RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 54: ISO No. 243

Record of Informal Meeting With Diplomatic Representatives of Certain American Republics, Held at Washington, February 5, 1945, 3 p.m.88

[Informal Notes]

In the absence of the Under Secretary the meeting was opened by the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Rockefeller.

The discussion began with Chapter VIII. In referring to the comments made by Mexico and Venezuela on paragraph 1 under Section A, Pacific Settlement of Disputes, Dr. Pasvolsky stated that those of Mexico again raised the question of whether the General Assembly should have the power of investigation. He believed that that body was under the present proposals empowered to investigate. He stated that the particular kind of investigation mentioned in paragraph 1 was solely for the purpose of determining whether or not a particular situation or dispute was of such a nature that its continuance was likely to endanger peace or international security. He referred again to the chapter on the Assembly in which that body was given the right to study and make recommendations concerning any situation likely to impair the general welfare. He said that in the light of the next paragraph (2) of Chapter VIII it was not necessary to specify that the Assembly would have the right to investigate.

With reference to the point raised by Venezuela, i.e. whether or not excessive investigation might not be undesirable, Dr. Pasvolsky pointed out that the Security Council will have to exercise its functions with a great deal of common sense. He said however that Venezuela’s comment was a very useful kind of statement in that it constituted a warning of the difficulty which might be caused, under certain conditions, by too much investigation.

With reference to the commentary made by Mexico on paragraph 2, that there was a contradiction between this and the first paragraph, [Page 47] Dr. Pasvolsky said that if the interpretation he had just given was correct, it would seem then that the contradiction was more apparent than real

The Ambassador of Chile stated that as no definite agreement was to be reached in these meetings, his government would reserve the right to present its views on the different points under discussion at the time when a definite agreement on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals was to be reached.

Mr. Rockefeller at this point introduced the question of whether it would be advisable to make available to the press the commentaries on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals which have been made by the various Latin American countries, saying he understood that some of them had already been given out. Following a discussion on this subject it was agreed that each government should decide whether its comments should or should not be made public.

Continuing with paragraph 3 of the document, Dr. Pasvolsky referred to the Chilean commentary89 which proposed adding “investigation” and “examination” as means for the solution of disputes. He called the attention of the Ambassador of Chile to the fact that this paragraph related to settlement of disputes by means of the parties’ own choice; that investigation would obviously have to be made by somebody else; and that the use of the word might lead to misunderstanding. He said it was difficult to define “examination”. He said that presumably the process of investigation and examination would be performed by the Council or some other agency and that since the process of investigation was included in the chapter as a whole it is questionable whether it should be included in the peaceful means of each country’s own choice.

Referring to Costa Rica’s commentary90 on this paragraph (3), Dr. Pasvolsky explained that the member countries assumed the basic obligation to settle differences by peaceful means and therefore it should not be necessary specifically to state that they were required to do so. The question again to be considered, he said, was whether at this stage of the procedure the Security Council should require, rather than simply call upon, the countries in a dispute to settle it—since requiring would mean some form of action. He added that in this part of the chapter, i.e. Section A, the Security Council was not given the power to impose a solution, but only to facilitate the solution.

With regard to the Mexican commentary on paragraph 3, Dr. Pasvolsky stated he believed the proposal made by Mexico was included in paragraph 5 which stated that the Council should be empowered [Page 48] at any stage of the dispute to recommend appropriate procedures and methods of adjustment.

With reference to the Uruguayan comment,91 Dr. Pasvolsky said that a question might not be solved by arbitration and yet be of such a nature that it could not be handled by the Court because of its not being a justiciable question.

Returning to paragraph 3, the last sentence of which was considered unnecessary by Venezuela, Dr. Pasvolsky explained that the reason for its inclusion was to call attention to the fact that the Security Council should have authority to encourage countries to resort to means of their own choice. The sentence is not essential but its retention seems desirable. The question needing further study was whether the last sentence was unnecessary as it stood, and if retained, whether or not it should be strengthened, perhaps by substituting a provision for requiring the countries to settle their disputes.

