RSC Lot 60–D 224, Box 96: US Cr Min 45

Minutes of the Forty-Fifth Meeting of the United States Delegation, Held at San Francisco, Friday, May 18, 1945, 9 a.m.

[Informal Notes]

[Here follows list of names of persons (30) present at meeting.]

The meeting was called to order by the Secretary at 9:00 a.m.

Committee IV/2—Legal Problems—Recommendations to United States Delegation

Mr. Hackworth presented to the Delegation the paper entitled Recommendations to United States Delegation on Basic Issues, Committee IV/2, Legal Problems, US Gen 122, May 16, 1945.15 At the suggestion of the Secretary, Mr. Hackworth read through the recommendations, the Delegates speaking only when there was some [Page 791] question regarding the recommendation. In this way the following decisions were reached by the Delegates:

(1) The formulation of Subcommittee IV/2/A on privileges and immunities for the Organization16 should be supported by the United States.
(2) The recommendation of Subcommittee IV/2/A that the Assembly be authorized to recommend definition of details of privileges and immunities should be supported by the United States.
(3) The United States delegation should take the position that no provision concerning juridical personality of the Organization should be included in the Charter.
The United States should support the provision for registration and publication of treaties limited to such treaties and agreements made subsequent to the effective date of the Charter. The representatives of the United States should be authorized to agree to either of the following alternative legal consequences of non-registration: (a) that no unregistered treaty or agreement shall be binding, or (b) that it shall be disregarded by any organ of the Organization.

In connection with the question whether the Charter should provide that members agree that obligations inter se which are inconsistent with the Charter are abrogated, Mr. Dulles suggested that it can be assumed that the Charter itself by its very existence would prevail over inconsistent obligations. He questioned the usefulness of the following statement under the recommendations:

The United States should support the position that the Charter contain only a statement of the principle that the Charter shall prevail over inconsistent obligations between members.

Mr. Bowman suggested that it might be stated that the Organization will reconcile treaties under the Charter. Mr. Dunn felt it was enough to say that the rules of the Charter would prevail. Senator Connally suggested that the Charter would provide authority to the Council to reconcile treaties with it. Mr. Sandifer suggested that the last sentence as quoted above be omitted, Mr. Dulles urged that only the brief statement be retained “that the United States support the position that the Charter contain only a statement of the principle that the Charter shall prevail over inconsistent obligations between members”. Mr. Pasvolsky suggested that members themselves would not release themselves from inconsistent obligations. The very existence of the Charter would constitute a release if the proper provision was included. Mr. Hackworth agreed that probably it would be best to use only the one sentence. Mr. Hackworth then continued with the discussion of paragraphs d, e, and f. The Delegation agreed to the following recommendations:

The representative of the United States on Committee IV/2 should approve the principle that the Charter provide for the initiation [Page 792] of studies and the making of recommendations with a view to the development of international law, but should take the position that this is governed by the joint proposal for amendment to Chapter V, Section B, paragraph 6, now before Committee II/2.17
The United States representative on Committee IV/2 should take the position that the question of the Charter providing for the reconsideration of treaties and the criteria for such reconsideration is one for consideration and decision by Committee II/2 and has already been dealt with there by the United States amendment to Chapter V, Section B, paragraph 6.
The United States should leave the initiative to other nations in initiating arrangements for the taking over by the Organization of certain functions, facilities, properties, archives, et cetera of the League of Nations, but should collaborate in devising appropriate legal measures of accomplishing these ends agreed upon by other appropriate committees. It is considered probable that the method proposed will be the appointment by the Conference of a commission of the United Nations to negotiate with a comparable commission of the League.

Mr. Pasvolsky then returned to a discussion of paragraph c. Mr. Dulles objected to putting in a provision requiring states to secure release from inconsistent obligations or obligating them not to enter into inconsistent obligations. Such a provision, he explained, implied that treaties inconsistent with the Charter persisted, whereas in his view the Charter should be considered to have prevailed over any inconsistent obligations. Mr. Pasvolsky indicated that Article 20 of the League Covenant had some particularly good language on this question. Mr. Stassen agreed with Mr. Dulles that there would be only a tendency to stir up trouble if a special reference was made to the obligation of states to secure release from inconsistent obligations. Mr. Dulles agreed that this would be the only effective provision on this matter.

The Secretary asked for any further comments. Senator Connally indicated his agreement with Mr. Dulles’ suggestion to adopt only the first sentence of the recommendation.

Mr. Pasvolsky stated that the questions just dealt with would be considered in the Subcommittee of Five.

