IO Files: US/A/M (Chr)/1431

Minutes of the Eighth Meeting of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly,2 New York, September 27, 1950, 9:15 a. m.


[Here follow list of persons present (47) and brief consideration of prior agenda items. The Delegation then engaged in lengthy discussion of the Michael Scott case.3]

The Secretary suggested that we should be sure of the United Nations situation. If there were just general pressure in the corridors relating to Scott, that was something we had to stand. Congress had passed a law which covered this subject and no matter what view we might take of the law, it existed.4 We would involve ourselves in a continual fight with the Department of Justice if we were to use the few loop holes provided on cases such as this. If the law were wrong, that was too bad, but that was the kind of a country we had, and other Delegations would simply have to understand this fact. On the other hand, if Scott had any reasonable connection with the General Assembly, we could find a way of getting him into the country. All that [Page 73] was necessary was for someone to say lie was wanted and would serve a useful purpose. The Secretary suggested that the Secretary-General might be asked to find out what the actual situation was. If he then informed the United States that the business of the Assembly would be helped, then Scott could be admitted. On the contrary, if this was just a matter for which some Delegations wanted to criticize us, let them go ahead; we could stand criticism.

Mr. Cohen questioned whether the Secretary’s approach might not be a little narrow. It would mean that either we would have to force Scott to wait until the Committee had taken action or place responsibility on the Secretary-General for indicating Scott was necessary to the Assembly, which responsibility he might not be willing to assume. In his view, the problem was to try to work out a somewhat broader category of United Nations business than that which we have at present which would require the Secretary-General to certify that he had been requested by the Assembly. Mr. Meeker pointed out that section 11 (5) of the Headquarters Agreement covered other persons invited by the United Nations or by specialized agencies on United Nations business. Mr. Rusk asked whether we were not entitled to ask the United Nations whether a given individual was coming on United Nations business; if the Secretary-General answered in the affirmative, then we granted a visa. He believed the United Nations should take this responsibility.

Senator Sparkman noted that Scott had entered the country in 1947 as an adviser to the Indian Delegation and wondered whether this device might not be used again. Mr. Tate answered that there had been some talk about doing this but pointed out the difficulty involved since bringing Scott in that capacity might put him in the position of actually sitting in the Committee and speaking and thus give him more prominence than if he were an observer on the sidelines.

Mr. Dulles pointed out that in order to have Scott admitted, the Department would have to certify to the Attorney-General that his admission was in the national interest. In addition, no matter what position one took toward the policy of the Act, the Department should be able to cite a specific relation between Scott and the United Nations. He asked why the United States could not write to the Secretary-General or to the Chairman of the Fourth Committee to ask whether they wished Scott admitted, and if they said “yes,” the Department would then have a basis for action which did not exist today. Certainly we could not argue Scott’s admission was in the national interest.

Mr. Cohen thought that in this sense the national interest was involved. The United States, he believed, had a crave responsibility [Page 74] toward the United Nations which had located in this country. Anybody in this country could see other Delegations and had a certain right of petition, assembly, etc. While it might be we could not go so far as to allow any crank to enter the country who claimed he wished to talk to delegations, he believed that, where a legitimate interest in approaching other delegations and urging a particular case was shown, and a prima facie case could be made to this effect, it was in the national interest for us not to have complete control of who should have access to a great international institution like the United Nations. He believed, therefore, we should admit any individuals who showed substantial interest in United Nations proceedings. For this reason, he thought it too restrictive in this case simply to wait for Committee action. Mr. Dulles suggested the possibility of writing to the appropriate United Nations officials on this matter.

The Secretary believed that on the basis of the Delegations’ discussion, it did not unanimously desire to request the Department to ask the Attorney General for action under the Ninth Proviso. He did not favor such action himself unless the Delegation was unanimous. He thought the way to work was along the lines suggested by Mr. Dulles, and that we should try to find out in some official way whether Scott was desired by the United Nations, and if so, we could then admit him either under the Ninth Proviso, under the Headquarters Agreement, or some other way through the legal maze. He emphasized that the Department had to justify every case of Ninth Proviso action under the new law.5 He asked for a record in this case. We would not have to have a formal committee vote, but perhaps only report that the Members had been canvassed, and it had been found that the work of the Assembly would be greatly facilitated if Scott were admitted to this country.

  1. Short title for the master files of the Reference and Documents Section of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State.
  2. The fifth regular session of the General Assembly of the United Nations had convened at New York on September 19. For information regarding the composition of the United States Delegation and its Advisory Staff, see p. 24.
  3. The Delegation had before it an 8-page position paper on the matter, which is not printed (IO Files, Doc. US/A/C.4/134).
  4. This refers to the Headquarters Agreement of 1947.
  5. This is a reference to the Internal Security Act of 1950.