RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 96: US Cr Min 7

Minutes of the Seventh Meeting of the United States Delegation, Held at Washington, Wednesday, April 11, 1945, 9 a.m.

[Informal Notes]

[Here follows list of names of persons (22) present at meeting.]

. . . . . . .

Review of Proposals and Suggestions for Consideration.

Chapter V, the General Assembly

The Secretary then inquired as to whether there was any miscellaneous business. There being none, the Delegation turned to consideration of the subject of this session, namely, Chapter V of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, The General Assembly.

Section A—Composition

Mr. Pasvolsky , at the Secretary’s request, presented the Proposals and Suggestions for Consideration, Book 2, commencing with Section A—Composition. He said the changes proposed were not very important and involved principally matters of drafting, which in any case would be taken care of in drafting the actual Charter. Senator Connally observed that a number of points could come up under this section, especially the problem of the number of votes for member [Page 242] states. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that this was not a question for the American Delegation to bring up, and the only question was whether the number of representatives should be determined in the Charter, this question having been left open at Dumbarton Oaks.

Senator Vandenberg asked why the number should not be specified. Mr. Pasvolsky said he thought the matter was of no consequence as far as we were concerned and could be left for the Conference to decide.

Representative Bloom said that the number of representatives might just as well be put in but Mr. Pasvolsky felt that it was a matter on which the United States did not need to make any specific proposal.

Section B—Functions and Powers

Paragraph 1.—On the request of the Secretary, Mr. Pasvolsky turned to Section B—Functions and Powers. He stated that Paragraph 1 is very important since it relates to the security functions of the General Assembly and that a great many questions have been raised about it. He pointed out that several ideas are included in this paragraph and said that perhaps the Charter would have to be drafted so that these ideas would be dealt with in separate paragraphs. Referring to the first sentence he drew attention to the proposed change of wording, namely, that instead of the phrase “The General Assembly should have the right to consider the general principles of cooperation and the maintenance of international peace and security …”, it was proposed that the statement read: “The General Assembly should have the responsibility for the formulation of general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security …”

Representative Eaton said it was not stated how such questions and principles would be brought before the General Assembly for consideration.

Mr. Pasvolsky replied that they could come up in a number of ways: the matter could originate in the Assembly itself, and any member state, the Secretary-General, or the Security Council could bring it to the General Assembly. The important point in this paragraph, he thought, was whether the Charter should make explicit the right which those who drafted the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals thought was inherent in the set-up of the Organization, namely the right of the General Assembly to discuss and formulate convention for submission to the member states for ratification. The question was really whether the General Assembly would have to recommend and bring about the calling of a special conference for the drafting of such conventions or whether it could itself formulate conventions for approval by the member states.

[Page 243]

Senator Connally asked if it would have to have the sanction of the Security Council.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that would not be required.

Representative Bloom asked whether the Security Council would have to be informed of such action and Mr. Pasvolsky said that notification would undoubtedly be given in the normal course.

Mr. Pasvolsky said he believed there would be strong insistence at the Conference that the power of the General Assembly be specified more fully.

Senator Connally thought it would be correct to include the suggested provision in the Charter because the drafting of a convention for submission to the member states would be an expression of what the General Assembly thought should and ought to be done.

Mr. Pasvolsky replied that this was the real point.

Mr. Dulles commented that the original language seemed better, and that the use of the word “right” was adequate. He thought there was some danger that assigning the responsibility to the General Assembly might look exclusive and give the impression that the General Assembly was to be the sole organ dealing with such matters and others were to be excluded. He was sure there was no intention to exclude the possibility of holding a convention to codify international law. Perhaps taking out the word “responsibility” would make that clearer.

Mr. Bowman thought that the word “the” before “responsibility” should come out.

Mr. Pasvolsky asked whether the Delegates agreed on supporting the inclusion of a statement that the General Assembly should be empowered to adopt general conventions for submission to the member states for ratification. He thought this would be spelling out what is inherent in the powers of the Assembly but he recalled that there had been some question in the League of Nations as to whether the Assembly had this power. Mr. Gerig confirmed this impression and added that the International Labor Organization specifically provided that the Conference should be able to draft conventions for submission to the member states.

Mr. Bowman said he thought it could be argued both ways. It might be argued that members of the Assembly by reason of the way in which they were chosen would not necessarily be the best qualified persons to conduct negotiations on specific questions. On the other hand, it could be argued that it would be advantageous for the General Assembly to formulate the proposals on which they agree and to give expression to what they stand for. They could, of course, bring in specialists from their own governments to assist in the actual negotiations. He thought it would be preferable to specify that the Assembly had the powers suggested.

