UNP Files, Lot 59 D 237, “Membership General IV (Beg. 1951)”

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Ward P. Alien, Special Assistant on United Nations Affairs, Bureau of European Affairs

Participants: Mr. Gerald Meade, Counselor of the British Embassy
Mr. Michael Wenner [Second Secretary, British Embassy]
Mr. W. P. Allen—EUR

Mr. Meade showed me in confidence a letter dated April 21st from the UK Foreign Office (Sir Pierson Dixon1) to Sir Gladwyn Jebb2 regarding this problem which expressed the view that the Soviet threat of a break with the UN is a new factor which increases the attractiveness of a new approach to universality. The accompanying memorandum recommends that the US, UK, and France give favorable consideration to proposing to the USSR an arrangement for the admission of all pending applicants, that the Western Powers explore together methods of surmounting the technical difficulties raised by the requirements in Article 4 of the Charter. If the Americans and French agree the subject might be raised with the USSR in the Four Power Meeting. The memorandum points out the following advantages of proposing admission of all applicants:

It would reduce the risk of losing Asian and Middle Eastern States and of their gravitation to the Soviet orbit in the event of a break with the Soviets.
It would make it easier for the UN to survive a Soviet walk-out. As the letter indicates, the British fear that a Soviet break with the UN might induce the neutralists (i.e. India and others) also to leave and that then under US influence the remainder of the UN would become more and more anti-communist and it would be difficult to claim full legitimacy for the Organization.
It would place the Western Powers in a tactically strong position as champions of universality, while the Soviets are undertaking a campaign of division and disunity in the UN.

Mr. Meade also permitted me to read Sir Gladwyn’s reply which made the following points:

Any possible deal involving all pending applicants would run up against the problem of the Republic of Korea. It would be impossible to shift the USSR from its opposition of the last two years to ROK’s admission.
Thus any arrangement even omitting ROK could only result if in the admission of eight states favorable to the West and five Soviet [Page 313] satellites. The net effect would be of a greater benefit to the Soviet Union than to the West, since the relative increase in strength would be greater and since the new members would undoubtedly be very obstructive and very vociferous in debate.
It is difficult to explain away the objections to the admission of the Soviet satellites under Article 4. The admission of Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania would be difficult enough, but it would be even more difficult to admit Albania (in view of the Corfu Channel case) and Outer Mongolia (which is not even recognized as a state).
Jebb was not greatly impressed with the argument that an increase in non-Soviet membership of eight would greatly aid the UN to survive a Soviet walk-out, or that their admission after a Soviet break would not be regarded as “legitimate”. On the contrary, he suggested that we should continually remind the friendly applicants and others that it is only the Soviet veto that has prevented their admission and if the Soviets should withdraw we should emphasize this point by the immediate admission of friendly applicants.

I commented that Sir Gladwyn’s views are much more in accord with ours than those expressed in Dixon’s letter and Mr. Meade agreed that Sir Gladwyn was a little more aware of the practical difficulties in the way of any “arrangement”. He thought Sir Gladwyn’s views would prevail. I stated that as Mr. Meade was quite aware, we had examined the problem from all possible angles and had reached the conclusion that it was impractical and unfeasible to work out or even to propose for the record any arrangement involving the admission of all applicants at the present time, Mr. Meade raised the question about the possibility mentioned in Jebb’s letter of working out a limited arrangement for the admission of Italy and perhaps Ceylon in return for one Soviet candidate. I replied that this possibility had not crossed our minds but that offhand this seemed equally unfeasible. It was highly unlikely that the Soviets would agree to this but that even if they did, they could undoubtedly reserve the right to pick their own candidates and I could see no single one which we could possibly accept. Thus any limited “horse trade” of two for one instead of nine for five would in no way overcome the basic objections under Article 4 to the admission of the satellites.

Mr. Meade expressed considerable interest in our tentative ideas for increasing the participation of non-members, and I outlined our thinking on this subject along the lines indicated by Mr. Hickerson in our previous meeting. Emphasizing that this was not to be taken as representing final agreed policy but that we are continuing to explore the matter. In response to his question I indicated that before we made any such proposals in the GA we would, of course, want to consult extensively with them and with the French and would review the matter with the more important of the pending applicants themselves.

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We agreed to keep in touch on this subject as the thinking develops both in the Department and in the UK Foreign Office.3

  1. Sir Pierson Dixon, British Deputy Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Sir Gladwyn Jebb, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations.
  3. No record of this meeting has been found in the Department of State files. A written notation at the end by Allen reads: “Meade asked specifically that we not bother to let USUN know of this for the present. He fears a slip with Jebb that would embarrass him. WPA.”