UNP files, lot 59 D 237, “Membership”

Briefing Paper for the Under Secretary of State (Bruce)2


Admission of New Members

The question of the admission of new members has been and continues to be one of the most pressing problems confronting the United Nations. The applications of a number of qualified candidates, whose admission the United States and the large majority of other United Nations Members strongly support, have long been pending before the Security Council, some since 1946. The Soviet Union has demanded as the price for its agreement to admit these applicants a “package deal” involving the simultaneous admission of the five Soviet candidates. Thus far, the majority of the members of the Security Council have not been willing to pay this price. The problem has therefore remained deadlocked, the Soviet Union vetoing the non-Soviet applicants and the majority rejecting the Soviet candidates or a “package deal”.

At the last session of the General Assembly, the Soviet Union submitted a proposal which in effect recommended that the Security Council act favorably on fourteen applications simultaneously. These fourteen included nine non-Soviet applicants (Austria, Ceylon, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Libya, Jordan, Nepal and Portugal) and five Soviet candidates (Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Outer Mongolia, and Rumania). The United States strongly opposed this proposal on the grounds that under the membership provisions of the Charter, each applicant is entitled to separate consideration on its own merits and that the Soviet applicants are not qualified for membership. Further, the [Page 803] list excluded the Republic of Korea and also Vietnam. Moreover, if all Soviet applicants were now admitted, the Soviet Union would probably veto non-Communist states which have not yet applied. Included in this latter category are Japan, the Republic of Germany, Spain, Laos and Cambodia.

However, the Soviet proposal received a majority vote and was defeated only because it failed to receive a two-thirds majority. While a similar Soviet proposal was easily defeated in the Security Council, the vote on the Soviet resolution in the General Assembly shows that a large number of members are probably willing to compromise principle to achieve the admission of qualified applicants. The United Kingdom and France seemed to be preparing for acceptance of such a compromise. They abstained in both the Assembly and the Security Council. Their action was undoubtedly influenced by a strong desire not to offend Italy, which is exerting pressure for a settlement of the membership problem and favors the Soviet proposal as a solution which would achieve Italy’s admission.

The Security Council may consider the membership question this year and the General Assembly will do so in the fall. There will probably be increasing pressure for a solution to the membership problem. For this reason, and because of our own concern over the continued impasse, the Department is now reexamining its position.

  1. Drafted by Paul W. Jones of the Office of U.N. Political and Security Affairs.