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The Secretary asked whether the Delegation agreed with this position. They assented and he reminded them that this was a tentative approval and that the proposals that were to be made or supported by the United States Delegation would have to come up for review once more after the group had gone through the whole document.

Mr. Pasvolsky , taking up the second sentence of paragraph 1, reminded the group that the original language of the Proposals is “any question on which action is necessary”, and he stated that the next sentence has a qualifying and restricting force. [The General Assembly should not on its own initiative make recommendations on any matter relating to the maintenance of international peace and security which is being dealt with by the Security Council.]5 There had been much discussion about both of these sentences and in the final drafting it would be necessary to modify the wording. However, the basic idea is that when a dispute reaches the point where action is necessary, it must be immediately referred to the Security Council. It is clear from the whole paragraph, however, that the Assembly has the right to discuss any question or dispute at any time.

Senator Vandenberg said he did not think this last point was clear from the wording. He thought it could be interpreted that when the Security Council takes jurisdiction over a dispute, the General Assembly has no further right to deal with it in any way. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that the right of the General Assembly to consider, discuss, and make recommendations with regard to general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of peace and security was unabridged. Moreover, the right to discuss any question relating to maintenance of peace and security as distinct from the making of recommendations remained unabridged. The right to make recommendations, however, was limited by the last sentence. Another important point is that if the Security Council refuses to handle a question and votes that it is not a case for its consideration, then the Assembly is completely free. The only requirement is that there should be no simultaneous action on a dispute by the General Assembly and the Security Council. Senator Vandenberg commented that there was a lot to be interpreted under this paragraph. Mr. Dulles said that he agreed with Mr. Pasvolsky’s interpretations. His own interpretation was that the Assembly could discuss up to the point of making concrete recommendations.

Senator Vandenberg said he had no objection to the principle that the General Assembly should not attempt to deal concretely with the dispute when it was before the Security Council, but it seemed to him, according to this wording, that all the Council had to do would be to pass a resolution taking jurisdiction over a dispute before the Assembly and thereby shut out the General Assembly [Page 245] from any further consideration of the matter. Mr. Pasvolsky said this was not the intention of the Proposals, and he felt that the language was clear on this point.

Representative Bloom asked whether the General Assembly should refer a dispute with or without recommendations. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that reference could be made either with or without recommendations and either before or after discussion if it is not already being handled by the Council.

Mr. Bowman said he thought that “any matter relating to” could mean “every matter relating to”. On that basis, the Council could take jurisdiction over everything because every kind of subject might have a bearing on the maintenance of international peace and security. He suggested that the last sentence be rephrased to read: “The General Assembly should not on its own initiative make specific recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Senator Connally remarked that the general policy was sound, and he agreed that while the Council deliberates, it would be better for the Assembly to remain quiet. Senator Vandenberg said he did not want the Council to be able to take jurisdiction pro forma, merely to eliminate the Assembly from considering it.

Mr. Pasvolsky said he thought that it was all a question of language, and Mr. Bowman asked what language could be agreed upon. Mr. Pasvolsky said this could be taken up later when the Charter was actually being drafted. Mr. Bowman suggested that it should be written into the Charter that when the Council states that a specific case is being considered, then the General Assembly should not be able to take action on it simultaneously.

Mr. Dulles pointed out that there were certain discrepancies in the language defining who might put a case before the General Assembly. In the present text, Paragraph 1 of Section B, Chapter V, states that the General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security “brought before it by any member or members of the Organization or by the Security Council”. On the other hand, Paragraph 2, Section A, Chapter VIII declares: “Any state, whether member of the Organization or not, may bring any such dispute or situation to the attention of the General Assembly or of the Security Council.” He asked whether it was intended that non-members should be entitled to bring questions to the General Assembly. Mr. Pasvolsky said it was so intended and that the language should also be amended to include the Secretary-General among those who might bring cases before the General Assembly.

Paragraph 2.The Secretary requested Mr. Pasvolsky to present the next important matter for the consideration of the Delegates.

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Mr. Pasvolsky said that Paragraph 2 is very important and had been subjected to much criticism from many quarters. There had been numerous suggestions that the General Assembly acting alone should be able to admit new members to the Organization. He believed that a possible alternative to the present formula would be to empower the General Assembly to admit new members to the Organization unless the Security Council objects. Senator Connally commented that this would turn the procedure around. Senator Vandenberg added that it would give the Security Council veto power. Mr. Armstrong queried whether it was important that the Council should have veto power in this matter, and Mr. Pasvolsky replied that it was important because questions of security might be involved. Senator Connally said that the Security Council should, of course, be advised of the intention of the General Assembly to admit new members.

