320/9–2751: Circular airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions 1


Reference is made to the Department’s circular airgrams of June 27, 8:45 a. m. and September 5, 1:45 p. m. There are indicated below the Department’s tentative positions on a number of items which will be considered at the sixth session of the General Assembly. You are requested, in your discretion, to outline these views to the Foreign Office and report its reactions as soon as possible. In your discussions you should, of course, indicate that these positions are tentative and that we will wish to take into account the views of other friendly Governments in formulating our final positions. Any significant information you obtain which in the form of an airgram would not reach the Department by October 12 should be cabled.

There is attached for your background information a copy of the provisional agenda of the sixth session of the GA which was communicated by the Secretary General of the UN to Member Governments on September 7.2 Detailed background information on most of the issues involved may be found in the President’s Annual Reports [Page 25]to Congress on US Participation in the UN for 1950 and previous years.

1. Libya

The UN Commissioner, with the assistance of the UN Advisory Council, has, we believe, painstakingly and constructively carried out the responsibilities assigned to him by the GA. The progress of Libya toward independence has, of course, been made possible chiefly by the efforts of the Libyans themselves, with the advice and guidance of the Commissioner and the cooperation of the Administering Authorities (UK and France).

The Department hopes and expects that all powers previously exercised by the Administering Authorities will, by the date fixed by the GA (i.e., by January 1, 1952) “have been transferred to the duly constituted Libyan Government”. Proclamation of independence is expected to follow thereafter, together with the assumption by Emir (Idris Al Senusi) of his position as constitutional monarch of United Libya.

It is likely that certain states in the GA (Egypt, possibly Pakistan and other Arab states) will challenge the legality of the Libyan constitutional development and may even suggest that the General Assembly repudiate all that has been done and adopt some new course providing for temporary UN supervision, such as direct trusteeship. Specifically, these states may make such allegations as the following: (a) the National Assembly (which prepared the constitution) should have been an elected rather than an appointed body (Egypt has contended previously that only an elected National Assembly in which the three parts of Libya (Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and The Fezzan) were represented in proportion to their population could properly represent the people of Libya in the constitution-making process; Tripolitania has by far the largest population and such a scheme would put Tripolitania in a position to dominate the other two parts of Libya.); (b) the form of government should be unitary rather than federal; and (c) the present federation plan is merely a disguised method of maintaining old imperialist control over Libya by the interested great powers.

The Department considers it essential that allegations of this character be decisively repudiated by a large majority. The pertinent background facts are as follows:

The Libyan National Assembly is “duly representative” of the inhabitants of Libya. That it is not an elected body does not alter this fact. The indigenous political leadership of Cyrenaica and The Fezzan would agree to enter a National Assembly with representatives of Tripolitania only on the basis of equal representation for all parts of Libya. Furthermore, the procedure followed in the selection of representatives to the National Assembly was decided upon by the UN Commissioner with the concurrence of the UN Advisory Council [Page 26]and after full consultation with the responsible Libyan political figures and the local French and British administrators.
The idea of federation has not in any way been imposed upon the Libyans. The Libyan National Assembly itself recognized a federal system as the only feasible basis on which unity and independence could be established. Last fall the Ad Hoc Political Committee of the GA in its report to the Assembly stated that … “The form of State to be created, and whether it would be a unitary or a federal State, must be left entirely to the representatives of the Libyan people, meeting and consulting in a National Assembly”. The federal plan has been freely chosen by the representatives of Libya and any attempt by the GA to impose or demand a tighter unitary form of government would destroy the only basis on which Libyan unity can possibly be achieved.
Each of the three parts of Libya insists upon having a wide measure of control over its own local affairs under the new Libyan Government. Cyrenaica, in particular, has made it clear that it would not voluntarily participate in any government other than one based on a federal system which ensured that Tripolitania would not interfere in purely local Cyrenaican affairs. The Emir of Cyrenaica, who has been invited by the National Assembly to become King of Libya, will obviously not assume that role if under the constitution Tripolitania is placed in a position to dominate the other two parts of Libya and control the National Parliament, as would result from the Egyptian unitary thesis.

