Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson)1


Subject: Election to Fill Yugoslavia’s seat on the Security Council and Secretary Generalship of the Caribbean Commission.

Participants: Mr. Gerald Meade, Counselor, British Embassy
Miss Barbara Salt, First Secretary, British Embassy
Mr. Michael Wenner, British Embassy
Mr. John D. Hickerson, UNA
Mr. Ward Allen, EUR
Mr. J. Jefferson Jones, UND
Mr. Paul W. Jones, UNP

Mr. Meade called on me to explain the UK views on the election to fill Yugoslavia’s seat on the Security Council and to discuss the Secretary Generalship of the Caribbean Commission.

Mr. Meade stated that the Foreign Office had communicated to the Embassy its strong belief that the Yugoslav seat should be given to a Slav state, which, it was assumed, would be Czechoslovakia. In support of this view, the Foreign Office maintained that it was generally accepted that a Slav state should have one of the non-permanent seats, and expressed apprehension that the denial of a seat to the Slays might be considered by the Soviet Union as a highly provocative act which, on top of other past actions, might conceivably lead to a Soviet walk-out.

I told Mr. Meade that the United States was absolutely opposed to a Soviet satellite and would do all it could to elect a non-Soviet candidate. I explained that the 1946 “gentleman’s agreement” applied to 1946 only. We did not believe that the denial of one of the non-permanent seats to a Slav would jeopardize the safety of the Commonwealth seat. The degree of representation of the Commonwealth [Page 84] group, or of the Latin American states, as agreed upon in 1946, could still be justified on the basis of numbers, contributions, or -support for UN activities, but the election of a Soviet satellite could not be justified on any grounds. While we would not wish to take any action deliberately to force a Soviet walk-out, we also would not want to make any unusual concessions. I said that it was, of course, impossible to predict how the Soviet Union would react to the defeat of a Soviet satellite, but I expressed personal doubts that this in itself would produce a Soviet walk-out. Many past acts, including the election of Yugoslavia rather than Czechoslovakia in 1949, were probably considered much more serious in the eyes of the Soviet Union. I also pointed out that our voting margin could be jeopardized by giving the satellites one of the non-permanent seats. Finally, I stated that public opinion in this country would tolerate no other position than opposition to the election of a Soviet satellite.

Mr. Meade said that if the American people would be any more amenable to the election of a member of the Soviet bloc other than Czechoslovakia, a hint might be thrown out for the candidacy of another satellite. I assured him that while the American public would be unmanageable if Czechoslovakia was elected, it would positively oppose the election of any satellite.

I told Mr. Meade that we had not taken any position on which of the non-Soviet candidates to support. We would favor Greece if it had sufficient support, but realized the difficulties in connection with its election and were considering other possibilities such as Thailand, the Philippines, Lebanon and Ethiopia. I stated frankly that our final position would be determined on the basis of which country would most likely win.

Mr. Meade personally thought that Greece was not supportable in view of its proximity to Turkey and the invitations to these countries to participate in NATO. He feared that Ethiopian representatives would be unsatisfactory and believed that the Philippines would be considered a mouthpiece for United States views. He also thought Lebanon should not be elected, although he later acknowledged that the election of Lebanon this year would facilitate the election of Greece next year to succeed Turkey. He personally believed that Thailand would be the most satisfactory of the non-Soviet possibilities. I told Mr. Meade that we would be glad to support Thailand if the UK could agree.

Mr. Meade asked Mr. Allen to explain our position to the UK Foreign Office when he was in London and to point out particularly the point I had made on our voting margin and our belief that the Commonwealth seat is not in jeopardy. He also asked whether he could inform the Foreign Office that the position which I had presented represented the view of the Secretary of State. I replied that [Page 85] I felt certain the Secretary agreed with this position but would be happy to clear it with him and inform Mr. Meade later.

[Here follows discussion of the Caribbean Commission.]

J[ohn] D. H[ickerson]
  1. Drafted by Messrs. Paul W. Jones of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs and J. Jefferson Jones, Deputy Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs.