RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 99

Minutes of the Second Meeting of the Informal Organizing Group on Arrangements for the San Francisco Conference, Held at Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 1943, 3 p.m.

[Informal Notes]

[Here follows list of names of participants, including representatives of the United States (7); United Kingdom (2); Soviet Union (2); and China (2).]

I. Minutes of the First Meeting

The minutes of the first meeting86 were distributed.

II. Matters, Unfinished, Carried Over from the First Meeting

A. Organization of the Conference

It was reported that the British and Chinese Governments had approved the suggestions made in the Department’s memorandum of March 30, but that no word had been received thus far from the Soviet Government. The Soviet Ambassador was urged to seek the views of his government urgently, and he replied that he would do so.
Lord Halifax pointed out that his Government’s approval of the memorandum of March 30 was subject to more precise delimitation at a later date of the functions of the various committees. He also said that the Foreign Office wished to know to which committee of the Conference would fall questions concerning the winding up of the League of Nations. It was replied that in the first instance this problem might be expected to be taken up in the Steering Committee. [Page 236] It was also pointed out that the Governments’ members of the League of Nations which are participants in the Conference might wish to discuss this problem among themselves. Presumably all that the Conference should do would be to authorize the future international organization to enter into discussions with the League of Nations regarding the liquidation of the League or the merger of the League with it.
Ambassador Gromyko asked for a definition of the Executive Committee. It was replied that, according to the Department’s conception, the Steering Committee would be made up of the chairmen of all delegations represented at the Conference, and that the chairmen of 11 of the delegations, including the sponsoring powers and 7 others, would comprise the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee would, as its name implies, provide in effect a working group of the Steering Committee.
Lord Halifax raised the question of the chairmanship of the Conference, saying that his Government felt that the natural procedure would be for the Secretary of State, as chairman of the host delegation, to take the chair at the start of the Conference and to remain in the chair; if he were not able to be present at a certain meeting, he would invite one of the vice-chairmen to take his place. The Secretary thanked Lord Halifax for his statement, and said that he wished to make it clear that the United States Government has no ambition in this matter, but that it does feel strongly that in the interests of efficient management of the Conference, there should be but one president of the Conference. The Chinese Ambassador said that his Government would like to see the chairman of the United States delegation be president of the Conference, and that in the absence of the president, the vice presidents should rotate. Ambassador Gromyko reiterated his Government’s proposal that there be four chairmen, saying that in respect of this important position it would be desirable to follow the principle of the equality of the sponsoring governments. Mr. Gromyko added that the Soviet Union does not ask for any privileges at the Conference and would refuse, if invited, to have the chairman of its delegation be the sole president. In reply to the Secretary’s point, he stated that he felt that the Conference could be organized just as effectively with four chairmen as with one as the work of the Conference would be carried on by the’ single secretariat. Lord Halifax asked if the Soviet Government would feel it possible to agree to there being four presidents, all equal, thus preserving the principle of the equality of the sponsoring governments, subject to agreement that the British, Soviet and Chinese presidents invite the American president (the Secretary of State), as the chairman of the host delegation, to be the active president of [Page 237] the Conference. The Secretary said that he assumed that this proposal would in substance provide for one regular president and three honorary presidents. After further discussion it was agreed that the Soviet Ambassador would refer the suggestion to his Government, that the Secretary would take it up with the President, and that Lord Halifax (who had offered this course as a purely personal suggestion) would refer it to the British Government.

B. Allocation of Conference Positions

The Department’s memorandum of April 9 on this subject was submitted and explained, and it was pointed out that the Department felt that a list giving the allocation of the Conference positions should be submitted to the Steering Committee at its first meeting as the joint recommendation of the sponsors. Lord Halifax suggested that this matter might be left open until San Francisco when the Secretaries General of the delegations of the four sponsoring governments should meet and agree on a list. In reply to this suggestion, The Secretary pointed out that it would be easier to agree on a list in advance than under the pressure certain to exist during the opening days of the Conference. Mr. Gromyko agreed with the Secretary. Lord Halifax said that he would communicate the Secretary’s views to his Government.

C. Problem of Official Languages

Lord Halifax stated that his Government agreed with the United States’ suggestions subject to the proviso that this decision with respect to the Conference should not prejudice the decision as to the official language or languages of the international organization. The Chinese Ambassador also agreed. Mr. Gromyko stated that he had received no word from his government on this point.

D. Unofficial Representation of Certain International Organizations

The draft communication prepared by the Department was read.87 In reply to The Secretary’s question as to why the Red Cross had been omitted, it was pointed out that that organization is not intergovernmental. As to the five organizations in question it was stated that the British, Soviet and Chinese Governments had indicated to the Department that they agreed that these organizations should be invited to send unofficial representatives to the Conference. Soviet approval had been given by the Soviet Government to the United States Embassy in Moscow.88
Lord Halifax said that, because of its tri-partite nature the International Labor Organization has a special character making it somewhat different from the other bodies.89 He, therefore, suggested that while the other bodies might be invited to send two or three representatives, it would be preferable in the case of the ILO to invite it to send four or five representatives. The Secretary and The Chinese Ambassador agreed. [The Soviet Ambassador said that he would like to consult his Government on this subject.]90


Mr. Hiss stated the Soviet position that no amendments should be either proposed or supported without the agreement of the sponsors. Mr. Hiss also reported that the Chinese Ambassador had asked whether the American proposal referred only to matters brought up before the Conference as a whole or whether it also applied to discussions in the committees.91 To that question Mr. Hiss had replied that the Department’s feeling was that the four sponsoring powers should consult regarding formal proposals put forward by any one of them in any organ of the Conference, but that this suggestion would not apply to informal statements in commission or committee discussions. Lord Halifax said that his Government agrees with the general purpose behind the United States and Soviet proposals, but that in the British view it would be preferable that there should be no rigid rule. The four sponsoring governments should not feel obliged to consult and agree on unimportant proposals for changes in the Dumbarton Oaks drafts, but they should feel bound to consult before making any major proposals for change, or before accepting any major changes suggested by others. Mr. Gromyko amplified this thought by stating that the delegations of the four sponsoring powers should consult on proposals made by any country (a) which would change [directly or would affect indirectly]92 the character of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, or (b) which were important in other respects. With this statement The Secretary, Lord Halifax and the Chinese Ambassador agree. The Secretary added the thought that this is not an advance agreement to agree but simply to consult. Mr. Gromyko said that he hoped that the sponsors would always work in close accord.

[Page 239]

III. Additions Presented by China to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals

The Soviet Ambassador said that he would do his best to obtain an answer from his Government in the near future.93

IV. Procedures at the Opening Session and the Initial Plenary Sessions

The Secretary read the Department’s memorandum of April 9 on this subject. A short discussion followed as to whether the chairmen of all delegations should be given an opportunity to speak at the opening plenary sessions of the Conference, and it was agreed that they should. This procedure, The Secretary observed, would give an opportunity to bring all views out into the sunlight at an early stage of the Conference.

V. Records of the Proceedings of the Conference

It was agreed that members would study the Department’s memorandum of April 9 on this subject.

VI. It was agreed that the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and the Yalta agreement on voting procedure should be issued in English as the first document of the Conference. [Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese would be provided if the appropriate delegation so requests.] A slight difference of thought was manifest as to the languages in which important documents of the Conference in general should be issued. The Department’s suggestion was that important documents would be issued in Russian, Chinese, French and Spanish only when a request was made for them in one or more of these languages. The Soviet view was that important documents should as a matter of course be made available in all of these languages unless the secretariat were told, in an individual case, that issuance in a certain language was not necessary or desired. While this matter was not formally settled, the Soviet Ambassador indicated that the demands of his delegation for documents in Russian would be modest [and he believed that such requests could be met, having in mind the request for printing all principal documents in Russian] so that as a practical matter there appears to be agreement on this matter.

It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Saturday, April 14 at 2:45 p.m. unless called earlier.94

  1. Minutes of meeting of April 3, p. 189.
  2. See UNCIO Documents, vol. 1, p. 3, for text of message which was sent to the following inter-governmental organizations: League of Nations, Permanent Court of International Justice, International Labor Organization, United Nations Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture, and United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
  3. Telegram 999, April 1, 1 p.m., from Moscow informed the Department of Soviet approval; see last portion of footnote 22, p. 153.
  4. The International Labor Organization affords direct representation to Governments as well as employers and workers.
  5. Insertion within brackets, written on original copy, made in accordance with a request by the Soviet Ambassador in his letter of April 12 (not found in Department files); see minutes of the third meeting of the Informal Organizing Group, April 13, p. 283.
  6. See memorandum by the Department of State to the British Embassy (copies to the Soviet and the Chinese Embassies), March 28, and memorandum by the Soviet Embassy, March 31, pp. 162 and 179, respectively.
  7. Bracketed corrections throughout remainder of this document made at request of Mr. Gromyko.
  8. See telegram 619, March 16, 11 p.m., to Moscow, p. 126.
  9. Minutes of the third meeting of the Informal Organizing Group, April 13, p. 283.