IO Files: US/A/M(Chr)/50

Minutes of the Sixth Meeting of the United States Delegation, New York, September 15, 1947, 10 a.m.


[Here follow the list of persons (32) present and a statement regarding the minutes.]

Explaining that the election of Assembly officers would take place the following day, Mr. Sandifer said that Secretary-General Lie had asked the five permanent representatives to meet with him at 5 p.m. that day to see whether an area of agreement on the slate could be reached. Introducing the United States slate (US/A/294/Rev.1),1 as drawn in Washington and adjusted in the light of the situation in New York, Mr. Sandifer explained that the one change from preliminary plans involved substitution of a Near Eastern state (Iran) for a British Commonwealth state in a committee chairmanship, thus making it possible for an Arab state to be represented on the General Committee.

Regarding the General Assembly presidency, Mr. Sandifer said that Prime Minister Spaak of Belgium had dropped out by his own wish, and that Foreign Minister Aranha of Brazil had indicated he did not [Page 118] wish to be a candidate. No conversation had yet been held with Dr. Evatt of Australia. For the vice-presidencies, in addition to the five permanent members, the Delegation had assured Mexico of support for its candidacy, taking the position that a vice-presidency for the Ukraine (which had been chairman of Committee 1 at the last regular General Assembly) would constitute over-representation, since it was believed that Eastern Europe should hold only one chairmanship.

Regarding Committee 1, he informed the meeting that Dr. Aranha had felt he could not stand for the chairmanship of this, either. As between Berendsen (New Zealand) and Bech (Luxembourg), it was clear that if Evatt was supported by the Delegation for the presidency and elected, it would be impossible to support a dominion candidate for Committee 1 chairmanship; therefore, support of Bech was recommended.

For the Committee 2 chairmanship, Mr. Sandifer said there was general Delegation agreement on Adl (Iran). The Russians had specifically indicated a desire to have the chairmanship of Committee 3 for Poland. It was felt that the Delegation should defer to them in this matter, since it was opposing them on so many other issues. He said he had heard that some states were starting a movement to have Mrs. Roosevelt2 elected chairman of Committee 3. In the past, permanent members had not held committee chairmanships, in addition there was the fact of Russian interest in this position and the fact that the permanent members were already represented on the General Committee. Mrs. Roosevelt herself, he added, felt no desire to have the chairmanship, feeling she could represent the United States more effectively and speak more freely as simply the United States Representative.

On Committees 4 and 5, Mr. Sandifer said the Department’s position, in view the support for Mexico for the vice-presidency, would be to defer to the desires of the Latin-American countries, after making clear to them that the Delegation hoped they would propose highly qualified men. The Delegation had also tentatively told the Arabs it would support their candidate for the chairmanship of Committee 6, he said. General support for Pearson (Canada) for chairman of the Palestine ad hoc committee had been evidenced, Mr. Sandifer reported. Canada was willing to permit Pearson to serve, instead of the chairman of the Canadian Delegation.

Ambassador Dawson3 said the Latin-American delegations were holding a caucus at 3 p.m., and suggested that he see Aranha as soon [Page 119] as possible and urge him to do everything he could at the caucus to see that the Latin-Americans chose competent men for the chairmanships. He also said he would see the Mexican foreign minister for the same purpose. The Secretary inquired whether Aranha was definitely out as president, and Ambassador Austin said he was. Both Spaak and Aranha were strongly influenced by the theory that those who had previously held General Assembly presidencies should not stand for the presidency or a committee chairmanship. Brazil, he said, would be an active candidate for the Economic and Social Council, and he believed the United States intended to support Brazil. Aranha had been told by other Latin-American representatives, the Ambassador said, that they would not only support but push him. He intended to satisfy them and cause them to give up this pressure by arguing that by so doing they would be supporting the doctrine laid down yesterday. The line-up in the General Assembly must be one, Aranha held, in which a large majority showed very strong support for the doctrine enunciated by the Secretary the day before, and Brazil could be more useful in the ranks on this issue. In this connection, Aranha wished to know definitely whether the Delegation would support Evatt for president; and whether the Delegation intended to support someone such as Bech for Committee 1. Aranha was trying to cement the thing, the Ambassador said, so that there would be strong backing for the United States doctrine pronounced yesterday.4

