Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957, United Nations and General International Matters, Volume XI
24. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Wilcox) to the Representative at the United Nations (Lodge)1
Dear Cabot: Some weeks ago the Secretary asked me for suggestions of possible ways to strengthen some of our policy positions in the UN, with particular reference to the next session of the Assembly. I know of your own interest in looking for new initiatives the US can properly undertake, and for our part, we want to do everything we can to strengthen your hand in New York.
We have done some preliminary staff work on the problem in this Bureau,2 and the result is a set of short studies on the problem areas we felt to be most fruitful.
We would like to go over our tentative findings and recommendations with USUN and with the other bureaus of the Department, [Page 64] to see if we can get some proposals to the Secretary at an early date. You will find that some of our suggestions parallel the ideas you have been advancing, and doubtless other proposals will come to mind as we jointly review the problem.
As indicated in the attached, it would be most helpful to have your reactions, and for you to name a member of your staff to meet with us on this as soon as convenient.
With warm personal regards,
Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Wilcox) to the Representative at the United Nations (Lodge)4
- Program to Strengthen US Participation in UN General Assembly
The Secretary recently expressed to me his interest in finding new ways to strengthen the overall US diplomatic position in the UN, particularly in the General Assembly.
IO has undertaken a preliminary survey of the problem, and has arrived at some tentative conclusions. I have outlined them below, and attached hereto the papers on which they are based.
We would very much appreciate your collaboration in formulating some final recommendations. I would be grateful if, after reviewing this material, you could designate a representative with whom we could discuss this matter, with a view to early submission of agreed recommendations to the Secretary.5
- IO’s tentative recommendations
can be summarized as follows:
- Economic: The US should channel a small portion of its foreign aid through a UN economic development fund. The US should also increase its dollar contribution to the UN technical assistance program.
- Colonial: The US should give maximum effect to its support of the principle of self-determination wherever feasible. (See also No. 4, Inscription.)
- Social: The US should make exceptions to its policy of non-adherence to international conventions in the human rights field, in order to support conventions on slavery and forced labor, which would be drafted within the framework of US treaty policy.
- Inscription: The US should affirm its traditional policy that inscription and discussion do not constitute “intervention” under Article 2(7). It should favor inscription except where major national interests dictate precluding a UN hearing on grounds of political unwisdom. The US should leave itself free to judge substantive issues on their merits, and explore the possibility of a “pigeonholing” procedure to avoid substantive Assembly action where desirable.
- Cold War Policy: While remaining prepared to counter vigorously any Soviet attacks in the UN, the US should tailor its psychological strategy in the UN to the prevailing atmosphere, in order to secure maximum support from other nations.
- Elections: The US should as a general rule accept the candidates agreed upon by recognized groupings of nations. The US will probably have to accept the allocation of a seat to the satellite bloc in the councils in order to secure enlargement of the Security Council and ECOSOC. In any event, the US should not engage its prestige in opposition to such candidates where the majority of members believes the seat to be allocated by custom and agreement, and should not automatically oppose Soviet candidates.
- Internal: Where possible, all high-level decisions should be taken sufficiently in advance to permit at least two full weeks of intense pre-GA consultations; position papers should contain maximum and minimum positions; a special evaluation should be made before the Assembly of priorities in terms of engaging US prestige; relations with new non-communist members should be cultivated without delay. (Detailed recommendations as to delegation organization, liaison, etc., are contained in the Team 4 Paper, Tab E.)
- Press Relations: A special effort should be made to strengthen relations with the working press in Washington and New York. (Details in Team 4 Paper.)
- The above recommendations grow out of the following
assumptions and estimates:
- The apparent loosening of Soviet pressures in the world, combined with the rising demands and expectations of a growing number of nations, have raised some difficult problems for US diplomacy in the UN. The trends have been accelerated by the new Russian pose of reasonableness, the coalescence of the Bandung powers, and the increasing emphasis by a growing majority on UN action in the economic, social, colonial, and human rights fields.
- As leader of the global anti-communist coalition, the US is required to maintain certain basic policies toward the communist world, involving the continuing exposure of communism’s threat to freedom. The US will also continue to oppose the seating of Communist China. These policies tend to receive diminishing support in the UN so long as other nations continue to downgrade the threat of Soviet aggression or covert penetration.
