IO Files: USGA/Ia/Del. Min./Exec/3 (Chr)

Minutes of the Meeting of the United States Delegation (Executive Session), Held at London, Claridge’s Hotel, January 25, 1946, 9:30 a.m.


[Here follow list of names of persons (21) present, and Delegation discussion of preceding items on the agenda.]

Court Slates

Mr. Hiss reported that he had circulated a memorandum on Court slates (USGA/Ia/Le Com 9)86 and would be glad to receive any comments. He described the present picture as being one in which nine of the fifteen permanent seats on the Court were about settled with well qualified men who came from the proper judicial systems to achieve a balance. He further reported that Secretary Byrnes thought87 that, with the exception of the case of Mr. Hackworth, the United States should not tell other states for whom to vote although the United States was announcing its own slate. Of the six places left it was expected that three would go to Latin America. The staff was now awaiting to hear from Mr. Braden88 on the possibility of naming an Argentine [Page 171] judge. Senator Connally interjected that if the Delegation in London was to be controlled by Mr. Braden he was not for it. Mr. Stettinius urged that the Department slate be obtained and shown to the Delegation as quickly as possible. If there were objections they could be entered then. He asked what delayed the Department decision pointing out that the Security Council was going through its agenda rapidly. He thought that the Court would probably be before the Council on next Wednesday. He urged that the Department be wired for instructions before that time. Mr. Cohen agreed and urged that the Department be asked to send its best judgment by Monday at the latest.

Mr. Bloom asked whether the Department should not be informed regarding the Delegation’s attitude on Argentina. He predicted that the United States might get into a jam if Argentina were placed on the Court slate.89 In this he agreed with Senator Connally. Mr. Cohen pointed out that the case was peculiar because the particular Argentine candidate (Podesta Costa) was pro-democratic and pro-American. Mr. Hiss stated that the only question was whether Mr. Braden thought it was wise to vote for Argentina. He pointed out that the Argentine candidate is supported unanimously by Latin American states and he would receive support elsewhere. Mr. Bloom reiterated that the support for Argentina would cause a lot of trouble at home.

Mr. Dulles observed that if he had any responsibility in choosing individual judges and if he had to account at home for his choice then he would have to consider the matter quite carefully and at greater length. He stated he would prefer to have this matter handled on the basis of instructions from the President and the Department of State. Hr. Hackworth stated that he thought the matter was so important that no Delegate should follow instructions blindly because the Statute specifies that judges are to be elected on the basis of qualifications, not nationality. He thought Mr. Dulles should exercise his own judgment.

Mr. Stettinius pointed out that any Delegate could offer advice to him as head of the Delegation but he was not required to take such advice. He said that any Delegate could feel a responsibility but he himself had the responsibility of casting the vote. Mr. Walker said that he was unable to find information regarding the qualifications of the various judges although he had watched the matter carefully. He stated that he would adopt the position that he took the recommendation of the State Department. Mr. Dulles pointed out that both he and Mr. Walker were members of the Bar and that they might be [Page 172] called to account by their Bar Associations when they returned home to explain their vote. Mr. Dulles reiterated that he preferred that the State Department and the President take the sole responsibility for selecting the judges. Otherwise he thought the Delegation must take more time. Mr. Bloom stated that at home people would look at the nationality of the judges chosen rather than at their individual qualifications. Senator Connally stated that the country knows that the United States has been kicking Argentina around and that therefore if an Argentine were elected as a judge it would be taken for granted that he was a member of the other crowd. He stated that in any case it would be hard to explain such a vote. It was agreed that a wire should be sent to the Department by Mr. Hiss asking that the slate for the Court be in the hands of the Delegation by Monday.

[Here follows discussion of other items.]

  1. Supra.
  2. Secretary Byrnes was en route from London to Washington on this same day.
  3. Spruille Braden, Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs.
  4. For documentation regarding United States-Argentine relations, see vol. xi, pp. 182 ff.