RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 96: U.S. Cr. Min. 8

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

[Informal Notes]

[Here follows list of names of persons (19) present at meeting.]

The principal business of the meeting was to consider Chapter IX on Economic and Social Arrangements in the document on Proposals and Suggestions for Consideration.

The Secretary opened the meeting at 11:00 a.m.

[Page 260]

Proposals and Suggestions for Consideration

Section A: Purposes and Relationships

Paragraph 1.

At the request of the Secretary, Mr. Taft presented the recommendations of the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy20 proposing an elaboration of the objectives of the Organization in the economic and social fields.

Mr. Taft stated that the purpose of the detailed, objectives was to bring out more clearly the functions of the Organization in promoting economic and social programs, which in the long run would be essential if the Organization were to be successful in maintaining peace. He pointed out that the paragraph in Chapter IX of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals setting forth the functions of the Organization in these fields was very brief and general and seemed to minimize this area of international cooperation in which much public interest had been expressed both in this and other countries. Mr. Taft then proceeded to go over briefly the main objectives recommended by the Executive Committee, pointing out that much of the language had been drawn from international documents such as the Atlantic Charter, Article VII of the Mutual-Aid Agreements,21 and the League Covenant.

With regard to the language drawn from the Article VII of the Mutual-Aid Agreements (for the reduction of tariffs and elimination of discriminations), Senator Vandenberg remarked that that Article had been unanimously denounced by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Mr. Bloom stated that on the other hand the same Article had received the approval of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

With particular reference to Senator Vandenberg’s statement regarding the action of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in respect of Article VII, Mr. Taft pointed out that the inclusion of this and other objectives in the Charter of the Organization would in no way commit the United States, that they would be merely goals toward which all countries should work.

Mr. White thought that the point made by Mr. Taft did not answer the question which Senator Vandenberg had in mind, namely, [Page 261] whether the objectives themselves were desirable, even as objectives.

Senator Vandenberg stated that he might agree with these objectives in the abstract and in so far as they relate to the internal development of each country. He doubted, however, that we could safely spell out in an international document this enormous field of unlimited operations. He stated that if these objectives were included the whole program could be successfully attacked on the ground that it was intended to organize the earth, and millions of people in this country would be scared off.

Mr. White inquired whether or not it would be desirable to examine the objectives in detail and determine which of them might be acceptable.

Senator Vandenberg did not feel that a detailed examination of the objectives would be helpful. He thought that the issue lay in the division between what are international and what are domestic matters. He stated that what various governments ought to address themselves to is one thing, but that whether this should be an international function is quite another thing.

The Secretary stated that we should keep in mind the main objective at San Francisco, and that we should be sure that we do not reach out for too much or involve ourselves in too long a period of negotiation on these matters in the economic and social field.

Mr. Taft thought that an unduly large negotiating problem might not be involved since the objectives under consideration were not new: for the most part they merely restated objectives already agreed to internationally. With reference to Senator Vandenberg’s fears that the Organization might invade the domestic sphere, Mr. Taft emphasized that the Organization would merely promote the adoption of measures by the nations and that it would not of course undertake to do the job itself.

Mr. Bloom inquired what would, be the result if the nations refused to adopt the programs proposed by the Organization. Mr. Taft replied that of course if the nations were not going forward in the field of economic and social cooperation it would be a grave handicap. He then called attention to the objective for the promotion of full employment, stating that this objective was of special significance and importance because it involved not only the question of measures directed specifically at the employment problem but also the activities of all the specialized economic organizations which would be brought into relationship with the Organization. The inclusion of this objective in the Charter would provide a framework within which the activities of these specialized organizations could be coordinated.

Senator Vandenberg remarked that this country is split wide open on the issue of full employment. He questioned whether the American people would delegate to an international organization the right [Page 262] to advise the United States as to the methods it should use in maintaining full employment.

Mr. Taft stated that many foreign countries did not think that the matter of employment was a matter solely for domestic concern and that we had received several requests from other countries for the holding of a conference on full employment.

Mr. Eaton remarked that some people had even gone so far as to request that we should arrange at San Francisco for the maintenance of minimum wages, an 8-hour day and a 40-hour week etc. etc.

Mr. White stated that he was impressed that the main purpose of the San Francisco Conference would be security. He thought that there would be enough problems involved in that without injecting other matters. He wondered whether we could not have more general language dealing with the economic and social fields and leave it to subsequent conference to spell those objectives out.

