501.AA/4–848: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin)


200. Suggested statement to be made at opening discussion Ital membership application follows:

McKeever should coordinate closely with Voice of America people N.Y. to insure best possible coverage of statement Ital. Mission should also work closely with Mascia this connection.

“The United States has consistently given its full support to the application of Italy for admission into the United Nations. Today, I have the honor to reaffirm the support of the United States for Italy’s application.

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Even before the ratification of the Treaty of Peace with Italy, the United (States maintained that as a co-belligerent with the Allies from 1943 to 1945, and as a country which had made enormous strides forward under heavy handicaps in her own postwar rehabilitation, Italy was entitled to special consideration by this body of freedom-loving nations. Indeed, this special position of Italy was recognized by my Govt and the Govts of the United Kingdom and Soviet Union at Potsdam. A special para on Italy was included in the agreed-upon communique issued at the end of that meeting, and it was agreed that the preparation of a peace treaty for Italy should be the first task of the Council of Foreign Ministers. After the ratification of the peace treaty, no shadow of an excuse remained for the persistent exclusion of Italy from membership in the United Nations.

My Govt, together with the Govts of the U.K. and France, has requested this renewed consideration of the Ital application. Speaking for my Govt, this action is taken because we have the firm conviction that an injustice has been done to Italy. This nation of 45 million people meets, by any conceivable standard, the qualifications laid down in Art. 4 of the Charter concerning membership. This has not been questioned. My Govt feels therefore that it should do everything within its power to bring about a correction of this injustice. It believes this opinion is shared not only by most of the members of this Council but by an overwhelming majority of the total membership of the United Nations. This was made abundantly clear in the resolution on Italy’s application which was passed at the last meeting of the General Assembly. In the opinion of my Govt the Security Council has not, thus far, given proper weight to that resolution. True, it did meet briefly on the question while the Assembly was still in session, but the members of this Council who were sitting on the Council at that time will recall that the matter was not exhaustively considered after the Soviet rep made known that his negative attitude towards the admission of Italy had not changed.

As the members of the Council will also recall, the Soviet Union has attempted in the past to tie the Ital application with the applications recd from the other ex-enemy states. This course of action, to our minds, is completely unjustified. Each application must, in conformity with the Charter, be considered on its own merits. The Soviet Union by attemping to place the Ital application in the same category as the applications reed from states which this Council has determined to be unqualified for membership does a grave injustice to the Ital people. Surely, there is no justice in penalizing a people who have proved themselves to be qualified for membership, by coupling them with states which by their own actions have shown they are clearly disqualified.

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This attempt at bargaining is surely beneath the dignity of this Council.

If on this renewed reconsideration of the Ital application the same tactics are attempted, and if this Council should unfortunately fail to recommend Italy’s admission, the world will have no doubt as to the reason for this injustice. The world can interpret the act in no other way than as an expression by the Soviet Union of a lack of friendship for the people of Italy.

In conclusion may I stress again that Italy’s record clearly merits admission to the United Nations. The Ital people have suffered greatly, they have worked hard, and they have proven to the satisfaction of my Govt and, I believe, to that of all democratic nations, that they have earned their right to a seat in the world’s councils. My Govt has faith in the Ital people. It asks that they be granted immediately their rightful position among the nations. It holds that their contribution to the world community, based on generations of spiritual and intellectual attainment, will add immeasurably to the betterment of that community. It maintains that further to deny or condition in any way Italy’s admission to the United Nations is to express a lack of faith in her people, that it is without moral or juridical justification as I interpret the principles of the Charter, that it is unfriendly to a free democratic nation, and that it is unworthy of any nation or nations represented here.”1

  1. The Security Council considered the membership items on its agenda at two meetings on April 10; for the proceedings see United Nations, Official Records of the Security Council, Third Year, No. 54, pp. 5 ff., and ibid., No. 55. (It may be observed parenthetically that as the first order of business at the first of these two meetings that the Security Council unanimously approved the application of the Union of Burma for membership in the United Nations, and so recommended to the General Assembly. The General Assembly adopted the Security Council’s recommendation and admitted Burma to the UN on April 19.)

    The vote on the Italian application being a substantive matter, it did not carry as one of the permanent members voted against the resolution. When the Security Council assembled at the next meeting to take up the applications of the remaining ten countries (Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Mongolian Peoples Republic, Portugal, Romania and Transjordan), it was decided simply to inform the General Assembly that after reconsideration of the matter, the Security Council found that none of its members had changed their position from that which already stood on the record.