310/8–2100: Telegram

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


342. Following is summary US-UK-French conversations this morning on UN problems on agenda September FM meeting. Jebb, Coulson and Laskey were present for UK; Chauvel, Lacoste and Tine for France; and Ross, Bancroft, Maffitt and Allen for US.1

At outset Jebb and Chauvel stated they had no instructions on subjects to be covered and their general attitude was one of seeking further information on what US had in mind. We emphasized US views represented current thinking these problems and not necessarily final US position, but that Department felt strongly we should put forward program of real substance to take advantage impetus provided by general response to Korean situation in order strengthen ability UN meet further crises. In general, although at times considerable reserve was shown toward US proposals for united action against aggression, attitude UK and French less negative than previous preliminary reactions UK and French FonOffs.

Proposal for special session GA: We outlined proposal contained Deptel 732, August 9 to London,2 and added suggestion of including paragraph recommending that members designate UN units within their national forces. In general Jebb and Chauvel tended initially to regard proposal as more far reaching than we had in mind. We sought counter their feeling that proposal amounted to “enlarging powers of GA,” “supplanting SC”, obligating members go to war against aggression anywhere, etc. Chauvel took view that however proposal [Page 1114] put forward, it would be regarded by many dels as marking transformation of UN into anti-Soviet alliance and expressed fear many countries would hesitate to make that choice. Jebb inclined agree. When we cited 53 nation support for Korean action as indicating willingness free world face up to aggression, Chauvel questioned extent to which this largely verbal response represented real enthusiasm for Korean venture.

Jebb, although seeing advantages using GA this manner over seeking action under Article 513 in event of another Korea, raised such questions as whether under proposal GA would meet if SC action defeated, by negative votes of more than one permanent member or if, in event of non-Communist aggression (India–Pakistan for example), SC action were vetoed by friendly permanent members. He also questioned effect of our proposal on obligations under Rio and NA treaties.

No particular objection raised to suggestion for designating UN unit in national forces, although Jebb pointed out desirability making clear such forces should not be used except pursuant UN decision in order avoid possibility any attempt USSR use its earmarked forces under pretext of acting on behalf UN.

Observation and fact-finding committee: We outlined proposal contained urtel 137, August 11.4 Reaction was more favorable to this proposal and Jebb agreed that in large measure it overcame objections of contravention of San Francisco statement and illegal delegation of authority which UK had raised to original US proposal for SC Commission. We explained that principal differences this proposal and present IC terms of reference are only that commission would be in being on continuous basis and that decision to employ it could be taken by majority vote of IC. Chauvel agreed that this was “much less majestic” than original US idea and that it raised no problem of delegation of powers.

UN legion: We explained that in view of practical difficulties we did not think this GA should take any action to establish any sort of UN legion and that it might at most request that study be made of possibilities. We emphasized that US thinking on this subject is especially tentative and that above suggestion for designation of UN units in national forces might offer more simple method of fulfilling [Page 1115] purpose of legion, except for post-hostilities occupation in Korea. For latter job we suggested further consideration be given to possibility of setting up some temporary UN force for that purpose only. It could later be decided on basis its experience whether such a force should be made permanent part of UN machinery. In general discussion UK and French were interested in exploring advantages and disadvantages above possibilities and, although noncommital, indicated sympathetic attitude.

Coordinated approach to Lie peace proposals and Soviet peace propaganda: Bancroft explained that although the Korean situation will place greater emphasis on measures of defense against aggression, we believe it desirable not to give impression we have abandoned our long-term constructive efforts on improvement of economic and social conditions, control of atomic energy, etc. Jebb remarked we must push forward with economic and social measures and seemed to take somewhat more interest in such program than in measures of defense against aggression.

For benefit of group it was reported that USUN’s understanding is that Lie envisages following GA treatment for his ten-point memorandum:5

Extensive discussion in general debate and general committee on memorandum whole, followed by referral to committee 1 where, after any further discussion that might be considered necessary, its component parts would be referred to committees handling similar agenda items such as atomic energy, membership, etc. Items of memorandum not thus placed would remain committee 1 for debate.

Jebb remarked this very poor idea and confirmed, quoting Protitch,6 that this seemed to be general approach envisaged by Secretariat. Bancroft remarked it preferable to deal with memorandum as whole. There was general agreement that we must check Lie’s concrete ideas on treatment his memorandum when he returns and urge undesirability piece-meal discussion.

Ross then advanced tentative recommendations for coordinated approach to Lie memorandum and Soviet peace propaganda as contained SFM D–2, page 2.7 He also touched on themes which might be stressed to expose hollowness Soviet peace proposal (pages 3 and 4, same document). Bancroft declared this appears not to require consideration by FM’s but rather general agreement among dels to cooperate on an over-all program of this sort.