The Secretary asked whether the Delegates agreed that the alternative suggested by Mr. Pasvolsky should be adopted, and the Delegates gave their assent to substituting the following statement for the present text of Paragraph 2:

“The General Assembly should be empowered to admit new members to the Organization unless the Security Council interposes an objection.”

Paragraph 3.—The Delegates then turned to consideration of Paragraph 3. Mr. Pasvolsky stated that the question that arose most frequently in connection with this paragraph was why expulsion should be provided for, but not withdrawal. He commented that it was logical that suspension and expulsion should tale place on the recommendation of the Security Council since these would be enforcement measures. He believed it logical also that rights and privileges of membership should be restored on decision of the Security Council alone, because it would be the Security Council that would determine when the cause for enforcement action had ceased to exist; and when that point had been reached, cause for suspension of membership privileges would automatically cease to exist. A state should not have to wait until the Assembly could meet in order to have the rights and privileges of membership restored after a period of suspension. An alternative provision would be to have the rights and privileges of membership restored by the same procedure as suspension, except when the General Assembly is not in session. Then the Security Council could take action alone.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that the next important point in Paragraph 3 relates to expulsion. He stated that the United States did not particularly like this provision. The American attitude was that suspension was a more effective means of enforcement than expulsion. However, the Soviet Government had insisted on the inclusion of this [Page 247] provision,6 which seemed rather significant in view of the fact that Russia was the only country that had ever been expelled from the League of Nations.7 Mr. Dulles commented that perhaps the U.S.S.R. did not want to be unique. Mr. Pasvolsky said that he did not think it necessary for the Delegation to agree now on a position with regard to expulsion. There might be very strong objections to this provision in the Conference, and it would be wise to wait and see how strong they were before deciding what position the American Delegation should take.

Senator Connally commented that suspension is surely as strong a measure of enforcement as expulsion, and Mr. Pasvolsky replied that it is actually stronger. He recommended, however, that this question be left subject to future development.

Senator Connally asked whether there should not be a provision for withdrawal from membership. Mr. Pasvolsky said no provision had been made in the Proposals because there was some fear that the statement about withdrawal might give an impression of instability. Senator Connally said, however, that a state should know before it joined the Organization what procedures would be necessary if it wanted to get out. Mr. Pasvolsky said it might be useful to discuss this point, although it had not so far been insisted upon by other governments.

The Secretary asked what a government would do if it wanted to withdraw from the Organization. Representative Bloom replied that he thought it could denounce the treaty under which it had accepted the Charter. Senator Connally commented that the Constitution of the United States had no provision for withdrawal and that when some of the states tried to secede, they had not been permitted to do so.

Senator Vandenberg asked whether we could admit that a state can withdraw by denunciation, and Mr. Pasvolsky replied in the affirmative. Senator Vandenberg replied: “Why not say so?” and he asked Senator Connally whether it would not help in the Senate to have this clearly stated. Senator Connally said he was doubtful whether a signatory to a treaty could denounce it when there was no clause in the treaty providing for denunciation.

Mr. Bowman said there were really two questions involved. One was what our attitude should be if the matter is brought up in the Conference, and the other is what points the American Delegation should insist upon having included in the Charter.

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Senator Connally suggested that it would help if the authority to amend the Charter were to be liberalized. He said that the Senate would want to know what the obligations of the member states were to be and would not want to take the risk of possible violation of these obligations by denunciation of the treaty if there was no clause permitting such denunciation.

Mr. Dulles thought that the present arrangement, that is, maintaining silence on the subject of withdrawal, was better than any attempt to describe procedures for withdrawal. Senator Vandenberg replied that if nothing was said in the Charter about withdrawal the Senate would be sure to make a reservation on that point, and he thought it would be better to give some indication as to what would be the lawful procedure for getting out of the Organization.

Mr. Armstrong said that an important reason for leaving out any statement about withdrawal was that the threat to withdraw could be used for blackmailing the Organization, especially by a would-be aggressor state.

The Secretary said that he thought that the Delegation must be guided by the political judgment of the Senators on a point like this. Mr. Pasvolsky stated that further thought could be given to finding a satisfactory formula. Mr. Bloom commented that “withdrawal” is a harsh word and perhaps some better word could be found.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that under the League of Nations Covenant, a state that did not wish to accept an amendment could cease to be a member of the League. He suggested that the question of withdrawal be held in abeyance until the provisions for amending the Charter were discussed.

