United States Delegation Working Paper23
Assignment of Positions in the General Assembly
Attached are a series of tables with suggested alternative distributions of positions in the General Assembly, and a table suggesting the composition of the Credentials Committee. These tables should be considered in conjunction with the notes which follow.
General Principle of Distribution
The President, 7 Vice-Presidents and 6 Chairmen of the main committees constitute the General Committee (total 14).
As a general principle, the distribution of seats should follow the distribution in the Executive Committee [of the Preparatory Commission], i.e., 5 major powers, 3 Latin American, 2 Dominion, 2 Eastern European, 1 Western European, 1 Middle Eastern. This principle is followed in all the attached tables.
The U. S. Candidate for President is Lie of Norway. The British candidate is Spaak of Belgium. Many Latin American states favor Evatt of Australia. The USSR may propose Poland. It is assumed that we will not agree to Poland, but may agree to one of the other candidates. In consequence the attached tables are made up on the basis of (1) Norway as President, (2) Belgium as President, and (3) Australia as President.[Page 135]
In Tables 1, 2 and 3, the Vice-Presidents are the Big Five, plus Poland and Uruguay. Poland is selected in order to short-circuit a possible Soviet drive for a Polish President. Uruguay is selected because (a) it would be desirable to have a Latin American Vice-President, and (b) as a consolation for Uruguay’s failure to be elected to ECOSOC.
It would be helpful for future development of the United Nations if it were possible not to establish the precedent that all of the Big Five must be Vice-Presidents, although it is agreed that all five should be on the General Committee. If at all feasible, one of the Big Five should take a committee chairmanship. Table IV is an illustration of such a situation in which either China or the USA would hold the chairmanship of the Political and Security Committee. In such event there would be three small power Vice-Chairmen. In the illustration Iran (or Egypt) is listed as the third of these posts.
The Russians may raise strong objection to Iran as a member of the General Committee, and may likely suggest Syria. Since Syria is a very small and very recent state and since the French would not be too pleased with such a choice, it is unlikely that Syria would find general favor. We have therefore suggested Egypt as an alternative to Iran.
The choice of committee chairmanships must be based partly on political considerations and partly on considerations of personal competence. These are difficult criteria to reconcile. The explanation for individual choices appears in footnotes to the Tables.
Latin American States
The Latin American states are allocated 1 Vice-Presidency, 2 committee chairmen and 2 committee vice-chairmen. Before definitive choices are made, they should be checked with the leading Latin American delegations. The reasons for the suggestions here given are as follows: Uruguay for Vice-President and Venezuela for a committee vice-chairman as consolations for failure to be elected to ECOSOC; Colombia as chairman of the Trusteeship Committee because of Zuleta’s24 competence; Mexico as chairman of the Legal Committee because of Padilla Nervo’s25 competence. It is likely that small Latin American states will object to these choices, since some of them desire to establish a principle of rotation. We recommend that such a tendency should be resisted. The General Committee is important and we [Page 136] should have important states and strong men on it. Colombia and Mexico will be exceptionally helpful because of the great ability and experience of the two men mentioned. In addition the U.S. can count on these men to give it strong and effective support, without any suspicion that they are acting as mere puppets. We have not discovered yet any outstanding men among the smaller Latin American states, and have found at least three delegates from such states who are unacceptable for any important posts. In order to leave some leeway for strong objections to a continuing important role for Colombia, we have suggested Venezuela as an alternative.
We have made no suggestions for choice of rapporteurs. It would be advisable to keep these positions open until after the committees have been organized in order to enable a choice to be made on the basis of competence of individuals, and also in order to give a greater leeway for distribution among states after the other posts have been filled.[Page 137] [Page 138]
- Transmitted to Mr. Stettinius on January 4 (en route) by Mr. Abe Feller of the United States Delegation Staff of Advisers.↩
- Dr. Eduardo Zuleta Angel of Colombia, President of the Preparatory Commission.↩
- Sr. Luis Padilla Nervo, Mexican diplomat and Mexican Representative at the San Francisco Conference.↩
- The footnotes attached to Table I appear in the original.↩
- Because of Fraser’s personal competence.↩
- As a consolation for not being elected President, and because the Australian delegation would very likely furnish a competent chairman.↩
- Because of Manuilsky’s personal competence. Some objection possible from British on ground that the Social Committee will handle the refugee question, but stronger political objections to an Eastern European chairman could be made with respect to almost any other committee.↩
- See explanatory memorandum [p. 134].↩
- A Middle Eastern state should be on general committee. Either Entezam of Iran or Badawi of Egypt should be able to handle the job, although neither would be ideal.↩
- See attached memorandum [p. 134].↩
- As a consolation for not being elected President.↩