Dr. Pasvolsky stated that paragraph 4 defines the obligations of the parties when they fail to settle a dispute under paragraph 3. With reference to Venezuela’s commentary on this paragraph (4) which draws a distinction between justiciable and nonjusticiable disputes, he said that not much could be said on this now until the question of compulsory jurisdiction of the Court was settled.

Dr. Pasvolsky then pointed out that Mexico’s commentary on paragraph 4 raised the question whether or not cases could be referred to the Court by the Assembly or the Council, which again was involved in the problem of jurisdiction. Mr. Sandifer corroborated this statement.

Referring to paragraph 5, Dr. Pasvolsky stated that the Council did not have to wait until a dispute was referred to it before it could recommend methods of adjustment; it could step into the situation in the event that the parties refused to utilize the various means of their own choice or in case it considered that the situation was being aggravated. He explained that the paragraph related to two kinds of situations: (1) those in which the parties appealed to the Council or (2) those for which the Council felt that it should recommend procedures.

With reference to Mexico’s commentary on paragraph 5, Dr. Pasvolsky stated that he thought that this point was covered in paragraph 1 of Section B: He said that if the parties to a dispute failed to settle their differences in accordance with means of their own choice or on recommendations of the Council, the Council had to determine whether or not such a failure constituted a threat to the peace, in which latter case it was empowered to take whatever measures were necessary for the maintenance of peace and security. As regards the commentary made by Venezuela as to when the Council should [Page 49] intervene, Dr. Pasvolsky thought that intervention by the Council should not be limited to the situation in which the parties had failed to reach a settlement, but that it should have the authority to intervene if it considered that the procedures under paragraph 3 were not being carried out with sufficient vigor.

Touching again upon paragraph 6, he stated that the assumption there was that a justiciable dispute would go to the Court, and other types of dispute to the Security Council. In case of question as to whether a dispute was justiciable, he said it was intended that the Court would decide whether it should take jurisdiction. The Council could also request the opinion of the Court on legal questions connected with other disputes.

Referring to the Brazilian commentary on this paragraph Dr. Pasvolsky stated that here again two questions were involved: (1) could the Council refer a dispute to the Court and (2) could it refer a case to arbitration? He said it was important to keep in mind that at this stage the Council could recommend procedures and methods and not employ methods itself unless the parties to a dispute asked the Council to settle the case for them, in which event the Council would become an agency of mediation. With reference to the first question, he said that discussion must be deferred until the statute of the Court was determined; as to the second, that the Council had inherent rights in the matter but if it was found desirable to specify methods which the Council must employ, then that might be considered.

He explained that the point raised by Venezuela in connection with paragraph 6 brought up the question of whether the procedures described under paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 should be under the Assembly as well as the Security Council. The Venezuelan commentary on the same paragraph, Dr. Pasvolsky pointed out, related to the question of compulsory jurisdiction and therefore must also be held over for discussion in connection with the Court statute.

Paragraph 7, he said, referred to a problem which needed to be very thoroughly explored in later detailed discussions, particularly with respect to who should determine whether a particular matter lay solely within the domestic jurisdiction of the state concerned. He referred in this connection to Mexico’s commentary to the effect that this paragraph should be eliminated. He inquired of the Ambassador of Chile what was meant by the phrase “already solved by treaties in force” as used in Chile’s commentary on the paragraph in question. The Ambassador replied that it referred to the same question, already discussed, of respect for treaties.

Passing to Section B, Dr. Pasvolsky stated that Uruguay’s commentary on the first paragraph was in line with the Proposals. With [Page 50] reference to the Venezuelan commentary, he said that this involved a point already discussed: whether or not the Council should be given the duty of executing decisions of the International Court; this in turn being bound up with the kind of Court there will be.

Dr. Pasvolsky pointed out that paragraph 2 under Section B broadened the power of the Council and made it general. He pointed out that in paragraph 1 a transition from peaceful settlement to enforcement procedure was indicated. He stated that the commentary of Mexico on this paragraph referred to the question previously discussed: the distribution of power between the Assembly and the Council.