The Secretary said that this question would be taken up later with the discussion of the amending process.

Mr. Pasvolsky suggested further consideration of the expulsion provision, especially the qualification that such action could be taken against “any member of the Organization which persistently violates the principles contained in the Charter.” He asked whether the Delegation would agree to amend this to read that any member could be expelled “which persistently fails to fulfill its obligations under the Charter.”

Mr. Dulles questioned the use of the word “persistently”.

Representative Bloom asked whether withdrawal by a member would release it from all obligations under the Charter. Mr. Pasvolsky referred to the League experience and to the possibility of enforcing basic obligations on non-member states.

Mr. Bowman stated that he thought the present wording [“the principles contained in the Charter”] was pretty vague.

Mr. Pasvolsky said he thought it would be better to permit expulsion for violating both the principles and the purposes, and he added [Page 249] that the word “persistently” had been used in order to avoid light-hearted expulsion.

Mr. Dunn commented that if a state violated the Charter one time, it could be suspended. Mr. Taft thought that the present text left a loop-hole. Mr. Armstrong said that when a state is suspended, its rights and privileges could be restored, and he thought it important to give the General Assembly the right to take such action.

Mr. Pasvolsky pointed out that the right of suspension is restricted and that a state can be suspended only for definite cause when the Council institutes enforcement action. He added that the restoration of rights and privileges should be automatic when the Security Council declares that the cause of this action no longer exists.

Mr. Armstrong said that it was wise to bring the General Assembly in wherever possible, although there might be no difference in actual fact.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that states that had been expelled could be reinstated by the same process through which new members were admitted. He suggested that if the proposal is made in the Conference that an expelled state can be reinstated by the General Assembly on recommendation of the Council unless the General Assembly is not in session, then the United States should support the proposal.

Senator Vandenberg urged that the word “persistently” be deleted. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that it was important to include this idea because it was not desirable to have frequent expulsions, although suspension might be used very often. Senator Connally suggested the word “willful”, because a state might violate its obligations one time, but that violation might be very serious.

Mr. Pasvolsky said there would undoubtedly be a demand at the Conference to eliminate the provision for expulsion, and he recommended that if the demand is made, the United States should go along with it. He thought it might still be possible to induce the Russians to agree to dropping this provision. Then it would be possible to write strong suspension measures into the Charter. Senator Vandenberg said he was willing to wait to see what would happen at the Conference, and the Secretary said that would be the American position for the present.

Paragraph 4.—Mr. Pasvolsky took up Paragraph 4 and said that no change was suggested in the present text.

Senator Vandenberg said there might be a question about defining conditions for election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council, and he asked whether any provision should be made regarding the qualifications of states to be so elected.

Mr. Pasvolsky thought it would be better not to make any proposals as to criteria for the choice of states to serve as non-permanent members [Page 250] until we run into the problem in the Conference. Undoubtedly, the middle states would bring up some proposals along this line.

The Secretary remarked that the American Delegation should know what position to take toward the Australian proposal.8 Mr. Pasvolsky believed that the decision should be not to bind the General Assembly ahead of time but to leave it to that body to decide how to choose the non-permanent members of the Security Council. However, if pressure develops in the Conference, he believed it would be possible to agree on several criteria, which the General Assembly might apply in making its choices.

Senator Vandenberg said he would like to be able to get in a requirement for adequate regional representation, but he did not know quite how it should be done.

Paragraph 5.—The Secretary asked Mr. Pasvolsky to take up Paragraph 5. Mr. Pasvolsky read the alternative proposal which had been made by Norway9 [add to the statement on budgetary and financial powers the provision that the voting rights of states that do not pay their contributions to the expenses of the organization may be suspended]. He said that we should not make any recommendation on this point because it was a very ticklish question.

Senator Connally remarked that, under the present text, giving the General Assembly the power to apportion the expenses among the members, that body would be free to make quite inequitable assessments, and it might possibly make the permanent members pay most of the expenses. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that a scale of contributions would certainly be established and that it could be done either at the Conference if pressure had developed there for it, or by the Assembly itself. Mr. Gerig reminded the group that the League of Nations had apportioned expenses according to an established scale. Senator Connally thought that this was not an insuperable difficulty.

The Secretary suggested expanding the statement somewhat. Mr. Dulles pointed out that it should be made clear that the apportionment of expenses would not be an arbitrary matter.

The Secretary said that we might need a statement of the principle on which the expenses would be apportioned. Mr. Bowman suggested the phrase “on an agreed principle”. Senator Vandenberg suggested inserting “pro-ration”. It was agreed that the text should be rephrased to read: “The General Assembly should apportion the expenses among the members of the Organization according to an agreed pro-ration.”

