RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 99: UNCIO Cons. Four Min. 1

Minutes of the First Four-Power Consultative Meeting on Charter Proposals, Held at San Francisco, May 2, 1945, 9 p.m.

[Informal Notes]

[Here follows list of names of participants, including members of Delegations of the United States (13); United Kingdom (6); Soviet Union (10); and China (5).]

Mr. Stettinius said that he thought that everyone understood the purpose of the meeting. It was a meeting of the sponsoring governments—the governments who participated at Dumbarton Oaks and who have agreed to consult with each other concerning the amendments and changes which they wish to propose in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals. He said he was sure that everyone in the room hoped that it would be possible to have the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals approved with just as few amendments as possible. However, there are a few fundamental matters which all four governments had in mind which would require very careful consideration. He added that with the fast moving events in Europe and the extreme importance and necessity of many of the Foreign Ministers now in San Francisco returning home to their posts to resume their important duties at the earliest possible moment, he was hoping under the leadership and unanimity and complete collaboration of the four governments represented here, that it would be possible to complete the Charter successfully in a short time.

Mr. Molotov expressed his agreement.

Mr. Stettinius called upon Dr. Soong to present to the group the proposals of the Chinese Delegation for amendments or changes in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.

[Page 549]

Dr. Soong said that the proposals of his Delegation were short and he hoped, sweet. He asked Ambassador Koo to present them to the group.

Ambassador Koo said that the Chinese had only three proposals to present and that they thought they were, and hoped that they would be acceptable, because they were practically all in the nature of a clarification rather than any substantial change. He inquired whether the Chairman would like to have him read them.

Mr. Stettinius asked if these changes were in addition to those submitted in the conversations in Washington last fall.67 Ambassador Koo said that they were. In response to a question from Mr. Stettinius The Ambassador said that the text had been distributed to the Delegations. Mr. Stettinius said that the United States Delegation had not received them. Mr. Molotov said that his delegation had received them but had not had time to study them. In order that their [there] might be a complete understanding of the Proposals Mr. Stettinius suggested that Ambassador Koo read them (Copy attached—US Gen 47).68

With respect to the first Chinese amendment which was a proposal for the insertion of a new paragraph between paragraphs 2 and 3 in Chapter VIII, Section B, Ambassador Koo said that this matter might be already implied in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals. However, his Delegation thought it was desirable to include an explicit provision so that if the Security Council should be called upon to deal with the situation, especially a situation which might have the possibility of threatening or developing into a breach of peace, the Security Council should have the power to adopt preliminary measures to keep the status quo so that the situation would not be aggravated during the period required for consideration of the dispute. That was the purpose of his amendment.

Mr. Stettinius said that he thought it was clear and asked Dr. Koo to proceed.

Ambassador Koo read the second Chinese amendment which was for the addition of a new paragraph 6 at the end of Chapter VII. He said that this amendment was intended to promote the judgments of the International Court of Justice in case of any refusal on the part of any party to a case before the Court to carry out the judgment of the Court. The Court should refer the matter to the Security Council to consider what steps it might take in order to assure the carrying out of the judgment. This, again, was more in the nature of amplification of something already agreed to in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.

Ambassador Koo said that the third amendment proposed by the Chinese Delegation involved an addition in two places, Chapter VI, [Page 550] Section D, paragraph 5 and Chapter VIII, Section A, paragraph 2. The purpose of his Delegation was to make it certain and clear to non-member states as well as to the Organization itself, that when a non-member state comes before the Organization, either to defend itself or its own rights, or in a dispute brought by a member, the position of the non-member state should be quite clear. It should be understood that such non-member state accepts the obligations following from the consideration of the dispute by the Council.

Ambassador Koo said that this was all of the amendments that the Chinese Delegation had to propose except the three which had been agreed to at Dumbarton Oaks with the United States and the United Kingdom and which had subsequently been sponsored by all four governments.

Mr. Stettinius said that he thought that the four governments should now clarify their procedure. The question was whether the group would like the various suggestions and amendments all presented by all the governments in order that there might be a complete picture and then return to discuss them or whether it would be preferable to discuss the separate amendments as we go along. He inquired what was the preference of the group.

