IO Files

Memorandum of Conversations, by the Deputy united States Representative at the United Nations (Gross)

top secret

Subject: Elections to the Security Council

Participants: Mr. Maurice Schumann, French Delegation1
(Separately) Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, U.K. Delegation
Amb. Jean Chauvel, French Delegation
Mr. Julius Holmes, Amer Embassy, London1
Amb. Ernest A. Gross, U.S. Delegation

Last evening Maurice Schumann phoned to inform me of developments on this subject. He said that following his meeting with Mr. Bonsal and myself, he had talked to Robert Schuman and he indicated to me that a decision had been taken to support Greece, subject to further word regarding the British position. Speaking very frankly, Maurice Schumann told me they had subsequently received word of the British decision to vote for Byelorussia and thereupon reverted to the previous French position, which was to support Byelorussia.

I expressed grave disappointment and told him that we also had been informed to our regret of the British decision, but that Ambassador [Page 109] Gifford was to raise the question with Mr. Eden today, and I therefore hoped the French would keep their position as flexible as possible pending further developments. Mr. Schumann made no commitment, but expressed interest in the information that we were still pursuing the matter with the British.

Later in the evening Amb. Chauvel told me that the French decision had been based not so much on “principle” as on their fear lest the election of Greece this year might create a very confused situation next year when the term of Turkey expires.

During the course of the evening I had an opportunity for a long talk with Selwyn Lloyd at dinner. He opened the conversation on this subject in a somewhat defensive manner, saying half-jokingly that he supposed they were “very unpopular with us now.” I outlined our views as persuasively as I was able. I said that one of the most puzzling aspects of the matter was the fact that the United Kingdom had made a commitment to Greece. Lloyd admitted this was so. I also expressed disappointment that the Foreign Office had not acceded to the request of our Embassy to delay the decision until Ambassador Gifford had had an opportunity to talk with Mr. Eden. I told Mr. Lloyd I had this information from Julius Holmes. Lloyd, who did not know of the discussions between our Embassy and the Foreign Office on this matter, said, “That is most regrettable.”

Lloyd tried earnestly to justify Mr. Eden’s decision. He said that latter had been swayed by consideration of the fact that in 1949 the British Government had publicly affirmed its intention to adhere to the so-called “Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1946” regarding the distribution of seats in the Security Council. Lloyd said Mr. Eden felt it could not now take the position there was no such agreement. I repeated to Lloyd, as I had done on previous occasions, our view that there was no agreement going beyond a composition of the first Council.

Lloyd, speaking very frankly, made the significant comment that another factor in Mr. Eden’s mind was a desire to indicate that the present British Government “could move toward the Soviet Union.” Lloyd said it was easier for the new Government to do so because they would not so readily incur our suspicion since the unshakeable and solid ties between us were beyond doubting. On the other hand, the Labor Government, he said, was always under the pressure of “forty or fifty Bevanites”2 and any moves which the Labor Government might make toward the Soviet Union were always likely to be played up in such a way as to cause deep distrust and resentment in American public opinion.

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Reverting to the subject of the elections to the Security Council, I said that under the circumstances the question was what the British would do after the first ballot, assuming that neither Greece nor Byelorussia were elected. I expressed the earnest hope that the British would feel that they had honored their so-called obligation after the first ballot and would then vote for Greece. Lloyd said he would discuss this matter further with his Government.

I made this same point to Chauvel and told him I wished to follow it up with him as well as the British.

I phoned Julius Holmes this morning to advise him of my discussion with Mr. Lloyd and suggested that Ambassador Gifford urge upon Mr. Eden the importance of the British (assuming they do not reverse their present instructions to the UK Delegation) switching to Greece after the first ballot in the event that neither Greece nor Byelorussia wins on the first ballot. Mr. Holmes said he would advise Amb. Gifford and have a go at it with Mr. Eden.

  1. By telephone
  2. By telephone
  3. A reference to the Labor Party group in the House of Commons led by Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Labor and National Service in the Attlee Cabinet. They constituted a radical wing of the Labor Party.