Paragraph 6.—The Secretary asked Mr. Pasvolsky to present Paragraph 6. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that this was a very important [Page 251] paragraph and said that the Delegation should decide whether to amplify it and, if so, how.

Mr. Stettinius asked that Mr. Pasvolsky read the suggested revised paragraph, and Mr. Pasvolsky did so. [The General Assembly should promote international cooperation in political, economic, social, and cultural fields, and in measures to establish justice; foster the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms; encourage the development of rules of international law; and recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of situations likely to impair the general welfare or to violate the principles of the United Nations as declared by them on January 1, 1942.10

Senator Vandenberg said he was willing to endorse it 1000 percent and said he believed it would do more good than anything else to gain support of the Charter.

The Secretary said that he thought it might throw some light on the attitude of the British Government. The Foreign Office had been most helpful in developing plans for economic and social cooperation, but the Prime Minister tended rather to think of the Organization exclusively in terms of keeping the peace in times of crisis. The Secretary himself thought that these proposals were most important and that the United States should support them energetically.11

Mr. Pasvolsky drew attention to the reference to the Atlantic Charter12 implied in the statement with regard to the United Nations Declaration.

Miss Gildersleeve asked what position the Russians took with regard to arrangements for economic and social cooperation.

The Secretary said that the Soviet Government liked the provisions, and Mr. Pasvolsky added that the Russians had not wanted to enumerate the subjects that might be dealt with under the arrangements of economic and social cooperation.

The Secretary said that the Soviet Government was very much in favor of the Economic and Social Council and that this approval had been stated when he was in Moscow.13 Dean Gildersleeve said that [Page 252] she liked the suggested revision of the text. Representative Bloom asked what was meant by the word “cultural”.

Senator Connally said that he was in sympathy with the purposes of the revised text, although he had to recognize that it might seem to go too far in the eyes of some members of the Senate who were willing to accept a peace organization but did not want a world W.P.A.14 Senator Vandenberg said that such opposition might develop, but he thought that if the text were tied to the principles of the United Nations Declaration, it would get the support of a great many people who otherwise would find nothing forward-looking in the Charter.

Mr. Bowman queried whether it would weaken the statement to leave out the word “justice” since that would be included in the statement of purposes and would be implied in the clause on international law. Mr. Pasvolsky said that the British and Russian Governments had not wanted to include a reference to the observance of human rights and fundamental freedom in the Chapter on the General Assembly.

The Secretary asked who would object to including the phrase “establish justice”. Mr. Pasvolsky commented that it was a rather vague phrase in any case. Mr. Bowman thought the question was really whether it ought to be included at this point.

The Secretary said he believed the United States should support this paragraph all the way through. Mr. Pasvolsky suggested that we should be willing to take out the phrase “establish justice” if it were necessary.

Mr. Bowman commented that there are many different systems of law in the world and that there are different concepts of justice, so that some countries might object that the inclusion of the phrase “establish justice” here could be interpreted as an invasion of their own customs and traditions. He believed that a reference merely to the United Nations Declaration and to international law would make it clear that every step would have to be taken on the basis of agreement among the member nations.

Senator Vandenberg suggested leaving the phrase in and waiting to see whether it collides with any real opposition. The Secretary agreed that we should try it.

Mr. Armstrong questioned the reference to the United Nations Declaration. He said that it did not add anything substantial to the document and that it was essentially a war-time declaration, setting forth an agreement to strive together for the defeat of the Axis Powers.

Mr. Pasvolsky read the preamble to the Declaration of the United Nations, pointing out that it contains a reference to the Atlantic Charter.

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Mr. Armstrong said he feared that a reference to the United Nations Declaration would make it difficult for former enemy states, for example, Italy, to join the Organization. Mr. Taft said he thought that would not be a very serious problem and that as a matter of fact, Italy right now was trying to be permitted to sign the United Nations Declaration and to come into the Organization immediately.

Mr. Pasvolsky said he could see some difficulty arising out of this reference. Represenative Bloom said he thought there would be some objection to including a reference to cultural relations and education, and he wondered whether this would weaken possible support of the Charter. He was sure that some members of Congress would object. The Secretary commented that the State Department had probably done an ineffective job of explaining what it means by international cooperation in cultural and educational fields but that it hoped to do much better in the future.

