IO Files: USGA/Ia/Del. Min./11 (Exec) (Chr)

Minutes of the Meeting of the United States Delegation (Executive Session), Held at London, Claridge’s Hotel, February 1, 1946, 9:30 a.m.


[Here follows list of names of persons (21) present.]

Court Slates

At the request of Senator Connally, who was presiding, Mr. Hiss read a telegram from the Department from Secretary Byrnes to Mr. Stettinius reporting that the President had stated he would be glad to have the Delegation determine whom they should support for election to the International Court of Justice. However, as the Delegation asked for instructions, he instructed that the Delegates vote for the following: Zoricic, Azvedo, Hsu, Klaestad, Krylov, Badawi, Basdevant, Winiarski, McNair, DeVisscher, Hackworth, Podesta Costa, Parra Perez, Read, Spiropolous. In the event that a second ballot is required, the telegram continued, it would be impossible for the President to know who the remaining candidates were and therefore he authorized Mr. Stettinius to exercise his discretion after the Delegates had been consulted.

[Here follows continued discussion of the question of Court Slates, centering on a point raised by Mr. Dulles.]

[Page 186]

Mr. Stevenson said that Mr. Zuleta (Colombia), who professed to be speaking for all the Latin American countries, had called on him the previous day and had shown considerable annoyance that the United States would not support four Latin Americans for the International Court of Justice bench. Mr. Zuleta had talked about going to the Russians in order to secure votes for the candidates. However, he and Mr. Stevenson had parted friends and Mr. Stevenson had found that some other Latin American states did not share Mr. Zuleta’s views. Mr. Hiss pointed out that the Permanent Court of International Justice had had three Latin American judges.

Mr. Hackworth reported that Mr. Krylov (USSR) and Mr. Beckett (UK) had asked him for the American Court slate. He inquired whether he was free to give it out now. Mr. Stevenson expressed the opinion that the list had to be made available. Mr. Hiss recalled that it had been agreed that the United States should campaign only for Mr. Hackworth and that the list should be made known. Senator Connally inquired whether there was any embarrassment because several states had suggested Judge Manley Hudson97 rather than Mr. Hackworth. Mr. Hiss said that there was no embarrassment and that the position of the United States in favor of Mr. Hackworth had been explained. Mr. Hiss thought that the problems would arise on how many judges should be elected from the various geographical areas. He said he thought that members of the Delegation were free to say what the United States slate was, if they were asked. It should be made clear that a vote was to be cast for Podesta Costa because he was a noted jurist with a wide experience in law and was a firm supporter of democracy. Mr. Hackworth expressed the opinion that the nomination of Podesta Costa was going to raise trouble whatever explanation was made as to why the United States was voting for a man not from a democratic country. Mr. Bloom concurred, stating that he thought that the nomination was wrong. He thought that the American people would not believe anything except that the Government was doing the same old thing with Argentina. Mr. Hiss pointed out that the principle of election to the Court was on the basis of personal competency, not national representation. He stated that he thought that the information should be given out only to other Delegations that asked for it, but not to the press at the present moment. Mr. Hackworth expressed the opinion that the newspapermen would soon get hold of the story from the Delegations to which it was given. The fact that the United States was going to support Podesta Costa would then reach the newspapers ahead of the official American explanation. [Page 187] Senator Connally inquired whether the chief alibi was not that the Latin American states wanted Podesta Costa. Mr. Hiss stated that he thought the chief reason for the United States support was that Podesta Costa was thought an outstanding jurist by those who know him. Mr. Stevenson said he thought the Delegation should know that Podesta Costa had twice been offered the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs by the Perón Government and had twice refused. Mrs. Roosevelt inquired whether the Delegation was to take any cognizance of what was being said about Argentina and asked whether anything was to be done about the question at this sesson. Mr. Bloom said that he was opposed to the choice of an Argentinian and felt very strongly that the people at home would not like it. Senator Connally expressed the opinion that not one person in fifty would know who the judges were for they did not even know the names of their own county judges. Mr. McDermott noted that there were rumors on the AP ticker of a revolution in Argentina.

[Here follow further discussion of the Court question, and Delegation discussion of other items.]

  1. Eminent legal scholar and publicist.