Editorial Note

For its diplomatic effort at London the United States Delegation had behind and in support of it the United States record established at the meetings of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations at London in November–December, 1945 and the planning operation organized concurrently in Washington within the Department of State itself. The latter was centered chiefly within the Office of Special Political Affairs, where, under the direction of Mr. Alger Hiss, the Director of the Office, experts drafted and re-drafted background papers, briefing papers and position papers, all finally pared down to three “books” containing the full recommendations resulting from the meeting of the Preparatory Commission, annotated agenda for each of the organs of the United Nations, and twenty-nine position papers establishing the United States position on as many substantive issues; these briefing books are located in the IO files; certain of the papers are printed at appropriate places in these volumes.

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This relatively simple preparation was matched by the uncomplicated program which the United States Delegation took to the first part of the first session of the General Assembly at London. The overriding objective, as stated by Mr. Stettinius, was that “of bringing the United Nations into operation”; and it is not too much to say that the principal United States effort at London went into matters involving launching of the Organization itself. This is traced in other pages of this volume, and, in printing here and in the general volumes of subsequent years, the record of general United States relations with the United Nations as an international organization, the emphasis is and will be placed on documenting the United States position with regard to constitutional and organizational questions vitally affecting the membership, structure, and functioning of the United Nations itself as a political institution.

United States policy planners though hopeful of a quick (perhaps 3-week) organizational meeting of the General Assembly nevertheless went to London anticipating General Assembly or Security Council consideration of certain substantive (that is, non-organizational) problems, and with an established United States position on some twenty-nine such issues. The major question raised at London involving the maintenance of international peace and security, aside from the problem of the international control of atomic energy covered elsewhere in this volume, concerned Soviet-Iranian relations; United States policy at the United Nations regarding this issue is comprehensively documented in Volume VII, pages 289 ff. Likewise though with lesser and varying degrees of emphasis such problems as were raised at London regarding Greece, Indonesia, Spain, and Syria and Lebanon are treated in other volumes of Foreign Relations for 1946; and similarly in years following 1946 such issues will be located in the appropriate regional volumes. The degree of comprehensiveness with which a given regional problem at the United Nations is documented in this series is determined by the position occupied by the United States in the United Nations diplomacy of the question, with due regard to the relationship of that issue to a vital United States national interest.

The documentation created by the United States Delegation at the first part of the first session of the General Assembly is found in the IO files. It is a slim collection by any standard, whether judged by the momentousness of the occasion or by the great mass of paper previously issuing from United States delegations at the planning conferences at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco or from United States delegations at later sessions of the General Assembly.