330/2–350: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State


634. Depcirtel January 19, noon. Parrott, [acting] head of UN Political Department, gave Embassy officer following indication present British thinking on situation in UN following Soviet walkout:

Members of SC have obligation to be present at meeting and therefore no member has right to disrupt proceedings by being absent. [Page 220] Otherwise SC be subject to blackmail or at mercy of whims of members.
It follows willful absence of member of SC does not invalidate proceedings and in spite of absence of Soviets SC should continue to function.
Nevertheless care should be taken not to provoke Soviets.
Care should also be taken to avoid action in SC which might be challenged by others. Matters such as applications for membership should therefore not be taken up.
One reason UK especially wants to keep SC functioning is in order to do something about Kashmir. (Exactly what is not clear.) Parrott observed India and Pakistan would have to be amenable. If not India for example might raise issue of legality of action in SC itself.
UK believes USSR will return to UN organs only when Chinese Nationalist representatives have been replaced by Communists. Russians feel they have a very strong position on this issue and are prepared to see it through. British want to see question of Chinese representatives resolved speedily (presumably in favor of seating Chinese Communist representatives) in order to damage UN as little as possible.
Should there be long delay in seating Chinese Communists Parrott expressed opinion that USSR might have doubts as to value of remaining in UN and might give serious thought to complete withdrawal and establishment of rival organization.
Firm decisions on British position subject to approval by Bevin who is returning tonight.

Parrott indicated Foreign Office would appreciate information as to US position and thinking. As most Deptels have outlined views of others or only tentative thinking of Department Embassy has been able to give Foreign Office only fragmentary information.