IO Files, Lot 71 D 4401

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. James N. Hyde, Adviser, United States Mission at the United Nations 2



Subject: Collective Measures Committee—Organization and Plan of Work

Participants: (Conversations held separately.)
Mr. John Coulson,3 United Kingdom Delegation
Mr. Francis Lacoste,4 Mr. Pierre Ordonneau5 and Mr. Jacques Tine,6 French Delegation
Mr. Henry Carter,7 Canadian Delegation
Mr. Harding Bancroft8UNP
Mr. Stratton Anderson—UNP (except with Coulson)
Mr. James N. Hyde—USUN

In these initial conversations we opened up the question of the organization, plan of work and general approach of the CMC with the view to having an organization meeting on Wednesday, February 28th, and also with the view to getting agreement on an approach and a plan. We talked from the department’s despatch A–17 of January 20th (control A–263) and we left with the delegations with whom we discussed this the substance in writing of points 2, 3 and 4 of this despatch which constitutes our first draft of a plan of work.

Coulson:—Coulson stated that he and the French had discussed this at some length, perhaps a month ago. He felt very strongly that there should be careful preparation and agreement among us three ideally before the Committee is organized and he felt quite strongly that initial preparation should be joint papers prepared and agreed by the three.

He agreed, however, that an organization meeting might be held on February 28th, provided that we had the slate agreed upon in advance and also provided that we three are agreed to move forward with the [Page 622]formulation of our views by exchanging them, preferably in writing, at another meeting before February 28th.

The key to the slate is Riddell,9 whose Government is not anxious for him to be rapporteur. There is general agreement that we should have Muniz10 as chairman and Bebler11 as vice-chairman, although none of us has as yet approached Bebler. Coulson said that they would put no pressure on Riddell to accept this post but understood that we would speak to him once more. He admitted that there was no other competent person for the job and as we discussed organization he also admitted that having Riddell in the bureau would make it easier for the U.K. to keep Canada informed closely on the course of the work, which otherwise might be difficult if other Commonwealth members were not to be confided in to the same extent.

He raised the question of how our respective military advisers would contribute to the work and felt it important that our three military advisers should feel free to meet together to discuss the military aspects of our political plans. This, of course, was quite apart from any Military Staff Committee in connection with the work. As far as the Secretariat is concerned, Bancroft reported that we had sensed considerable interest, ability and time to prepare studies and thought the Secretariat should feel quite free to come forward with their ideas. Coulson was very cool to this thought and wanted to see in advance any Secretariat papers that might be in prospect for Committee circulation. I had reported that there was some thought of circulating at least one document before the organization meeting.

We then discussed some of the topics contained in the paper which we left with Coulson. On a panel of military experts we agreed that the Secretary General would consult us and Coulson felt that two would be sufficient, perhaps one British and one United States. Bancroft reported that we were thinking of perhaps twelve and that we even had in mind names based on geographical distribution and also on branches of service.

Reports on elements of armed forces which might be notified for United Nations use seemed to Coulson to involve a highest level decision by his Government and also by other Governments of the North Atlantic community and might call for consultation by the Prime Ministers concerned. As to item 4(c), the relation of coordinating such forces with those of regional organizations, Coulson felt that [Page 623]this should be discussed privately and not opened up at all in the Committee. Apparently this reflected the U.K. view that important operational decisions must be made in a regional organization and that they should not be brought out and debated in the UN.

He was not happy to see the concept of the UN Legion brought out again and mentioned the problem of where to fit it into national military forces and the danger of having components that are not so integrated.

The matter of provision for the UN use of bases and special areas for an effective command he recognized as complicating their difficulty. He commented that any area for the using of UK military forces would necessarily involve a treaty between the U.K. and the UN. And he raised the legal question of the power of the UN to enter into such a treaty.

Coulson had no particular comment on the economic and political topics contained in the remainder of the plan except to suggest that they had a lesser priority and were more long range in character. He was interested in the question of continuing some UN organization to carry on the machinery and program of united action for peace and thought this might involve an examination of the Interim Committee and where that fits into our present plan.

