Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Leo Pasvolsky, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State

Mr. Gore-Booth34 came in to see me for a general talk about the work of the Executive Committee. He told me that he has been transferred to London and, in addition to his duties at the Foreign Office, has been made Secretary of the British Delegation to the Executive Committee. In reply to my question he said that he and the British group are well satisfied with the work of the committee although they are rather appalled by the pressure of speed. He is quite sure that the Executive Committee will finish its work on the 18th of this month and that the Preparatory Commission could well assemble on the 8th of November. He is not so sure, however, as to whether it will be possible for the General Assembly to meet as scheduled on the 4th of December. I said that, in view of the fact that there is a period of four weeks between November 8 and December 4, there should be no objection to having the preparations for the Assembly go forward even if the Preparatory Commission should take more than, say, two weeks to complete its job. In fact, I said, the Preparatory Commission can work clear up to the time that the Assembly meets.

He asked me whether I thought, with regard to the seat of the organization, that the Commission would select the site or whether the United States Government would do that. I said that so far we have been thinking in terms of leaving the choice to the Commission and the Assembly and that, in fact, the Secretary made a statement to that effect in his press conference yesterday. I asked him how strong was the feeling of the British Government on the subject of location and he replied that while the British feel quite definitely that the organization should be in Europe, they are not going to sabotage the decision made and, in fact, Noel-Baker, who is personally particularly wedded to the idea of the European location, merely reserved the right to raise the question again. They are beginning to be somewhat worried for fear that their position might be interpreted as being anti-American when, in reality, they merely think that they have a very good case on general grounds for the position which they have taken in favor of the European location.

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In reply to his question as to what my impressions were of the work in London, I said that I thought that remarkable progress has been made and that the one thing that somewhat disturbed me was the difficulties of consultations among the future five permanent members of the Security Council. I said that in my judgment that type of consultation proved to be very useful at San Francisco and will certainly have to continue in the organization itself. He said that the objection to such consultation is, in large measure, a personal matter with Noel-Baker but he thought that the difficulty is not really a continuing one and will undoubtedly take care of itself when the Security Council begins operating.

  1. Paul Gore-Booth, First Secretary of the British Embassy.