- The US cannot and should not take rigid and doctrinaire stands on the colonial issue, either in favor of the anti-colonial majority, or in favor of our close allies who administer dependencies.
- Within this basic framework, the US should reexamine the possibilities of strengthening its position through action with respect to: 1) the economic, social, cultural, and human rights areas; 2) procedural problems arising from election, inscription on the agenda, and the like, which have been the source of disproportionate complications for US diplomacy in the recent past; 3) internal “housekeeping” mechanisms and techniques involving preparation and execution of US policies, and 4) the tactics and tone of US psychological strategy in the UN, from the standpoint of the productivity or counter-productivity of such tactics in the achievement of overall US policy goals.
ACTION PROGRAM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN U.S. PARTICIPATION IN THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Team I: Relations in the UN with the Uncommitted Countries
The present study is concerned with the problem of how the United States can improve its standing with the underdeveloped and [Page 67] anti-colonial countries in the United Nations. The three focal points of the problem are thoroughly familiar:
- These countries are seeking to raise the living levels of their peoples; they look to the United Nations for assistance in doing this, and their attitudes toward other countries in the UN are conditioned by the positions taken by the latter in the fields of economic aid and technical assistance.
- They seek national status and prestige; they resent any appearance of condescension, especially from the colonial powers (among which they are inclined to include the United States), and they are suspicious of U.S. actions which seem to support colonialism or to be opposed to the principle of self-determination.
- As a matter of both national politics and individual psychology, given their background of both political dependency and racial insecurity, they are extraordinarily sensitive to international actions which seem to them to involve values of human worth and dignity; and they find it hard to reconcile the liberal traditions of the U.S. with its reluctance to support certain kinds of international action in the field of human rights.
These three themes are inter-related. The underdeveloped countries desire economic aid both to raise the level of living of their peoples and to enhance their national prestige. Yet they are exceedingly sensitive about accepting aid under conditions which, in their view, might in some way be thought to compromise their national independence. Above all, they are apprehensive lest economic aid develop into “economic colonialism.” At the same time, they recognize that progress in political independence and prestige, and also in human rights, depend as a practical matter upon economic development, for which they need aid.
The situation we face is this. In recent years, whereas we have found it necessary to emphasize the cold war in the United Nations, the underdeveloped countries have found the cold war increasingly remote, and tend to judge the U.S. by its concrete responses to the claims they increasingly assert. Our problem is acutely complicated by the new initiatives of the Soviet Union along this entire front.
It thus appears that improvement of U.S. standing in the United Nations with the less-developed, anti-colonial states needs to be sought in connection with four sets of issues:
- Economic Aid
- Technical Assistance
- Self-Determination and Colonial Policy
- Human Rights
This paper deals with each of these in turn.[Page 68]
1. Economic Aid
U.S. opposition to the proposal to establish a special economic development fund within the United Nations has for several years been highly unpopular among the less developed countries and has, to a considerable degree, over-shadowed the large contribution which the U.S. is making and continues to make toward the development of these countries. The underdeveloped countries have thus far refrained from throwing their weight behind a proposal to establish such a fund immediately only because they hope for eventual U.S. support and because they realize that without U.S. support such a fund could not attract enough money to make it significant. Many countries in this group have become impatient with what they consider U.S. delaying tactics and have advocated setting up the fund immediately on the theory that the U.S. would not be able to resist the strong moral pressure to join in rather than incur blame for allowing the plan to fail. Thus far a more reasonable view has prevailed. However, recent indications that the Soviet Union may be preparing, as part of its new tactics, to support such a fund raise a serious problem of policy.
The U.S. position in the Second Committee of the General Assembly, in ECOSOC, and in the regional economic commissions would be greatly improved if this country expressed its willingness to channel a portion of its foreign aid through a development fund tied into the United Nations system. Such a fund need not correspond to the structure and purposes of the special fund already proposed and discussed in the United Nations. As was the case with the IFC, the U.S. could significantly influence the conditions for the new fund if it were willing to make a substantial contribution to it— provided the structure envisaged was sufficiently multilateral to satisfy those less developed countries which, for various reasons, prefer multilateral to bilateral aid. There is a danger that, unless the U.S. takes a step of this kind, such a fund will be established with the support of the Soviet Union. In this event, the United States might then find itself faced with a serious dilemma: whether to continue to refuse support and thus invite invidious comparisons with the USSR, or appear to yield to pressure in following the lead of the USSR.
