Lot 60–D 224, Box 58: D.O./Conv.B/JSC Mins.
Informal Minutes of Meeting No. 3 of the Joint Steering Committee Held at 11:15 a.m., October 4, at Dumbarton Oaks
|Present:||Lord Halifax, Mr. Jebb, and Professor Webster of the British group;|
|Dr. Koo, Dr. Hoo, and Dr. Liu of the Chinese group;|
|Mr. Stettinius, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Grew, and Mr. Pasvolsky of the American group.|
|Mr. Hiss also present, as secretary.|
In opening the meeting, Mr. Stettinius said that the meeting had been called for the purpose of receiving a report from the joint formulation group which, he understood, had made most encouraging progress in its session yesterday afternoon. Mr. Stettinius then asked Dr. Koo whether he would be good enough to present to the Committee the results of the efforts of the joint formulation group.
Dr. Koo said that the joint formulation group had gone over the seven points which he had described briefly at the plenary session held on Tuesday (October 3) at 10:30 a.m. He said that the conclusion had been reached in the joint formulation group that four of these seven points might for the present be put to one side so that each group, and subsequently the respective governments, might give further consideration to them in the anticipation that they might be brought up at the general conference of the United Nations. He emphasized that no conclusions had been reached with respect to these four points.
As to the other three points, Dr. Koo said that the joint formulation group had arrived at definite conclusions and had formulated proposals relating to each point.[Page 868]
(At this point there were distributed to the members of the Committee copies of a paper entitled “Formulation Group, October 3 1944”.75)
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At this point Mr. Stettinius said that he wished to refer to a rather delicate subject which had come up in the prior phase of the conversations. He reminded Dr. Koo that yesterday the President had inquired about the number of the Chinese provinces and had gone on to say that the Soviet group had made a proposal which the President characterized as “absurd”. Mr. Stettinius said that he wished to make a full statement of what had occurred during the prior phase of the conversations on this subject and that he would ask that this be treated in the strictest confidence as it might cause great difficulties if it were to appear in the press. He said that during the preceding phase of the conversations the Russian Ambassador, in the course of a discussion, had said that he was instructed to express the desire of the Soviet Government that each of the sixteen Soviet republics have a seat in the Assembly and be among the initial members of the Organization.76 Mr. Stettinius said that the British and American representatives had stated reasons why such a course would be unwise and had said that the matter would have to be discussed by the respective Governments. He said that he felt that this subject is going to be a very delicate question. He said that in all probability it will never be possible to agree to the Soviet proposal. At some later time the Generalissimo, the Prime Minister and the President may have to take this matter up with Marshal Stalin. It will have to be pointed out that the whole civilized world would be shocked by such a proposal. He said that the Soviet republics are, of course, not autonomous but are comparable to the states of the United States or to provinces within any given country. He felt that if this subject were not handled properly and if it were to appear in the press as a matter of gossip, it would lead to attacks upon the Soviet Union and it might jeopardize the success of the movement for an international organization. He said that he hoped the matter could be kept strictly within the limits of the members of the Committee and General Shang, who had been present when the President referred to this subject. Mr. Stettinius concluded by saying that his request indicated how seriously the danger of publicity is regarded by the American Government.
Lord Halifax said that he agreed entirely with Mr. Stettinius’ statement of the matter and that he agreed that it is of vast importance that the matter remain locked in the minds of those who are familiar with it.[Page 869]
Dr. Koo said that he appreciated very much the confidence which Mr. Stettinius had placed in him and his associates and that he also appreciated fully the delicacy of the question. He said that it was his understanding that this same question had presented a problem when Soviet participation in the War Crimes Commission had been under consideration.77 He said that he was glad that in this latter connection the issue had not been aired in the press and that he was fully prepared to keep in strictest confidence the whole subject mentioned by Mr. Stettinius.