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

Subject: Replacement for Yugoslavia on Security Council

Participants: Mr. John Boyd, First Secretary British Embassy
Miss Barbara Salt, First Secretary British Embassy
Mr. David Popper—UNP1
Mr. Ward P. Allen—EUR

In response to a previous request as to an indication to [of] UK views on this matter, Mr. Boyd reported that UK position as approved by Mr. Morrison2 is that this SC seat should be reserved for a State acceptable to the USSR (a) in order to “preserve the UN as a world forum” and (b) to maintain the 1946 “Gentlemen’s Agreement” on the distribution of SC seats so as not to endanger the Commonwealth representation. Moreover the UK is not disposed to support Greece for this seat because of the inbalance that would be created by having both Greece and Turkey (both by then admitted to NATO) on the Council at the same time. However, Mr. Morrison suggests that Greece be supported for the seat which the Netherlands will vacate in 1952, although the UK realizes that this would depend upon the willingness of the Benelux and Scandinavian Governments to give up that seat.

Mr. Boyd referred to information from the UK Embassy in Athens that the Greek press had published reports of US intentions to support Greece’s candidacy, and asked where our thinking now stood on this matter. We replied that, although the Department had not reached a final decision on supporting Greece, we are at present strongly inclined to do so and in any event would be unable to vote for a satellites However, so far as we knew no indication of our thinking had been conveyed to the Greek Government and the only reply that we had given to their request for our support was that the matter would be seriously considered. The press reports were therefore not correct.

As to the UK reasoning we expressed some doubt that failure to elect a satellite would be any more offensive to the USSR and thus endanger the UN as a world forum, than the original election of Yugoslavia in 1948 [1949].3 As to the 1946 “Gentlemen’s Agreement” we stated that as the UK knew the US interpreted that as binding only for the elections of that year and not necessarily a commitment for the indefinite future. It might also be argued that the general [Page 81] geographic balance might be as much upset by Mr. Morrison’s suggestion of replacing the Netherlands with Greece in 1952. While it is true that both Greece and Turkey would be on the Council concurrently, the terms would overlap for only one year.

Mr. Boyd indicated that if the US held very strongly a point of view contrary to that of the British they would of course reexamine their position although the above represents their fairly well considered views at the present time. We stated that we would of course consider the UK views within the Department and discuss the matter further at a future date.

  1. David H. Popper, Deputy Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs.
  2. Herbert S. Morrison, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. For documentation regarding this matter, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. ii, pp. 291 ff.