Representative Bloom wished that another word could be found. Mr. Taft said he believed there already had been a considerable development of international cultural relations and that the League of Nations had found it necessary to encourage this development through the Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. Miss Gildersleeve remarked that the phrase “intellectual cooperation” unfortunately had little meaning to Americans.

The Secretary said he would like to leave this wording undisturbed and try to get it accepted. If it is impossible to get acceptance, then the Delegation can consider what compromises might be necessary.

Mr. Taft said that the principles stated here could be expanded in the chapter on the Economic and Social Council. Senator Connally said that it was important to make it clear that the use of the phrase “establish justice” did not imply any intention to encroach upon traditional systems of law within various countries or any interference with domestic politics.

Mr. Bowman said that in the experience of the permanent Court of International Justice, cases involving domestic jurisdiction had not really played a major part even though that was a matter that had concerned a great many people in the beginning.

The Secretary suggested that the discussion should move on from this paragraph. Before proceeding with the text of the proposals, however, he wanted to bring up some other matters. First, the mention of Italy reminded him that he wished to distribute a list of the United Nations and other states that might be invited later to join the Organization and suggested that this list be put in the notebooks.15 He said there had been some question about India and that he had [Page 254] a memorandum prepared with regard to the inclusion of India in the United Nations.16

Role of Advisers

. . . . . . .

The Secretary said that Mr. Sweetser of the O.W.I. was working with the State Department and that it was agreed that the Delegation itself would have the final word as to approval or disapproval. He told Mr. Gerig to see to it that the Delegates should be informed as to what statements the State Department would approve their making.

Senator Connally said that the O.W.I. should also be straight-jacketed. The Secretary said that he had talked with Elmer Davis 17 and that there had been a clear understanding about the use of statements by the Delegates. He said further that the restriction in the memorandum applied to questions of substance before the Conference. [Senator Connally left with apologies for having to attend a Committee meeting at the Senate.]

Senator Vandenberg asked whether the advisers would not have to sit in on some meetings for the Delegates. The Secretary, seconded by Mr. Dunn, said that the Delegates would have to decide how to make use of the advisers as the work developed.

Senator Vandenberg commented that each Delegate would be assigned to several committees and commissions and that he could not possibly attend all the meetings of all these groups.

Review of Proposals and Suggestions for Consideration.

Chapter V, The General Assembly—(Continued)

The Secretary suggested that the group should continue with the discussion of the proposals and suggestions with regard to Chapter V.

Paragraph 7.—Mr. Pasvolsky read Paragraph 7.

[“The General Assembly should make recommendations for the coordination of the policies of international economic, social, and other specialized agencies brought into relation with the Organization in accordance with agreements between such agencies and the Organization.”]

He said that proposals had been made to modify this text because of a feeling that it was too weak in its present form. He thought that this was probably true. Also, it was not clear whether the General Assembly should recommend to other organs of the Organization, to specialized agencies, and to the Governments, or should act itself. He said that in the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations this text probably [Page 255] would have been strengthened if there had been time to work out a desirable formula. He suggested amending the text to read:

“The General Assembly should take action to bring about coordination of the policies of international economic, social, cultural, and other specialized agencies …”

The Secretary asked whether there were any objections to this amendment and since there were none, he stated that it was approved.

New Paragraph.—Mr. Pasvolsky read the proposed New Paragraph (for Section B) and said this had been discussed widely. [The General Assembly should be empowered to act, within the limits of the Charter, on matters of concern to the Organization which are not allocated to other agencies.] It was in the United States Proposals18 before the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations and had been left out in drafting the Proposals because it had seemed undesirable to overburden the Charter. However, the inclusion of such a provision regarding the residual power of the Organization strengthens the General Assembly in appearance. Actually, the General Assembly has this residual power anyhow.

The Secretary thought that inclusion of the proposed new paragraph would help with the small nations.

Section C. Voting

Paragraph 1.—The group turned to consideration of Section C, and Mr. Pasvolsky read paragraph 1:

[“1. Each member of the Organization should have one vote in the General Assembly.”]

Mr. Dulles commented that there was no provision for a Committee on Credentials, and he thought it would be most important to have some procedure for passing on credentials of representatives because of changing conditions. It would sometimes be necessary to decide whether a given state was independent or not and whether the representatives who claimed the right to sit for that state were, in fact, entitled to do so. He thought it most important to state who should pass on the eligibility of the delegates, because there might be a fluctuating situation.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that the General Assembly would have such power. In any case, it had the power to create the agencies it needed to discharge its functions. Mr. Dulles said that the problem took on special urgency because of the fact that the Soviet Russian Republics had been given autonomy in foreign affairs. Mr. Pasvolsky said that their status was rather a problem of membership than a question of powers of the General Assembly to seat delegates of member states.