Independence a Goal of the Trusteeship System

Mr. Stassen noted that in considering the working paper on trusteeship one crucial issue had arisen. China and the Soviet Union wished to introduce the word “independence” as an objective of the trusteeship system. We, on the other hand, with the French and the British, favored the phrase “progressive development toward self-government”. Our position was, he said, that there was no limit to [Page 793] self-government. It might lead to independence. The word “independence” however suggested full national independence and was a provocative word. Our position, he explained, was based on the feeling that we should not go beyond the area of agreement that was possible among the four powers. Representative Bloom noted that Mr. Stassen’s speech to the Committee18 the previous day was one of the best he had ever heard and thought it should be distributed to the members of the Delegation. Mr. Stassen pointed out that from our point of view the phrase “progressive development toward self-government” covers independence. If one goes beyond that phrase there was danger that we would be interpreted as butting in on colonial affairs. This would mean that we were going beyond what we were supposed to do at San Francisco.

Mr. Notter indicated that he would like to make a statement on this question, although he recognized that it did not lie within his special field. The British and Russians, he felt, would be in an excellent position to take advantage of our opposition to the term “independence”. This position would be very unpopular in the Far East. To take any position short of independence would simply not satisfy the colonial peoples. If we maintained the present position we would be spearheading for the British, Dutch, and Belgian colonial empires.

Mr. Taussig stated that he would like to read a brief memorandum that he had prepared on this matter. Mr. Taussig then read as follows:

“The issue of independence as an ultimate aim for dependent peoples in the statement of objectives of the trustee system has been raised by the Chinese and the Russians who press their point with vigor. The opposition has been offered by the British and the French. The United States position, at the moment, leans toward the British and French views.

“This issue can have serious implications for the future relations between this country and the Far East in particular and with the world’s dependent peoples in general. I raise the question as to whether it would not be better in this instance for the United States to support the Russian and Chinese position. This would be so for the following reasons:

  • “(1) Independence as a goal for all peoples who aspire to and are capable of it has been the traditional and sacred policy of this Government. It has been exemplified in our policy in the Philippines, and it has been reiterated on numerous occasions by President Roosevelt and former Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
  • “(2) An excellent opportunity is afforded to make a profitable gesture on behalf of the peoples of the Orient as well as those in Africa and the Caribbean.
  • “(3) The Russians especially and the Chinese will be able to capitalize on their stand for ‘independence’ against the opposition of the non-Asiatic peoples of the West unless we take a strong position”.

Mr. Stassen pointed out that his response to this position was to point to the Philippine Islands as a concrete example of our policy. While it was unfortunate to oppose Russia on this matter, we also did not wish to find ourselves committed to breaking up the British empire. Mr. Stassen said he felt that our position was relatively clear in that we went right on to say after the reference to self-government that we were also to advance the rights and the standard of living of dependent peoples.

Mr. Stassen added that the word “inter-dependence” rather than “independence” was the word of the future and he felt that the concept of progressive development toward self-government was as far as one could go in the direction of independence. He added that, if we sided with the Chinese and the Russians on this issue, there probably would be no trusteeship system since the British will never accept that position. Mr. Rockefeller asked what policy we were going to follow towards Puerto Rico. He thought that in deciding that practical issue we could best get at the essence of the matter. Representative Bloom questioned whether there was any sound analogy in the situation of Puerto Rico and trusteeship areas. He pointed out that we had bought and paid for Puerto Rico and that they were asking not for independence but for statehood.

The Secretary indicated that he did not believe that there was any question where we stood as a nation. The amendments that we had supported on human rights and on equal rights and the self-determination of peoples were directly related to the peoples of dependent areas. He believed that we could stand on the statement made by Mr. Stassen.

Mr. Taussig said he would like to raise one further point. He said he had discussed this whole question with Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Hull. As late as March 1519 Mr. Roosevelt, when presented with the question whether he would “settle for self-government”, had said that he would settle for nothing less than the objective of independence. Mr. Taussig explained that in talks with the President it was clear that he felt that the word “independence” rather than progressive self-government would alone satisfy the Oriental people. To deny the objective of independence, he felt, would sow the seeds of the next world war. The President had felt that we should take the leadership and indicate to the Oriental peoples that we do not back the imperial role of the handful of non-Asiatics. Mr. Taussig pointed out that Mr. Hull had [Page 795] never receded from the word “independence” as an objective of the trusteeship system. Mr. Stassen asked whether it was our intention to give complete independence to Hawaii. Mr. Taussig said he was under the impression that we would have adequate protection under the trusteeship system for our strategic areas, but that on this question the opinion of the military should be heard.

