IO Files: US/A/735

United States Delegation Position Paper


Proposal To Hold the Third Regular Session of the General Assembly in Europe

the problem

The problem is to determine the position of the United States with regard to a French proposal, supported by a number of other delegations, that the third regular session of the General Assembly (1948) be held in Europe.


The United States should support this proposal on the following grounds: [Page 18]
It is desirable to make the influence of the United Nations felt more strongly in Europe.
At the second part of the first regular session of the General Assembly the United States voted for a Ukrainian proposal to hold the second regular session of the General Assembly in Europe, as a result of the understanding with the Soviet Union that a final decision with respect to location of the permanent headquarters in the United States would be taken before the end of the second part of the first regular session.1
Since the permanent headquarters will presumably be under construction in September 1948, it would be appropriate to hold the third regular session in another city. A decision to this effect would not now have any bearing upon the location of the permanent United Nations headquarters.
The United States should indicate that it has no strong preference as to the city in Western Europe which is to be chosen as the site for the 1948 session. The United States should favor a resolution which does not mention a specific location in Europe but which provides that the choice shall be made by the Secretary-General in consultation with the member States.


1. At a meeting of Under Secretary Lovett’s Staff Committee in the Department prior to the opening of the General Assembly, there was unanimous agreement that the United States should support in principle the holding of the third regular session in Europe. However, the United States should retain freedom of action to give careful and fair consideration to objections if raised by the Secretary-General on administrative and financial grounds.

The United States Delegation has been advised informally by the Secretary-General’s Office that the Secretariat can service a session in Europe; that the increased cost of holding such a session in Geneva would be approximately $1,200,000; but that the cost in other cities might be lower provided funds were contributed by the government concerned especially in Paris. Paris and Brussels have both been mentioned as possible sites. The Secretariat believes that accommodations would be adequate in any of these three cities. It would prefer that any resolution offered on this subject should not specify the city concerned, in order that the Secretary-General may retain some bargaining advantage in dealing with the government concerned, hotels, local transportation and other business agencies.

[Page 19]

Holding the next session of the General Assembly in Europe would result in an increased cost to the United States for the transportation and servicing of the Delegation. This can be compensated for to some extent by restricting the size of the Delegation.

  1. For relevant public documentation regarding this aspect of the headquarters site problem, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, p. 112, footnote 62.