Memorandum Prepared in the Office of Special Political Affairs36

Division of Responsibility Between OA and IS on Matters Which May Come Before the General Assembly and the Security Council

It is the primary responsibility of SPA within the Department to initiate, to schedule, to assign and to carry through to completion and approval or adoption positions on problems coming before the organs of the United Nations. It is desirable for each organ of the United Nations to be served by a single division of SPA which would be conversant with the problems and technically familiar with the procedures of the organ that it serves. Thus, IS should be equipped to handle all matters coming before the Security Council, OA to handle all matters coming before the General Assembly, and DA to handle Trusteeship Council matters.

In the normal case, there will be no overlapping in the work of IS and OA. There are some cases, however, where under the Charter the Security Council and the General Assembly are both necessarily concerned with the same subject matter.

In connection with the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly, under articles 11 and 14 of the Charter, may make recommendations concerning the principles of cooperation in maintaining peace (including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments), concerning any question relating to the maintenance of peace and security, and concerning the peaceful adjustment of any situation likely to impair the general welfare or friendly international relations. These last two powers are subject to the provisions of article 12 which recognizes the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security in disputes and situations requiring prompt and effective action.

[Page 17]

The admission, suspension and expulsion of members is the responsibility of the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Security Council (Articles 4, 5 and 6).

Moreover, regional problems, arrangements and agencies, for which in general OA has primary responsibility, involve matters of interest to all the principal organs of the United Nations.

Accordingly, both OA and IS have an interest in such matters in order to be equipped to serve the United States representatives on the the two organs.

In order to minimize the duplication of effort between the staff of OA and IS and to provide the geographic desks and other offices in the Department with a single contact within SPA, the following procedure is proposed:

(1) Matters relating to the Maintenance of International Peace and Security.

On matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security, primary responsibility for the coordination of the United States position will be assigned to IS in cases where it is anticipated that the matter will come before the Security Council and to OA where it is anticipated that the matter will be first discussed in the General Assembly or where general political conditions exist which if permitted to develop might create a situation or dispute before either organ.

Determination of the allocation of primary responsibility shall be made by agreement between the appropriate Associate Chiefs of the two divisions. Such determination should be made as soon as either division first becomes aware of the potential issue and SPA should be informed thereof.

The division having primary responsibility would be in close contact with geographic desks and other interested divisions of the Department. It would keep the division having secondary responsibility informed of the progress in the preparation of the case, and would in general consult with such division before taking any action. There should be close contact between the officers in the two divisions, so that in the event that a particular case is first brought up in the Security Council or the General Assembly contrary to prior expectation, the division serving that organ would be able to make effective preparation and presentation with the collaboration of the other division.

To the extent that it is possible, only one division, namely, the division to which primary responsibility is assigned, would be in contact with the geographic desks, ORI, and other interested divisions within the Department, although in general there should be prior agreement between OA and IS on specific assignments outside the [Page 18] Office—ORI, for example. This may not always be possible as in cases where IS is concerned with a problem in a geographic area which may be brought before the Security Council and OA is making a study of the general overall political developments within that area. In such cases, the officers in OA and IS should be alert to make clear to the geographic desks the nature of and distinction between their respective lines of work.

(2) Admission to Membership.

OA shall have primary responsibility to coordinate the U. S. views on the question of admission to membership generally and with respect to the admission of each particular applicant.

IS will be kept informed of and collaborate in such coordination and, when the policy is formulated, will be responsible for its transmission to the U. S. Representative on the Security Council in the light of the procedures of the Security Council.

(3) Suspension and Expulsion of a Member.

The same division of responsibility shall apply as in the case of admission to membership.

(4) Agreed Assignment of Matters relating to the Maintenance of International Peace and Security Presently in Prospect.

In a conversation between officers of OA and IS, the assignment of primary responsibility was agreed to in respect of the following matters which may come before the United Nations:

The Iranian situation—IS
Polish forces in northern Italy—IS
Turkish Straits—OA
Turkish-Soviet Frontier—OA
Independent [Independence?] movements in Indochina—OA, DA
Indochina border dispute—OA
British forces in Egypt—IS
The Argentine situation—OA
Admission of Albania—OA
Soviet forces in Bornholm—IS
Transjordan—OA, DA

In addition, OA is preparing general papers on the broader aspects, historical and political, of the general situations of which the above specific cases are current manifestations. For example, papers are in [Page 19] process of preparation on the political aspects of the presence of foreign troops in various areas throughout the world and on the political significance of the extension of Russian influence in the Middle East.

  1. Transmitted to the Director of the Office (Hiss) by the Chief of the Division of International Organization Affairs (Sandifer) under a covering memorandum of March 21 in which Mr. Sandifer wrote: “We have agreed with IS on the attached memorandum concerning the division of responsibility between OA and IS on matters which may come before the General Assembly and the Security Council. … Unless you have some objection, we will proceed on this basis.” In a notation the Deputy Director of the Office (Ross) wrote “OK JCR”.