Mr. Eden suggested that amendments should be discussed as they were presented. Mr. Stettinius said that this did not mean that there would be any attempt to reach final decisions this evening. This might be difficult. We have only had the Soviet suggestions69 for one day and we would like to have further time to study some of them. Some we would be prepared to speak on now, but not all of them. Mr. Eden said that decision could be reached on some and position reserved on others. Mr. Stettinius said that this was agreeable.

Mr. Molotov suggested that the amendments should be taken up point by point. This was agreed.

Mr. Stettinius said that we would proceed on this suggestion and proposed that the group turn to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and review the text. The following procedure might be followed: Each paragraph of the original Dumbarton Oaks Proposals would be read and only one of the four Delegations having a suggested amendment would bring it up. This was agreed.

Mr. Stettinius proposed to turn to Chapter I and asked Mr. Pasvolsky to read the amendments suggested by the United States Delegation as they came up, paragraph by paragraph.

On Chapter I, Paragraph 1, Mr. Soong said that the Chinese had no amendment.

[Page 551]

Mr. Pasvolsky said the United States Delegation had a change to propose in Paragraph 1, that is, the insertion of the phrase “and with due regard for principles of justice and international law”.

(For text of amendments suggested by United States Delegation see “Changes in Dumbarton Oaks Proposals as suggested by United States Delegation”, May 2, 1945, copy attached.)70 The United States suggestion was agreed to.

Mr. Molotov said the Soviet Delegation proposed the insertion in Paragraph 2 of the phrase “based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. Mr. Pasvolsky said that in view of the introduction of the words “international law” in the first paragraph, the United States would drop its suggestion for reference to it in the second paragraph and let the provision stand as it was in the original text leaving the word “appropriate” in. Mr. Molotov said that he thought it would be well to accept the Soviet amendment to Paragraph 2. Mr. Eden said that his Delegation favored this amendment. The United States and Chinese Delegations also approved. The amendment was declared accepted.

The Soviet Delegation proposed the addition to Paragraph 3 of the phrase “and encouragement of respect for human rights in particular the right to work and the right to education and also for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, language, religion or sex”.

The United States proposed the addition of the word “cultural” and of the phrase “to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

Mr. Eden said that he agreed with these amendments, the only question was whether this point should be covered here or in the Preamble. Mr. Molotov thought the American amendment was acceptable subject to slight additions. Mr. Stettinius said that he would like to have the paragraph read as suggested by the United States. The other three Delegations indicated approval.

Mr. Molotov said that this was subject to slight additions, reading the changes proposed by the Soviet Delegation.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that we had encountered some difficulty with the proposed enumeration of rights. There are likely to be a good many other rights which other governments would insist on including.

Mr. Molotov said that when human rights are referred to everyone would ask what rights are intended. It seemed to him that it would be proper to indicate fundamental rights—the right to work because it would be in the interest of the people and in the interest of mankind to secure that right.

Senator Vandenberg said that our difficulty was that when you start to particularize there are so many other fundamental rights not [Page 552] included in the language proposed, for example, the right of freedom of religion, freedom of press and other similar freedoms. The United States Delegation felt that it would be necessary to go even further if the rights proposed by the Soviet Delegation were to be enumerated.

Mr. Molotov said that if we were to specify fundamental rights, those proposed would represent a great advancement. If it were desired to add others, he would have no objection. The paragraph might be amplified otherwise, “human rights” would be rather vague. The right to work and the right to life—it would be impossible for a man to make his living without working. The right to an education should be guaranteed by all United Nations for this would promote the civilization and opportunity of all mankind.

Senator Vandenberg reminded Mr. Molotov of the American Bill of Eights which includes these and numerous other basic rights. He would hesitate to pick out one or two of them for special mention. Senator Connally said that the naming of only one or two rights would mean the exclusion of others, and to name them all would be difficult and undesirable—the freedom of religion, the right to hold private property, trial by jury and many others. The Senator thought it would be a mistake to go beyond a general statement on the subject because if you start to particularize you will have to have a long list.

Mr. Stettinius said that he was entirely in accord with the views expressed by the other members of the United States Delegation.

Mr. Molotov said that it appeared that if the words “in particular the right to work and the right to education” were deleted, the remainder of the Soviet amendment would be acceptable. In view of the objections raised he thought that these amendments ought either to be referred to a Committee for consideration or deleted here at once. Mr. Stettinius thought they should be deleted and Mr. Molotov said he had no objection. With this change the paragraph was agreed to including the insertion of the word “cultural” as suggested by the United States.

