310/8–2850: Telegram

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


386. Following is summary US, UK, France talks today on UN matters on agenda SFM meeting.

Jebb, Coulson, Laskey and Campbell1 attended for UK; Chauvel,

Tine, Lacoste for France, and Hickerson,2 Ross, Maffitt, Allen for US.

1. Chinese representation:

In opening the discussion, Chauvel stated no change in French intention to abstain in GA or SC either on unseating Nationalists or seating Communists, although delegation has discretion whether abstain or vote against Vishinsky’s probable attempt raise matter at outset on a point of order.

Hickerson re-stated US position as firmly opposed seating Communists while Korean aggression continues with whole UN under attack and Chinese Communists helping aggressor morally and perhaps physically, although no objection in principle to reconsideration of case on its merits when aggression cleared up. Stated we would do utmost seek persuade others same view but would, of course, abide by [Page 1127] decision of majority. He agreed that difference between US–UK views was principally question timing and that when fighting is over we would reexamine and probably revert to previous attitude of voting against seating Communists but not seek influence others. In response to UK question as to whether US desired matter settled at opening GA or deferred for consideration in normal course as UK Embassy in Washington had understood, Hickerson replied we prefer quick decision at outset, but have open minds on best tactics. Fact that Chinese Communists have now named delegation to GA might make reference to credentials committee desirable.

It was the general feeling that credentials committee would probably not be able submit recommendations re seating but only make factual report and thus probably little would be gained with reference of question to it. It was agreed, however, that since this was usual procedure, it should not be opposed if suggested. It was agreed that composition of credentials committee would be important and Hickerson made clear US view that proportion of members in credentials committee recognizing Chinese Communists should approximate that in GA itself; i. e., one-third or less.

Chauvel, referring to Cuban item on study of criteria on seating rival claimants, queried how far we wanted GA to go in setting up legal criteria, since applying them to present situation might result in decision to seat Communists. Hickerson replied that we would expect political as well as legal criteria to be applied, such as attitude of claimant toward Chinese obligations. Although possibility deferring seating Communists pending outcome GA study of criteria was left open, general feeling was this would probably be confusing and unsatisfactory method of dealing with question.

In summarizing tactical questions, Ross suggested thorough consideration be given tactics in each of following five situations:

Question raised by Vishinsky on point of order (a) at outset with Romulo3 in chair; (b) after election new president.
Reference of question to credentials committee.
Relating question of seating Chinese delegation to Cuban item on criteria and possible reference of matter to committee 6.
Same but possible reference to committee 1 because of political Implications.
Decision to seat Nationalists with probably subsequent Soviet effort to have Communists admitted as observers or interested parties in all major political questions. Chauvel observed difficult resist this if question Formosa arises.

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In summary it was agreed that it would be desirable for this matter to be settled at opening of GA in plenary session if possible, but that, particularly if Chinese Communist delegation arrives with credentials, it might be necessary refer matter credentials committee. Credentials committee should be carefully selected. France strongly inclined against (but UK less) relating question of seating Chinese Communists to Cuban agenda item for study of criteria.

2. Korea:

Chauvel said his Foreign Office agrees separation be made between “aggression against ROK” as item of which SC seized, and other matters related to Korea with which GA is free to deal, specifically agenda item 19.4 Foreign Office, however, hopes latter division will not include debate on any Korean matters having to do with the present for fear of Formosa or Indochina being brought in. Jebb said Foreign Office wishes SC remain seized of aggression item and rough division made so that GA debate generally widely and make recommendations on future of Korea. Hickerson agreed but on condition that if new circumstances arose, making further affirmative UN action necessary, such as USSR veto of additional SC action, US reserved right to propose reconsideration of whether SC should dis-seize itself of aggression item. Jebb and Chauvel agreed this would be new situation requiring reconsideration.

Ross said Venezuelans and Bolivians here thinking about GA resolution (a) re-affirming legality of SC action to date; (b) re-affirming 53 state support; and (c) condemning North Korean aggression. Hickerson and Jebb wondered whether this would entail conflict with Article 12 and latter thought it also might cause confusion. Ross thought no difficulty since no recommendation would be made. He pointed out that in GA debate USSR and other members would be sure to encroach on aggression item in attacking or defending US and UN action in Korea and that some such resolution might offer best method channelling and shortening debate. It was agreed USSR would probably present resolution in opposite sense and Laskey felt it easier to get 53 votes against this than 53 in favor re-affirmation. All agreed on importance broad support for UN action taken to date.

