IO Files: US/S/956

Minutes of Informal Meeting of the Five Permanent Members of the Security Council, Lake Success, New York, October 18, 1949

Participants: China: Dr. Tingfu F. Tsiang
France: Mr. Chauvel
U.S.S.R.: Mr. Jacob Malik and an interpreter
United Kingdom: Sir Alexander Cadogan
Mr. J. E. S. Fawcett
United States: Ambassador Austin
Mr. J. N. Hyde

As agreed at the October 17 meeting, this meeting was held at Lake Success before the meeting of the Security Council. Since Dr. Tsiang and Chauvel were rather late, Ambassador Austin began the meeting without them.

Ambassador Austin opened the meeting by asking Malik if he would care to state the Soviet view. Through an interpreter, Malik replied that the Soviet position remains the same on paragraph 2 of the resolution. As to the principle of consultation as contained in paragraph 3, he recalled the resolution submitted to the Assembly in Paris and quoted paragraph 3 of that resolution, which reads:

“3. Taking into consideration that the principle of unanimity of the permanent Members of the Security Council in the adoption of decisions by the Council is a most important condition for ensuring effective action by the United Nations in developing co-operation between nations and in maintaining international peace and security, Expresses confidence that in the future the Security Council will accordingly take account of the experience of its work in the past, will apply the method of consultation where necessary, and will seek to improve the possibility of adopting concerted decisions.”

In the light of this resolution in which the Soviet Union attempted to provide for consultation, it maintains a positive attitude on this question, and this applies to sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph 3. Therefore, the Soviet Government is willing to take part in consultations of the sort mentioned in paragraph 3.

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Ambassador Austin then asked Malik how he would regulate the holding of these meetings and who would be responsible for calling them. He added that if they are not regulated and no one was responsible for calling the permanent members together, the task does not get attended to.

Malik said that that was a new idea to him which he had not considered and asked what Ambassador Austin had in mind. The latter replied that if this question of calling meetings were left to the President of the Security Council there might be times when the President is not a permanent member and when this would not be a good method. He was simply inquiring what method Malik would be willing to use.

Malik doubted whether it would be advisable to choose a permanent initiator of these meetings but wanted to consider the matter of how such meetings should be called. He thought it would be useful for all five to consider this matter of method. He did not have an off-hand opinion. As a personal suggestion, he threw out the idea that perhaps a permanent member submitting a substantive proposal might be the proper one to call a meeting.

Cadogan pointed out that this would not cover the case where a non-permanent member brought up a proposal and that would have to be worked out.

At this point Tsiang arrived and Ambassador Austin explained the Soviet position that there was no change as to paragraph 2 and that in the light of the discussion of paragraph 3 it seemed desirable to have another meeting. He went on to say that he would announce in the Security Council that afternoon that the permanent members had obeyed the request of the General Assembly, that they stood right where they were as to paragraph 2, the point of view of the Soviet Union means that it cannot be put into effect and, as to paragraph 3, there is agreement in principle on consultation as embodied in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) but this principle will have to be further considered.

Cadogan went back to the idea of who should initiate consultations and suggested that when a non-permanent member brings up a proposal the last permanent member to be President could be charged with summoning the permanent members.

At this point Chauvel arrived and Ambassador Austin again restated the view of the meeting and that there was no final view on how consultations might be organized. Ambassador Austin again asked Malik for views as to sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph 3. Malik replied that considering the Soviet resolution in Paris as a whole, he thought that there could be agreement on the principle of consultation without attempting to reach a conclusion on (a), (b), and (c). He suggested that there might be no real distinction between sub-paragraphs [Page 328] (a) and (b), and there was some inconclusive discussion as to the shade of difference between them.

Ambassador Austin concluded by saying that he would conduct these discussions to reach any area of agreement and there would be a further meeting at the convenience of the permanent members. He then reiterated the nature of the statement he would make in the Security Council.

J. N. Hyde