500.CC/4–1045: Telegram

The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 3

The Soviets have been pressing all this week for four Chairmen at San Francisco representing each of the sponsoring nations. The British, the Chinese and ourselves have strongly resisted this on the [Page 241] grounds that the responsibility would not be placed on any one person, that it would lead to great confusion and lack of clear-cut direction.

Moreover, the Department feels that this would set a precedent for future international conferences and might even be the opening wedge for a proposal to be made of joint chairmanship of the World Security Organization. Halifax, Ambassador Wei and myself are endeavoring to find some sort of middle ground that we can propose to the Soviets that will recognize the prestige of each of the heads of the delegation of the four sponsoring nations, perhaps along the lines of honorary chairmen who would preside in rotation in the absence of the Chairman of the Conference. Moreover, we feel that to accept the Soviet proposal would be to emphasize before the other nations attending the special position of the four sponsoring powers.

Because of the importance that we attach to this issue from the standpoint of the successful administration of the Conference, may I have your instruction for me to stand out for a single chairman of the Conference, to be selected from one of the sponsoring nations?4

E. R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. Transmitted by the White House Map Room to President Roosevelt at Warm Springs, Ga.
  2. In a memorandum of April 11, President Roosevelt indicated his approval of the Secretary’s message (500.CC/4–1145).