Mr. Stassen noted that China and Russia will do a good deal of construing of whatever we say, and that we should not put in words that can be used adversely in future propaganda. Independence, he felt, was a concept developed out of the past era of nationalism. It suggested, and looked in the direction of, isolationism. We should be more interested in inter-dependence than in independence and for this reason it might be fortunate to avoid the term “independence”. Mr. Pasvolsky pointed out that a formula had been worked out earlier in connection with the statement of principles on trusteeship under which peoples would become self-governing either on the basis of independence or on the basis of a voluntary association with another state or group of states.

Mr. Hickerson suggested that it might be possible to state independence as the goal with the qualifying statement “when peoples are ready for it or deserve it”. Mr. Dulles Said he tended to agree with Mr. Stassen that the concept of independence might not assist in the establishment of future peace. Just as in the last war when there was criticism of those who set up many independent states in Europe, we would be subject to the same type of criticism. It would be progress if we could speak of self-government integrated within an overall framework. Mr. Dulles added that the church groups with which he was associated were satisfied in all their statements with self-government or autonomy as objectives of the trusteeship system and had never insisted on independence. Mr. Dulles said he would be satisfied with the formula presented by Mr. Stassen.

The Secretary asked Mr. Bowman for his views. Mr. Bowman stated that he thought we were face to face with a real problem, basically it was the problem of Russia promising to do one thing and doing another. The marginal peoples surrounding Russia are a fertile ground for the sowing of seeds of independence. Russia, he felt, was trying to substitute what she wanted in the areas now dominated by the Netherlands and Britain. Russia now faced one of her greatest opportunities. When perhaps the inevitable struggle came between Russia and ourselves the question would be who are our friends. Would we have as our friends those whom we had weakened in the struggle or those whom we had strengthened? Would we have the support of Great Britain if we had undermined her position? Mr. Taussig said he could not accept Mr. Bowman’s conclusion that by abandoning the objective of independence we would strengthen our [Page 796] hand. He believed we would play directly into Russian propaganda, and would in fact reinforce their hand, particularly in the Far East. Mr. Bowman stated that in order not to play directly into anybody’s hand we were establishing the system of trusteeship.

Mr. Stassen pointed out that he was still trying to negotiate the position adopted as early as April 2620 when this country favored the statement “to promote the political, economic, and social advancement of the trust territories and their inhabitants and their progressive development toward self-government in forms appropriate to the varying circumstances of each territory”. Mr. Stassen asked whether it was now the intention of the Delegates to change their position.

Mr. Pasvolsky pointed out that this was an extremely crucial issue and that there were important arguments to be made on both sides. He thought that too much emphasis on independence as the sole goal was bad. On the other hand, emphasis on independence was in our tradition. Earlier, in order to meet this dilemma, we had suggested a double formula by which a dependent territory might develop either in the direction of independence or in the direction of voluntary association with another, state or group of states. This formula still seemed useful, and Mr. Pasvolsky wondered whether Mr. Stassen had brought it to the attention of the British. Mr. Stassen said he had tried out the formula informally and that the British had opposed it.

Representative Bloom commented that the way the argument went the previous day the Soviet Union seemed to want something more than was suggested in Mr. Pasvolsky’s formula. Mr. Rockefeller noted that the backward peoples faced a basic conflict. If they achieved independence, the assistance, which they needed from the larger states to advance their economic and social status, would collapse. He thought that this conflict was handled as satisfactorily as it could be in Mr. Stassen’s formula. Mr. Notter pointed out that there was no fundamental difference in objective between those who favored self-government and those who favored independence, since self-government implied the possibility of independence. The difference was in the approach, and he felt that in opposing independence we were putting ourselves in a position to be played for suckers.

Mr. Pasvolsky thought we could dress up the formula read by Mr. Stassen with more emphasis on voluntary association and with greater emphasis on independence as an ultimate goal. The Secretary urged that an effort be made in the direction suggested by Mr. Pasvolsky and wondered whether it would not be possible to include the word “independence” in the formula to be adopted. Mr. Taussig indicated that in the last analysis he thought the dependent peoples would prefer their integrity under the United States to the proclamation of Russia [Page 797] that it favored their independence. Representative Eaton felt that the basic problem was who was going to be masters of the world. He said he did not want to vote in this Delegation in any way that would put Russia in control of the world. It was as he saw it a struggle as to whose ideals were going to dominate. Mr. Stassen stated that there was plenty of room for both the ideals of this country and of Russia if they competed on a proper basis.

Mr. Sandifer questioned whether it was not primarily a matter of tactics at this point should we put ourselves in the position of actively opposing the goal of independence?