2. Technical Assistance
Continued U.S. participation in the technical assistance program of the UN cannot be a complete substitute for a multilateral fund as described above. Yet the value of such participation is beyond a doubt. UN technical assistance has the virtue of being a going [Page 69] program. It is proving effective in performance. It is unquestionably making friends for itself among the underdeveloped countries.
To the extent that the UN technical assistance program involves social as well as economic development, it operates directly in the area of human worth and dignity. This area, quite as much as that of material living levels, is of crucial importance in underdeveloped countries. It is also an area of development in which the West is strong and can make the UN strong. The community development and social welfare programs of the UN strike at this problem. U.S. support of this type of work helps very much to lift the shadow of materialism from our reputation in countries like India.
A U.S. proposal to increase its contribution provided other countries did the same would unquestionably be welcomed by the less developed countries, especially if this were coupled with a move to increase the proportion of equipment and supplies in the program. From the standpoint of both demonstrated need and administrative feasibility, the proposal is sound, provided other countries can assume their 50 per cent share of the increase. If carried out on the U.S. side by diversion of a small portion of our bilateral aid into multilateral channels (a U.S. increase of only some $10–15 million would be involved), the political advantages become extraordinarily persuasive. The U.S. in this connection should be prepared to undertake appropriate diplomatic negotiations with the larger contributors in order to bring the plan to success.
3. Self-Determination and Colonial Policy
The question of self-determination is one of the most complex in the United Nations and has caused us very considerable difficulties, not only in the General Assembly, but also in the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human Rights, where unacceptable resolutions on political and economic self-determination have been discussed for several years. The United States is fundamentally sympathetic with the principle of self-determination. We took the initiative in making it a cardinal principle of the Charter, and we want to see it applied wherever feasible to well-defined groups of people just as soon as they are politically capable and economically viable.
The United States attitude towards the colonial question as a whole continues to be as stated by Secretary Dulles: “There is no slightest wavering in our conviction that the orderly transition from colonial to self-governing status should be carried resolutely to a completion.”
The United States has, however, run into certain difficulties in its attempts to steer a middle-of-the-road course between the colonial and anti-colonial states and this position has won the United [Page 70] States few friends and is often ascribed to lack of principles or policy. Some of the difficulties arise from the necessity of taking a public position on colonial issues, many of which could be dealt with more effectively through confidential diplomatic channels. Furthermore, because of the fact that the United States administers a trust territory and five non-self-governing territories, it is an administering member along with the colonial powers in the Trusteeship Council and the Committee on Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories. Its status as an administering member and its strategic interest in some of the dependencies place additional pressure on the United States to maintain a common front with the colonial powers, but our basic support for the principle that peoples who are capable and desirous of sustaining independence and self-government are entitled to it is not changed by the necessities of policy.
It may be argued that while we may not be able to achieve complete consistency in our policy on all colonial questions, it might be possible to achieve a greater degree of consistency in the matter of inscription of items on the agenda of the General Assembly while leaving ourselves free to judge the substance of each issue on its own merits.
The tempo of change in the relationship between non-self-governing territories and the metropolitan powers has accelerated in recent years, and the United Nations has become an increasingly active participant in what has been termed the revolution of the colonial world against the European West. The colonial issue cuts across other political and regional patterns in the United Nations, with the result that it has an increasingly significant influence on the success or failure of the United States in achieving its ultimate objectives in the United Nations.
The United States has incurred some criticism by the necessity of balancing the implementation of its policies towards its NATO allies on the one hand and its policies towards the underdeveloped countries on the other. It has been difficult, for example, to explain and justify differences of policy regarding the inscription of such items as Cyprus, North Africa, and Netherlands New Guinea in the last two General Assemblies. If we could make a determined effort, through consultations with other governments well in advance of the next General Assembly, on certain specific issues likely to arise, such as Cyprus, North Africa, and Netherlands New Guinea, it might well result in a greater appreciation of our adherence to the basic principles of self-determination for peoples capable and desirous of sustaining independence or self-government.[Page 71]
4. Human Rights
Human rights questions have great symbolic value for many of the less-developed countries, and their delegations consistently seek a position of leadership in this field. The reluctance of the United States to support certain kinds of human rights proposals, in the face of our avowed championship of human rights, puzzles these countries and arouses their suspicions. Recent developments in the United States (such as the desegregation controversy) feed these suspicions.
