12. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations1

179. Charter Review. Reference your 283,2 September 14, suggest following text possible resolution be discussed UK delegation:

“Mindful that Article 109, paragraph 3 of the Charter of the United Nations provides that if a General Conference of the Members of the United Nations for the purpose of reviewing the Charter has not been held before the tenth annual session of the General Assembly, such a conference shall be held if so decided by a majority vote of the members of the General Assembly and by a vote of any seven members of the Security Council,

“Noting that no such Conference has been held,

“Believing that it would be desirable to review the present Charter in the light of the experience gained since the establishment of the United Nations ten years ago,

“Recognizing that such a review should be conducted under auspicious international circumstances,

Decides that a General Conference to review the Charter should be held;
Decides to establish a Preparatory Commission for the General Conference, this commission to be composed of representatives of …3 (discussed below)
Directs the Preparatory Commission, in consultation with the Secretary General, to prepare and submit to the eleventh [Page 27] regular session of the General Assembly recommendations relating to the date, place, or anization, and procedures of the General Conference.”

Believe text takes account UK interest in flexibility in timing and importance favorable circumstances while permitting decision in principle conference should be held. In our view these terms of reference permit commission to recommend time of conference or postponement of decision on date if desirable.

Believe commission should be more broadly representative than UK proposes. Suggest 17 member commission along these lines; Subject, of course, to consultation with other delegations:

  • Five permanent members of SC;
  • Three Latin Americans (possibly Colombia, Argentina, Cuba); Four Arab-Asian (possibly including India, Egypt, Thailand or Philippines, and Indonesia or Burma);
  • Two Western Europe (possibly Norway and Netherlands);
  • One Old Commonwealth (possibly Australia or Canada);
  • One Soviet bloc (possibly Czechoslovakia or Poland);
  • Greece or Turkey.

These nominations take into account most careful preparatory work on Charter review has been done by Australia, Netherlands and Canada, and countries that have expressed interest include Argentina, Egypt, Philippines, and Thailand.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 310.1/9–1455. Confidential. Signed by Wainhouse for the Acting Secretary.
  2. Telegram 283 contained a draft text of a possible resolution on Charter review informally handed to Mission officials by members of the U.K. Delegation. The resolution reads as follows:

    Having considered, in accordance with Article 109(3) of the Charter, the question of holding a general conference of the members of the UN for the purpose of reviewing the Charter:

    Decides that it would be desirable to hold such a conference at an appropriate time;

    Further decides to appoint a committee consisting of 5 permanent members of Security Council plus six others to advise the General Assembly regarding the question of fixing an appropriate time and place for the conference, taking into account the need to hold the conference in the most favorable circumstances;

    Requests the advisory committee named above to report to the General Assembly when it is able to make a positive recommendation regarding a time and place for the conference or at the latest to the XVth Session.”

    The British further suggested the composition of the proposed committee as follows: Chile, Colombia, China, Czechoslovakia, France, India, Lebanon, Norway, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Telegram 283 also stated: “Above was given to us as representing UKDel’s thinking in effort to arrive at compromise between US and UK positions. Crosthwaite informed us that the balance had been very carefully worked out and any substantial change would probably meet with difficulty in the Foreign Office.” (Ibid.)

  3. Ellipsis in the source text.