Regarding support of Modzelewski (Poland) for chairmanship of Committee 3, Ambassador Austin reported that the Soviet Union had started with request of the General Assembly [presidency] for Modzelewski; the United States had said no; the U.S.S.R. then wanted him for chairman of Committee 1; again the United States said no. For Committee 2 the U.S.S.R. had supported Masaryk (Czechoslovakia) or Adl (Iran). When it became clear, however, that the United States preferred Iran for Committee 2 but would agree to the Soviet candidate for Committee 3, the Soviets indicated they would prefer to push Modzelewski rather than Masaryk for this place. Mrs. Roosevelt said she thought support for Modzelewski for the chairmanship of 3 would be a good move.

Mr. Dulles5 asked whether agreement with the Soviets on Modzelewski [Page 120] implied agreement by them in return on other things, but Austin replied that it did not, that the U.S.S.R. was intransigent on other issues.

Mr. Stevenson6 at this point inquired whether there was anything in a rumor that there would be some support for Mrs. Pandit7 for president. The Secretary replied that there was. The Secretary said he had been advised last night by Wang (China)8 that China felt if any complications arose over the presidency—although the Secretary did not expect any—it would ask the United States to consider seriously the possibility of nominating Mrs. Pandit. The Chinese wanted to do as much as possible, Wang had explained, to keep those people on our side of the fence. The Secretary said he felt Mrs. Pandit was very capable. Mr. Stevenson said he had heard this rumor from the Latin-Americans, and Mr. Sandifer said he had heard it too, but not recently. Mr. Sandifer then said that a canvass of the Department had indicated that Evatt, Aranha or Spaak would be much more helpful to our interests. He indicated also that since time was important, it was necessary to speak to Evatt and Bech as soon as possible. When no contrary views were expressed, the Secretary asked Ambassador Austin to see Evatt. Ambassador Austin and Mr. Sandifer suggested that Ambassador Johnson might be able to see Evatt at the Security Council meeting, but when Mr. Dulles offered to speak to Evatt at the meeting of the Council of [on] Foreign Relations, that afternoon, the Secretary asked Mr. Dulles to make the approach at that time. Ambassador Johnson was to be asked to speak to Bech.

Security Council Slate

On the Security Council slate, there was agreement with the proposal for Canada to replace Australia, and Uruguay or Cuba to be the Latin-American representative. Mr. Sandifer explained, regarding the candidacy of Czechoslovakia, that the Russians had stated flatly their support of the Ukraine as a candidate, and that they had said Czechoslovakia would not run and would not accept if elected. He reported the Department’s strong feeling that the Delegation should support Czechoslovakia, and that special reasons made it hesitant about supporting the Ukraine or certain other East European states.

Mr. Bohlen, explaining the principle of proportional representation on the Security Council, said that if Czechoslovakia withdrew, the question would rise of supporting Ukraine or Yugoslavia. He felt very strongly that under no circumstances should the Ukraine be supported, [Page 121] since no state should be on the Security Council whose independence or sovereignty left something open to question. When the United States voted for inclusion of the Ukraine in the United Nations, at San Francisco, he recalled, it had been specifically on the basis of the Ukrainian war effort. India had also been included at that time although not fully independent. To put on the Security Council a unit whose actions were bound by a central government would hurt the Security Council’s prestige, he felt. The Delegation should oppose Ukraine positively if necessary.

The question of Yugoslavia was complicated by the fact that we were charging Yugoslavia with acts of aggression, Mr. Bohlen said. He did not feel, however, that it would be necessary for the Delegation to speak against Yugoslavia, since the ballot would be secret; he felt it would be possible simply to accept the majority vote on Yugoslavia, after voting against her. He believed this would be preferable to stating bluntly that Czechoslovakia was the only East European state we would accept, for that would mean departure from the regional principle.

In reply to the Secretary’s question whether the Czech stand had been communicated only through the U.S.S.R., Mr. Sandifer said Czechoslovakia had itself expressed uneasiness to the Delegation. Mr. Bohlen explained the Czechs did not want to be put on the spot in the Security Council, being forced to go along with the Soviets. The The Secretary inquired whether the United States charges of aggression against Yugoslavia might not prompt Soviet charges regarding our moves in Greece. Mr. Sandifer thought that such counter-charges would not be taken seriously. Mr. Dulles felt if Czechoslovakia did not want to be a candidate, it should be dropped, for persisting would only indicate to the Russians that the United States thought this was a soft spot, and that the Soviets would then take steps to harden it.

When Mr. Sandifer posed the alternatives of supporting Czechoslovakia, abstaining, or moving out of Eastern Europe, the Secretary inquired about Pakistan. Mr. Sandifer said some Near Eastern country would be a possibility, mentioning Turkey. It was pointed out in the discussion, however, that Turkey had expressed reluctance to serve on the Security Council. Mr. Sandifer felt a strong position should be taken favoring Czechoslovakia, feeling that the Russians rather than risk not having any East European country on the Security Council, would accept Czechoslovakia. Ambassador Austin said this was a very troublesome question, especially because of the U.S.S.R. difficulty in having limited forces in the Security Council. He did not know if the time had come to step out of Eastern Europe and suggest another country. It would be only decency to make clear that this was the alternative, in that case he felt.

[Page 122]

Mr. Ross9 did not think the position should be stated negatively. It should be said that we would support Czechoslovakia in Eastern Europe; if the Czechs did not wish to stand, we could turn to the Philippines, India, or Pakistan. He did not feel Yugoslavia should be accepted even through abstaining.

Mr. Bohlen again advocated telling the U.S.S.R. we would positively support Czechoslovakia, that we would actively oppose the Ukraine, and abstaining on discussion of Yugoslavia but voting against it. Mr. Fahy10 agreed on Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, but felt the Delegation should say openly it opposed Yugoslavia, and if Czechoslovakia refused to stand for the Security Council we should go outside East Europe to India or Pakistan. The Secretary felt from what had been said that it would be better to indicate nothing to the U.S.S.R. about Pakistan, otherwise the U.S.S.R. would approach Pakistan first and claim credit. Mr. Henderson felt if we were going to go outside Eastern Europe, we should support India rather than Pakistan. India had voted as much with Russia as with us, he said, and its presence on the Security Council would constitute a vote half the time for the Russian bloc. He thought we should tell Russia that if it were not Czechoslovakia we would support India. Russia would find it very difficult to oppose India.

Mr. Bohlen then restated the formula that appeared to find acceptance; support of Czechoslovakia unless it was unwilling; opposition to the Ukraine; acceptance of the majority vote on Yugoslavia.

[Here follows discussion of other subjects.]

  1. Supra.
  2. Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Representative on the United States Delegation to the General Assembly.
  3. Ambassador William Dawson, Special Representative of the United States on the Governing Board of the Pan American Union, and at this time a member of the United States Delegation Staff of Advisers.
  4. Allusions in this paragraph to “doctrine enunciated by the Secretary the day before” apparently refer to the speech made by Secretary Marshall in New York on September 14 in opening a nationwide observance of United Nations Week. The Secretary of State dealt with the crisis of confidence in the United Nations both within and without the Organization occasioned by the near-paralysis of the Security Council through, use of the veto; and he indicated that United States policy would seek to meet this situation by invoking to the utmost the moral and political authority of the General Assembly. For text, see the New York Times, November 15, 1946, p. 3.
  5. John Foster Dulles, Representative on the United States Delegation to the General Assembly.
  6. Adlai E. Stevenson, Alternate Representative on the United States Delegation.
  7. Mme. Vijaya Lakashmi Pandit, Chairman of the Indian Delegation to the General Assembly.
  8. Dr. Wang Shih-chieh, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Chinese Delegation to the General Assembly.
  9. John C. Ross, Deputy to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) and a member of the Delegation Staff of Advisers.
  10. Charles Fahy, Legal Adviser of the Department of State and Alternate! Representative on the United States Delegation to the General Assembly.