[Page 1116]

Procedural problems in GA consideration of Korea: Bancroft said that if circumstances do not alter picture it is obvious Korea will be a main GA topic and that we feel GA must have opportunity discuss it. He pointed out that SC seized only of aggression against Korea and that therefore issue of competence of GA under Article 128 should not be allowed to arise. He pointed out GA has UNCOK report on agenda and should be able to consider other items not directly linked to aggression. In response Chauvel’s question, he said an SC attempt to make report to GA or request recommendations from GA on Korea would be unwise since it would raise this issue whether or not USSR vetoed. No report is necessary since all facts are available and it is unnecessary SC to request GA discussion Korean phases not on SC agenda. Jebb said it would be mistake to take Korea off SC agenda. Chauvel mentioned possibility establishment Rau-sponsored neutrals commission9 and its having Korean “peace plan” under discussion or making report on plan for SC referral to GA. Bancroft said such commission would have finished discussions by assembly time and repeated hope council would not ask for GA views.

Chauvel significantly said French Government prefers GA not go deeply into Korean discussion lest it get involved in other developments such as Formosa and Indochina. It would hope GA consideration be limited to future of Korea and other general topics. He also felt that it is premature for UNCOK to offer views and recommendations and preferred that GA consider its report without such (presumably August 11 supplement which secretariat privately circulating for dels’ opinions), and in its own time request UNCOK’s views. He feared submission UNCOK recommendations now might have precisely result his government wished avoid.

Chinese representation: Bancroft stated our view that GA should not unseat Chinese Nationalists nor seat Peiping representatives while Korean aggression continues. He explained our position along lines set forth in D–2/3.10 There was some discussion regarding approach to this matter at opening of GA, Chauvel hoping Vishinsky would open with demand for ouster of Nationalists, which would result in vote being on that rather than on seating of Peiping representatives. Chauvel thought such vote would be easier to win for Nationalists. We indicated our present tentative view that vote in GA should be by simple majority. This was questioned by Jebb on ground matter is undeniably “of great importance” (paragraph 2, part 2 of San Francisco [Page 1117] statement). Bancroft acknowledged our thinking in this regard not entirely fixed. Jebb viewed with alarm possibility neither Chinese would be seated, which he said would place SC in difficult situation, since it would raise issue of Tsiang’s right to sit.11 He wondered what are chances of Tsiang’s being voted out of Assembly. Ross thought they are less than they were before Korean aggression.

Spain: Jebb brought up question Spain, saying UK Embassy, Washington, had instructions consult Department. He and Chauvel seeming vague on US position. Ross filled them in along lines Depcirgram June 3, 1950.12 There was general feeling that NY dels could concert their positions this GA matter and avoid necessity FM’s discussing it.

Jebb indicated that both UK FonOff and UK Embassy Washington felt strongly that all preliminary discussion of UN questions for FM meeting should be held with dels in NY and not with Embassies in Washington as part of preliminary talks. NY dels could then brief FM’s directly. Chauvel agreed. Without committing US to follow this course exclusively we agreed hold another meeting of same group 10:00 a. m., Monday, August 28, on UK insistence could not set earlier date. UK and French hope have instructions on above items from FonOffs by that time.

  1. Sir Hubert Miles Gladwyn Jebb, Permanent Representative to the United Nations; John E. Coulson, Minister and member of the British Delegation to the United Nations; Denis Seward Laskey, permanent member of the British Delegation to the United Nations; Jean M. H. Chauvel, French Representative on the Security Council; Francis Lacoste, Alternate Representative on the Security Council; Jacques Tine, member of the French Delegation to the United Nations; John C. Ross, Alternate Representative to the General Assembly; Harding F. Bancroft, Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs; Edward P. Maffitt, member of the United States Delegation to the United Nations; and Ward P. Allen, Special Assistant on United Nations Affairs in the Bureau of European Affairs.
  2. Telegram 732 transmitted the text of a draft resolution adapting the U.N. machinery to new Circumstances. In particular it called for General Assembly consideration of any question concerning breaches of the peace or acts of aggression on which the Security Council failed to exercise its primary responsibility because of the veto. It also provided for the calling of special General Assembly sessions and invited member states to survey their resources to determine what assistance they could render in support of any General Assembly recommendations for restoring peace. (320/8–950) For further documentation on this proposal and the full text of telegram 732, see vol. ii, pp. 303 ff. and p. 315, respectively.
  3. Article 51 provided that nothing in the Charter should impair “… the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
  4. Telegram 137 transmitted the text of a draft resolution providing for the establishment of a General Assembly Fact-Finding and Observation Commission to observe and report from any area in which international tension or conflict developed. For its full text, see vol. ii, p. 317.
  5. Regarding Secretary-General Lie’s 20-year peace plan, submitted to the United Nations on June 6, see vol. ii, pp. 371 ff.
  6. Dragoslav Protitch, Principal Director, Department of Security Council Affairs of the U.N. Secretariat.
  7. Regarding SFM D–2, see SFM D–2b and footnote 1 thereto, infra.
  8. Article 12 provided that the General Assembly could make no recommendations on any dispute or situation under consideration by the Security Council unless the Security Council so requested.
  9. For documentation on the various peace proposals on Korea, sponsored by S. Gopala Menon and Benegal N. Rau of the Indian Delegation to the United Nations, see volume vii .
  10. Regarding SFM D–2/3, see SFM D–2/3b and footnote 1 thereto, p. 1121.
  11. Ting Fu F. Tsiang, Chinese Representative to the Security Council.
  12. Not printed, but see footnote 3, p. 1563.