UNP files, lot 59 D 237, “Membership”

Memorandum by the Officer in Charge of General Assembly Affairs ( Taylor ) to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs ( Hickerson )

  • Subject:
  • Membership Position
You asked us to study and make recommendations on the position to be taken on membership at the September SC meeting and in particular, on the following over-all position:
  • “(a) We have not thus far been able to acquiesce in a package deal and we are not prepared to do so now.”
  • “(b) If we are ever able to acquiesce in a package arrangement it will have to be a larger package than the Soviet 14-nation proposal”;
  • “(c). We should discreetly sound out Soviet attitudes on adding the following states to the package: The Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, Spain, Federal Republic of Germany.”
You asked also for study of the idea of including, in a blanket resolution, general expressions like “Germany” and “Korea” for certain countries.

I. Comment on Suggested Over-all Position

(a) We assume that the decision not to acquiesce in a package deal for the time being is a wise one. This need not bind us for a long time. But the essential point now is to avoid commitments, domestic and international, on our future positions and to minimize the difficulties of our position public opinion-wise as much as we can.1

(b) The feature of the suggested position that would strike other delegations and the press immediately would be Point (b)—its failure to maintain our flat rejection of the package deal approach. This would seem to help our political position for the moment. But it would most probably lead Chile and Pakistan to seek at once to promote an agreement with the USSR. The press would take our statement as an indication that we had decided to negotiate a deal and would quickly fill in practically all of the details, including reasons why we would not go ahead at once. It would seem difficult, therefore, to hold this position in the form stated above without being pressed into a further stage of negotiations or into indicating our bargaining position prematurely and, perhaps—during the political campaign—into commitments that would tie our hands later on.

We shall have to take a common line with the UK, France and China in the August consultations and in the September SC meeting. If we are not ready now to negotiate and discuss a blanket arrangement, a [Page 839] common line of resistance against the Soviet deal is necessary. The most effective common line would probably be a fairly perfunctory rejection at this time, saying merely that our position has not changed. We cannot ourselves maintain an ambiguous position while expecting our friends to take the line of a flat rejection.

It would, however, be possible for us in the September SC meeting to make a statement along the following lines, without saying that the reason we are opposing the Soviet proposal is its lack of inclusiveness: “The Soviet Union claims that its proposal includes all states that should be considered at this time, that it is a broad, tolerant arrangement designed to achieve a universal membership. This is untrue. The Soviet proposal does not even include all of the applicants—it omits Japan, the Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. It certainly does not include all of the states—applicants and non-applicants—which deserve consideration for membership.”

(c) How can we feel out the Soviet attitudes on the states not included in the Soviet package?

Japan evidently does not want to ask the USSR directly about its attitude and FE probably would not wish to ask Japan to make these inquiries.
In the August consultations we could of course ask the USSR its attitude on the seven states but would most probably not get a reliable answer unless we talked seriously about a specific proposal.
In the September SC meeting we can have the Council take up and act on the new applications (Japan, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) before taking up the Soviet resolution. This could probably be arranged and is in accordance with some precedent; its purpose would, however, be clear. It would force the USSR to veto those applications individually or include them in the package.

The only real doubt is the Soviet attitude toward Japan. It is difficult to see how the USSR can now support the Republic of Korea, West Germany or the Indo-China states at all and it certainly would not indicate an attitude on Spain or West Germany unless actual applications were presented.

As indicated under (a) above, it is believed that we cannot now accept a package deal even with Japan included.


(1) For September SC meeting (see attached draft telegram):2

That we concert with the UK, France, China, Greece, Turkey, Brazil and the Netherlands in taking the following position:

Consultations with the USSR would preferably be limited to ascertaining that neither side has changed its position.
In the SC, the new applications (Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, and Japan) should be considered before the old applications.
We keep the proceedings as perfunctory as possible and avoid extreme statements against either the package deal idea or against the Soviet applicants.

(2) For possible use in the Assembly:

The membership question should be placed low on the agenda, so that it will not be reached until December.
If we then find it practicable to support a package arrangement, we should concert with a number of friendly countries shortly before we move on the question.
Our formula should be as follows:
It is quite possible for the members to agree among themselves concerning the meaning of the criteria used in Article 4. We are ready, provided other members are, to adopt a new interpretation according to which the mere declaration by a state of its acceptance of the Charter is taken as showing the necessary willingness to carry out the Charter objectives. If the USSR will not accept this interpretation we will continue our past approach to Article 4.
The Republic of Korea, Japan, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Spain and the Federal Republic of Germany qualify for membership. On the other hand, we have serious doubts of Outer Mongolia’s qualification because it is not really organized as a state.
If in subsequent discussions the Soviet Union agrees to add Japan to the list we should accept the arrangement, and take the necessary steps in the SC and General Assembly.
The Assembly should then grant to any states not admitted to membership a seat in the Assembly and its committees. It has been suggested that we might go;30 far as to give even a vote to these states and this vote would be duly registered in the records but it would be provided that the vote would not count toward the attainment of majorities required by the Charter.

II. Comment on Suggestion to Use Generalized Terms “Korea” “Germany” “Viet Nam”.

As a supplementary question, would it be desirable to include in a package arrangement—whenever we are ready to negotiate one—generalized terms like “Korea” and “Germany” in place of the specific reference to the Republic of Korea and the Federal Republic, adding a statement of the conditions of action to admit?

We have canvassed this problem at the working level in FE and GER and on this basis our recommendations are against the idea, for the following reasons:

The approach breaks down on the Indo-China states, since the same conditions do not exist in all three countries.
The phrasing of the statement of the conditions of admission would depend upon our purpose. If our purpose is to secure Soviet approval, the formula for Korea would probably be “as soon as the unification of Korea is achieved”; and for Germany, “as soon as a Government based on all-German elections is established.” The fulfillment of each of these conditions would require Soviet approval. Other [Page 841] formulations are possible as, in the case of Korea, “as soon as peaceful conditions are established”. The determination of the existence of these conditions would be made by the General Assembly unless some other procedure was provided. However, the Soviet Union would obviously not agree to this; everyone would know the Soviet did not agree; and therefore the inclusion of such a statement would be taken as a means of making the whole arrangement dependent on the admission of the Republic of Korea, Western Germany, etc. It is assumed that there would be no particular point in dealing with the cases of Korea, Germany and Indo-China through these special formulas and accordingly we assume that the formula would in effect provide for the achievement in each case of unification and Soviet approval. The South Koreans, West Germans and Vietnamese might consider this a bad set-back because they would be clearly barred from membership. If, therefore, we cannot achieve membership for the Republic of Korea and the Federal Republic of Germany in connection with a blanket deal it might be better simply to leave them out and, for the time being, to give them a seat in the Assembly as suggested above.

  1. An apparent reference to the impending U.S. Presidential campaign and November election.
  2. Not attached to source text, but see telegram 77, Aug. 15, 4:48 p.m., to USUN, p. 842.