In some cases, especially where governments tend to be unstable and constitutions change frequently, an international legal commitment is regarded by these governments as the only means to assure continuous recognition of a human rights principle. The Latin-American enthusiasm for conventions frequently reflects fear that substantial gains may be lost over-night if left to individual governments.
For the 1956 General Assembly, we may find ourselves in a serious situation unless we can assume a positive position against forced labor and slavery. A draft convention on slavery is to be acted on at a conference in Geneva in August, and one on forced labor will undoubtedly take form in the ILO Conference in June. It would help greatly if we could participate actively in the final drafting of these conventions and be in a position to sign and ratify them if satisfactory texts are achieved. This would, of course, require a decision by the Secretary to make an exception to our policy of non-adherence to conventions in the area of human rights. In any event, we should avoid restating in the UN or the ILO that we will not sign or ratify conventions on forced labor or slavery irrespective of the final text approved.
The United States has gained some good-will in the field of human rights in the UN during the past several years as a result of our initiative in pressing for the adoption of a UN human rights action program. The UN General Assembly adopted the U.S.-sponsored resolution last year to authorize a program of advisory services in the field of human rights. U.S.-sponsored resolutions for annual reports on human rights and studies of specific aspects of human rights were adopted by the Human Rights Commission this year.
Further attention to the importance of persuasion, education and publicity in this field (rather than the treaty process) may be provided by the United States encouraging a general debate in the UN General Assembly Third Committee, perhaps every two years, on human rights progress. This might be based on the UN Yearbook on Human Rights or on some other documentation prepared by the Secretariat.[Page 72]
The United States should—
- Express its willingness to channel a small portion of its foreign aid through an economic development fund tied into the United Nations system.
- Express its willingness to increase its dollar contribution to the UN technical assistance program at a continued 50:50 ratio to the contributions of other countries.
- Give increased emphasis to community development and social welfare programs both bilaterally and multilaterally.
- Achieve a greater degree of consistency in the matter of inscription of items on the agenda of the General Assembly, while leaving itself free to judge the substance of each issue on its own merits.
- Make a determined effort, through consultations with the governments concerned well in advance of the next General Assembly, on certain specific issues likely to arise, such as Cyprus, North Africa, and Netherlands New Guinea, with a view to securing greater understanding of U.S. adherence to the basic principles of self-determination for peoples capable and desirous of sustaining independence or self-government, as well as of the limitations on U.S. policy in specific cases.
- Support conventions on slavery and forced labor, as exceptions to general U.S. policy of non-adherence to conventions in the area of human rights, which would be drafted within the framework of US treaty policy.
- Make plans for a general debate in the 1957 General Assembly on human rights progress. This might be based on the UN Yearbook on Human Rights or on some other documentation prepared by the Secretariat. Such a debate in 1957 would be a test of the potential value of periodic review in the General Assembly of human rights progress.
ACTION PROGRAM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN U.S. PARTICIPATION IN THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Team II: United States Cold War Policy In The United Nations
To re-examine in the light of past experience and new developments United States cold war strategy and tactics in the United Nations vis-à-vis the Soviet Union; and to recommend adaptations of United States strategy and tactics calculated to yield us the maximum net political and psychological advantage in the work of the next General Assembly.
1. Cold War Limitations in the U.N.
There was little difficulty, prior to the Geneva Summit Conference, in defining “the cold war”. A hostile and aggressive Soviet Union, claiming to be the target of a world-wide conspiracy led by the United States, appeared to threaten the safety of free world nations generally. It bore the onus, in whole or in part, for seriously raising tensions (the Berlin blockade, the hate campaign against Tito, the Korean War). In the United Nations it obstructed the search for peaceful solutions to outstanding problems and made virtually no contributions to the work of progress and development carried on by numerous United Nations bodies and specialized agencies.