Dr. Pasvolsky then explained that paragraph 3 related to measures which the Council could use short of those involving armed forces. He stated that this was one of the places where measures had been enumerated, and that in doing so difficulties were created for the reason that all appropriate measures might not be stipulated, as illustrated by Mexico’s commentary on this paragraph which suggested financial and commercial measures. It had been thought that these were included in economic measures.

Dr. Pasvolsky referred to the commentary of the Costa Rican Government on paragraph 4 and said that he was in full agreement with the statement made therein that use of armed forces collectively under this system was not an act of war.

Passing to paragraph 5 he stated that it established a system by which the Council would have placed at its disposal forces to be used for carrying out enforcement measures. With reference to Chile’s commentary which would change the phrase should contribute to may contribute, he said that there was not very much difference between the two, unless it were one of principle. If it was meant that some of the members did not have to contribute, that would make a difference. He felt however that it was the joint responsibility of all members of the Organization to contribute.

The Ambassador of Chile stated that this referred to the Chilean Government’s view with respect to the form in which the nations that were a part of the organization should contribute armed forces to avoid a violation of international peace and security. Senor Mora said that Chile had maintained since the beginning of the discussions that all nations should not be bound in all cases to contribute armed forces. He felt that there were some cases in which some nations should not contribute or should be exempted from contributing armed forces. For example, in the case of a conflict arising in another continent, which did not threaten world peace, those nations which were very far away should not be compelled to contribute. So, the phrase “should contribute” ought to be substituted for the one now appearing in the Charter of the Organization.

[Page 51]

Dr. Pasvolsky remarked that this question rests on the concept of who could determine whether a conflict was of world-wide or purely local significance. The Ambassador of Chile agreed that since this was a broad question, it was subject to further discussion.

As regards the statement of Guatemala92 on paragraph 5 Dr. Pasvolsky said that this was involved in the concept of the special agreements to be negotiated.

With reference to the Mexican commentary he explained that this was a matter of domestic concern and responsibility in each country, although it was quite clear that if the Council was to be capable of performing its duties, it must know what it could count on—hence the reason for, providing that the Council be given information in advance by each country on specified amounts and facilities at the Council’s disposal.

With reference to the Venezuelan proposal regarding paragraph 5 Dr. Pasvolsky made two comments: (1) the obligation to furnish armed forces and facilities would be on the basis of the special agreement or agreements to be concluded; (2) the question of mutual assistance is dealt with in paragraphs 10 and 11. He explained that the thought underlying these three paragraphs was that they would, in conjunction, take care of the sort of situation envisaged in the Venezuelan proposal; if not, it would be necessary to discuss the matter further.

Dr. Pasvolsky said that the comments on the next paragraph (6) had already been discussed.

As regards paragraph 7, he said that it related to the question raised by Chile as to who should determine what countries would carry out the decisions of the Council. He inquired of the Ambassador of Chile whether he thought that the special agreements would specify obligations in that respect. The Ambassador of Chile answered in the affirmative, stating that this same problem appeared in connection with paragraph 10 later on; with respect to which paragraph his Government thought that the phrases “according as may be possible” and “in conformity with the Charter” should be added, since the possibility of some countries not being able to give assistance should be kept in mind. He added that it should be made clear when they should give assistance and when they should not.

In explanation of Chile’s comment on this paragraph, i.e. that “the sense of the final part of this number needs to be clarified”, he said that this introduced the question of the specialized agencies to be established—some of which were already in existence, some projected. He said that it was clear that the Council might determine on measures which could be nullified or impaired by the decisions [Page 52] of some special agency. If the Security Council undertook economic sanctions, the member governments should see to it that a specialized agency did not take measures contrary to those of the Council. He further explained that the relation between the general Organization and the specialized agencies would be made specific in the agreements to be negotiated.

