IO Files: US/A/M(Chr)/132

Minutes of the Thirty-eighth Meeting of the United States Delegation, New York, December 7, 1949, 9:00 a. m.


[Here follows list of names of persons (41) present.]

Ambassador Austin explained that the purpose of this meeting was to appraise and evaluate the experience of the Delegation at this session [Page 24] of the Assembly, as well as the achievements of the Assembly itself. He thought the United States should avoid its present habit of often taking the cue for its position from the Russians. He pointed out that many of our decisions had been influenced by the position which the Soviets have taken. The United States should assume an individual initiative in all cases. Ambassador Austin referred to the great temptation to answer the critical remarks made by Mr. Vyshinsky about the General Assembly upon his departure. He hoped that the discussion of the Delegation could be a real “free-for-all” in which all the members could express their impressions of our common experience and thus contribute to the future improvement of the work of the Delegation.

Ambassador Austin turned first to the liaison officers. He thought it was important for the Delegation as a whole to understand the actions of other delegations and particularly why the United States received their support and whether other members had confidence in the sincerity of our leadership. Mr. Raynor referred to a dinner held the preceding day with representatives of certain European states. These representatives believed the United States was making a sincere attempt to measure up to its responsibilities of leadership and on balance was adequately meeting its responsibilities. These states particularly appreciated our consultations with them, which had made a tremendous impression. They would like to see the consultations extended in the future and kept up during the course of the year. In response to a question from Ambassador Austin as to whether any particular techniques of consultation had been developed, Mr. Raynor explained that the main change had occurred during the negotiations on the “Essentials of Peace” resolution at which time we had actually taken account of the suggestions put forward by other members. One of the weakest spots in his area of responsibility was the trusteeship work.

Mr. Hickerson noted that as a result of the improved techniques of consultation, all these states wanted more consultation, including a greater degree of preliminary consultation before the Assembly in their capitals, as well as consultation in New York for which they were most appreciative. Mr. Raynor indicated that the only problem cases in his area were really minor ones, although he noted that the French desired to deal directly with the United States and not through the British. The Australians were also temperamental. However, relations with both delegations had improved at this session.

Mr. Dreier considered that there were many problems involving the Latin American states. One interesting one was illustrated by the experience in the First Committee the preceding day, when three Latin American states completely surprised the United States by introducing a resolution referring the Chinese case to the Interim Committee [Page 25] without any advance consultation, and then engaged in some first class Latin oratory which defeated the United States position. By and large, he believed, however, that the Latin American states had demonstrated their support for the United States in the general East-West conflict. The reasons for Latin American enthusiasm in our behalf differed. Some Latin American states were pro-democratic, while others were motivated more by the fear of ideas of social and economic change. One element which made these states difficult to deal with was their extreme caution in many instances. Moreover, some had a purely sentimental hope that through some formula or procedure a way would be found to work out all the problems before the United Nations. This was true, for example, of Mr. Stolk of Venezuela who, despite his experiences in attempting to reach an agreement with the Soviets on the Interim Committee, still maintained the dream of some magic formula which would bring the East and West together.

Turning to the consultation process in general, Mr. Dreier felt that the United States had kept the Latin American countries well informed of our position. This had been appreciated. However, the Latin American states had not come to the United States to find out its point of view as much as he had thought they would. The consistent practice of consultation on our part made more regrettable the Latin American move on China, on which there had been no consultation, although the Latin American states realized that this was a matter of great importance to the United States. He accounted for this move both on the emotional ground which went back to the ardor engendered in the debate on the resolution on the “Essentials of Peace”, and their desire to keep alive the debate on subversive activities of the Soviets. In the Chinese case, there had also been the feeling that United States policy did not provide sufficient emotional appeal, and that it was essentially weak.…

Mr. Dreier thought one possible reason for their conduct on China was the fact that when the Latin American states did consult with us, they very often had ideas which we did not like, so that we were constantly throwing cold water on their proposals. He wondered if it would not be better in the future to select a few Latin American ideas, … and seek their modification in such a way that the United States could support them.

There was another problem involving the Latin American delegations which should not be lost sight of. This was the relative freedom of action of many of the Latin American delegates. For example, Alexis (Haiti) had submitted a plan for the control of atomic energy without the head of his Delegation knowing he was going to make such a proposal. Mr. Dreier did not know how this matter could be [Page 26] effectively handled. Ambassador Austin … asked whether there was any feeling of inferiority among the small states as compared with the great powers. Mr. Dreier did not think this feeling had been particularly evident in this Assembly, although there was of course a latent sentiment among many Latin American countries. This had come out in the Chinese case. Referring back to the developments of the preceding day, Mr. Dreier thought it would be well for the United States to make known to the Latin American countries involved that our policy was one of consultation and to remind them that such consultation on their part was also desirable. Mr. Hickerson felt that there was a single explanation for the fact that the Latin Americans had not consulted us. They regarded the United States delegation as “no-men”. We usually knocked down their ideas as bad. This time there was nothing basically wrong in their position, and Tsiang’s oratory had simply touched off their emotions, which had then run away with them. Ambassador Jessup noted that the Chinese had also put on an excellent social campaign of luncheons and dinners.

Mr. Hickerson believed that the Delegation should watch more carefully for the irresponsible elements in other delegations. He believed we should try to get a better estimate from our missions abroad, thus giving us the complete “lowdown” on other delegates.… We should watch carefully the attitudes expressed by the various delegates as the Assembly proceeded to make sure that they were really speaking for their countries and not “freewheeling”. Mr. Clark considered that the Latin American intervention in the Chinese case simply illustrated the effects of good campaigning, which had been started early, to line up the Latin American states in favor of China.

Mr. Cabot said that certain of the senior political liaison officers felt that there could be more integration of the liaison work with other Delegation operations. He agreed we had secured the confidence of other delegates by increased consultations. With the other liaison officers he was preparing a memorandum making certain constructive suggestions for the greater integration of the liaison work. Ambassador Austin suggested that it would be helpful in studying the future procedures of the Delegation if Mr. Cabot could consult with members of the permanent Mission on this matter.

Mr. Howard referred to the fact that there were different liaison problems in different areas. He thought all the political officers could helpfully contribute to an over-all study of the liaison work of the Delegation. He personally felt that the liaison work of this session had improved over that of the past. There was rather less lobbying, for one thing. In his view, the most important element of liaison work was to establish a relationship of mutual confidence. This year that [Page 27] relationship was better than ever before with the exception of certain questions, such as Palestine, on which the Arab states, for example, could never be influenced by the United States. In answer to a question from Ambassador Austin, he agreed that in many cases the position of other states was a response based upon their fear of the Russians. This had been the case when Turkey had not spoken in the debate on the “Essentials of Peace” resolution because it feared this would mean it would be singled out for subsequent attack by the Soviets. A number of states preferred not to speak unless they were actually attacked.

[Here follows description by the delegates of their impressions of the accomplishments of the fourth session of the General Assembly.]