Turning to Chapter II, Paragraph 1, Mr. Pasvolsky said that the United States proposed in Paragraph 3 to strike out the words “peace-loving states” and to substitute the words “its members”. This was accepted.

Mr. Pasvolsky said that the United States proposed in Paragraph 3 to strike out the words “settle their disputes by” and to insert the phrase “in the settlement of their international disputes use”. He explained that the principal reason for the change was that there is an ambiguity in this paragraph as to whether the obligation is to settle all disputes or to settle disputes by peaceful means. With respect to the question of the differences between Paragraphs 3 and 4, the United States Delegation felt that Paragraph 3 deals with situations [Page 553] in which disputes arise. The point in Paragraph 3 is that if there is a dispute and there is a settlement of that dispute it should be by peaceful means. Paragraph 4 is broader in scope, but it is the reverse of Paragraph 3 in that it provides that member states shall refrain from the threat or use of force. Paragraph 4 is applicable to all situations and not merely to disputes. There might be unilateral action in connection with which force or threat of force might be implied. Paragraphs 3 and 4 complement each other and Paragraph 4 in addition carries us a little further than Paragraph 3 because it relates not only to situations in which a dispute exists, but to any situation in international relations.

Mr. Molotov suggested that the word “international” be inserted before the word “disputes” in Paragraph 3. He did not see any reason for further change in this paragraph as it seemed to him that Paragraphs 3 and 4 taken together covered all that had been suggested. They cover cases in which there are disputes as well as cases in which there are no disputes.

Mr. Dulles suggested that we assume a claim is made upon the Soviet Union—does the Soviet Union undertake to submit that claim to international arbitration? He did not think that was the intent of the provision. What was intended was that a nation should not resort to force and violence as a means of settling their disputes.

Mr. Molotov repeated that Paragraphs 3 and 4 covered all cases. Mr. Eden said that he would be quite content with Paragraph 3 as it stands. Dr. Soong said that he felt that the original text was all right.

Senator Vandenberg said that he would like to know how important Mr. Dulles thinks this matter is. Mr. Dulles replied that he thought that the language as it stands would probably be interpreted in the sense of the suggestion the United States had made. Personally he would be willing to accept the language as it is.

Mr. Molotov indicated his agreement. Paragraph 3 was therefore accepted with the addition of the word “international”.

Mr. Pasvolsky said, with reference to Paragraph 5 of Chapter II. that there had been some misunderstanding about this paragraph which could easily be corrected by a drafting change. He said it might be necessary to clarify the meaning by making the paragraph read somewhat as follows: “all members of the organization shall give every assistance to the organization in accordance with the provisions of the Charter”. Dr. Soong and Mr. Molotov indicated agreement.

No changes were suggested in Chapter III or Chapter IV.

Mr. Stettinius said that the changes which had been tentatively suggested by the United States on Chapter V, Paragraphs 1 and 2 had been withdrawn by the United States Delegation. The United [Page 554] States Delegation had also withdrawn its suggestions on Paragraph 5. The Soviet Delegation had a change to propose on Paragraph 6. He asked Mr. Molotov to present this change.

Mr. Molotov said that he thought there was no need for him to justify the suggested change as everyone present was familiar with it.

Mr. Stettinius said that the Soviet amendment was very similar in its first part to that suggested by the United States. Mr. Eden suggested that this paragraph be taken in two parts. He thought there was agreement on the first half down through the words “rules of international law”. He said that his Delegation agreed with the first sentence as contained in the Soviet draft.

Senator Vandenberg said that the Soviet amendment was different from that of the United States but that it represented an improvement. Mr. Molotov said he was/very happy to hear this statement.

Mr. Stettinius suggested that the full Soviet proposal down through the words “rules of international law” be approved. This was agreed. Senator Vandenberg added “provided we get the rest of it”.

Mr. Molotov said it would be interesting to know what additions were suggested in the second part. With reference to the second part Mr. Jebb said that it must be clear that the Assembly must not make recommendations in matters which the Security Council is handling. The United Kingdom Delegation also proposed that references to the Atlantic Charter should be omitted here. They consider it undesirable to refer to another document in the Charter.

