The Secretary of State to The Honorable Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.

Dear Ed: I was very glad to receive your letter of May 18 setting forth your comments on the memorandum I sent you recently concerning the organization of our United Nations mission in New York.

You have contributed so much to the United Nations that I know you will always be interested, and you must feel at liberty at all times to give us your advice. We will need it and we will want it.

Because I am sure that your interest and concern in the United Nations have not been affected by your resignation and because I [Page 31] hope to continue to benefit from an exchange of views with you on this and other subjects, I am writing now in some detail in answer to your letter of May 18. My thought is that you may wish to submit this letter to Mr. Johnson with your comments. I have directed Department officials to continue their consideration of the several suggestions made by you.

It was certainly not my intention in the memorandum I sent you to set forth a plan for several autonomous missions in New York without provision for central coordination. The memorandum recognizes the need for collaboration among the various U.S. Representatives at the seat of the organization. Similarly, it recognizes the principle of central coordination to the extent that application of this principle seems feasible at the present stage in the evolution of the New York mission.

As I pointed out in my letter of April 22, this whole question “must be subject to developments as we gather experience in this field”.

The Security Council first met in New York on March 25, the Economic and Social Council less than two weeks ago, the Trusteeship Council has not yet been organized. Little more than two months have passed since we first organized the Delegation in New York. I have thought, and still think, that it would be a mistake to attempt to lay down any hard and fast lines of organization at such an early stage in the evolution of our representation to the United Nations.

On the other hand, it occurred to me after our various talks on the subject that a useful purpose would be served by putting my views down in memorandum form with the object of evoking your comments and those of others concerned. In this way, we would be keeping abreast of the evolutionary process and in a position to make adjustments in the organization as we gathered experience and as developments might warrant.

The memorandum I sent you, therefore, set forth the bare facts of the provisions of the United Nations Participation Act with regard to the various United States Representatives provided for therein and the simple, basic responsibilities of each to the extent they can be envisaged at this time and in the present state of organization of the New York mission.

In his capacity as Representative in the Security Council, the basic responsibilities of the “representative of the United States at the seat of the United Nations” are clear. However, any additional responsibilities which he may have are not defined in the Act, either explicitly or, in my view, implicitly. As pointed out in my memorandum, the Act merely provides that the representative at the seat “shall perform such [Page 32] other functions in connection with the participation of the United States in the United Nations as the President may from time to time direct.” It is with particular reference to these “other functions” that I feel we must be guided by experience.

However, it seems to me that there are, even at the present time, a number of basic administrative responsibilities, including the budget and the provision of certain administrative services, which might well be coordinated under the United States Representative “at the seat.” My suggestions in this regard were set forth in the last part of the memorandum I sent you. The memorandum clearly recognized that additional functions would, no doubt, develop in the future.

In this connection, I certainly agree with you that the activities of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and of all the other United Nations organs and agencies are inter-related and that coordination of our participation in all these varied activities is essential. I also agree with you, first, that much of this coordination will take place in Washington, and, as you know, we have effective machinery for this purpose in the Department; and, second, that comparable coordination at the seat of the United Nations should be developed. I agree with you that there should be liasion between the Representative on the Security Council and such Committees as the Military Committee—in fact, with all Committees. However, I believe that our representation to the United Nations is not analogous in all respects to one of our missions abroad, primarily because the basic organization of the United Nations is not analogous to the basic organization of a foreign government with a single executive head. For this reason, and because of the fact that United Nations headquarters have been established in New York, it seems to me that it is going to be very difficult to define rigidly or precisely the degree of coordination of policy which will be required in Washington as compared with New York.

Bearing in mind the relationships to the President of the various United States Representatives as set forth in the United Nations Participation Act, I agree with you that relationships among them should be based primarily on cooperation and collaboration. In the last analysis, far more can be accomplished on this basis than by formal attempts to define authority which are more likely than not, in my opinion, to lead to organizational rigidities. In the process of cooperation and collaboration and as we learn by experience, a particularly large measure of responsibility for improved coordination at the policy level will fall upon the United States Representative at the seat.

Have been hoping to get time to write you a personal letter.

Sincerely yours,

[James F. Byrnes]
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P.S. Since you resigned subsequent to your letter of May 18, I am taking the liberty of sending a copy of this letter to Mr. Herschel Johnson who, because of his position as Deputy, is now acting as our representative to the Organization.

[On May 31 the White House released to the press the text of a letter from Mr. Stettinius to the President in which Mr. Stettinius submitted his resignation as United States Representative at the United Nations; President Truman’s acceptance letter was released on June 3; for texts see Department of State Bulletin, June 9, 1946, pages 988 and 989. On June 5 it was announced that the President had named Senator Warren R. Austin, of Vermont, to replace Mr. Stettinius. Although the Congress was still in session on that date President Truman did not send Senator Austin’s nomination to the Senate until January 8, 1947, it being necessary to await the expiry of the 79th Congress which had enacted the legislation establishing the office of the United States Representative at the Seat of the United Nations (and in the Security Council) and of which Congress Senator Austin had been a member (see Article I, Section 6, of the United States Constitution). The constitutional ban implicit in this situation did not extend to Senator Austin in his capacity as representing the United States at the second part of the first session of the General Assembly. Mr. Herschel V. Johnson, who had been functioning as Deputy United States Representative in the Security Council since May 8 (he had been nominated to the position on April 11 while United States Minister to Sweden), assumed charge of the United States Delegation to the United Nations (“the Permanent Delegation”) almost immediately (June 6) after Mr. Stettinius’ resignation, although there seems to have been no formal action taken by the Department in this regard.]