All Members of the free world have a vital interest in the rational and stable development of an independent and unified Libya. We are convinced that disruption of the federal plan now agreed upon would plunge Libya into political chaos, destroy all chance of unity, open the way to political agitation and violence, generally prevent the maintenance of stability in the entire area and assist Soviet efforts to penetrate the Middle East.

Accordingly, it is essential that the GA (a) give decisive support to the way in which Libya’s independence has evolved, recognizing that independence and unity can be achieved only if the difficult elements in the complex Libyan political picture are reconciled and given due recognition in the constitution; and (b) reject any charges along the lines indicated above.

2. The Greek Question

In its annual report, which was signed on August 15, UNSCOB recommended to the GA that it:

re-assert the importance of maintaining peace in the Balkans, continue its efforts to eliminate the threat to Greece by considering ways and means to achieve peaceful cooperation between Greece and her neighbors from which the threat stems, and to this end re-affirm its recommendations to the appropriate states regarding (1) cessation of assistance and support to the Greek guerrillas; (2) renewal of diplomatic and good-neighborly relations; (3) renewal, revision or establishment of frontier conventions; (4) disarming and disposition of [Page 27]Greek guerrillas; (5) prohibition of sending arms and war materials to Albania and Bulgaria until their unlawful assistance to the guerrillas has ceased; (6) repatriation of Greek military personnel, children and other Greek nationals; and (7) cooperation of the states concerned with the appropriate UN body, particularly as regards the prompt and impartial investigation of their complaints and allegations;
take note of the evidence concerning the existence in Eastern and Central Europe of a network for the training and sending into Greece of guerrilla agents for subversive purposes;
take into account the changed but continuing threat to Greece within the context of the hostile attitude towards Greece of a number of Eastern and Central European states, particularly Bulgaria, and consequent tension in the Balkans; and
consider the advisability of maintaining UN vigilance over the Balkans in the light of the present nature of the threat to peace in that area.

In the GA the United States will support the UNSCOB report and will place major emphasis on the Special Committee’s recommendations given in (c) and (d) immediately above; these two points are, in our view, the central issues to which the General Assembly should address itself. The Department does not believe that any mention of further conciliation efforts should be included in this year’s GA resolution since there has been no evidence of willingness on the part of Albania and Bulgaria to enter in good faith upon genuine conciliation talks. However, we are confident that, if and when there is some genuine basis for conciliation, adequate resources and instrumentalities already exist within the UN to discharge the conciliation function. The Department believes that the present UN machinery may require some re-organization and reduction in size with a view to efficiency and economy and in the interest of better adapting the machinery to the present and foreseeable needs of the Balkan situation. At the last GA some delegations recognized that some such re-organization might well be needed if observation machinery were to continue in 1952. Our tentative view is that a smaller body, of perhaps 3–5 members, functioning under the Peace Observation Commission, might supervise the work of the observer corps, review their reports and submit reports as necessary to a higher UN authority. This matter will be discussed in detail with Greece and the Governments represented on UNSCOB and our final position must necessarily await the outcome of these consultations.

We assume that the Soviet states in the GA will indulge in their usual diversionist maneuvers when the Greek question is considered, i.e., these states can be expected to renew their charges against the Greek Government regarding mass executions of “patriots”, etc. The Department assumes that this Soviet tactic is now so shop-worn that all Delegations will cooperate in disposing rapidly of such charges.

