501.AA/3–1648: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State


1073. Question of Italian application UN membership (Deptel 881, March 12, 6 p. m.) was discussed informally with Mason head of UN Department Foreign Office and Crosthwaite head of Western Department. [Page 177] Both emphasized that they could not indicate official British position until matters given close study.

Crosthwaite questioned certainty of propaganda advantage of raising question at present time particularly if Soviets took full advantage of weakness of case in singling out Transjordan and Italy from all other applicants. He granted that outright Soviet veto might be useful propaganda but said we must not underestimate Soviet ability to avoid being maneuvered into the position we wanted to get them into or their ability to make propaganda for their side if the thing got into a muddle. Crosthwaite, however, was of personal opinion that on balance “it was probably worth trying”.

Mason pointed out that in light of Assembly’s resolutions and Austin’s letter of November 22, 1947 case for singling out applications of Transjordan and Italy was somewhat specious one and probably bad practice from point of view of long term good of UN. Also Great Britain would have to give some consideration to bad effects of singling out Italy and Transjordan and giving them preferential treatment over and above Portugal and Eire whose cases had been pending longer and who had reasons to expect better treatment from Great Britain. However, if political considerations in present Italian situation were overruling he thought Great Britain would want to go along with us in matter.

Informal answers to numbered questions are as follows:

Subject to considerations outlined above Great Britain would probably be willing to go along with US but there must be firm agreement in advance as to course to be pursued at every step.
Although case for bringing up Italy and Transjordan only regarded as very weak one circumstances probably justify attempting to make it stick.
There is no change in British stand on satellite applications and they see no reason for any change at this time even in regard to Finland.
In light of Assembly’s resolutions and Austin’s letter Mason felt consultation inevitable and hoped Crosthwaite believed British would be willing to pursue matter through consultation and on to early SC consideration. However, Mason said fact that SC already has very full schedule should not be overlooked.

They promised to let us know as soon as official British policy formulated and we pressed for an early decision.