330/1–2150: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin )1


32. While Debt’s views re various proposals for dealing with question of Chinese representation in SC and other UN organs have not [Page 203] yet crystallized, following observations may be helpful in your discussions with other SC Dels preparatory to meeting of Comite of Experts2 scheduled for Jan 23. FYI we are sympathetic to objective of ensuring uniformity of action in UN organs on representation questions. We wld give sympathetic consideration to suggestions which might result in deferring unseating of Chi rep for time being, provided such suggestions wld not involve manipulation of UN procedures for obvious political purpose.

Dept wishes particularly to ascertain views of UK in order that our actions may be conceited as far as possible in difficult situation confronting SC and other organs. Dept wld appreciate info on following points: Wld British be willing to continue abstention in event Chi credentials challenged after seven SC members have recognized Chi Commies; wld any of proposals mentioned your tels 15 and 24 or in SC itself serve to assist British in carrying out such policy in SC; wld they prefer SC action limited specifically to present case or establishment of a general rule looking toward other, similar cases in future.

Our present thinking various proposals so far made is as follows:

We cannot agree Tsiang’s position that question before SC is substantive. In our view, question is one for decision by vote of any seven SC members, and US will act accordingly.
We cannot agree to plan which wld appear as attempt to freeze situation, to serious detriment of UN, for period of eight or nine months, or possibly even longer if two-thirds majority shld be required for GA determination of matter. We consequently cannot approve Tsiang’s suggestion that all UN organs abstain from seating Commie reps until GA has done so. However, possibility GA action need not yet be completely discarded if other factors operate to result in delay and GA Spring Session is decided upon.
We appreciate UKDel objectives in making suggestion that when a majority of all UN Members recognize Commies, all UN organs shld seat Commie reps. However, fol questions arise as proposal is presented in urtel 15:
How wld UK meet problem that SC has no authority to determine attitude of other UN organs on representation and that SC motion in form suggested by UK wld therefore have no binding effect, except as example, on other UN bodies?
In view of different composition of various UN organs, cld simultaneous admission of Chi Commies to all organs be assured [Page 204] under UK suggestion even after recognition by majority UN Members, unless a controlling majority in each organ also commit themselves to support admission if necessary at that time even though their countries have not recognized Commie regime? A number of countries wld probably be unwilling to make such commitment now and thus objective of uniform action cld not as statistical matter be guaranteed.
Is there not a basic difficulty connected with use of standard of recognition by majority of UN Members to determine representation on UN organs? In case of China according to Dept’s info only 37 Members of UN maintained relations with that nation in 1947. Would remaining UN Members who do not normally maintain relations with Chi have to indicate their attitude by positive act?
Re Rau’s suggestion of referring disputes re credentials to a tribunal, we agree with observations in paras 8 and 9 of urtel 24. We wld also object to suggestion made by Egyptian rep on Jan 13 for a mixed comite representing the various organs of the UN to make a determination re representation. Composition and appointment of such a body wld be a complicated procedure. In our view, if broadly representative body is to make determination re disputes on representation, GA or when not in session IC wld be organ most suited to establish precedent which wld guide other organs.
Re Rau’s suggestion for a new SC rule of procedure designated as Rule 17A (S/1447), we have some question re desirability of establishing such a procedure for general application to this and future cases, although we wld suggest you might explore general reaction to idea of an inquiry limited to this particular instance. Our questions re Rau’s rule are:
Wld it be embarrassing for all Member governments of UN to be questioned as to their views each time any challenge is made of credentials of a SC rep, perhaps at successive stages in same case?
Cld this action result in establishing more general practise of having SC, which represents and acts on behalf of all UN Members, poll all Member States before taking action clearly within its powers?
Our general feeling is that establishment of procedures looking toward uniformity of action on representation questions in all UN organs in future cases requires considerable study, which shld be undertaken by a more broadly representative organ than the SC. We are considering possibility of SC recommendation to GA to Study this problem which might be immediately taken up in IC to prepare proposals for GA next fall. Wld appreciate your reaction and views of other Dels on desirability of IC study this general problem.

  1. Repeated to London as telegram 288.
  2. The Committee of Experts of the Security Council was the rules body of the Security Council.