3. Lie peace proposal:

Hickerson said Lie, when submitting his memorandum as provisional agenda item, did not expect it to be discussed while aggression in Korea continued. Hickerson re-stated our attitude toward GA treatment of memorandum, as in paragraph 3, page 2, SFM D–2b,5 [Page 1129] and hoped memorandum could be dealt with as whole and quickly by plenary. All agreed that Lie should be talked with on this matter when he returns, which we thought would probably be end of this week.

4. Spain:

Chauvel said he had reported our suggested treatment of Spanish question and his Foreign Office had replied reserving its position. Jebb pointed out his Government considered this matter very difficult and Cabinet would be meeting on it in few days. Hickerson explained what sort of resolution might adequately deal with Spanish case, reading from Deptel 758, August 11, to London,6 in illustration, and said we thought this simple kind of language would get widest GA support and thus give USSR propaganda least opportunity to hurt. Maffitt analyzed Peruvian-Bolivian draft resolution, pointing out effort to circumvent opposition to straight repeal of 1946 resolution. Jebb termed as “legal nonsense” thesis that failure to obtain two-thirds majority for re-affirmation meant 1946 resolution not operative. Chauvel agreed. Jebb observed that if Congress passed loan to Spain, GA might be considering question shortly after that act. Ross voiced fear that a too extreme resolution would be inacceptable to Western Europe and ourselves and might result in LA’s freewheeling and further confusing UN treatment of Spanish question.

5. United action to stop aggression:

Chauvel had no instructions yet but gave following preliminary view of his Government:

Our three-point proposal would seem to amend Charter, bypassing the veto and displacing center of gravity to GA on security matters. If objective is to provide speedy convocation of GA, Charter already has provision for special sessions and precedents exist of SC passing security matters to GA. Only question would be how long procedure would take, especially if a veto stopped action or SC consideration of a matter were delayed in some way.
Proposal looks like anti-Comintern pact, which Foreign Office feels to be bad strategy; and
Wisdom of putting “legal power” into hand of GA is questionable. For instance LA-Arab combination could achieve majority and has already done so in some actions with which we had not agreed.

Jebb speaking likewise in preliminary way, said UK giving very serious consideration to resolution and does not want to turn it down merely because of some difficulties it sees. Regarding paragraph a, it feels this formalizes matters a little too much; re b, UK is “pretty [Page 1130] favorably disposed” but thinks that two-thirds majority should be preserved in IC; re c, it might prefer the legion idea. Also it is not sure it likes provision to have national units “available… on determination … by recommendation of GA”. The permanent members must safeguard themselves and cannot do away with veto. Ross suggested objection to quoted words might be met by insertion of something like “unless SC is seized of matter in question or had dis-seized itself of it”. Chauvel raised question as to whether US had particular objective in mind to achieve in near future and if so whether we felt all of our proposal should be approved at this GA or whether it could be separated and certain more difficult portions deferred.

In response Hickerson stated we visualized our proposal as integrated whole, not separable. We not aiming specifically at Korea or other present concrete situation but at building sense of security for future. US thinking this matter based on following assumptions:

USSR should not be forced from UN. US hopes they will remain.
If Soviets remain any amendment Charter obviously impossible.
Therefore, to make UN effective we must work within limits present Charter and explore its resources to find means whereby free world can act effectively through UN in future crises if it has will do so. Unlikely Soviets will be conveniently absent from SC in future crises.

Re proposal for calling emergency session GA, Hickerson pointed out that this is in accord with tendency GA become more important organ than founding fathers of Charter had intended. Net result of proposal is merely amendment rules of procedure, but is presented in the dramatic fashion which US believes psychologically desirable in order counter sense of frustration we have already noticed among UN members with Soviets’ return to SC.

In response Jebb’s request elucidate “critical” phrase “because of the veto”, Hickerson said this of course includes veto by any one or more of permanent members, provided seven other members of SC have voted in favor. Admitting that emergency session GA would be called under proposal even if US, UK and France should veto an action in event of aggression but seven SC members favored, Hickerson pointed out this involved no great danger since he could not conceive that these three powers would not be able obtain support of one-third plus one of GA members to prevent any undesirable GA recommendations.