Mr. Stassen asked whether the Delegation still supported the statement they had agreed to on April 26. Dean Gildersleeve replied in the affirmative. Senator Connally thought it was entirely satisfactory. He was afraid that, if the word “independence” was put in, there would be a good deal of stirring up of a desire for independence and the orderly procedure in the direction of self-government would be interrupted. Senator Vandenberg and Representative Eaton indicated that they favored the formula as stated by Mr. Stassen.

Mr. Bowman indicated that he thought Mr. Sandifer’s question as to the soundness of our strategy was an important one. Mr. Stevenson agreed that we were getting into hot water when headlines appeared in the paper to the effect that the “United States Fight Pledge on Colony Liberty”. Mr. Stassen noted that following the headlines in the New York Times quoted by Mr. Stevenson there was also the statement “Promise to promote self-government inherently means independence”. Mr. Stassen added that he had stated on the record at a recent press conference that self-government in our view included independence. The Secretary added that this question had been already to some extent clarified. He thought it was crystal clear that self-government meant independence for those who had earned it and indicated the ability to use it. Mr. Pasvolsky pointed out that we should get the British themselves to make the same interpretation. He wondered whether it would not be possible to get the British to agree that self-government in some cases would mean independence—independence for those who had proven their capacities to assume the responsibilities of independence. Mr. Pasvolsky stated that he felt it was too bad not to get the word in somehow although he could see the difficulties. He thought the next step would be to talk to the British on a possible interpretation along the lines he had suggested, and perhaps make a public statement.

It was then generally agreed that the best approach for the time being would be to maintain our position stated in the draft of April 26, as quoted above, assuming that implied in this position was the goal of independence for those who had gained the capacities to assume [Page 798] its responsibilities, and that we would seek to obtain a similar interpretation by the British.

Reference to Education

Dean Gildersleeve stated that, in view of the proposal by the consultants in agriculture, education, and labor to include in the Charter reference to education, she felt we should either urge the inclusion of the reference to education in the Charter or explain to them why we were not pushing the matter. Dean Gildersleeve added that, if she were sure that the inclusion of this reference would not imperil the final ratification of the Charter, she would favor it. The Secretary wondered whether it would be possible to include the word “education” in connection with the reference for encouraging education in each country. He thought there must be some wording whereby we could get around the objection to that word. Senator Vandenberg said he had two objections to the use of the word “education”: In the first place, it would be a damaging symbol that would be picked up in the Senate debate. Secondly, he was not at all impressed by hearing that millions of people were in favor of the inclusion of “education” in the Charter. He had heard that kind of argument before. He pointed out, however, that the use of the word was less important than the way it was used. The Secretary thought that, if the word was mentioned in the right place and in the right way, it would not cause embarrassment. He indicated that he would like to include the word if possible.

Senator Connally pointed out that one difficulty was that education had never been a federal matter. If provision was made in the Charter to “promote education” we would be confronted in the Senate with the argument that we were making education an international matter. He did not believe, however, if it was properly stated, that reference to education would prevent the ratification of the Charter.

The Secretary suggested that the question be analyzed and that, if agreeable, Dr. Bowman, in cooperation with Dean Gildersleeve and such members of the staff as he wished to call upon, should prepare a draft statement. Dean Gildersleeve indicated that the present situation was that paragraph 1 had been adopted without the word “education” in it. Mr. Bowman thought that we should not dodge the issue presented by the consultants. He thought we had a good example of what we had in mind in the Office of Education which did a very useful job collecting statistics on educational matters. Dean Gildersleeve indicated that that is what they had in mind for the international organization—the exchange of information and help on matters of education when requested. Senator Connally indicated that the exchange of educational materials was of course a very [Page 799] important function. Mr. Pasvolsky added that the exchange of educational experience was also very useful.

Representative Bloom felt that, if the word “education” was included in the Charter, there was a very real danger of a fight in the Senate. He reminded the Delegates of the difficulties over reference to education in the UNRRA agreement.

The Secretary asked that Mr. Bowman prepare a draft statement, as he had suggested earlier, which would include the word “education” in Chapter IX and could be brought to the Delegation in the form of a recommendation at the evening meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Doc. 412, IV/2/A/2(1), May 18, UNCIO Documents, vol. 13, p. 778.
  3. Questions of political cooperation and of adjustment of situations likely to impair the general welfare; for plan of work of the Committee, see Doc. 443, II/2/19, May 19, UNCIO Documents, vol. 9, p. 60.
  4. Doc. 404, II/4/17, May 18, UNCIO Documents, vol. 10, p. 452; the working paper was taken up paragraph by paragraph with Commander Stassen assuming chief responsibility for explanation of the paragraphs (US II/4 Doc. 6, May 17, not printed).
  5. See memorandum of conversation, March 15, p. 121.
  6. See draft United States proposal on arrangements for international trusteeship, April 26, p. 459.