IO Files, Lot 60–D224: Box 89

Memorandum by Mr. Charles P. Noyes, Assistant to the United States Representative on the Preparatory Commission (Stettinius)9

The President, Mr. Byrnes and Mr. Stettinius covered the following points at their meeting August 23 at 4:40:

Stettinius presented his memorandum10 entitled “Matters to be Reviewed with the President and Secretary Byrnes”, covering eight points. The President and Mr. Byrnes spent some time going over these points. They were generally satisfied with all recommendations.

Mr. Byrnes made the point that he thought that having the United States, Canada, Brazil and Venezuela (or Mexico) on the Security Council at the same time was somewhat unbalanced since they were all from the Western Hemisphere. He thought we should think this out further.

In regard to the location of the permanent headquarters, the President said he definitely thought it should be in the United States, and Stettinius was authorized to say in London that we would be willing to have it in the United States if the majority of the other countries would like to have it here. The President said he thought the permanent seat ought to be in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, in view of the history and tradition surrounding it. Nothing was decided on this point. Stettinius pointed out that certain political [Page 1440] officers of the State Department thought it should be in Europe.12 Mr. Byrnes said he would give them a fair hearing but himself leaned towards the United States.

The President seemed receptive to the idea of the migration of meetings of the Assembly. Byrnes was not so strongly against the idea as he was earlier in the day. It was left that the matter would not be decided now but that we would be open-minded on the whole matter and continue to study it here and in London, and decide our position later. It was by no means a closed matter that we would be willing to have the first five meetings of the Assembly rotated in the five major countries.

Mr. Stettinius asked whether the President and Mr. Byrnes knew Adlai Stevenson; he said he thought he would be an excellent man for him to take to London as his deputy and first assistant. The President and Byrnes both agreed, and Byrnes said he would be delighted to put the papers through immediately.

Stettinius told the President he would be back in Washington probably within five or six weeks for consultation. The President said to return whenever ERS felt it necessary.

  1. Addressed to Leo Pasvolsky, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State; Alger Hiss, Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs; and John C. Boss, Deputy Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs.
  2. Dated August 23, supra.
  3. A memorandum of August 22, 1945, by John Hickerson, Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs, concurred in by H. Freeman Matthews, Director of that Office, to the Secretary of State, stated reasons for favoring locating the United Nations headquarters in Europe rather than in the United States. In essence the reasons were: (1) The headquarters should be in the territory of a state other than one of the “Big Five,” otherwise the state in which it was located would be suspected of exercising too much control over the organization; (2) location in the United States would tend to give the impression that the United Nations Organization was “an American affair”; (3) Europe has been traditionally the trouble center and headquarters should be near the trouble zone; (4) if located in the United States there will be a tendency in this country to say: “Oh yes, Stalin agreed to give the United States its world organization but took care to see to it that it was moved to an ivory tower in the United “States far from the scene of the strife where it would not interfere in any way with his writing his own ticket in Eastern Europe;” (5) the location in the United States would tend to promote a European regional organization; and (6) the interest of the American people is sufficiently strong for our Government to give its full support to the organization irrespective of where the headquarters may be located. (IO Files, Lot 60–D224, Box 89, USPC Gen. 8)