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

Memorandum by Mr. Paul B. Taylor of the Office of United Nations Political Security Affairs


Summary of Paper1 on UN Membership and Possible Arrangements for the Participation of Non-Member States in the General Assembly

a. membership

While it is not likely that the membership question will arise soon, it might be raised before the General Assembly through (a) applications from the Indo-Chinese States; (b) an application by Libya (if independence is hastened); or (c) possibly by discussions of the Japanese Peace Treaty. Alternative courses seem to be:

Continuation of support for 9 non-Soviet applicants and of non-support for 5 Soviet applicants.
Above, plus Charter amendment suggestion of last year or, alternatively, Rusk-Hickerson suggestion of clearing all applicants plus Libya, Spain, Associated States, Japan and Federal Republic of Germany through the Security Council, leaving the time of admission to the General Assembly.
Soviet agreement on one or two applicants such as Italy and Austria is a remote possibility.

It is suggested (see topic B, page 15 of long paper) that if politically feasible at least some indication, however general, of support for alternative (2) above as a program be given later on this summer or in the General Assembly.

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b. non-member participation

The practical alternative approaches seem to be:

An arrangement under which the General Assembly would by a separate decision grant to a non-member a broad and general privilege of participating in Committees. If this alternative is adopted, it would presumably be granted to only a few states—perhaps only to Italy—and in any case not to the satellites.
An arrangement for much more limited participation which could be extended to all applicants, including five satellites, and to the non-applicants named under A (2) above.

The question of Italy’s participation is likely to be raised in any case. For this reason, we think it would be desirable to discuss the subject with several other governments. However, the following considerations oppose our presenting as a U.S. proposal, a general plan along these lines:

  • (a) The plan would probably be discussed in the General Assembly as a major “constitutional” device that would raise many Charter and political questions; the results would not be adequate to make it worthwhile to champion the plan;
  • (b) For the U.S. to put forward either alternative above would raise difficulties:—a number of UN members would consider alternative (1) an anti-Soviet measure, while alternative (2) would not be desired by the non-communist states because it was too limited;
  • (c) The fact that representatives of non-member countries seeking to participate in the General Assembly would not be accorded the same privileges and immunities as representatives of members might be unfavorably commented upon. However, UNI does not now believe there would be serious risk of difficulty in granting visas to satellite representatives if the plan permitted their participation.

Accordingly, it is suggested that the Department at this stage take the position (provided that the geographic bureaus concur), that we would be able to support alternative (1) above if proposed by some other delegation with the idea that it would be extended to only Italy or others of the 9 non-Soviet applicants which definitely wish it, will ask for it, and will possibly accept some obligations toward the United Nations.

  1. The source text contains a notation that the “paper” of which this is a summary was dated May 21; see footnote 1, supra. The source text contains a further notation as to the “Summary” itself, saying “typed 6/5/51”.