Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman

Subject: Charter for the International Organization.

The American Delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization is unanimously agreed that we should propose a few alterations in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals during the San Francisco Conference.60 We will reserve our final positions [Page 354] on all of these, of course, until we learn the views of other governments. I am listing below for your information the most important points involved:

Purposes 61

Inclusion of a statement that the organization should act in accordance with the principles of justice and equity in adjusting or settling disputes, and that the organization should foster the development of international law.
Inclusion of a statement on the promotion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms (in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals this is stated in the chapter on economic and social cooperation only).

Principles 62

Change the expression “sovereign equality of peace-loving states” to “the sovereign equality of all member states”.
Make clearer that members must refrain from using any but peaceful means in settling their disputes and must use such means pursuant to the provisions of the Charter.

The General Assembly 63

Clarify to show that the General Assembly can at all times discuss any question bearing on the maintenance of peace and security, and that the limitation on its power to make recommendations concerning matters which are being dealt with by the Security Council should be confined to specific recommendations.
Give the General Assembly power to determine the qualifications of membership, and to admit new members by its own action unless the Security Council interposes objections for reasons of security.
Apportionment by the General Assembly of expenses among the members should be on the basis of an appropriate pro-ration.
Add to recommendatory powers, so can make recommendations relative to the promotion of measures to establish justice, to foster the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to encourage the development of rules of international law.
Extend power to recommend measures for peaceful adjustment to include situations likely to violate the principles enunciated in the Atlantic Charter and situations arising out of any treaties or international engagements.
[Page 355]

The Security Council 64

Eliminate provision that regional subcommittees of the Military Staff Committee can be established.

Maintenance of Peace and Security 65

Propose that the exclusion from the scope of the Security Council in peaceful settlement of matters within the domestic jurisdiction of a state should be stated without the present qualification that those matters must be ones which “by international law” are “solely” within domestic jurisdiction.

Amendments 66

We should hold to the present proposals, but serious consideration is being given to proposing or supporting a possible additional pro-Vision to the following effect:

“A general conference of the members of the United Nations may be held at a date and place to be fixed by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly with the concurrence of the Security Council, for the purpose of reviewing the Charter. Each member shall have one vote in the Conference. Any alterations of the Charter recommended by a two-thirds vote of the Conference shall take effect when ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by the members of the organization having permanent membership on the Security Council and by a majority of the other members of the Organization.”

Questions Deferred

We have been considering, but have deferred, making decisions on the following questions:

Wording of the Preamble.
Defining the right of self-defense.
Possible changes in the wording in the chapter on economic and social cooperation.
Possible withdrawal provision.

E. R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. The proposed amendments outlined in this memorandum were based on a paper entitled “Tentative U.S. Revisions of the Proposals”, which had been discussed by the delegation paragraph by paragraph, and on the resultant memorandum, “Substantive Decisions on the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals Reached on April 18 by the American Delegation [On basis of draft, April 16, 1945 (yellow paper)]”, neither printed (U.S. Doc. Und. 1 and U.S. Del. 65/G–35).
  2. Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, chapter I (1–3); the Proposals are printed in Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 890.
  3. ChapterII (1 and 3).
  4. Chapter V, section B (2, 3, 6, and 7).
  5. Chapter VI, section D (2).
  6. Chapter VIII, section A (7).
  7. Chapter XI (2).