Before touching on paragraph 9, Dr. Pasvolsky referred again to paragraphs 10 and 11 on mutual assistance, and read Chile’s commentary on paragraph 10. He explained that the question of how much assistance each Member should provide in connection with the situation envisaged was left open, presumably for agreement among the countries concerned. As regards Mexico’s proposal on paragraph 10 he remarked that the points therein were covered in the Dumbarton Oaks document.

With reference to the commentaries made on paragraph 11 he stated that they raised the important question as to how far the Security Council itself should be authorized to go in solving these problems; that here again the Proposals were left open, since the measures to be taken would have to be on the basis of agreement among the countries concerned.

Returning to paragraph 9, Dr. Pasvolsky requested the comments of General Strong and Admiral Train.

General Strong stated that in considering paragraphs 5, 6 and 9 of Section B, Chapter VIII, paragraph 5 and Section B, of Chapter VI it should be borne in mind that these paragraphs set forth in a general way the purpose to be realized by establishing the Military Staff Committee referred to in paragraph 5, Section B, Chapter VI, the general intention having been to reduce to a minimum the burden of maintaining armaments and at the same time providing for the maintenance of international peace and security. He pointed out that the requirements for the Military Staff Committee first appear in paragraph 5 of Chapter VI in connection with the establishment of a system for regulation of armaments, and continue in paragraph 5 and 6, Section B of Chapter VIII, which provided for the furnishing of quotas of national contingents to be placed at the disposal of the Security Council and for furnishing facilities and assistance. General Strong explained that, assuming that quotas have been established, then under paragraph 5 the Military Staff Committee would be the planning agency concerned with the furnishing of forces to the Council, regulation of armaments, and possible disarmament. Provisions in this connection had purposely been made of a general character for two reasons: (1) Because the implication of the general principles laid down, which are highly technical, should be discussed after the Charter had been established and the actual organization of [Page 53] the Security Council and the Military Staff Committee completed; (2) because it was believed that no useful purpose would be served now by attempting to outline the multiplicity and complexity of the problems that would face the Council and the Committee when that time comes. Mentioning the rather complete studies made by the Preparatory Committee at Geneva of some of these questions, General Strong expressed the opinion that that work could be accepted or modified or some simpler measures could be taken. He stated that the principal function of the Committee would be one of advising the Council on all technical questions relating either to regulation of armaments, the utilization of forces placed at the disposal of the Council, and possibly considering ultimately the question of disarmament.

Admiral Train emphasized the fact that a very important duty of the Committee would be one of advising the Council on regulations as to the amounts of armaments, forces, facilities, etc. to be furnished. He further remarked that General Strong had not covered the point brought out in the Chilean commentary on paragraph 9. He said that whereas the Dumbarton Oaks document stated in that paragraph that “any member of the Organization not permanently represented on the Committee should be invited by the Committee to be associated with it when the efficient discharge of the Committee’s responsibilities requires that such a state should participate in its work”, the government of Chile proposed that members of the Organization not permanently represented on the Committee be invited to join it when the case or the measures that may be taken with respect thereto concern it or are bound to affect it. Admiral Train stated in this connection that paragraph 9 of the Dumbarton Oaks document took care of the Chilean proposal in that any country would naturally be consulted on a matter affecting it.

The discussion continued on Section C on Regional Arrangements. In discussing the Chilean commentary on paragraph 1, which proposed the addition of the words “functioning” and “continental” and the substitution of “agreements” for “arrangements”, he said that it was difficult to see how the words “systems” and “agreements” were more specific than the words “arrangements” or “agencies”; that certainly the word “arrangements” included “agreements”. He believed that a great deal of thought should be given to the word “continental” with respect not only to the addition of the word but also of some other word in addition to “regional”. He said that “continental” would be the broadest interpretation of the word “regional”.

The Ambassador of Chile stated that this amendment was submitted by his Government to broaden the scope of this article and that the word “functioning” was used in order to stress the fact that the [Page 54] agreements should really function and not be purely theoretical. He said that the use of the word “continental” was suggested merely as a wider term, in as much as a continent may comprise several regions. He believed in this respect that his government had in mind the inter-American system which applied to the whole continent. He then said that there could of course be some qualification to this concept, as with respect to Canada not being included in the continent in the sense of its relationship with Great Britain.

