501.BB/11–1946: Telegram

Senator Austin to the Secretary of State


828. Elections held in General Assembly plenary session today to choose three members of Security Council and six members of ECOSOC51 produced following results:

  • Colombia, Syria, and Belgium were elected to Security Council on first ballot, gaining 51, 45, and 43 votes, respectively. The unsuccessful candidates were India (13 votes), Norway (4 votes), and Canada, Cuba, Greece, and Turkey with one vote apiece.

Only four of the six ECOSOC posts were filled in course of four ballots held after Security Council election. In the first ballot, with 36 of the 54 votes cast as the necessary majority, the US, Venezuela, and New Zealand were elected, with 51, 46, and 44 votes, respectively. Lebanon received 41 votes on the second ballot and was declared elected. In the third and fourth ballots, taken after a luncheon recess, no candidate received the requisite two-thirds majority of the 52 votes [Page 227] cast. General Assembly President Spaak thereupon postponed subsequent voting until the next plenary meeting, which a member of the Secretariat indicated would be held on December 6.

Voting for the remaining eligible candidates in the first four ballots is shown in the table below:

Country 1st ballot 2nd ballot 3rd ballot 4th ballot
Lebanon 35 41 (elected)
Netherlands 33 30 29 28
Turkey 30 32 28 29
Byelorussian SSR 25 22 25 28
Yugoslavia 27 27 22 19
Poland 10 6 (eliminated)

Poland attempted to withdraw in favor of Yugoslavia after the first ballot, but Spaak held that this was not possible under the General Assembly rules of procedure.

On the first ballot, the US voted for itself, Venezuela, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Turkey and Poland. On the second ballot, the US switched its support from Poland to the Byelorussian SSR, acting in accordance with Dept’s position paper SD/A 31, of August 6, 1946. After the second ballot, USDel, following consultation with advisers and political officers, decided to vote for the Byelorussian SSR and The Netherlands for the two posts remaining to be filled. Byleorussian SSR was supported on the ground that it was important to give one seat to the eastern group, two of whose members are currently retiring from ECOSOC. The Netherlands was supported rather than Turkey because, after the election of Lebanon, this seemed most nearly in accord with the basis upon which our original slate had been selected and because it seemed undesirable from the standpoint of geographical distribution to elect a second Middle Eastern state to the Council. (Before the elections, commitments had been made to support both The Netherlands and Turkey).52

During the luncheon recess, this information was communicated to the Turkish Ambassador, who stated that he considered the US still bound by its commitment and any departure therefrom a violation of our pledge. As the General Assembly was just about to reconvene for its 4 p.m. session when this news was received, Senator Austin telephoned directly to the Secretary,53 and under his instructions voted on [Page 228] the third and fourth ballots for Turkey rather than The Netherlands,54 and voted for the Byelorussian SSR for the second remaining vacancy.

During the luncheon recess Gromyko had asked Senator Austin for the support of USDel for Byelorussia and Yugoslavia. After the telephone conversation with the Secretary and before the third ballot, the Senator told Gromyko that we would vote for Byelorussia but that we would not be able to vote for Yugoslavia.

  1. For General Assembly proceedings on the balloting at the two meetings on November 19, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, Second Part, Plenary Meetings, pp. 975 ff.; hereafter cited as GA(I/2), Plenary.
  2. During the luncheon recess and between the two plenary meetings this Delegation decision was communicated to the following by Mr. Raynor in separate conversations: Mr. Paul Gore-Booth of the British Delegation, Mr. Escott Reid of the Canadian Delegation, Minister Harry Andrews of the South African Delegation, Mr. Paul Hasluck of the Australian Delegation, and Minister Eriksson of the Swedish Delegation (501.BB/11–1946).
  3. See footnote 67, p. 237.
  4. Mr. Raynor records the following in a memorandum of November 19: “Following Senator Austin’s conversation with the Secretary, and in accordance with the Senator’s express instructions, I told Dr. van Roijen [of the Netherlands Delegation] that because of a commitment to Turkey we had found it necessary on the next ballot [the third ballot] not to vote for the Netherlands. I explained to Dr. van Roijen that up to this point we had been informing other Delegations that we were voting for the Netherlands and that the time of receiving these instructions did not permit us to inform others of this change. I stated that on the next ballot, in my opinion, this would mean the loss of only one vote to them and should not in itself do any particular harm to their candidacy. I explained, of course, that this decision had nothing whatsoever to do with our relations and high regard for the Netherlands but had been dictated by other broad considerations which he could appreciate. He was most courteous but obviously the information came to him as a serious shock and disappointment.” (501.BB/11–1946)