IO Files: US/S/954

Minutes of Informal Meeting of the Five Permanent Members of the Security Council, United States Mission, New York, October 17, 1949

Participants: China: Dr. Tingfu F. Tsiang
France: Mr. Jean Chauvel
Mr. Guy de la Tournelle
U.S.S.R.: Mr. Jacob Malik and an adviser
United Kingdom: Sir Alexander Cadogan
Mr. Denis Laskey
Mr. J. E. S. Fawcett
United States: Ambassador Austin
Mr. J. N. Hyde

Ambassador Austin opened the meeting by stating that this was an informal meeting which was rendered necessary by paragraphs 2 and 3 of the resolution of the General Assembly, dated 14 April 1949. He recalled that four of the permanent members had sponsored and voted for paragraph 2 of the resolution. He then read the paragraph and read the paragraph of the Report of the Interim Committee which it incorporated by reference. He then stated his understanding [Page 325] that those members who had voted for the resolution still supported it. He stated his recollection that the Soviet Union had either voted against it or abstained. Malik stated that the Soviet Union had voted against it and, in answer to a question by Ambassador Austin, added that there was no change in his Government’s position. Malik expressed some difficulty in stating the basis for this position because of the absence of an interpreter and attempted to translate from a document that he had in Russian. He did say that the point of view of his Government is based on the consideration that many of those decisions are controlled by Article 27 of the Charter.

Ambassador Austin then went on to paragraph 3 of the resolution, which he read, and stated that so far as his Government is concerned it would be willing to assent to it.

In language that was rather difficult to understand, Malik said that he agreed with sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph 3 and that he did not think sub-paragraph (c) was necessary so far as his Government was concerned because it always acted in accordance with sub-paragraph (c). Chauvel observed that the interpretation of paragraph 3 was in that case always rather subjective.

Malik then went on to repeat what he had said before, that he hoped this was regarded as a preliminary and not a final consultation. Ambassador Austin stated that it might be appropriate for him to report to the Security Council tomorrow very briefly that the five had met and that there was no agreement on paragraph 2, because four of the permanent members took one position which the Soviet Union opposed. Ambassador Austin then suggested a brief report simply saying that there had been a meeting of the permanent members. If the Soviet Representative thought that further consultation might lead to a further area of agreement, the announcement would be kept very brief. Malik replied that while he did not insist, he would prefer another meeting before an announcement in the Council, partly because of his language difficulty. He stated that with or without an interpreter he would not agree to paragraph 2 but that he would like to discuss paragraph 3(c) further and would prefer, if it is not urgent, a meeting perhaps tomorrow before the Security Council. He added that he had no objections to a report along the lines suggested by Ambassdor Austin.

It was then agreed that there would be another meeting of the five at 2:30 p. m. on October 18 in a small conference room just beside the delegates’ entrance. No announcement will be made to the press before that meeting but the understanding was that some announcement would be made at the end of that meeting and that it might then be appropriate to make the statement, which Ambassador Austin had outlined in the Security Council. Ambassador Austin made it clear [Page 326] that he was not pressing for an immediate announcement to the Council but that he regarded a full consultation as more important. Malik indicated in response to comments by Cadogan that he was in no way attempting to stall and that he understood that this should be announced in the Council during the course of Ambassador Austin’s presidency.

J. N. Hyde