Costa Rica’s commentary on paragraph 1, Dr. Pasvolsky said, was precisely the reason for introducing this provision for regional arrangements, since regional arrangements may be useful in facilitating understanding for common purposes.

He remarked that the Guatemalan commentary referred to Inter-American arrangements.

He said that since the Venezuelan commentary raised the question of precise definition, this was a matter to be discussed further in the light of whether or not it would be advisable to prescribe precise criteria of what constituted a regional arrangement compatible with the purposes of the Organization. Dr. Pasvolsky explained that limitation of the field of application, was a problem covered in part in the proposals themselves and obviously the question remained open. He said that regional agencies would be completely free to engage in the processes of peaceful settlement, and the Security Council should encourage settlement of disputes by local agencies. Referring to paragraph 2 on limitation of enforcement measures, he explained that here the thought was that enforcement action should be entirely under the authority of the Security Council which should decide when a regional arrangement or enforcement action should take place. He stated that the Chilean commentary related to the question previously discussed, i.e. who decided that problem.

Dr. Pasvolsky remarked in connection with the Venezuelan commentary that this related to the problem of voting which was to be considered later.

He stated that paragraph 3 was very important since, in order to perform its duties effectively, the Council would have to be completely informed of activities undertaken or contemplated; and that the Brazilian comment related to the point already discussed: who decided whether a question endangers the peace of more than one region?

He said that it would perhaps be better to consider the Mexican comment later.

Referring to the Uruguayan commentary on Section C as a whole, which emphasized the fact that regional organizations should not engender opposition between continents and not represent isolation, he stated that this point was fundamental to the whole idea. With [Page 55] respect to the two specific proposals by Uruguay he explained that the basic thought of those proposals had been included in the Dumbarton Oaks document and that they again raised the problem of how much rigid definition should be in the Charter and how much should be left to the wisdom of the people who run the Security Council “after we are gone.”

The Chargé d’Affaires of Colombia93 stated that he would like to comment on this chapter, although his government had not, up to the present time, made any specific observations regarding the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. He then said that from his government’s point of view the fundamental point in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, as regards the countries of Latin America, was the one relating to the regional arrangements, that is, the adjustment of the Pan American system and its relation to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. In Colombia’s answer to Mexico’s invitation, it was stated that in order to establish Latin America’s capacity to relate the Pan American system to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, it would be both desirable and convenient first to discuss the Pan American Organization, and that there should be consideration of means of making it more effective, more efficient and adaptable to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. For this reason Colombia had suggested that in the agenda of the Mexican conference first consideration should be given to the adaptation of the Pan American system.

The Ambassador of Honduras stated that if the adjustment of the Pan American system with the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals was to be considered, this question should be studied before going any further. He said that he wished to make this observation because it was stated in paragraph 1, Section C that regional arrangements could be undertaken provided that they were “consistent with the purposes and principles of the Organization”. He said that the views expressed by the representative of Colombia brought to light an existing discrepancy, for if the regional arrangements were not in accord with the purposes and principles of the Organization, nothing could be done. It was therefore, he said, essential to deal in one way or another with this question as expressed by the representative of Colombia in order to reconcile it with the already established principles of this Organization. Mr. Pasvolsky stated that clearly this was a very important question.

Chapter IX was next considered. Dr. Pasvolsky explained that this chapter concerned the problem of international stability and the creation of conditions conducive to good relations among states. He said that no machinery had been set up here because it was thought that the whole subject was too new. At the same time it was thought [Page 56] very important to make specific reference to this function of the General Assembly by making clear that the Assembly, whether through the Economic and Social Council or through other mechanisms, would give its attention to this important question.

