Hiss Collection

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs (Hiss)1


Excerpts From Handwritten Notes of Plenary Session of February 6, 1945

Dictated at San Francisco, June 3, 1945 on the basis of longhand notes made during the meeting of February 6, held at Livadia Palace, Yalta.

President Roosevelt asked Mr. Stettinius to explain the United States’ proposal on the voting formula as Mr. Stettinius was at Dumbarton Oaks and none of the three heads of delegation was. The President said that he felt strongly that people are going to insist on getting something that will insure peace, not for all time, but say for fifty years.

Mr. Stettinius then read “Statement on the American Position on Voting in the Council”2 and concluded by making further remarks based upon the memorandum entitled “Supplementary Arguments for Use of Secretary”.3 He concluded by expressing the hope that America’s two great allies would be able to agree with the American proposal.

The President then suggested that Mr. Stettinius read the types of decisions which would require unanimity of the permanent members under the American proposal. The President’s suggestion was agreed to and Mr. Stettinius then read the bottom half of page 1 and all of pages 2 and 3 of the memorandum entitled “Formula for Voting Procedure in the Security Council of the United Nations Organization and the Analysis of the Effects of that Formula.”4 (He did not read again the actual proposed voting formula which is set forth in the first half of page 1 in the memorandum under reference. Before he read from this Mr. Stettinius distributed copies of it to the British and Soviet Delegations.)

In reading from this memorandum Mr. Stettinius specifically distinguished between the two categories of questions. In reading the first group of topics he said, “I shall first present six situations in which the unanimity of the great powers must be maintained at all times”. Before reading the second list of items he said, “I shall now [Page 995] read the situation[s] which also require the affirmative votes of seven members of the Security Council including the votes of all the permanent members, except that a member of the Council would not cast its vote in any such decisions that concern disputes to which it is a party, in other words unanimity except when involved in a dispute”.

The President then stated that that ended the reading and the explanation of the procedure involved in the American proposal. He said then that we have to remember that the objectives of the five great nations and of all nations is the same and that on the question of procedure there ought not to be any real difficulty.

There then ensued a lengthy discussion brought about by Stalin’s question as to in what respect the voting formula as read by Mr. Stettinius differed from the texts submitted by the President in his telegrams of December 5.5

  1. The copy is unsigned, but the author was presumably Hiss.
  2. Ante, pp. 682683.
  3. Ante, pp. 683684.
  4. Ante, pp. 684686.
  5. Ante, pp. 5860.