118. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Wainhouse) to the Secretary of State 1


  • U.S. Position on Admission of New Members to UN

At a meeting in your office on August 9, 1955 representatives of this Bureau (including Dr. Wilcox) and of certain other interested areas of the Department discussed with you the possibility of resolving the current membership deadlock, having in mind the anticipated early review of outstanding applications by the Security Council and the scheduled discussion of that subject at the Tenth General Assembly.

[Page 294]

It was pointed out at that meeting, as well as in IO’s memorandum of August 5, 1955 (Tab A),2 that there had been certain indications of a prospective relaxation of the Soviet position on membership, with particular reference to the Bandung group and possibly Austria (which the Soviets appear to want to link with the other “peace treaty” states). It was mentioned also that such a change in the Soviet attitude, should it in fact materialize, would be likely to give new impetus to a tendency which was already discernible to shift the onus for the membership deadlock from the USSR to the U.S.

In the present climate of relaxing tensions there can be little doubt that expectations of a break in this deadlock are high, and that any Member which allows itself to be placed in the position of appearing to block an overall solution will incur the ill will of a large majority of the other member nations, as well as of any qualified applicants which may continue to be excluded. We have particularly in mind the situation which would arise should the USSR press for the admission of all outstanding applicants with the exception of the divided states of Korea and Viet-Nam. Under our present position, we would have to oppose the admission of the satellites, thus blocking a comprehensive package deal. We would then have to be prepared to deal with Soviet acquiescence in the admission of at least the Bandung group, and possibly also Austria. Since presumably we could not oppose any of these, their admission would be assured. The reaction of the remaining qualified applicants, and particularly of Italy, would certainly be strong and vociferous. The onus for Italy’s failure to gain admission would in the present atmosphere attach not to the USSR, but to the U.S., a circumstance which would tend to encourage a resurgence of Italian neutralist sentiment. Moreover, the admission of the Bandung group alone would strengthen the anti-colonial and neutralist forces in the UN and probably impel the UK, France, and other European UN Members to press for the admission of Italy and Portugal even at the cost of admitting the European satellites.

As indicative of the current thinking of other member nations on this question, Canada, supported by Australia, has already expressed interest in a package arrangement which would admit all of the outstanding applicants (including the Mongolian Peoples Republic and the European satellites) with the exception of Korea and Viet-Nam.

In considering the feasibility of our supporting a package arrangement on membership, and in particular of our agreeing to the admission of some or all of the European satellites, you raised the [Page 295] question of possible adverse effects on anti-Communist elements within the satellites, and requested that inquiries on this subject be made of our diplomatic representatives (in the cases of Hungary and Rumania) and through other channels (in the cases of Albania and Bulgaria). Replies received from our Legations in Budapest and Bucharest are attached (Tab B).3 While the results of other agency inquiries concerning Albania and Bulgaria have not yet been received, the principal points made by our two Legations are the following:

The failure of the U.S. to block the admission of the satellite applicants would, at least temporarily, have a negative and demoralizing effect on the anti-Communist populations of those countries.
This effect might be at least partly mitigated if the U.S. were to accompany its renunciation of the use of the veto on satellite admissions by a statement making clear our continued strong disapproval of the satellite regimes and our serious reservations as to their qualifications for UN membership; this would be particularly true if the admission of the satellite applicants were to be offset by the admission of a substantially greater number of non-Communist applicants.
Should the U.S. decide on a course of action which would lead to the admission of the European satellites, the fullest possible advantage should be taken of the bargaining value of that decision in seeking concessions from the satellite regimes concerned.

Pursuant to your desire to include Spain in any membership arrangement to which we might agree, a telegram was despatched to Embassy Madrid on August 20 (Tab C)4 designed to stimulate an early application by Spain.


It is recommended that you approve a course of action by this Government along the following lines:

As a first step the U.S. should discuss with the UK, and subsequently with the French, Canadians, and possibly certain of the other Commonwealth countries, the feasibility of reaching general agreement on an understanding to admit (a) all of the qualified applicants with the possible exception of the divided states of Korea and Viet-Nam (i.e., Austria, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Ireland, Japan, Ceylon, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Jordan and Libya), (b) Spain (provided it submits its application in time), and (c) the four European [Page 296] satellite applicants (Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania). Such consultations might logically be followed at a later date by discussion with Chairman Belaunde (Peru) of the Committee of Good Offices with a view to enlisting his support on behalf of such an arrangement.
The U.S. should seek an agreement to postpone Security Council review of pending membership applications until after the convening of the General Assembly. The U.S. position on membership might then be set forth in your general debate speech (see suggested text attached as Tab D)5 in which the following points would be emphasized:
The continued exclusion of a significant number of qualified nations confronts the UN with an intolerable situation which, if allowed to persist, can result only in a progressive deterioration in the prestige and effectiveness of the organization.
The fourteen nations already found by a majority of the Security Council and the General Assembly to be qualified for membership have been prevented from gaining admission solely by the Soviet abuse of the veto.
(If Spain has applied) It is the view of the U.S. that Spain, a new applicant, is also fully qualified for membership and we shall strongly support its admission.
It is the hope of the U.S. that the USSR, as its contribution toward a solution to this urgent and compelling problem, will forego further use of the veto to block the admission of these qualified applicants.
For its part the U.S., consistent with its view that the veto should not be used to block the will of the majority on the issue of membership, will not use its vote to prevent the admission of any state which receives seven or more votes in the Security Council. Specifically, the U.S., while still of the opinion that the regimes presently in control of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania have by their own conduct cast the gravest doubt on their readiness to abide by the principles of the Charter and their willingness to undertake the obligations of membership, will no longer oppose the admission of those four states if it is the will of the majority that they should be admitted to membership, although we shall continue to hold them accountable for past agreements.
The U.S. will continue to oppose the admission of the so-called Mongolian Peoples Republic, which in our opinion cannot present a valid claim for membership since it does not possess the commonly recognized attributes of statehood.
The U.S. should then request an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider the question of membership; at that meeting it should state its position along the same lines as the foregoing.
Rather than seeking a prior agreement with the USSR, which would be regarded as acceptance of a “package deal”, we should see [Page 297] to it that the USSR Delegation is apprised of our intentions just prior to your speech, and undertake any necessary consultations with that Delegation as soon as possible thereafter.
In the meantime the Department should explore ways and means of taking advantage of a decision on our part not to block the admission of the Soviet satellites as a bargaining weapon in obtaining desired concessions from those regimes, pursuant to recommendations set forth in the two telegrams attached as Tab B.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 310.2/8–2455. Secret. Drafted by Bond. Initialed by Wainhouse. Cleared by EUR, NEA, and L. The Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs wrote a dissenting memorandum; see infra .
  2. Printed as Document 115.
  3. Not found with the source text, but presumably reference is to telegrams 73 from Budapest, August 17, and 37 from Bucharest, August 15. (Department of State, Central Files, 310.2/8–1755 and /8–1555)
  4. Not found with the source text, but presumably a reference to telegram 163 of August 20, that stated the United States anticipated detailed and serious consideration of the entire membership question by both the Security Council and General Assembly in coming months. (Ibid., 310.2/8–2055)
  5. Not found.