IO Files: US/A/AC. 18/151

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Joseph E. Johnson, Deputy-United States Representative in the Interim Committee

Participants: M. Joseph Nisot, Belgian Delegation
Mr. J. E. Johnson, United States Mission
I discussed with Nisot today the report of Subcommittee 3.1 When I told him of the Chinese Delegation’s desire to amend the first recommendation slightly he said that he was entirely agreeable to this proposal and would vote for it, as well as for the other recommendations. He added, however, that he was voting for it merely because he thought it was a good idea, not because he thought these recommendations would have any effect.
I also told Nisot of Dr. Hsu’s desire to include in Part IV of the Subcommittee’s report a reference to the desirability of employing sparingly the right conferred upon the Permanent Members by Part II, Paragraph 2 of the San Francisco Four Power Statement.2 Nisot said that his Delegation would probably abstain on this proposal since they regard interpretation of the Four Power Statement as a matter of concern solely for the Permanent Members.

During our discussion Nisot made it clear that from the juridical point of view he thinks the Soviets have the best of the argument as to the interpretation both of Article 27 and of the Four Power Statement. He was not notably impressed by my argument that matters described as procedural in Part I of the Four Power Statement should be clearly outside of the scope of Part II, Paragraph 2. He said that he remembered well that at San Francisco all the great powers had been strong for a pretty complete right of veto and that the change which had taken place was in the United States position rather than that of the Soviet Union. I insisted that the United States had never interpreted Article 27 nor the Four Power Statement, or expected them to be interpreted, as narrowly as the Soviet Union has done.

  1. The report of Sub-Committee 3 was submitted to the Interim Committee in the form of two documents, United Nations documents A/AC. 18/62 and A/AC. 18/66; and was discussed in meetings of the Committee on July 7, July 8 and July 9 (United Nations documents A/AC. 18/15 through A/AC. 18/19). For statement in support of the report by Joseph E. Johnson, Deputy United States Representative in the Interim Committee, see United Nations document A/AC. 18/18, pp. 3 and 4.
  2. This reads:

    “… 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. Should, however, such a matter arise, the decision regarding the preliminary question as to whether or not such a matter is procedural must be taken by a vote of seven members of the Security Council/including the concurring votes of the permanent members.”