.

(c) Chinese Apprehension About Unilateral Use of Force

Dr. Koo asked whether it would be possible under the document for either member or non-member states to use force unilaterally tinder the claim that such action was not inconsistent with the purposes of the Organization. He seemed satisfied with the explanation that, except in cases of self-defense, no unilateral use of force could be undertaken without the approval of the council. In this connection Mr. Victor Hoo, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, desired explicit assurance that use of force in self-defense would not be regarded as inconsistent with the purposes of the Organization.

(d) Chinese Interest in Reconsideration of Treaties

In reply to an inquiry by Dr. Koo it was made clear that the authority of the Organization to consider situations affecting the peace would include situations arising out of existing treaties.

Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee at 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Koo was given full information as to the present status of the question of voting in the council and of other open matters.70

  1. The Joint Steering Committee, occupying much the same position as during the previous phase, was composed of Mr. Stettinius, accompanied by Messrs. Dunn, Grew, and Pasvolsky; Dr. Koo, accompanied by Dr. Hoo and Dr. Liu; and Lord Halifax, accompanied by Mr. Jebb and Professor Webster. As before, Mr. Hiss was secretary, acting in an international capacity. This Committee held four meetings between October 2 and October 5. (Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, p. 331.)
  2. The discussions in the plenary sessions of the full delegations in this phase were fuller in character than their earlier counterparts; in addition to the formal opening plenary, three plenary sessions were held between October 2 and October 7. (Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, p. 331.)
  3. See minutes of meeting No. 2 of the Joint Steering Committee, p. 851.