Memorandum by the United Nations Adviser, Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs ( Bacon ), to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs ( Allison )

  • Subject:
  • Membership in the UN

Attached is a memorandum from Mr. Hickerson to Mr. Matthews 1 suggesting that a meeting be called early next week to discuss the possibility of an omnibus membership arrangement. Mr. Hickerson points out that he believes that no final decision should be reached at this time on the question, but that authorization should be given to discuss the matter with various key delegations at the UN.

The memorandum, after outlining the history of the membership question and noting the pressures which have developed toward reaching some settlement of the problem, lists the arguments for and against the membership deal and goes on to recommend, on balance, that it might be worthwhile for this country to acquiesce in some such settlement.

The details of the suggested omnibus arrangement (page 3) have not been completely worked out by UNA but it would appear that the plan envisages an arrangement which would include Austria, Ceylon, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Libya, Nepal, Portugal and Spain (which has not yet applied) and would exclude the Republic [Page 823] of Korea, the Associated States of Indochina (two of which have applied) and the Federal Republic of Germany (which has not applied). The memorandum suggests that we abstain on such an omnibus arrangement indicating at the same time, however, that we are prepared to see the plan carried out.


1. The proposal as now framed, though intentionally vaguely worded, would appear to have the intent of making the admission of Spain as well as Japan a sine qua non to U.S. acceptance of the proposal. It is stated that the attitude of the USSR toward the admittance of both Spain and Japan is not known.

It is believed on the contrary that the Soviet attitude toward Spain has been made quite clear and there seems no possible doubt that Spain’s admission would not be acceptable to the Soviets (or to many other UN members). It should be noted in this connection that in the present session of ECOSOC the USSR as well as Poland and Czechoslovakia vigorously attacked the application of Spain for membership in UNESCO.

Under these circumstances it would appear that the omnibus arrangement was foredoomed to failure and accordingly it is believed that FE could not support the proposal. In taking this position it can be pointed out that we would be asked to sacrifice the candidacies of Cambodia, Vietnam and possibly Laos as well as the Republic of Korea, to a proposal which has no chance of being accepted.

2. If on the other hand UNA and EUR are willing to accept the arrangement without insisting upon the admission of Spain, it is believed that FE should support the proposal.

In this connection, however, it is our belief that we could not agree to dropping Japan as well as Spain. A deal which omitted Japan would not only be damaging to our relations with that country but would pose severe difficulties for our relations throughout the Far East since we would then be omitting five friendly Far Eastern States, Japan, the Associated States of Indochina and the Republic of Korea, while agreeing to the admission of Outer Mongolia.

Recommendations: that at the meeting you take the position:

that despite the political cost, FE would be prepared to acquiesce in an arrangement which would include all present applicants but which, in residual form, might exclude the Republic of Korea, the three Associated States and West Germany;
that under no circumstances could FE acquiesce in any arrangement hinged upon the inclusion of Spain;
that you be unequivocal on point (2) above in view of the persistence with which Spain’s case has been urged by EUR and UNA for the past four months;
that you should be equally unequivocal that Japan must be included in any arrangement.

  1. Supra.