The Secretary agreed with Mr. White’s view. Senator Vandenberg remarked that if we thrust these objectives into the San Francisco Conference the result would be the November election all over again. He repeated that he did not oppose these objectives in the abstract but that as a practical matter, so far as the San Francisco Conference was concerned, the faster we could reach agreement on the economic and social side of the Organization and get it out of the way the better off we would be.

Mr. Taft pointed out that even though the United States should not propose these objectives it is probable that other countries would bring them up. He mentioned that the Latin American countries were particularly interested in these fields and had expressed a definite desire for the inclusion of specific proposals. Also, in recent discussions with the British and Russians regarding an Advisory European Economic Committee,23 to deal with pressing wartime problems, the Russians had first indicated a willingness to establish such a Committee but had later taken the position that nothing should be done until the San Francisco Conference. We had received the definite impression from the Russians that they would make detailed proposals at San Francisco with regard to economic and social matters. In the light of these developments it could be anticipated that a great deal of pressure would come from other countries for, the inclusion in the Charter of detailed objectives such as those which had been recommended by the Executive Committee.

Senator Vandenberg thought that the arguments presented by Mr. Taft made it all the more necessary that in so far as these objectives [Page 263] were concerned the initial position of the United States delegates should be pretty close to the zero line.

The Secretary was of the opinion that if the gates are open to detailed negotiation on all these questions that would prejudice our getting the Economic and Social Council at all.

Mr. White felt that there might be some danger that these economic and social questions would dominate the time of the committees at the Conference. For example, the Australians would bring up proposals on the employment question and fight tooth and nail to have them adopted.

In the light of the discussion the Secretary proposed that, in lieu of the detailed objectives, the general reference to economic and social questions in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals should be adopted, possibly with some expansion within reasonable limits.

Dean Gildersleeve agreed with the Secretary. She thought however that there would be tremendous disappointment in this country unless some constructive step is taken at San Francisco in the economic and social fields. She thought therefore that something, some general phrase of a constructive nature should be included in the Charter. At the same time we should hold down the pressure which would come from other countries to spell out all these questions in detail.

The Secretary and Mr. Bloom agreed with Dean Gildersleeve’s statement.

Mr. Eaton said that his position on this whole question was in accord with that of Senator Vandenberg.

In connection with the point raised by Mr. White, that it would be an error to have language in the Charter which would seem to limit the subsequent development of the Organization in the economic and social fields, The Secretary and Mr. Bloom agreed that there should be flexibility for future developments and that some clause should be included in the objectives which would leave such flexibility and which would indicate a general direction in which the economic and social functions of the Organization might develop.

Mr. Taft doubted that it would be possible to make a limited expansion of the economic and social purposes of the Organization, that these purposes would need to be either brief and general, as in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, or comprehensive and in some detail, as in the Executive Committee recommendations. The Secretary asked the economic advisers to reexamine the question with a view to seeing whether something in the way of a moderate expansion of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals would not be possible.

In reply to a question from the Secretary, Mr. Stinebower stated that it was his view that the main question with regard to the Economic [Page 264] and Social Council was not one of spelling out in detail the objectives which it should pursue. The main point, he thought, was to make sure that the Economic and Social Council will have such objectives as will enable it to keep the specialized organizations on a consistent track. He pointed out in this connection that the Economic and Social Council is not intended to be an action body, but rather an advisory and coordinating body.

With regard to the general view of the Delegation that the Charter of the Organization should be in broad general terms, Mr. Cox suggested that if pressure should develop at San Francisco for the inclusion of detailed objectives, we should take the position that the Charter, being a constitution, should be general, and that detailed questions should be handled in a separate document which would be analogous to a statute. If the pressure is very great it might be possible to reach agreement at San Francisco on such a statutory document, which might be appended to the Charter.

Mr. White remarked that for the reason that they deal with details, statutes need careful consideration by a special body. It did not seem wise to attempt to negotiate such statutes at San Francisco. He agreed, however, that it would be a good idea to resist the pressure which might develop at San Francisco by insisting on the constitutional approach.

In response to a question from Mr. Taft, Mr. Pasvolsky stated that it was the President’s plan to set up a commission at San Francisco which would prepare for the first meeting of the General Assembly. This commission would be purely preparatory and recommendatory and would not have the powers necessary to make it a satisfactory mechanism through which agreement might be reached on detailed statutory agreements of the kind referred to by Mr. Cox or provided for in the recommendations of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Waring remarked that if the anticipated pressure does in fact develop at San Francisco the rest of the world may be disappointed if the American Delegation does not have some detailed views on the Economic and Social Council. He thought that we should be prepared to meet the views of other countries half way if we cannot make our own prevail entirely.

