CFM Files, Lot M 88, Box 159
Minutes of Tripartite Ministerial Meeting, Paris, French Foreign Office, November 9, 1951, 11:30 a.m.
[Here follows list of persons present: France (11), the United Kingdom (8), the United States (11). The Foreign Ministers headed each group. The Secretary of State was assisted by the same senior-level officials as in the November 6 meeting, except Ambassador Jessup.
There followed first a short discussion of projected dates for the forthcoming meeting of the NATO Council.]
M. Maurice Schumann opened this discussion expressing thanks to both the UK and the US for their warm and firm support yesterday. He reviewed the difficulty caused by the Canadian Delegate’s unfamiliarity with UN procedures. He said that today a revised and clarified Resolution would be submitted by the Canadian Delegation and that it was important to have this approved. He said the importance in his view was increased by the alacrity with which the Soviets were exploiting this situation. He said he thought the three Western Powers had been able yesterday to avoid statements which would worsen their relations with the Arab States. He said that he thought our objective should be to affirm and retain the solidarity of the Western Powers on this question.
Foreign Minister Schuman then said that we should now agree on tactics for this afternoon. If we can obtain the required majority for the passage of the Resolution, we are in satisfactory shape, although we might have to debate and vote on it again in Plenary.
Mr. Eden questioned the desirability, should the Canadian Resolution fail, of voting on a second Resolution as Western solidarity would then be lost, and because the chances of prevailing on the second Resolution would be less than on the first.
Mr. Acheson indicated that our canvass of the situation indicated a very close Parliamentary situation. We estimated at the moment five votes for, six against, 1 abstention and 2 doubtful (Dominican Republic and Thailand). Our information, contrary to that of the French, is that Chile will vote against the Canadian Resolution. The Secretary suggested that our efforts should be concentrated on the two doubtful [Page 158] members of the Committee and that perhaps efforts should be made to persuade Yugoslavia to abstain rather than to vote against.
Foreign Minister Schuman inquired as to the position of China and Ambassador Gross replied that we understand it to be abstention. In reply to a further inquiry, he indicated that the Mexican Delegate had received instructions which he interpreted to mean that he must vote against any Resolution tending in the direction of keeping the item off the agenda. M. Maurice Schumann indicated that our information changed somewhat the calculations which the French had made.
Foreign Minister Schuman then said that we must consider what to do in the event that the Canadian Resolution fails to pass.
Mr. Acheson said that he felt we should all follow Mr. Eden’s suggestion and abstain. He said if we lose out on the Canadian Resolution, we could clearly do no better on the second and that it was therefore pointless to attempt to block the second. On the other hand, if the three Western Powers abstain, they would maintain solidarity on this question.
Foreign Minister Schuman replied that if a vote on the second Resolution was called for, the French Delegation would be compelled to vote against it. He said the domestic Parliamentary situation gave them no possible alternative. He then questioned whether it would be feasible to avoid voting on a second Resolution by means of an interpretation by the President that the first negative vote automatically placed the item on the agenda. This, he explained, would permit us to maintain our solid front. It was agreed that this matter should be taken up with the Chairman of the Committee, but that he should not be approached unless and until the first Resolution failed because such an approach might have an adverse effect on the chances of passing the first Resolution. It was thought that this could be done by arranging a short recess after the vote on the first Resolution, if that Resolution failed.
Mr. Eden commented that he was pleased by this suggested procedure because he could visualize a situation under which only France and the UK would be voting against the second Resolution placing the item on the agenda, and he thought this would be unfortunate.1
[Here follows the Ministers consideration of other matters on the agenda.]
When the General Committee convened at 5:45 p. m. that evening, it addressed itself to the following Canadian draft resolution:
“‘The General Committee Recommends to the General Assembly that consideration of the question of placing provisional item 62 [the Moroccan item] (A/BUR/126) on the final agenda of the General Assembly be postponed for the time being’.”
After a parliamentary wrangle over the scope of the authority of the General Committee to make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding agenda items, the Committee adopted the Canadian resolution 6–4–4. For the proceedings of the General Committee at this meeting, see GA (VI), General Committee, pp. 9 ff.↩