IO Files: US/A/327

Memorandum by Ambassador William Dawson of the United States Delegation Staff of Advisers


Latin American Caucus Strongly in Favor of Aranha for Presidency of General Assembly; Committee To Discuss Matter With Evatt; Caucus Approves Mexico for Vice-Presidency and Chile for Chairmanship of Committee 2

Shortly after his arrival in New York on Sunday, September 14, Aranha communicated with Ambassador Austin and told him that a caucus of Latin American delegates was to be held on September 15, at 3:00 p.m., in the offices of the Mexican Delegation and that before [Page 123] attending the caucus he wished to ascertain the United States position with regard to his (Aranha’s) candidacy for the presidency of the General Assembly.

After discussing the matter with the Secretary, Ambassador Austin saw Aranha at about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and informed him of our proposed slate as set forth in Secret US/A/294/Rev. 1, of September 14.

Aranha accepted the situation gracefully, stating that he would withdraw in favor of Evatt, that he wished to cooperate with us in every way, that the Secretary’s speech had made a great impression on him, and that he considered it very important that the President of the Assembly be elected by an imposing majority.

At this point, Ambassador Johnson and I arrived and there was some discussion with regard to the Committee chairmanships which should be allotted to the Latin American group in order to give it the customary representation (three members) on the General Committee. It was arranged that I would see Aranha before 1:00 p.m. on Monday and give him further information concerning this matter.

As agreed at the United States Delegation meeting on the morning of September 15, I saw both Aranha and Torres Bodet (Mexico)1 between noon and 1:00 p.m. and informed them that it was contemplated that Mexico would have our support for a vice presidency and that the chairmanships of Committees 4 and 5 would be available for Latin American candidates. I stressed the urgent need for competent men for these posts from the standpoint both of the work of the General Assembly and Latin American prestige. Both Aranha and Torres Bodet informed me that Chile had been campaigning actively for the chairmanship of Committee 2 and both expressed the hope that the post might be available in lieu of Committee 4 or 5. I said that this might prove difficult. Torres Bodet inquired whether two committee chairmanships would be available if Aranha were elected President of the General Assembly. I replied that Aranha had informed me of his intention of making a statement which would clarify this matter. Torres Bodet inquired whom we would support if Aranha were not a candidate and I mentioned Evatt.

Shortly after 6:00 p.m., I phoned the Mexican Delegation and on learning that the meeting had just come to an end I talked with Torres Bodet and asked if I might see him. He said that he was leaving at once, that the meeting had been inconclusive, that there was nothing he could say except that there had been strong general support for Aranha, and that another meeting was scheduled for the morning of September 16.

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Almost immediately after this conversation, Aranha called me to say that he wished to talk with me urgently. I went at once to the Brazilian Delegation where I saw Aranha, Muniz,2 and Am ado. Aranha told me that he had made every effort to induce the Latin American group to give up his candidacy and to support that of Evatt. He said that he had led off with a general statement (copy attached)3 declining the honor, that Torres Bodet had followed expressing appreciation for his attitude, but that a number of other delegates (including those of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Panama) had spoken insisting on his candidacy. He said that he spoke twice again in an effort to persuade his colleagues—once using the argument that in the light of Secretary Marshall’s speech it was essential that there be a united front of democratic elements—and the second time stating that the United States Delegation favored Evatt. His arguments were, he said, of no avail and the upshot of this phase of the meeting was that a committee consisting of the delegates of Argentina, Cuba, and Mexico were designated to see Evatt, ask him frankly how many votes he could count on, and induce him to withdraw, if, as was anticipated, he was assured of less strength than Aranha. I was informed that this committee planned to see Evatt at tonight’s reception and that the Latin American group would meet again at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at Flushing.

Aranha assured me repeatedly that he had made every effort possible to induce his colleagues to accept his withdrawal and to support Evatt. Muniz said that no one could have fought more vigorously against himself than had Aranha. According to their account, arguments adduced by other delegates in favor of Aranha’s candidacy included the following: That most of them had instructions from their Foreign Offices to support Aranha; that in response to bids for support, no Latin American country had promised Evatt its vote; that the re-election issue could be dismissed since Aranha had presided merely over a brief special session called to prepare the way for a question which was a leading item on the agenda of the present session; and that the very nature of this crucial session made it particularly appropriate that it be presided over by an impartial and disinterested Latin American.

It appears that one or more delegates remarked that the United States Delegation had failed to consult the Latin American delegations before deciding to support Evatt, and that one delegate (the Colombian, I believe) implied that in withdrawing his candidacy Aranha was playing up to the United States. We shall probably come [Page 125] in for some criticism on this score and I think that, as appropriate occasion offers, we may well point out that we did consult Aranha who was the person most directly concerned. Incidentially, in my afternoon conversation, I made it a point to remind Aranha in the presence of Muniz and Amado that a determining factor in our plan had been our belief that Aranha would accept Committee 1 and could render the maximum service in this post, which would probably prove more important than the presidency of the General Assembly. I referred also to the Brazilian Government’s great interest in election to ECOSOC. I inquired whether this had been discussed in the caucus. Aranha said that it had not been discussed but that Brazil was absolutely sure of Latin American support and election.

According to Aranha, the caucus approved the candidacy of Mexico for a vice-presidency and decided to support Chile for the chairmanship of Committee 2 and Alfaro (Panama)4 for that of Committee 5 (this, however, only in case Aranha were not elected to the presidency of the General Assembly).

William Dawson
  1. Dr. Jaime Torres Bodet, Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs and Head of the Mexican Delegation to the General Assembly.
  2. Ambassador João Carlos Muniz, Brazilian Permanent Representative at the United Nations.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Dr. Ricardo J. Alfaro, Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Panamanian Delegation to the General Assembly.