Mr. Taft thought, with regard to the preparatory commission referred to by Mr. Pasvolsky, that it might be possible to establish a subcommission to which might be entrusted the job of reaching agreement on detailed objectives in economic and social matters.

Senator Vandenberg , referring to the question of pressures from other countries at San Francisco, thought that these would be less important than the pressures which would come from groups at home. He stated that the CIO intended to present a detailed program at San Francisco and that our only defense would be the constitutional approach suggested by Mr. Cox and Mr. White.

[Page 265]

Mr. Bloom pointed out that our own Constitution is in general terms, the power-granting clauses being in brief and simple language. He thought that if we depart from this principle of simplicity and generality and tried to enumerate the various details, the negotiating task would be impossible.

In response to the Secretary’s question, Mr. Brannan stated that he was in agreement with the views expressed by the Secretary, Mr. Bloom and others on the question of detailed vs. general objectives.

In response to the Secretary’s question, Mr. Dulles stated that the Protestant church groups with which he was affiliated have a tremendous interest in this whole economic and social field, but that they have all felt that the present proposals regarding economic and social cooperation set forth in the Dumbarton Oaks documents are fully adequate.

The Secretary summed up the prevailing view of the Delegation: That the United States should support a brief and general statement of objectives along the lines of that set forth in the opening paragraph of Chapter IX of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, to which might be added a general phrase designed to cover broadly the constructive goals represented by the detailed objectives suggested by the Executive Committee. He requested the economic advisers to draft language on this point for the consideration of the Delegation.24 In closing the discussion on this subject The Secretary remarked that the economic advisers should not be discouraged by the action which the Delegation had taken. He wished to assure them that the Delegation fully appreciated the need for economic and social cooperation and fully supported the proposals for an Economic and Social Council.

Suggested Paragraphs 2 and 3.

Mr. Taft then discussed paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section A of Chapter IX as recommended by the Executive Committee. These paragraphs would 1) specifically authorize the Organization to initiate negotiations for the establishment of specialized organizations in the economic and social fields and 2) make it clear that the specialized organizations, as well as the Organization itself, would have responsibilities in these fields. In discussing these paragraphs Mr. Taft referred to the need for having an adequate mechanism to coordinate the activities of the various specialized international organizations, within the limits imposed by the fact that these specialized organizations, just as the General Organization itself, are the instruments of the governments. In this connection he referred to certain views recently expressed by people connected with the International Labor Organization that the ILO should be co-equal with the General Organization.

[Page 266]

Mr. Pasvolsky laid special emphasis on the clause in the suggested revision of paragraph 1 which would authorize the Organization to initiate negotiations for the creation of specialized organizations. He thought it was essential that such a clause be included in view of the fact that there were many fields of economic and social cooperation in which the assistance of the specialized organization would be necessary in the future and for which no specialized organization exists. Mr. Pasvolsky went on to say that, moreover, there was a special reason why this clause should be included: according to Mr. Evatt, Australian Minister for External Affairs, the Australians will not press for detailed objectives in the economic and social field if the inclusion of this clause is agreed to.25

The Delegation approved paragraphs 2 and 3 as recommended by the Executive Committee, without change.

Mr. Taft then discussed the suggested revision of the paragraph dealing with the establishment of relationships between the general Organization and specialized organizations (see page 4 of the paper on Section A). He stated that, under the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, relationships between the General Organization and the specialized organizations would be established by agreements to be negotiated between them. The Proposals do not mention, however, where these agreements should originate. The purpose of the suggested revision is to make it clear that the Economic and Social Council, rather than the specialized organizations, would have the authority to initiate such agreements.

In the light of the foregoing discussion the Delegation approved the proposed revision of paragraph 2 of the D.O.P. without change.

Section B: Composition and Voting:

The Delegation approved the proposal that this section of Chapter IX should remain unchanged, and specifically that no change should be made, as proposed by France, to provide that permanent seats on the Economic and Social Council should be accorded to member states of chief economic importance.26 In discussing this question Mr. Taft pointed out that the interdepartmental committee which had considered the matter was of the opinion that provision for permanent seats would not be essential, since the Great Powers would certainly be appointed as a matter of course. Mr. Pasvolsky added that this whole question had been gone into at Dumbarton Oaks and [Page 267] was settled on the basis indicated on the ground that the Economic and Social Council would be merely an advisory body.

