Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Berry)


Participants: Mr. Melih Esenbel, Turkish First Secretary
Mr. Burton Berry, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Mr. Popper, UNP
Dr. Harry Howard, NEA
Mr. Edward F. Rivinus, GTI

Problem: The Turkish Government is disturbed over Lebanon’s proposed candidacy for the expected vacancy on the Security Council [Page 111] with particular regard to the position to be taken by a number of Latin American states.

Action Required: To make clear to the Latin American states concerned that the United States backs Turkey’s candidacy for membership on the Security Council and United States reasons therefor.

Action Assigned To: UNP

Mr. Esenbel called to express Turkey’s concern over the possibility that a number of the Latin American states might, as a result of their ignorance of the general situation in the Near East and pressures from large numbers of ex-Lebanese citizens in those countries, support the recently announced candidacy of Lebanon for the position on the Security Council to which Turkey hoped to be elected. He stated that the Turks had approached all Latin American countries in an effort to determine their stand on this question, and that to date no definite replies had been received from the following states: Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, San Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Ecuador. He stated that the Turks felt that the Latin American countries did not fully understand that the Near East region from the point of view of the “geographic distribution” aspect of Article 23 of the UN Charter included not only the six Arab states but six non-Arab states as well, and that as a result of their failure to appreciate this situation they might be prone to cast their votes for an Arab state automatically, particularly in view of the fact that pressures might be applied by large numbers of ex-Lebanese citizens resident in Latin America. He then asked if it would be possible for the United States in its conversations with Latin American countries regarding this problem to make clear the position of the United States in support of Turkey, together with United States reasons therefor, emphasizing not only Turkey’s qualifications for the position vacated by Egypt in accordance with Article 23, but also the fact that Turkey was in a materially better position to further the interests of world peace as a whole than one of the Arab states. Mr. Berry replied that it was his understanding that Mr. Webb had told the Turkish Ambassador some time ago that the United States would vote for Turkey for a Security Council seat. Shortly thereafter we had informed our Missions abroad that this was the United States Government’s position. While it is not the United States Government’s practice to electioneer and try to convince other countries that they should support the United States’ choice for any United Nations position, we have none the less made our position known in this matter to other Governments. Mr. Popper added that we are informing our missions in Latin America of our support of Turkey and we have made known our reasons for this support. He added that we would commence discussions with all the Latin American countries on United [Page 112] Nations problems beginning tomorrow in New York and that at that time we could further stress our position. Dr. Howard suggested the possibility that Lebanon had proposed or was proposing the candidacy this year as a maneuver in order to insure the chance of being elected in 1951.