Memorandum by the Secretary to State to President Truman

It has always been the practice for the Secretary of State to submit to the President for approval the names of those persons proposed to represent this Government both permanently on international organizations and temporarily at international conferences. In some instances, like the United Nations, the enabling legislation for participation requires Presidential approval as well as Senate confirmation of United States Representatives, Alternates or Delegates. Otherwise, the practice of reference to the President has been a matter of custom, not of law.

Approval of the hundreds of such designations may be for you an unnecessary burden which could be partially eased now in view of the broad consideration among interested government agencies and private interested groups that normally precede my nominations to you. Furthermore, I believe that your attention may not be warranted for many technical or exploratory delegations, for many brief assignments or for the selection of advisory and secretariat staffs. Some few lists of advisory personnel on delegations to recent meetings have not been sent you because of their non-committal character. Since all such designations are peculiarly a Presidential prerogative, however, I would welcome a delegation of authority from the President to the Secretary of State for certain instances.

Therefore, I recommend that you continue to approve the designation of those United States Representatives, Alternates and Delegates to international organizations and conferences as required by law or of major importance, and that you delegate to the Secretary of State the authority to designate all other representatives and delegates as well as advisory and secretariat staffs for all groups. You would thus authorize me to state in any letter of designation: “By authority of the President the Secretary of State designates you …”. A list of typical international activities in both categories is enclosed. If at any [Page 800] time a difference of opinion arose within the Government on any of the matters so delegated to me, I would of course exercise the discretion of referring the question to you for decision.

I should appreciate your informing me whether you approve the above delegation of authority with regard to the designation of United States delegations and representatives to international conferences and organizations.1

G. C. Marshall

Typical Names To Be Submitted as Usual to the President for Approval

1. Permanent Representatives and Alternates to inter-governmental organizations as required by law.

Example: The United Nations.

2. Delegates to annual meetings of inter-governmental organizations, as required by law.

Examples: The General Assembly of the United Nations,
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, General Conference.

3. Delegates to general inter-governmental meetings and to conferences where treaties or major international commitments are anticipated.

Examples: The Ninth International Conference of American States at Bogotá,
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment at Habana.

4. Heads of Special Missions.

Example: The Joint Philippine-American Financial Commission.

5. Congressional representation.

Typical Names To Be Approved by the Secretary of State Without Reference to the President

1. Delegates to technical, regional and preliminary meetings of inter-governmental organizations. [Page 801]

Examples: African-Indian Ocean Regional Air Navigation Meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization,
5th Part of the 1st Session of the Preparatory Commission of the International Refugee Organization,
Interim Planning Group for the High Frequency Broadcasting Conference of the International Telecommunications Union,
Conference on International Libraries (UNESCO).

2. Delegates to ad hoc inter-governmental conferences of a consultative or exploratory character.

Examples: 7th Meeting of International Cotton Advisory Committee,
6th International Hydrographic Conference,
International Conference on Mine Safety,
Multilateral Patent Exchange Discussions,
5th Session of Rubber Study Group,
4th International Congresses on Tropical Medicine and Malaria.

3. Delegates to professional meetings where no governmental commitments are contemplated.

Examples: 15th International Congress of Architects,
8th International Congress of Entomology,
International Conference on Mental Hygiene,
7th International Botanical Congress.

Staffing To Be Approved by the Secretary of State Without Reference to the President

1. Advisory and secretariat staffs for the offices of permanent representatives to international organizations and for delegations to all international conferences.

  1. Notation by the President: “A good suggestion. Glad to approve it. Harry S Truman”.