Section C: Functions and Powers of the Economic and Social Council

Mr. Taft then presented recommendations for the amendments of points b, d, and g of paragraph 1 of this section.

With regard to point b, the proposed amendment, in addition to making certain minor drafting changes, would require that any recommendations made by the Economic and Social Council to specialized organizations or to governments be consistent with those adopted by the General Assembly. Mr. Taft explained that in connection with this point there had been considerable discussion in the interdepartmental committees concerned regarding the powers of the Council to make recommendations directly to governments on questions involving jurisdictional or other conflicts between two or more specialized organizations. The conclusion resulting from this discussion was that in all such cases the Council should make its recommendations directly to the Assembly which, after hearing the organizations concerned, could then make any necessary recommendations directly to governments. While this procedure is not spelled out in the proposed amendment to point b, it would seem to follow as a matter of course if the amendment is adopted, since any specialized organization would be free to address the General Assembly.

Mr. White referred to the language in b, reading “to make recommendations … with respect to international economic, social, cultural, and other related matters …”. He wondered whether there might not be need for some qualification in this language which would assure that such recommendations would be confined only to those questions that are proper subjects of international action and which would prevent the Council from recommending in respect of purely domestic matters.

The Secretary suggested that the economic advisers might look into the point raised by Mr. White with a view to seeing whether there was any real danger of that kind.

With regard to d, the proposed amendment would remove a limitation, implied in the present text of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, that in so far as the budgets of specialized organizations are concerned the Economic and Social Council could make recommendations only to the specialized organizations involved. Mr. Taft stated that there had been suggestions from some quarters that the budgets of specialized organizations should be directly voted by the General Organization. It was the view of the interdepartmental committees, however, that the powers of the General Organization in respect of the [Page 268] budgets of specialized organizations should be purely advisory, for a number of reasons. In the first place budgetary control is not in and of itself likely to be an effective device for the coordination of functions. Secondly, the specialized organizations will have definite and agreed-upon responsibilities assigned to them by their basic instruments, and centralized budgetary control might improperly infringe on the jurisdiction of the specialized organizations. Finally, some of the specialized organizations might have a different membership, or might have a different voting pattern, than the General Organization.

With regard to point g, Mr. Taft stated that the proposed amendment is designed to make the functions of the Economic and Social Council more flexible by leaving the way open for additional functions to be assigned by later intergovernmental agreements, subject, of course, to the approval of the General Assembly.

In the light of the discussion the Delegation approved the amendments to points b, d and g, without change.

Section D: Organization and Procedure

Mr. Taft read the proposed amendment of paragraph 1 of this section, which was designed to remove, as a constitutional requirement, the provision in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals for an Economic Commission and a Social Commission and, in lieu thereof, to provide that the Economic and Social Council should be authorized to establish such commissions, committees, or other bodies of experts as may be necessary.

Mr. Stinebower called attention to the fact that although the new language omitted the provision in the original paragraph 1 for a permanent staff to constitute a part of the Secretariat of the Organization, this omission was merely a drafting matter and provision for permanent staff in the economic and social fields would be taken care of under the Chapter of the Charter dealing with the Secretary-General and the Secretariat.

The Delegation approved the proposed amendment of paragraph 1 without change.

Mr. Taft then read the proposed amendment to paragraph 2 of this section, the effect of which would be to make it clear that the question of representation by specialized organizations on the Economic and Social Council, or on bodies established by it, should be handled on a reciprocal basis.

The Delegation approved the proposed amendment to paragraph 2 without change.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

  1. For information on the work of this Committee, see Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, p. 436.
  2. Article VII of the preliminary agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom regarding principles applying to mutual aid in the prosecution of the war against aggression, signed at Washington, February 23, 1942. For text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 241, or 56 Stat. (pt. 2) 1433. For documentation on economic discussions oh article VII questions, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 6180, passim.
  3. For documentation on Anglo-American-Soviet discussions regarding the establishment of a European Economic Committee, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 614 ff.; see also ibid., 1945, vol. ii, pp. 1411 ff.
  4. Memorandum of April 12 entitled “Suggested Revision of Chapter IX, Section A, Paragraph 1”, not printed.
  5. A resolution on general international organization; adopted at the Australia-New Zealand Conference, Wellington, November 10, 1944, stated in this connection: “The specialized bodies set up separately for various purposes of international welfare should be brought within the framework of the Organization.” (Report by the Australian delegates on the United Nations Conference on International Organization, 1945, p. 60.)
  6. Doc. 2, G/7(o), March 21, UNCIO Documents, vol. 3, p. 388.