740.00119 FEAC/3–146

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State


Mr. Novikov, the Soviet Chargé, requested an appointment to see the Secretary.

He stated that he wished to take up questions in connection with the Far Eastern Commission which is now meeting here.

The Secretary remarked that he had attended the opening meeting, but had left immediately afterward and had not discussed the work of the Commission with anyone.

Mr. Novikov said the Secretary probably knew of his Government’s proposal to establish the post of Vice Chairman of the FEC. They hope to have the Soviet member elected to fill this position. He stated that the American members are opposed to this proposal and they [Page 157] intend to nominate a US delegate to be alternate to General McCoy and say there is no need for establishing the position of Vice Chairman. Acting on the official instructions of his Government, he said he wished to know the US position in this matter.

The Secretary said he had not heretofore heard of this matter but he would be inclined to take the position that the Commission itself, not the US Government, should decide who should be the officers of FEC. If the Commission decides to establish the office, then a vote should be taken on who will fill the position. However, the Secretary reiterated, it is a matter he feels the Commission should determine for itself.

Mr. Novikov said that what the Commission does might depend on the position of the US representative, who seems to be opposed to it. He said General McCoy’s position is that there is no need for the post of Vice Chairman since he as Chairman might be replaced if necessary by another US delegate, his alternate.

The Secretary remarked that some time ago, four or five months ago, when the Commission was first organized, Dr. Evatt mentioned that Australia wanted to have the Vice Chairmanship.

Mr. Novikov said the question of a Vice Chairman had been raised by the Soviets and they wanted the Secretary’s support and believed that his attitude and direction might decide the matter. He said he wanted to know the Secretary’s intentions and wanted to state that, the Soviet position in the Commission is very formal and that they ascribe to this matter great importance. He inquired what he could tell his Government.

The Secretary replied, “Tell them that I have not considered the matter at all because I had not heard about it before. My first reaction would be against a Government as a Government interfering in it. I would be disposed to leave to the Commission the matter of deciding who its Vice Chairman and its Secretary and its other officers shall be.”

The Secretary continued, saying he would not try to dominate in this matter, but he would talk with General McCoy and then he would like Mr. Novikov to talk with General McCoy because he did not think of himself as interfering in the action of that Commission. If he were going to make decisions on these matters he would attend the meetings himself instead of having a representative there. He added that if General McCoy came to him for advice he would be glad to give it, but the General had not done so.

Mr. Novikov added that the General’s attitude prevents the Soviets from having such a post in the Commission.

To this, the Secretary inquired if the matter had been voted upon.

Mr. Novikov replied that it had not, but it had been discussed yesterday [Page 158] at the Steering Committee meeting and will be discussed again. Nothing definite was decided, he added.

Mr. Novikov added that he believes the view of his Government is that the position of the Soviet Government in the FEC is not the same as the position of India or New Zealand, so their position must be marked by some definite role which they play, which would be purely for the purpose of prestige. It will change nothing in the role of the US representative as Chairman of the Commission.

The Secretary said he understood that. It was like any candidate for political office. No doubt Great Britain would feel that she would like to have the Vice Chairmanship, and France would feel the same way.

Mr. Novikov pointed out that they had elected General McCoy having-in mind that he is the US representative. He said he supported his name and so they would like to have US support in their modest claim.

The Secretary said he supposed Great Britain would have the same reason for support since they and, he believed, all the other members voted for General McCoy, and that we can’t support all of them for Vice Chairman.

Mr. Novikov said another matter he wished to bring up was the intention of his Government to be represented in Committee No. 4, dealing with the demilitarization of Japan. He said he didn’t know the exact attitude of General McCoy on this, but wanted to inform the Secretary of their wish.

The Secretary told Mr. Novikov he should inform General McCoy instead of him of this. He said he didn’t even know there was a Committee 4, or how many committees have been established. He said he couldn’t look after the details of General McCoy’s job, and that this was the first time since the FEC had been in session that he had been requested to make a decision concerning it. He stated that he could not undertake to hear the views of members of the Commission and attempt to make decisions concerning them when the US member had not been consulted. The Secretary suggested that Mr. Novikov have a talk with General McCoy, whom he was sure he would find a very agreeable gentleman to deal with.

Mr. Novikov remarked that it is important in the Commission that their cooperation be close.

The Secretary emphatically stated that he could not, when asked by one of the members of the Commission, issue instructions to the American representative because it would mean he would have to take over the work of the Commission himself.

It was agreed that the Secretary would talk with General McCoy and then either the Secretary would inform Mr. Novikov or the General would get in touch with him about their talk.