Thus, while the chief antagonists in this cold war were the United States and the U.S.S.R., free world sentiment was generally polarized against the Soviets. In the United Nations the chief issues showed a Communist vs. anti-Communist, or Soviet bloc vs. free world, division. United States leadership was vital and generally accepted, and our delegates could in truth speak “on behalf of the free world”.
Whatever active and latent features may characterize the cold war today, it has clearly undergone great changes. It now no longer develops along a direct U.S.–U.S.S.R. front; it is no longer as virulent and menacing; it occurs in a different global context. The Soviet Union has at least temporarily abandoned its open aggressive and obstructive tactics; it has adopted a conciliatory demeanor and demonstrated its intentions (whatever their motivation) to contribute [Page 74] through international organizations and bilaterally to the needs of the outside community.
In this situation problems and preoccupations lying primarily in the free world orbit have come to the fore. In the United Nations, Communist vs. free world divisions no longer are dominant. Divisions among free world groupings have increased as former colonial, underdeveloped countries have asserted their strength and independence. A whole series of issues has developed in which our West European allies are opposed by the “uncommitted” (or anti-colonial) nations. We thus have very painful choices to make, while the Soviet Union is pretty much free to court the emergent power (in the United Nations forum) of those uncommitted countries by lending them support.
In cold war terms, the United States is here engaged in a contest with the U.S.S.R. for the friendship and political support of countries whose policies are conditioned by their recent independence from colonial rule and by their economic development needs. The new-found Asian-African sense of independence has expressed itself in foreign policies more or less neutralist, producing a regional leader in India whose influence is effectively on the order of a new “great power”.
Neutralism signifies more or less unwillingness to take sides in the cold war between the Soviet bloc and the United States-led Western Alliance. The cold war is seen by neutralist countries less as a crucial ideological and moral contest than as a great-power struggle. Helping one side or the other places the new independence in question, arouses fears of embroilment in world war, and is less compelling than the manifold tasks of national social, economic and technical development.
In the parliamentary forum of the United Nations General Assembly, the anti-colonial or neutralist “defectors” from the previous free world line-up now have the balance of votes and the inclination to defeat, or make effectively unprofitable, initiatives of a cold war character whether raised by the United States or the Soviet bloc. This situation, together with the Geneva Spirit and other evidences of “relaxation”, helps explain the unprecedented absence in the Tenth Assembly of a Soviet cold war agenda item. Our own position papers reflected the restraint necessarily imposed on cold war initiatives, and also took account of the evident distaste among our closest allies for engaging their prestige in such efforts. The Secretary General, it may be noted, has on several occasions inveighed against the use of the United Nations forum for propaganda purposes.[Page 75]
2. Basic Assumptions for U.S. Cold War Policy in the U.N.
Taking account of the above considerations, the following basic assumptions are made:
- Soviet Communist over-all policy has not changed. It continues to be expansionist, aimed at ultimate communization of the world. It is fundamentally opposed to U.S. policies and objectives, and in this sense the cold war is still on.
- Soviet strategy appears to regard the East-West alignment in Europe as a cold war stalemate, and has opened up a new front in Asia and Africa.
- There has been an accompanying change in Soviet tactics, calling for relatively peaceful, non-violent but competitive co-existence with the Western powers and the United States in particular. The new Soviet emphasis on economic and cultural cooperation with other countries will continue.
- The Soviet bloc has already employed these tactics in the United Nations, and may now intensify them. In general, they are manifest in attitudes of reasonableness, a greater degree of cooperation, and friendly relations with non-communist delegations. In particular, they are designed to neutralize, or capture the leadership of, the so-called uncommitted and underdeveloped countries. The traditional East-West “cold war” tactics of the communist bloc will probably not be revived in the United Nations. The growing Asian-African anti-colonial sentiment will be sympathetic to the new Soviet tactics.
- There is a consequent need for substantial adjustments or changes in United States tactics in the United Nations. While recognizing that we are still engaged in a vital ideological competition with Soviet communism, we must not reflect an attitude of public hostility to the communists in the United Nations merely to demonstrate that we are hostile and that we recognize their threat to the free world.
