Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy united States Representative on the Security Council and Senior Adviser, United States Delegation to the General Assembly (Ross)


Subject: Secretary’s Conversation with Mr. Trygve Lie

Participants: Mr. Trygve Lie, Secretary General of the United Nations
The Secretary of State
Mr. John Ross
Mr. Lucius Battle

Mr. Lie called on the Secretary by appointment at the Embassy at 9:30 this morning and stayed for about twenty minutes.

Mr. Lie said that the two major obstacles he encountered in his work were (a) Soviet Communism and (b) American isolationism.

He felt that the United Nations must go at “convoy speed”, that is, that the convoy (The United Nations) should not go faster than the slowest ship (the United States).

He said that the Russians had suffered a series of defeats, namely, in Korea, at San Francisco, at Ottawa and at the beginning of this Assembly in Paris. He said he had an idea that the Russians wanted to make “contact” but in a face-saving manner.

Considering his responsibilities as Secretary General, Mr. Lie said he was trying to think of areas where “contact” might be established. In this connection he mentioned the German question and membership.

With regard to the German question the Secretary observed that he did not foresee any possibility of the Russians willingly sacrificing their position in East Germany; on the contrary, their effort was to establish a foothold in West Germany.

On the membership question Mr. Lie, stating his belief in the principle of universality of membership, wondered whether American public opinion would stand for the admission of the Soviet satellites at this time in return for the admission of such countries as Italy, Ireland and Finland. Mr. Lie felt there would be strong public opinion in the United States in favor of admitting the latter three states.

Mr. Ross indicated his belief that American public opinion was very strongly opposed to the admission of the Soviet satellites at this time. He felt that the only key to the membership question at this time was the admission of Italy. Mr. Lie doubted that the Italians would yield on the admission of Italy alone.

Mr. Lie felt that there was no harm in his continuing to try to find possible areas of “contact”.

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The principal purpose of Mr. Lie’s call, as he himself quite frankly indicated, was to be in the position of having seen the Secretary, not having seen him for approximately a year past.

John Ross