330/1–550: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin)


4. 1. In event any motion is presented in SC which wld have effect of unseating rep Nationalist Govt or seating rep Communist regime, US rep shld vote in negative, making only very brief explanation of vote stating that it does not regard negative vote of any permanent member as a veto since this decision can be taken by any seven votes.

2. If any permanent member including Chinese Nationalist rep insists negative vote constitutes veto, US rep shld, if necessary, support appropriate steps to override. Of course, if US is only negative vote and Pres SC rules it constitutes veto, US Rep shld request revote and abstain.

3. Statement along fol lines suggested in explaining US negative vote:

“In casting a negative vote on this motion the US wishes to make it clear that its vote does not constitute a veto and cannot be construed as such. This is for the reason that in the view of the US the question before the Council is not one which, under Art 27 of the Charter, requires the concurring votes of the permanent members.

“The question before the Council is essentially a question of its organization. Stated in generalized terms, it is whether one claimant or another should be entitled to represent a Member of the UN on the SC. In this case the member is a permanent member of the SC whose membership on that body is expressly provided for in the Charter, but the question would be basically the same if the UN Member involved were a non-permanent member elected by the GA in accordance with Art 23 of the Charter.

“Surely, it wld be an anomalous situation, and one which cannot be countenanced if this organization is to succeed, if a single member of the SC cld by its single vote decide in effect that one of two claimants shld represent a member and, particularly, a permanent member of the SC. I need hardly add that this position is in accordance [Page 187] with the res on voting adopted by the GA on April 14, 1949.”2

4. Dept suggests that you explain US position to other friendly SC members including Chinese rep and obtain their reactions. If other permanent members believe consultation desirable among all permanent members pursuant to October 28 agreement,3 US rep shld raise no objection.

  1. The substance of this statement was delivered to the Security Council on January 12 by the Deputy United States Representative at the United Nations (Gross); for text see United Nations, Official Records of the Security Council, Fifth Year, No. 2, p. 6. (Security Council records are cited hereafter as SC, 5th yr.)

    The countries represented on the Security Council for its fifth year were China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, France, India, Norway, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yugoslavia. Three of the nonpermanent members, Ecuador, India, and Yugoslavia, had been elected to terms by the General Assembly at its fourth regular session (September–December 1949), and were not seated until January 10.

  2. For documentation regarding the meetings of the five permanent members of the Security Council in October 1949 to discuss procedure regarding voting in the Security Council, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. ii, pp. 324 ff.