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3. Report of the Committee of Twelve

In his speech before the GA on October 24, 1950, President Truman suggested that it might be useful to explore ways in which the work of the UN Atomic Energy Commission and Commission for Conventional Armaments could be more closely brought together, and to consider whether there should be a new and consolidated disarmament commission. The GA subsequently (on December 13, 1950) established a Committee of Twelve (SC Members and Canada) and instructed it to report to the forthcoming GA session “on ways and means whereby the work of the AEC and CCA may be coordinated and on the advisability of their functions being merged and placed under a new and consolidated disarmament commission”. On August 23, 1951 the Committee of Twelve adopted a resolution recommending to the GA that it establish a new commission (which would be under and report to the SC) to carry forward the tasks presently assigned to the AEC and CCA. The Committee also recommended that the AEC and CCA be dissolved by appropriate action upon the establishment of the new commission.

The United States will support the adoption of a resolution in the GA establishing a new commission and setting forth in detail its organization and functions. In general such a resolution would provide that (a) the new Commission should be composed of Members of the SC plus Canada; (b) it should have as its primary task the preparation of comprehensive and coordinated plans for effective international control of all armaments and armed forces, including atomic energy, these plans to provide for regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armaments and armed forces, including internal security and police forces; (c) it should devote its efforts toward effective international control of atomic energy to the extent necessary to ensure the prohibition of atomic weapons and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only, using as the basis the UN plan unless and until a better and no less effective system can be devised.

4. Presidency of the GA

We do not know of any candidates for this post except from the Latin American area. From this area there are four announced candidates: Padilla Nervo (Mexico), Henriquez-Urena (Dominican Republic), Costa du Reis (Bolivia), and Belaunde (Peru), and Santa Cruz (Chile) may also be a candidate. On the basis of present indications it is our impression that support for Padilla Nervo is increasing, and FYI the Department believes that he is the most able of the candidates. In connection with the formulation of our position, the Department would appreciate any information you obtain regarding the views of other governments on this matter, particularly information as to commitments made to any of the candidates.

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5. Council Slates

Security Council

The United States will support Pakistan to replace India (although we are not yet making a public announcement to this effect), and a Latin American state to replace Ecuador. The announced candidates for the Latin American post are Chile and El Salvador. The Department is interested in ascertaining the views of Latin American and other governments regarding these candidates (but FYI only we favor Chile and may take steps to advance its candidacy). The term of Yugoslavia also expires. We most strongly oppose the election of a Soviet state to this post. Although we have as yet taken no decision as to which state we will support for the post, we would be prepared to support Greece, which is a candidate, if it obtains sufficient support, or some other non-Soviet state (Ethiopia, Thailand, Lebanon or the Philippines might be considered in this connection).

Economic and Social Council

The terms of the following states expire: Belgium, India, China, France, Chile and Peru. The United States will support (a) the reelection of China and France and (b) the election of two Latin American states to replace Chile and Peru, for which there are the following announced candidates: Colombia, Cuba, Argentina and Haiti, and it is probable that Bolivia will also be a candidate. Our decision on this matter will be influenced by the views of the Latin American governments.

The Department has not yet taken any decision as to which states we will support for the other two ECOSOC posts. Belgium and India are seeking re-election and other announced candidates are Egypt, Australia and Burma. We would appreciate any information as to which candidates other governments intend to support for these two posts.

6. Draft Code of Offenses Against the Peace and Security of Mankind

Pursuant to previous GA resolutions, the International Law Commission completed in July and forwarded to the GA a code of offenses against the peace and security of mankind. In the Sixth Committee the United States will take the position that no final action should be taken on this matter at the sixth Assembly session since governments have not had adequate opportunity to study in detail a matter of such importance and seriousness. Specifically, the United States would support a resolution which would (a) thank the ILC for its work; (b) request the Secretary General to transmit the draft code to governments for their comments and to forward the comments of governments to the ILC; and (c) request the ILC to give further study to the draft code with a view to its possible revision in the light of the [Page 30]comments submitted by governments and the debates in the Sixth Committee.

  1. Sent to USUN and 52 diplomatic missions for action; to Moscow, Praha, and Warsaw for information only.
  2. U.N. doc. A/1870.