- We must emphasize the rational and the constructive and avoid labelling our policy and programs as merely “anti-communist”. They should express our ideals of freedom, justice and progress, and demonstrate that they promote the economic well-being and legitimate political aspirations of all peoples.
- In the contest for allegiances among the Asian-African group, United States policies will prove appealing insofar as they appear to promote the interests and welfare of these peoples. Where we must pursue courses of action which are unpopular, we should stand up to criticisms on their merits and not attempt to dismiss [Page 76] them as manifestations of the cold war—unless, patently, they are such.
- We should analyze in the light of the above considerations all those matters which are expected to come before the next General Assembly and devise tactics for each item, consistent with the positive, over-all United States posture, and calculated to yield a net political advantage to the United States. These tactics and general posture should be understood and applied by the United States Delegation in the 11th General Assembly whenever they will contribute to the above objective.
In the next Assembly, barring a change in the situation, the working group believes that:
- The United States should not take the initiative in placing a cold war item or items on the agenda. The necessary support would be doubtful at best and costly in terms of United States prestige and success on other items. If the cold war is again to be hotly pursued in the United Nations, the onus for reviving it should be left to the Soviets.
- The United States should as a rule abjure cold war tactics in handling of matters before the Assembly, in the interest of conserving good will and the prestige of our leadership needed to build up a record of substantive achievement. At the same time we must continue to restate the facts about communism whenever desirable. When Western positions come under fire, Soviet participation may assume a cold-war character warranting a reply in kind. But if the complaints or criticisms are neither originated by the Soviets nor obviously aggravated by them, our basic posture must reflect a willingness to discuss the issues on their merits. This position will leave room in our tactics generally and in debate for reasserting those established United States policies and principles which are fundamentally opposed to the policies and principles espoused by the Soviet Union. It will not leave room for over-drawn or gratuitous charges. In support of this tactical line, the United States delegation in informal-official social contacts should observe normal, if minimum, diplomatic courtesies toward Soviet bloc representatives.
- At the same time it is recognized that over-riding considerations of our national policy toward Soviet communism may require a cold war emphasis on appropriate occasions in the Assembly. For example, we might find it expedient to exploit opportunities to discuss the division of Germany or the suppression of freedom in the East European satellites. The frequency and degree of our engagement on such matters must, however, take account of the [Page 77] price we may have to pay in the negative reactions of many other delegations.
- We must, however, be fully prepared for any Soviet
reversion to cold war strategy or tactics. We should, for
example, prepare a strong case on Soviet colonialism, to
rebut possible Soviet exploitation of Western colonial
problems arising in the General Assembly. Accordingly, we
- on which agenda items the United States is likely to be vulnerable to cold war tactics; and
- on which items the Soviet bloc is vulnerable; and prepare factual materials and themes to support rebuttal or offensive opportunities, so as to achieve a net gain within whatever limits the cold war may be fought in the Assembly.
ACTION PROGRAM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN US PARTICIPATION IN THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Team 3: U.S. Policy on the Inscription of Items in the Agenda of the GA
The position which the U.S. has taken on the inscription of certain strongly contested items in the agenda of the G.A. has strained our relations with a number of governments and created confusion as to our motives. This paper examines the feasibility of adhering to a legally and politically defensible policy on inscription which could be applied consistently to individual items without prejudice to our position on their merits or substance.
In the face of strong pressure from our allies and increasing concern over the Assembly’s recent tendency to go beyond Charter limitations on its competence to deal with matters involving domestic jurisdiction, the U.S. departed from its traditional policy on inscription by voting against the inscription of the Algerian question at the Tenth Session on the ground that the action sought was beyond the Assembly’s competence. At the same time we took a varying stand on other items, abstaining in the case of New Guinea [Page 78] and opposing inscription in the case of Cyprus, on grounds other than Article 2(7). In other cases where questions were raised by others as to the applicability of Article 2(7) we supported inscription. Regardless of our estimate as to the applicability of Article 2(7) to these cases, the result of our apparent inconsistency was to raise questions as to our motives and to strain relations with a number of governments who felt that our approach was based more on expediency than on what they deem to be sound legal and political considerations.
