320/1–551: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin ) to the Secretary of State

secret   priority

Delga 487. Re Korea. Re Gadel 157, December 5,1 we have given careful consideration to question of applicability of Article 12 of [Page 22] Charter to proposed General Assembly action on Chinese intervention in Korea.2 A number of delegates, including the British and the Commonwealth and some Latin Americans, feel that it would be legally unsound and generally undesirable to proceed with Assembly action while the Security Council remains seized of the Korean question. Since Quevedo is President of Security Council during this month, we no longer face the parliamentary difficulties in taking this procedural step which we faced last month with Tsiang in the chair.3 Furthermore, it seems fairly clear that under present conditions it would be thoroughly unrealistic to attempt to separate the question of Chinese intervention from the question of North Korean aggression. If the Security Council should want to resume control of this whole question this could be done by putting the matter back on the Council’s agenda at any time. We consider it would be unwise to proceed in the Assembly without taking any action in the SC since this would simply give the Russians a handy argument that the whole proceedings were illegal and might also result in losing us the votes of some delegates who were seeking a pretext for abstention.

We therefore recommend that the US take the position that while it may not be necessary, we are prepared to go along with our friends in dropping the entire Korean question from the Security Council agenda. We would make the point in statements in the Council that this action of course had no effect on the validity of the Security Council decisions heretofore taken.

We believe the US should continue to file regular reports with the Security Council in accordance with the Security Council’s request.

We also recommend that no action along these lines should be taken until a stronger resolution has been introduced into the committee so as to make clear to the public that the Council action was simply to clear the way for the Assembly.

Quevedo has called informal meeting of the members of the Security Council at his apartment at 5 o’clock on Monday.4 This matter will almost certainly be discussed at that time.5

Austin
  1. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vii, p. 1413.
  2. Article 12 of the U.N. Charter read in part as follows: “While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.”
  3. T. F. Tsiang of the Republic of China was President of the U.N. Security Council during the month of December 1950.
  4. January 8.
  5. The Department of State transmitted the following reply to this message in telegram Gadel 192, January 5, 7 p. m., to New York: “We agree with Delga 487 Jan 5 on understanding US will not take initiative but will go along with majority.” (320/1–551)