Senator Vandenberg said that the British proposal went a long way toward achieving the result we are all after. He could not overemphasize the importance of this matter from the standpoint of ultimate Senate ratification of the document. The chief purpose of the language, which is the only thing left in dispute between the British proposal and that of the United States is to make plain the fact that we are not forgetting the purpose for which the war has been waged. We want to leave open for discussion our recommendations in the application of these purposes and situations likely to impair the general welfare. It seemed to the United States Delegation that somewhere in this continuing effort, there should be a literal tieback into the objectives which move all of us in going to war. He thought that the Charter would have a very great weakness in its appeal to public opinion in the United States, if it were not possible to identify in it anywhere the purposes for which we have gone to war.

Mr. Eden said that he agreed but inquired whether it would not be better to have a reference in the Preamble. Senator Vandenberg said that this would be satisfactory.

Senator Connally said that he had no comment to make except that he assumed that the Assembly might discuss and recommend, [Page 555] but that it would have no power to undo treaties, and that it was clear that the recommendation would not go to the Security Council, which would have no power in this respect. He agreed thoroughly with the idea of having a forum for the consideration of this question. He would not be willing to give either organization the power to call nations in and say, “Here, your treaty is wrong.” He said that making the reference in the Preamble suggested by Mr. Eden was agreeable to him.

Senator Vandenberg said that if Mr. Molotov wished a statement made regarding the reasons for the proposal under discussion he would be very glad to make it. Mr. Molotov said he would like to hear the statement. Senator Vandenberg said that we are constantly told that all of this latitude for investigation and report by the Assembly already exists in the broad language of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, to which all the sponsoring powers have agreed. If this is true, it seemed to, the Senator that there could be no objection to making it specific. If there is objection, it lends dangerous weight to critics of Dumbarton Oaks to [who?] deny that the power is already implicit. Frankly, he was thinking of critics in the United States Senate who have already indicated this as their line of attack on the Charter. These critics say that the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals freeze the post war world in a rigid pattern created by expedient decisions made during the war. In addition there will be future decisions at the peace table of which we are not now cognizant. They are asking our people to underwrite the unknown even with the lives of our soldiers and our sons. They say we are not exploring the opportunity of correcting our mistakes by specific means, but the only way to do it is by the use of armed forces at our disposal.

The Senator said that he wanted to add this personal appeal. He was in a very peculiar position—representing the minority side of the Senate. It was from that side of the Senate that the votes must be produced for the ratification of the Charter. He wanted to produce them. He was precisely in the position of Prime Minister Churchill when he said “If you will give me the tools, I will give you the results”.71 This provision in Paragraph 6 was the tool the Senator had to have.

Mr. Molotov said that his first question was whether the American Delegation agreed with the views expressed by Senator Vandenberg. Mr. Stettinius said that as Chairman of the United States Delegation he could say that this was the Delegation’s unanimous view.

Mr. Molotov said he would like to know exactly what text was being discussed—the British proposal or the United States draft. [Page 556] Senator Vandenberg said that we were discussing the British proposal with the understanding that there would be a reference to the Atlantic Charter in the Preamble to which reference should be made at this point.

Mr. Molotov inquired how his Delegation could make objections to what it had not had a chance to read. This was a very difficult thing for him to do.

Mr. Stettinius suggested that our United Kingdom colleagues say what their objections to the United States text was so that it could be changed right here. After a brief exchange Mr. Eden suggested that it might be better to take the matter up on the basis of the United States draft. Mr. Stettinius asked Mr. Molotov if he cared to give his comments on this draft.

Mr. Molotov said if the group desired he would make a preliminary comment. First he would like to refer to what Senator Vandenberg had said. The Senator seemed to have omitted the fact that it would not be convenient to refer to the Atlantic Charter in this document. Mr. Molotov thought first of all that we should make no reference to the Atlantic Charter. He thought that we should all agree that it would not be proper in drafting this very important document to refer to any other document. If it should be considered necessary to add certain provisions, they should be added in substance and not by reference to other documents. He thought this was the customary rule.

