IO Files: US/A/2325, US/S/1244

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy United States Representative on the Security Council (Ross)

Participants: Ambassador Jean Chauvel—French Delegation
Mr. Francis Lacoste—French Delegation
Ambassador Warren R. Austin—USUN
Mr. John C. Ross—USUN

Pursuant to Deptel 287 of June 1, Ambassador Austin called on Ambassador Chauvel1 to discuss the question of the United Nations Secretary-General.

Introducing the subject Ambassador Austin said that he thought the most desirable course would be to get agreement among the five permanent members of the Security Council on a candidate. With this in mind we wanted to talk with the French Delegation, thereafter with the United Kingdom Delegation, and thereafter, depending on circumstances, with the Russian and Chinese Delegations. If agreement among the five permanent members on a candidate should not be possible, it would be necessary to consider some other course. We did not want to take any fixed position in the matter except on the basis of consultation with our French and British colleagues.

Saying that he was speaking personally and not for his Government, Ambassador Austin went on to say that he would favor trying to get agreement on Trygve Lie since it seemed likely that he would be the only candidate the Russians would agree to. He had the impression that the Russians would be for Lie. On the other hand, he went on, although it was possible that Tsiang2 might abstain, he thought the Chinese would be against Lie. In this connection Ambassador Austin read USUN’s unclassified report on Tsiang’s press conference of May 31, in which Tsiang in effect denounced Lie.

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If it were not possible to get agreement among the permanent members of the Council, Ambassador Austin thought that we should have to find some device to extend the term of Lie. This device might involve modification of the General Assembly resolution of 1946 which would not go against Tsiang.

Chauvel said that when he was in Paris last week he had discussed this matter not with Schumann or other members of the government but with Broustra.3 Chauvel said that in a conversation with Lie two or three weeks ago Lie had indicated that there was no urgency about this matter in terms of the Council having to deal with it before the General Assembly but that the matter might be held over until sometime during the Assembly. Chauvel had reported this conversation. He said the French were inclined to think that Lie was the only candidate acceptable to the Russians.… They looked on the matter as one of expediency and in this sense Broustra had suggested something along the lines of Ambassador Austin’s suggestion, that is, that an arrangement might be made for an extension of Mr. Lie’s term for a period of say one year. Lacoste observed that this might not be acceptable to Mr. Lie who, in Lacoste’s view on the basis of statements Lie had made in Paris and London, had an aggressive take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward the Secretary-Generalship. We all felt, however, that this was a matter which could be determined by asking Mr. Lie in due course. Chauvel went on to say that considered as a matter of expediency a good deal would depend on whether the Russians were in or out of the General Assembly. If the Russians were in the General Assembly, Lie was probably the only candidate they would accept. If the Russians were out of the General Assembly, our attitude would depend on whether we hoped they would return, in which case it would probably be best to support Lie, since he is the only candidate the Russians have ever voted for. If, on the other hand, we hoped or expected that the Russians were out of the United Nations for good, then we should probably choose another candidate.

I asked Chauvel if any other names had been mentioned in his conversations in Paris. He said that he himself had mentioned the names of Torres Bodet4 and Padilla Nervo only because he had heard those names mentioned in New York before going to Paris,

Chauvel then raised the question of membership. He said he had mentioned this question in Paris as one that would be coming up normally under Security Council rules in August and in regard

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which the French Delegation would need instructions in due course. Chauvel said that his Government had no fixed view on this question as yet. It was recognized, however, as a difficult one. On the one hand if it were contemplated to take in the applicants as a group, such action would be contrary to our past positions and also contrary to the opinion of the Court. If on the other hand we considered taking in the applicants on a one-by-one basis, such applicants as Hungary and Rumania, Chauvel said, his people felt simply did not meet the qualifications under the Charter. Ambassador Austin said that he personally shared the view that the satellites could not meet Charter qualifications. He said that the matter was under study in the Department and we would of course let Ambassador Chauvel know whenever we had any views to pass on.

I observed that although the Security Council rules provided that the membership question should come up in August, I was under the impression that there was some flexibility in the rules on this point.

John C. Ross
  1. Jean Chauvel, Permanent Representative of France at the United Nations. Mr. Lacoste was Deputy French Representative.
  2. Tingfu F. Tsiang, Permanent Representative of China at the United Nations.
  3. Vincent Broustra, “Chargé du Secrétariat des Conférences” (United Nations affairs), French Foreign Ministry.
  4. Jaime Torres Bodet, Mexico, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).