RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 96: U.S. Cr. Min. 9 (Exec.)
Minutes of the Ninth Meeting (Executive Session) of the United States Delegation (A), Held at Washington, Thursday, April 12, 1945
Chairmanship of the Conference
The Secretary explained that the Soviets had requested that there be four Chairmen, one from each sponsoring government, who would serve in rotation. He pointed out that the British, the Chinese, and ourselves have expressed dissent to such a proposal on the grounds that it would be cumbersome, impractical and unrealistic. Senator Connally moved that we adhere to the custom of the host government [Page 279] having the Chairmanship. The Secretary pointed out that in addition to the factors enumerated above, it might set an undesirable precedent for future international conferences and even for the Organization itself. He indicated that the President feels we should stand firm on our position. Dean Gildersleeve inquired if the other sponsors would not be given due recognition if their heads of Delegation were named Vice Chairmen. The Secretary replied that was exactly what we had in mind. The Delegation approved our maintaining a firm position on this matter.
The Secretary opened this discussion by repeating clearly that the President had made a commitment at Yalta to support a proposal for the admission of two Soviet Republics as initial members of the international organization if the Soviets proposed this at San Francisco. The Secretary explained that we must find some way to handle this without embarrassment to the President or to the Delegation. He said we had been considering the possibility of having the President send a note of instructions to the Secretary which could be read at the Conference. Senator Vandenberg asked what the word “support” meant, pointing out that he would be our spokesman on the Commission involved. The Secretary expressed the view that we will have discharged our commitment if we cast our vote at San Francisco for the proposal.
Dr. Bowman felt there should be some definition of the basis on which it was done, otherwise a precedent would be set and the door wide open for later admission of the remainder of the 16 Soviet Republics, suggesting that perhaps, if politically feasible, a declaration of three as the limit might be the way to handle it. Congressman Bloom expressed the opinion that voting for three would not set a precedent for 16.
Dr. Pasvolsky pointed out that at the Conference a list of the initial members of the organization must be agreed upon and that presumably the Soviet proposal will be framed so as to request inclusion of the two Republics in that list. He said this undoubtedly at San Francisco should be handled in the Steering Committee, reciting the example of Denmark’s request for participation at Bretton Woods being so handled.38 He thought we should be absolutely certain that [Page 280] the question is handled in the Steering Committee and that we should receive clarified instructions on voting “yes” in the Steering Committee and then stop.
At the request of the Secretary, Mr. Dunn explained that the Soviets had requested that the two Republics be invited to send delegates to San Francisco and that we have refused this request. Congressman Eaton inquired what the “Quid pro quo” was for the agreement at Yalta and the Secretary replied vaguely that there were military and other considerations which could not be discussed. Senator Connally expressed the opinion that it was an unfortunate situation but that the Delegation must vote for the proposal.
Dr. Pasvolsky expressed the opinion that there was a bare chance that the Soviets might withdraw from this position. He said that when the question comes up it is probable that the collateral question will be raised as to what constitutes a national unit and if this is raised sharply with indications that a sharp debate will ensue they might possibly withdraw their proposal and raise it after the establishment of the organization.
In answer to Congressman Bloom’s inquiry, Messrs. Dunn and Pasvolsky stated that this was not a matter of the Soviet Union itself having three votes. Dr. Pasvolsky suggested that the Assembly would have to pass on the admission of additional Soviet Republics if that question were later raised.
At this point Dr. Pasvolsky stressed the importance of having a no voting rule at the Conference, that instead of asking for a vote the Chairman should inquire if any country raised objections and if they had objections inquire if they would make reservations or if they would place the matter before their legislative body for approval as is. It was indicated that if certain countries had objections these could possibly be negotiated out at the Conference.
On the proposal that the President send a letter of instruction which the Secretary could read at San Francisco, Senator Vandenberg said that this course of action would be the most powerful aid we could give to the Soviet proposal and Dr. Bowman said it would look as if the Delegation had a whip held over it. It was decided unanimously that if the Soviets raise the point the Delegation would vote for it but say nothing on the question and that there should be no letter from the President for public use although it might be well for the Secretary personally to have a letter of instruction on it.
- See Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944 (Department of State publication No. 2866), vol. i, pp. 101, 598, and 933. For documentation on the Bretton Woods Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 106 ff.↩