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Mr. Dulles asked what would happen if a state ceased to be independent. Mr. Pasvolsky replied that the question would then come up in the Assembly and would be settled by that body. Representative Bloom thought it would be better to say so specifically. Mr. Pasvolsky rejoined that it should not be stated under the provisions about voting.

Mr. Dulles said that it should be made clear that the General Assembly has the power to determine whether a given political unit has or has not the characteristics that entitle it to representation or whether it may have had them and has lost them.

Mr. Pasvolsky said the matter should be dealt with under membership. Mr. Dulles said that might be the way to resolve the problem. He thought that the question of the Soviet Union and its component parts could be dealt with reasonably. It would be a question of fact as to whether the Assembly considered them independent states. Placing that decision in the hands of the Assembly might avoid complicating the politics of the great powers.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that the decision with regard to the status of members was something that the General Assembly would never delegate to a subordinate agency, even though it would have the power “to set up such bodies and agencies as it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions.”

Mr. Taft and Representative Bloom said simultaneously that they wanted some specific statement in the charter on this point.

Mr. Pasvolsky said there were two problems here. First of all, there was the question of credentials of Delegates and a decision as to whether certain Delegates should be seated and accorded the right to represent the countries that they claimed to represent. There might easily be a revolution in some country and two delegations might arrive and present credentials. In that case, the Assembly would have to decide between them and would undoubtedly use a committee to investigate the credentials and recommend what decision should be taken.

Representative Bloom commented that the problem of credentials affected those countries that were already members. Mr. Pasvolsky agreed that it would affect the initial members and that those members would normally send their delegates, who would be seated if there was no question about the status of their governments. If there was a question, then the General Assembly would have to pass upon their status. Any new political units would have to be admitted separately as members. Another case would be the raising of a claim in the General Assembly that a certain state had lost its independent status and was no longer entitled to membership. The General Assembly would undoubtedly establish rules regarding credentials of delegates.

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Representative Bloom said he thought this did not apply to what Mr. Dulles had in mind. Mr. Taft said that it might be necessary to define the word “state”. Mr. Dulles asked who would have the power to define it,—the General Assembly?

Mr. Pasvolsky said it could not be put exclusively in the hands of the General Assembly because of security considerations.

Mr. Bowman referred to the history of Newfoundland, which had been a Dominion within the British Commonwealth and which later gave up its Dominion status. He said that if there was not a definition of the exact basis on which the U.S.S.R. was to be allowed three votes in the General Assembly, then the Soviet Government might come back again urging the acceptance of additional Soviet Republics as members. If we have to accept the Soviet demand, then we should define it in such terms that they could not come back and ask for more.

Mr. Bloom stated that it is necessary to say in the Charter who decides such matters. Mr. Taft suggested that it be put in Paragraph 2 of Section B and that the General Assembly be empowered to pass on the qualifications for membership. Mr. Pasvolsky agreed that this could be spelled out.

Mr. Stettinius said there has to be machinery for dealing with the problem of credentials. Mr. Pasvolsky said he did not believe that anything short of the General Assembly could determine this matter in the last analysis, and he doubted whether the small nations or any other nations would be willing to delegate this decision to a small group.

Mr. Dulles said that the small nations had the power to act through recommendations, and he thought that if the General Assembly had the power to decide on the status of the members of states, it could take this kind of decision out of the hands of the big powers.

Representative Bloom said that membership and credentials were two different matters.

Mr. Taft said that any body has the power to pass on the credentials of those who claim to vote within it and that the General Assembly would therefore have the power to decide on the status of the states whose representatives claimed the right to vote. He pointed out that if Paragraph 2 of Section B were amended as suggested, the Security Council would have veto power over the decisions with regard to the qualifications of members.

Mr. Pasvolsky suggested the following formula to be incorporated in Paragraph 2 of Section B:

“The General Assembly should be empowered to determine the qualifications of membership and admit new members unless the Security Council interposes objections on security grounds.”

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The Secretary commented that nobody except the General Assembly has the power to pass on the credentials of its members, and he suggested that the amendment be left in the form that Mr. Pasvolsky had proposed. Mr. Dulles agreed that this would be satisfactory, and the other members of the group concurred.

Mr. Pasvolsky reminded the group that there were still some questions to discuss under Section C.

The Secretary said he wanted to hold an executive session with the Delegates on the question of voting in the General Assembly.

Mr. Pasvolsky said there had been some proposals for weighted voting in the General Assembly, but he thought that was impossible; and it was agreed by the group that this idea was to be left out completely.

