IO Files: USGA/GEN/3

Position Paper Prepared in the Division of International Security Affairs


4. Special Agreements To Provide Forces

statement of the problem

Is the United States willing to give real power of enforcement to the Security Council? If so, what is its attitude concerning the special agreements to provide forces?


The policy of the United States is to support full-heartedly the United Nations. To doubt that is to doubt the good faith of the United States. Therefore, as Mr. Truman further spelled out the policy, “We must fulfill the military obligations which we are undertaking as a member of the United Nations Organization.” (Navy Day Speech, October 27, 1945).10

The priority which should be assigned to the agreements has always [Page 719] been recognized since, even prior to Dumbarton Oaks, the United States position has been that the Security Council, “as soon as it comes into existence, should initiate the formulation of plans for, and the negotiation of, such an agreement …” (ISO 55 of August 17, 1944).11 SWNCC agreed that “An important problem immediately facing the Security Council and the Military Staff Committee will be the preparation and negotiation of agreements” (SWNCC 219 of November 8, 1945).12 However, because of the far-reaching importance of the special agreements set forth in Article 43, the present feeling is that actual “negotiations regarding special agreements cannot be initiated until substantial preparations have been carried out.” (Preco 115 of September 27, 1945).11

An examination of the documents relating to the negotiation of the special agreements, under consideration in the Department since 1942, discloses that the Army and Navy have generally worked on the technical aspects of the agreements. For instance, the United States’ present position against an international force results, in part, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff statement that “To maintain such a denationalized, integrated force as a military entity on an effective footing, would involve serious technical difficulty [difficulties].” (Admiral Leahy13 to the Secretary, ISO [to the Secretary of State] 18 of March 28, 1944).11 It is understood, however, that the problem is now under further consideration in the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

proposed u.s. position

(Answering ad seriatim the questions raised in Mr. Notter’s14 memorandum of November 29, 1945).11

1. When and how should the Security Council initiate the negotiation on the special agreements?

There must be an early consideration of the negotiation of the special agreements since their conclusion is prerequisite to the effective functioning of the Security Council. A satisfactory procedure would be for the Security Council, upon the advice of the Military Staff Committee,

to decide what should be the total pool of forces,
to initiate the negotiations between itself and the Permanent Members,
to draw up the remaining special agreements including therein, in so far as possible, only those forces which the Member states had already indicated a willingness to contribute. Some small states may contribute no forces, but only facilities, a port or an airfield.

A satisfactory form for the agreements would be for each Member or group of Members to sign an identical general agreement with the Security Council, followed by an individual, separate Annex providing for the specific forces or facilities or both. The terms of each Annex would be dependent upon the overall strategic situation and upon the military capacity of the signatory Member or groups of Members.

2. Should the United States specify that the initiation of agreements should be among the Permanent Members of the Security Council first and then among all other states, or groups of other states?

Yes, the United States should support this procedure. While no special proviso to this effect need be included in the special agreements, there should be an informal understanding among the Permanent Members of the Security Council.

3. Should the agreements be negotiated directly between the Security Council and Members or groups of Members, or first among groups of Members and then between the Council and the groups of Members?

The United States takes no strong position in this connection. However, it does feel that the agreement should be signed with groups of Members only when those Members themselves suggest such a procedure. Furthermore, it should be remembered that, when a group of Members sign an agreement, an Amendment to the terms of that agreement with one Member may, constitutionally, require the assent of the other signatory Members.

4. Should the United States approve or disapprove inauguration of negotiation by a specified date, say July, 1946?

The United States should not support any specific target date, but should stress speed.

5. Should we insist upon negotiating full agreements covering all categories of forces and implements of war or should we favor making a series of agreements, the first, for example, to concern Air Forces?

The United States should support the initial negotiation of the full agreements, but with provisions therein for amendment.

6. Should we approve or disapprove preparations for the regulation of armaments concurrent with the foregoing negotiations?

Preparations for the regulation of armaments may be made concurrently with, but not dependent upon, the foregoing negotiations. [Page 721] Although we strongly believe that armaments should be regulated, we do not believe that armaments can be effectively regulated until the special agreements, at least those between the Security Council and the Permanent Members, have been concluded and the security system is under way that is envisaged in the United Nations Charter.

  1. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1945 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1961), p. 431, or Department of State Bulletin, October 28, 1945, p. 653.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed. Regarding the role of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee in the formulation of United States policy with respect to United Nations forces, see footnote 73, p. 754.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Fleet Adm. William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the United States Army and Navy; the President’s Representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Harley A. Notter, Adviser, Office of Special Political Affairs.
  8. Not printed.