Jebb raised question whether if after SC veto it should prove impossible obtain two-thirds vote in GA for use of force against aggression, [Page 1131] that would operate as prohibition against our taking action any way outside GA. Hickerson replied that we would not regard failure either SC or GA act to stop aggression as in any way restricting our right to act under Article 51 in event of armed attack. We agreed relationship Article 51 to our proposal important question and, specifically, to consider insertion of phrase “without prejudice to any action under Article 51”, in order meet UK desire this be made clear. In ensuing discussion regarding possible use Article 51, Jebb took initial view that present proposal seeks accomplish same purpose as general pact under Article 51, but observed that at least under H. F. Armstrong’s proposal for a pact,7 the concurrence of three permanent members of SC is required. Hickerson pointed out principal difference is that proposal for pact would be binding commitment whereas present proposal could only result in recommendation. All agreed that any Article 51 pact as alternative to present proposal may be premature and impractical and Jebb recognized disadvantage of not being able use UN flag and symbol if Article 51 were taken as basis of action.

Chauvel, recognizing that proposal does not amount to commitment, persisted in his concern that its effect would be to convert UN into apparent anti-Comintern alliance. If we going to enter such an alliance he thought it would be better done outside UN with likeminded nations and not seek convert UN itself, since 53 nation alliance could not be very effective. Hickerson sought convince him such was not purpose or purport this proposal. Alliance of like-minded nations exists in NAT and present proposal is step in direction universality. It would not impede operation NAT but would supplement any action taken by latter in event any aggression in NA area.

In connection part c US proposal recommending designation UN units in national forces and appointing UN coordinator, Hickerson pointed out that in Korean crisis since no Article 43 forces available and since it was obviously impossible use 106 forces, it was necessary make general recommendation that members provide military assistance.8 Period of great confusion and delay followed in supplying and coordinating this assistance. Therefore, principal purpose this part US proposal was to help avoid similar chaos in future.

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Jebb and Chauvel expressed some concern that some commitment was implied in provision that UN units in national forces would be “so trained and equipped as to be available for prompt service in behalf of UN in response decision by SC or recommendation by GA”. Hickerson sought make clear this not intended as any commitment for automatic action and that by accepting this recommendation members would not be committing themselves to supply any force on decision GA. We agreed consider language changes to make this clear.

In response to Chauvel’s worry that this proposal would set aside Article 43 and MSC machinery, Hickerson explained that this purely interim measure; progress on Article 43 forces blocked in any event until USSR changes attitude and if Article 43 is ever implemented, it would of course supplant any arrangements under this proposal.

6. SYG:

Chauvel stated that in response to previous UK suggestion that it might be desirable have other names in reserve, French Foreign Office had suggested Padilla Nervo or Torres Bodet. He stated French would favor extending Lie’s term with some such indefinite language as “until next GA”. Ross reported his recent conversation with Tsiang in which latter reiterated his previous position that he would veto renewal of Lie’s term for 5 years but would not oppose extension for 1.

7. Membership:

Chauvel in raising question stated that French position was same as that at May meetings, that each applicant should be considered on individual basis. Jebb said he thought UK position similar. It was agreed that for time being none of us should take initiative in raising matter in SC.

8. Further meeting of New York delegations:

When Hickerson inquired whether delegations should have additional meeting, Jebb forcefully expressed desire for one shortly prior to FM meetings. Chauvel, who before meeting had remarked skeptically that only accomplishment of delegations’ conversations would be exploration of ground without conclusions, assented to Jebb’s suggestion, saying that at least delegations might have more questions to consider. It was decided next meeting would be 10 a. m., September 6, at USUN.

  1. Gordon T. C. Campbell, Second Secretary of the British Delegation to the United Nations.
  2. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs.
  3. Carlos P. Romulo (Philippines), Temporary President of the General Assembly.
  4. Admission of new members.
  5. Dated August 2, p. 1119.
  6. Not printed; it provided for the return of Ambassadors and Ministers to Madrid and for Spanish entrance into U.N. agencies by revoking parts of the 1946 resolution on Spain (310.2/8–1150).
  7. The proposal under reference here has not been identified further.
  8. Article 43 provided that all members of the United Nations agree to make available to the Security Council armed forces and assistance necessary to maintain peace. Article 106 provided that the big four would consult one another concerning joint action on behalf of the United Nations pending the coming into force of agreements on the use of member armed forces as stipulated in Article 43.