Paragraph 2.—Mr. Pasvolsky called attention to the suggested revision of Paragraph 2 of Section C. He said that the suggestion involved merely verbal changes except for the proposal that it should take a two-thirds majority to decide on additional categories of decisions that would require a two-thirds majority. He believed, however, that it would be better to leave this decision to a simple majority and not make it more difficult to add new categories.

The Secretary agreed with Mr. Pasvolsky and said that it was important to keep in mind that the Soviet Government would question the introduction of any amendments to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.

Mr. Pasvolsky said there was a question as to whether the American Delegation was going to push for certain changes or simply agree among themselves to support changes if pushed by others.

The Secretary said that in the meeting of the steering committee of the Sponsors, there had been a proposal that none of the four Governments should propose changes without consulting the others.19 The British and Chinese representatives seemed especially anxious on this point. It had been agreed not to advance proposals without advising the other Sponsors, and he had made it very clear that this would constitute consultation but would not necessarily require agreement before such changes could be proposed.

Mr. Armstrong said there should be different classes of proposals that the United States Delegation would support and as few red-letter amendments as possible.

Section D. Procedure

Paragraph 1.—Mr. Pasvolsky read Section D, Paragraph 1:

[“The General Assembly should meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as occasion may require.”]

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He said that a question had arisen as to who could call special sessions of the Assembly, and he believed that some statement should be included on this point. This proposal was approved.

Additional Paragraph.—Mr. Pasvolsky read the suggested Additional Paragraph: [p. 4 in Section D of Chapter V, Proposals and Suggestions for Consideration.]

He asked whether a paragraph of this sort should be included in the Charter. He thought that it might be possible to add a description of ways by which the General Assembly acts, in connection with the statements of the various powers of the General Assembly, and he pointed out that in connection with Section B, Paragraph 1, the group had already agreed on the inclusion of the power to adopt draft conventions for submission to the member states.

The Secretary suggested that the word “consider” would be better than the word “debate”.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that the initiation of studies making recommendations, etc., was already covered and that the only new point was the adoption of draft conventions. He pointed out that some countries had raised the question as to what was involved in discussing reports submitted to the General Assembly.

The Secretary said that the General Assembly would discuss the reports anyhow. He thought it very important to build up the General Assembly, to recognize its powers and add strength and said that he liked the ideas suggested for improvement.

The Secretary asked Mr. Taft if the advisers concerned with the Economic and Social Council were on the way to attend the meeting, and Mr. Taft said that they would soon arrive.

The Secretary called a 5-minute recess and said that the group would reconvene for a discussion of the arrangements for economic and social cooperation.

  1. Brackets throughout remainder of this document appear in the original.
  2. See progress reports on the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, August 25, 1944, section (d), and September 7, 1944, section (c), Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, pp. 732 and 776, respectively.
  3. For resolution on this subject, adopted by the Council of the League on December 14, 1939, see telegram 324, December 14, 1939, 9 p.m., from Geneva, Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, p. 804.
  4. Doc. 2, G/14(1), May 5, UNCIO Documents, vol. 3, p. 545.
  5. Doc. 2, G/7 (n) (undated), ibid., p. 356.
  6. For text of Declaration by United Nations, January 1, 1942, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, p. 25.
  7. For an exchange of views on economic and social questions during the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, see informal minutes of meeting No. 5 of the Joint Steering Committee, August 25, 1944, 11 a.m., ibid., 1944, vol. i, p. 734.
  8. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, ibid., 1941, vol. i, p. 367.
  9. See progress report by Under Secretary Stettinius on Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, September 8, 1944, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 783, concerning agreement reached with Ambassador Gromyko and Sir Alexander Cadogan on the provision for an Economic and Social Council, along the lines of the American proposals; the Joint Steering Committee approved the chapter, September 9. Secretary Stettinius, after attending the Yalta Conference, went to Moscow and held meetings there with Foreign Commissar Molotov (see Department of State Bulletin, February 25, 1945, p. 291).
  10. Works Progress Administration.
  11. Not printed.
  12. Memorandum entitled “Qualifications for membership in the United Nations” (US Gen. 24), April 16, 1945, not printed.
  13. Elmer Davis, Director, Office of War Information.
  14. For the United States tentative proposals for a General International Organization (II B 1.), July 18, 1944, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 653.
  15. See note of March 28 to the British Embassy, note of March 31 from the Soviet Embassy, and minutes of the second meeting of the Informal Organizing Group, April 10, pp. 162, 179, and 235, respectively.