Mr. Molotov said that it was suggested, with regard to treaties that reservation should be made with regard to these treaties so that they may be revised. He would say on behalf of the Soviet Government that it would not agree to this and he would explain why. Of course, there are now treaties in the world which would be permanent, however, there is nothing permanent in the world. But still obligations are obligations. If there is a treaty signed on the one hand by the Soviet, United Kingdom and United States Governments, and on the other hand by one or more of the defeated powers, he thought such a treaty should be observed. The governments put their signatures to such treaties in order to make them firm. Not a single one of these treaties has been implemented as yet and he could not agree that we should begin by undermining their force. The Proposals, as adopted at Dumbarton Oaks, contain the provision that the Security Council and the Organization itself are entitled to intervene in any situation which is likely to endanger the peace. The Proposals contain no restrictions on this point but if we are now to draw a reverse conclusion that we can impose such a restriction this would in effect involve a revision of these treaties which would mean weakening them.

Mr. Molotov said we must consider to whom this would be helpful. He thought it would be helpful only to those whom we have fought [Page 557] and are fighting, and while fighting have shed much blood. We are happy in the treaties which we have signed in the course of the war—the treaties agreed to by us and our allies. From the point of view of the Soviet Government, he thought that the problem is to determine the limitation and the strength of these treaties. Have we had the right to conclude such treaties? We not only had this right but we had won it by shedding blood, the treaties have been signed, and if we are to undermine the strength of these treaties that would mean undermining the strength, the prestige and sovereignty of those states which have signed. If we were to impair the treaties, we should undermine the sovereignty of the states which have signed. The Soviet Government could not accept such a procedure and will continue to maintain its sovereignty. It considers that every state which has signed such treaties will do the same.

It was agreed on the suggestion of Senator Vandenberg that this matter should be carried over for later consideration.

The group turned next to Chapter VI, Section A, on which the United Kingdom Delegation had a proposal (See copy attached, US Gen 37).72 It was thought that the third sentence of this section reading “The General Assembly should elect six states to fill the non-permanent seats” should be modified by adding the following clause, “due regard being paid to the contribution of members of the Organization towards the maintenance of international peace and security and towards the other purposes of the Organization”.

Mr. Eden said that this proposal had originated with the Canadian Government.

Senator Vandenberg said that it seemed to him that this proposal would recognize the so-called middle powers and totally eliminate the possibility of small states ever having a chance to become members of the Security Council.

Mr. Molotov said that the United Kingdom proposal was acceptable subject to slight changes. He suggested that the words “other purposes of the Organization” should be omitted and the word “especially” inserted before the word “contributions”.

Mr. Eden agreed to the second part of the suggestion. He did not understand the purpose of the first one. He was thinking of the past experience of the League when many members never paid their subscriptions at all and got all the advantages. However, if his colleagues were ready to accept the suggestion he would accept it.

Mr. Stettinius suggested that if we recognized one criteria for the election of non-permanent members we were opening up many others. He said this would open up the whole regional question, the matter of geographical position, populations and a number of other questions [Page 558] which must be taken into account before this matter could be dealt with if the provision is to be stated in other than very general language. Dr. Soong agreed with Mr. Stettinius saying that otherwise small nations would have no voice or chance at all.

Mr. Eden remarked that some states like Canada considered that they were entitled to some recognition because of the contribution they had made in the present war. Mr. Stettinius said he recognized fully the great contribution which Canada had made.

Senator Connally said that it seemed to him that one of the substantial objections to this proposal was that it impinged upon the freedom of the Assembly. There is already some resistance here and in the country to the immense powers being conferred upon the permanent members of the Security Council. The British proposal would aggravate that objection. Only those states which are strong and powerful would be given seats. It seemed to the Senator that if the Assembly was to be given power to elect the non-permanent members it should have the power to determine the conditions of election. If such a criterion as that proposed were meritorious it would appeal to the Assembly. It seemed to him that small powers would raise serious objections to the adoption of the proposal as it would be construed as a build-up of another favored group.

Mr. Stettinius said that he agreed with the Senator.

Mr. Eden thought that it would be desirable to give this subject more thought.

Mr. Stettinius called attention to the fact that it was after 11 o’clock and suggested adjournment until tomorrow morning.

  1. Doc. 1, G/1 (a), May 1, UNCIO Documents, vol. 3, p. 25.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Amendments to Dumbarton Oaks Proposals suggested by the Soviet Union, May 2, not printed.
  4. Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, p. 679.
  5. “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job”, was the concluding sentence in a world broadcast, February 9, 1941, printed in The War Speeches of the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill, compiled by Charles Eade (London, Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1951), vol. i, p. 343.
  6. Amendments to Dumbarton Oaks Proposals as suggested by the United Kingdom delegation, May 2, not printed.