Lacoste, Tine, Ordonneau:—We had a detailed discussion with Lacoste, Ordonneau and Tine, going through the plan of work line by line. Tine observed, and Lacoste did not contradict, that they felt authorized to consider a plan of work without further instructions from the Quai d’Orsay and it was only at a later stage that they would feel it necessary to go back for instructions on particular points. Lacoste stated that Coulson had telephoned him about our talk and he agreed with Coulson’s suggestion on the importance of concerting by meeting of the three with some degree of documentation to carry the work along. Lacoste examined the slate question carefully and was struck with the suggestion of Bebler for rapporteur, because he assumed that Riddell would not take it and there seemed no one else, except possibly Lopez12 of the Philippines. I questioned the desirability of Bebler since Yugoslavia has such an immediate security problem and this is a long term project. I thought it would be difficult for Bebler not to plead his own case and recalled his insistence at the fifth session for two resolutions, one providing for machinery for naming a state an aggressor and the other for a permanent conciliation commission.13 I thought he had been difficult to deal with [Page 624]on these. Lacoste agreed to an organization meeting on Wednesday,14 subject to our working out the slate problem first. The French representatives made comparatively few comments on the plan of work. Lacoste thought that the panel of military experts would be sufficient if it contained three, a U.S., U.K. and French representative. Tine argued rather strongly that all the military parts of the plan should be put into a military sub-committee and Bancroft pointed out with some support from Lacoste the importance of taking a broad political view before getting down to technical military considerations which obviously must be determined by military men.

Lacoste reserved comment on the relationship of this work to NATO beyond saying that it was extremely important to his Government.

On the UN Legion his first reaction was that it should be a contingent of U.S. armed forces and inquired whether there was not legislation to this effect. He thought all the soldiers in the world who would want to join such a legion would be attracted by the prospect of U.S. army pay and matériel.

The economic and military parts of the plan made Lacoste shake his head as indicating a reexamination of all the League thinking which came to very little in affecting Italy during the Ethiopia case. He indicated great skepticism that the severance of diplomatic relations is an effective sanction to be used by an international organization.

Lacoste felt that this plan of work was largely the essential background for the work of the ad hoc committee on additional measures against Communist China15 and, therefore, he is a little doubtful about our desire to keep the two committees entirely separate.

We wound up by agreeing that he would give us his further views in a few days.

Carter:—Riddell was absent in Ottawa but we at least paid our respects and went over in very general terms the plan of work which Carter intends to forward to his Government. He was glad to see a mention of the UN Legion idea which his Government had advocated so strongly and thought that Riddell would probably not be available as rapporteur unless his Government had made some decision unknown to Carter.

J. N. Hyde
  1. Documentation pertaining to United States participation in the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, 1946–1965, retired by the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
  2. Circulated as United States Mission document US/A/AC.43/2, February 21, 1951.
  3. Deputy United Kingdom Representative at the United Nations; Alternate Representative on the Collective Measures Committee.
  4. Deputy French Representative at the United Nations; Alternate Representative on the Collective Measures Committee.
  5. Adviser, Permanent French Delegation to the United Nations.
  6. Adviser, Permanent French Delegation to the United Nations and to the Collective Measures Committee.
  7. Adviser, Permanent Canadian Delegation to the United Nations.
  8. Appointed Deputy United States Representative on the Collective Measures Committee with personal rank of Minister on February 27; ranking U.S. official concerned with the day-to-day operations of the CMC.
  9. R. G. Riddell, Canadian Representative on the Collective Measures Committee; died March 16, 1951.
  10. João Carlos Muniz, Permanent Brazilian Representative at the United Nations; Representative on the Collective Measures Committee.
  11. Ales Bebler, Deputy Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia; Permanent Representative at the United Nations; Representative on the Collective Measures Committee.
  12. Salvador P. Lopez, Alternate Representative of the Philippines on the Collective Measures Committee.
  13. For documentation on the incident under reference, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. ii, pp. 371 ff.
  14. February 21.
  15. Material on the Additional Measures Committee is included in documentation on United States policy with respect to the restriction of trade with and. United Nations economic sanctions against Mainland China and North Korea in volume vii.