500.CC(PC)/10–945: Telegram

The United States Representative on the Preparatory Commission (Stettinius) to the Secretary of State

10541. Copre 223. Representatives of the Big Five met at my apartment at my request yesterday afternoon primarily to discuss candidates for Secretary General.

1. I urged that we begin to consider specific candidates among the Big Five immediately. It was necessary for the Five to agree before the Security Council could act. I stated that as a practical matter it was essential to prepare the ground carefully between now and December 4 in order that the United Nations choice of Secretary General might be ready to take up his duties immediately. I said that I was prepared to discuss specific names and hoped that the others were. I then put forward the names of Parra Perez,29 Pearson,30 Casey,31 Robertson,32 and Van Royen33 for consideration and discussion. I stated that these were all men from middle or small powers and that as I previously had told them my Government felt that it was preferable if possible to adhere to that principle.

None of the other representatives present was prepared to discuss individuals in any way. The French and the British Representatives [Page 1456] connected this question up with the final decision on the location in the US or Europe and suggested nothing could be done until that was finally decided. I urged that we could not wait until General Assembly settled this issue. We had to appoint a Secretary General in December. I urged that we might narrow down the choice to two or three men on the assumption that the location would be in US and another two or three men on the assumption that the location would be in Europe. When PreCo (Preparatory Committee [Commission]) reached an agreement on location we would then be in a position to move ahead on Secretary General. I received little encouragement from the British and French on this proposal. The Chinese and Russian Representatives agreed generally that we should move forward on this matter in the near future and should try to obtain agreement among the United Nations on a candidate so that he might be available in December. They were not prepared to discuss individuals. I urged that we have another discussion of this matter before the end of ExCom (Executive Committee) but am somewhat dubious of reaching any conclusions.

2. I also mentioned that we should if possible agree among ourselves on the president of PreCo (Preparatory Committee) and suggested the name of the delegate of the Netherlands who would probably be Van Royen or Van Kleffens as representing one of the smaller European powers sitting on ExCom (Executive Committee).

3. I also raised the question as to what was the next step on the matter of the permanent site. I stated that the position of the US Government was that assuming the UN agreed with the recommendations of ExCom (Executive Committee) to settle in US it was up to the United Nations themselves to choose the particular location. We would provide any information they desired. The British and the French indicated they did not feel it was necessary to take any further step until PreCo (Preparatory Committee) considered the recommendations of ExCom (Executive Committee). I said there was a good deal of material on specific locations which had been prepared by various cities and localities which it might be useful to analyze. Ambassador Koo suggested that a subcommittee be appointed to review this material and any other which might be available and report to PreCo (Preparatory Committee). He suggested that it might be advisable that this subcommittee go to the US to obtain further information and perhaps to look at possible sites. I stated that this would be entirely agreeable and my Government would assist in every way. The British and French did not appear to favor it and suggested that the Committee might also consider sites in Europe. There was disagreement as to whether ExCom (Executive Committee) could do this in view of its recommendation. No decision was reached but I believe [Page 1457] Ambassador Koo may make his proposal regarding a subcommittee in ExCom (Executive Committee) within the next few days.

  1. Caracciolo Parra-Perez, Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Lester B. Pearson, Canadian Ambassador to the United States.
  3. Richard G. Casey, formerly Australian Minister to the United States and at this time Governor of Bengal.
  4. Norman A. Robertson, Canadian Under Secretary of State for External Affairs.
  5. J. H. van Royen, Netherlands Minister of State.