501.BC/1–2448: Telegram

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


58. Dept is in general agreement with ideas set forth in urtel 86 Jan 24. Following comments in the main supplement rather than modify views set forth urtel:

Integration of US Positions in SC and GA. Dept agrees that position on veto in GA, IC, SC and Committee of Experts must be integrated and that to as great an extent as possible procedures in all forums should be planned in advance. However, problem is so complex and day to day developments are so unpredictable that US representative must have widest discretion in presentation of US position.
US Substantive Objectives. While substantive objectives 1, 2 and 5 as set forth urtel represent changes which US would be willing to accept, nevertheless it may not be practicable to press specific proposals which will completely accomplish these objectives. On other hand objectives 3 and 4 represent changes which US has already suggested and will continue to press.

As to 1, Dept sees no reason to single out Art 52(3) as that is only a procedure or method of adjustment and therefore covered under Art 36(1). Dept is agreeable to accomplishing restriction of veto under Chapter VI through Charter amendment, through agreement among permanent members not to utilize veto, or through establishment of practice or rule that decisions under Chapter VI should be procedural. Since Charter amendment is impracticable procedure because of necessity of USSR ratification Depts proposals will be directed towards; accomplishing restriction of veto through agreement of permanent members or through practice or rule of procedure.

Because of doubtful legal validity US should not support proposal for rule of procedure establishing as procedural decisions under Art 37 but may advocate restriction veto under Art 37 either through Charter amendment or agreement.

As to 2, Dept is likewise agreeable to accomplishing restriction of veto through Charter amendment through agreement of permanent [Page 226] members not to utilize veto or through establishment of practice or rule that decisions on admission of members are procedural. Agreement among permanent members on admission of specific applicants might also substantially achieve Dept objectives.

As to 3 and 4, unlike 1, 2 and 5, they represent proposals which US is pressing at this time. US would of course be willing to accept as procedural certain additional categories of decisions not listed in proposed rules submitted by US.

As to 5, US would be willing to eliminate entirely part II of Four Power statement by making preliminary decision procedural matter. However since there are other means of accomplishing same objective it is suggested that US position be restated as follows:

Practices should be established in SC to ensure that part II of Four Power statement cannot be utilized to permit exercise of veto in general categories of SC decisions determined to be procedural in Charter, Rules of Procedure and Part I of statement. Dept view is that Part I, para 1 of Four Power statement establishes as procedural all SC decisions excepting decisions pursuant to Chapters VI and VII of Charter and excepting certain other specific decisions agreed upon at SF such as admission, suspension and expulsion of members and election of SYG. Under this interpretation of agreement Four Powers were justified in concluding that “It will be unlikely that there will arise in the future any matters of great importance on which a decision will have to be made as to whether a procedural vote would apply”.

A sixth substantive objective which is discussed in detail in another portion of urtel might be worded as follows: “Voting procedures should be clarified in connection with all decisions which SC is required to make under Charter and under statute of ICJ”.

3. Procedure for Attaining US Objectives. Dept agrees with position set forth in urtel that all other methods of attaining US objectives should be attempted before amendment of Charter. Dept has following observations on three possible methods of attaining objectives without Charter amendments:

Through agreement among permanent members;
Pressure within UN and outside of SC; (Recommendations of GA, advisory opinion of ICJ, etc)
Through adoption of rules of procedure, or other SC action without concurrence of USSR, utilizing voting procedures set forth in Art 27 (2).

Dept position is that maximum efforts should be made both to secure agreement among permanent members and to secure UN support for US proposals. US will not at this time attempt to implement its proposals in SC through passing a Rule of Procedure or taking other action over objection of USSR.

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It is not considered politically advisable at this time to attempt to pass Rule of Procedure in SC without consent of USSR. Nevertheless, Committee of Experts should report to SC showing positions of members regardless of whether agreement reached. However SC should not vote on Committee of Experts report unless agreement reached on Rules of Procedure. Likewise no attempt should be made to have SC refer issues at this time to ICJ.

At outset Committee of Experts should confine discussions to US proposals and to proposals along similar lines by other members. If question raised US should indicate unwillingness to discuss proposals in conflict with attitudes expressed in Four Power statement until after IC and GA studies.

Reference of Veto Issues by GA to ICJ. Depts position has not yet been determined. Objection was made to similar suggestion last Fall on ground that mere fact of reference regardless of exact terms would place political rather than legal issues before Court.
Program IC. Dept is preparing a program for submission to IC along general lines set forth urtel and in preparation of this paper is taking into consideration very valuable recommendations made concerning GA program. It is anticipated that paper will be completed within a week.
Timing of Committee of Experts Discussions. Dept is entirely in agreement with your suggestions.