The Ambassador of Bolivia94 stated that he would like to make a, minor comment. He said that he felt that the wording of paragraph 1 weakened the effectiveness of the Council in that the phrase “other humanitarian problems” implied that economic and social problems were also humanitarian problems, whereas in the modern sense of the words, economic, and especially social, problems have no relation with humanitarianism. He explained that this last concept refers to men’s feelings, and since economic and social problems have nothing to do with men’s feelings they should be solved without any humanitarian implication. He added that even modern medicine has ceased to be a humanitarian problem.

Referring to the commentary of Costa Rica regarding paragraph 2, Dr. Pasvolsky explained that the International Labor Office was thought of here as one of the specialized organizations provided for, to be brought into relationship with the general Organization by means yet to be determined by the Organization in agreement with the Labor Office itself. He also said that the relationship to the Organization of other specialized organizations and agencies that might be created was contemplated in the paragraph.

With respect to the Venezuela comment on paragraph 2 he remarked that this again raised the question of whether the problem should be determined now or left for future development. He said that since the agencies and organizations envisaged here would vary in character and size, the problems of relationship with the general Organization would differ.

Referring again to paragraph 1 under Section A, Dr. Pasvolsky said that “promote” did not mean “intervention”. This, he said, was a problem of encouraging the creation of conditions under which respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms exists, and if necessary, of the general Organization’s making recommendations, but not of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

As regards Section B, Composition and Voting, and the number of member countries to be represented on the Economic and Social Council, he explained that the number had been fixed at 18 because the specialized agencies to be created would be widely representative and therefore coordination should be in the hands of the highest representative body in the world, i.e. the General Assembly.

In answer to the inquiry of the Ambassador of Costa Rica, Dr. Pasvolsky then explained again that the International Labor Office [Page 57] was thought of as one of the specialized agencies and that the determination of the terms on which that and other agencies would be brought into relationship with the general Organization was left for the future. He added that since the International Labor Office is now the principal existing agency of the sort, the terms of the relationship between it and the general Organization might be worked out at the United Nations Conference.

He remarked that the selection of members of the Economic and Social Council was left entirely to the Assembly. It was thought best not to set up any criteria in this connection. It was contemplated, however, that permanent membership for any country would not be provided. As regards the question raised by Venezuela he stated that the Economic and Social Council would not undertake to settle any question but would hand it over to the Assembly which obviously could be assembled at any time if a serious problem arose.

With respect to Venezuela’s comment on Section D, paragraph 1, he said that the basic thought underlying the paragraph had been that the commissions to be set up by the Economic Council would consist of experts chosen for their competence and not necessarily for their national origin. It would be perfectly clear however, as was the case with the League of Nations, that the members of the commissions would be selected in such a way that competence should be considered not only on the basis of ability but also of knowledge of conditions and situations in the various parts of the world. He said it was safe to assume however that the proposal contained in the Venezuelan comment would be taken into account in setting up the commissions and other bodies created by the Economic and Social Council.

In connection with the Venezuelan comment on the second paragraph of this Section which is the same as for the second paragraph of Section A of Chapter IX, Dr. Pasvolsky said that there was the possibility of trying to establish the means of relationship between the existing bodies and the general Organization, at the United Nations Conference, or the whole question might be left for future determination.

Mr. Rockefeller expressed the gratitude of the group as a whole for Dr. Pasvolsky’s exposition of the various items which had so far been discussed.

The next meeting was scheduled for Friday, February 9 at 4 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 5:40 p.m.

  1. Present at this meeting were Assistant Secretary Rockefeller, certain American officials, and Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions of the American Republics except Argentina and El Salvador.
  2. Doc. 2, G/7(i), May 2, 1945, UNCIO Documents, vol. 3, p. 282.
  3. Doc. 2, G/7(h), December 5, 1944, ibid., p. 274.
  4. Doc. 2, G/7(a), September 28, 1944, UNCIO Documents, vol. 3, p. 26.
  5. Doc. 2, G/7(F), April 23, 1945, UNCIO Documents, vol. 3, p. 254.
  6. Alberto Vargas Nariño.
  7. Victor Andrade.