A variable policy on inscription is bound in the long run to place increasing strains on our relations with these and other governments and to damage our prestige in the U.N. Our position would be improved by adherence to our traditional policy that a vote on inscription is without prejudice to the ultimate question of the Assembly’s competence, which can only be determined after the substance of a question has been discussed and the point has been reached where a decision must be taken as to what action, if any, the Assembly should take on the matter. Consistently applied, such a policy would enable us to divorce our stand on inscription from our position on the merits of any item and thus permit us to promote the concept of free discussion in the U.N. which we regard as essential to the Organization’s growth and effectiveness and which a large majority of its members strongly endorses.
Having made clear that our stand on inscription is based on overriding legal and political considerations based on our interpretation of applicable Charter provisions, we would then be free to adopt whatever position we deem advisable with regard to any subsequent discussion or action on such items. It would be possible in appropriate cases to oppose action on such items on grounds of Article 2(7) or any other ground without having incurred the onus of appearing to discriminate against particular Members on their request for a hearing in the Assembly. In fact, if we maintain a consistent attitude on inscription and support the concept of free discussion, we should be in a strong position to support our allies on matters of substance in cases where we share their views.
Such a policy would be legally defensible and generally understood by most Members. It would ease the conflicting pressure to which we are subjected on questions of inscription and would enhance our prestige in the Assembly. It is recognized that the national interest or other vital political considerations may in some cases require the United States to cast a negative vote or to abstain on inscription. This should be done only as a last resort, however, and on grounds other than Article 2(7). (See attached analysis of Article 2(7).)[Page 79]
In some cases discussion alone achieves the primary objective of the sponsors of an item by enabling them to meet domestic political pressures to “take the matter to the UN”. Experience indicates that it is sometimes possible to obtain general agreement to take only pro forma action on an item or even no action at all once the matter comes up for debate. It would greatly facilitate the disposition of items in this manner if there were a general understanding that not every matter inscribed in the Assembly’s agenda need result in any formal action or even debate. Aside from the need to find a practicable device to shelve matters on which the majority of the Members would prefer not to take a stand, such an understanding would appear to be necessary in order to enable the Assembly to cope with its agenda, which tends to expand at each session and is usually burdened with several items carried over from previous sessions on which it is generally agreed that no action is feasible as well as a number of items of no general interest to the Members.
Neither the Charter nor the rules of procedure require that any particular action be taken on any item. It should therefore be possible to devise a noncontroversial procedure to permit the “pigeon-holing” of such items on the basis of general agreement, and preferably without amending the rules.
Another source of friction in the Assembly is our failure to support certain decisions as to the substance of items which are favored by Members in a position to make a reasonable claim for our support. The U.S. has generally voted in accordance with its convictions as to the merits of issues. However, in a few cases we have avoided taking a stand by abstaining in order to avoid offending particular governments or to shield ourselves from adverse domestic political pressure. While the practice of abstention is justified whenever this government determines it to be in its interest, a decision to abstain on the vote on an important matter should be weighed carefully in the light of its consequences for our prestige and influence in the Assembly.
- That the U.S. affirm its traditional policy that inscription and discussion of an item do not fall within the scope of “intervention” prohibited by Article 2(7) of the Charter and that, having done so, we should not oppose the inscription and discussion of any item on the basis of that Article;
- That, although the above policy does not preclude our opposition to inscription on the political ground of unwisdom of discussion, the United States should as a matter of policy vote in favor of inscription of proposed items except in rare cases where the [Page 80] national interest and considerations of international peace and security dictate a negative vote or abstention on grounds other than Article 2(7); and
- That we promote general understanding of the desirability and feasibility of “pigeon-holing” items once inscribed which are of no general interest or on which most members would prefer not to have to take a stand.
Article 2, Paragraph 7 of the U.N. Charter: Its Application in the G.A.
ARTICLE 2, PARAGRAPH 7 OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER: ITS APPLICATION IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
To examine United States policy in the United Nations General Assembly with respect to Article 2(7) of the Charter, as this policy affects the overall United States standing in the United Nations.
The Interpretation of Article 2(7)
In addition to the assignments to the General Assembly of specific functions under various Articles of the Charter, such as those dealing with the admission and expulsion of Members, the elections of the membership of various United Nations bodies, and the consideration of reports and the budget, the competence of the General Assembly extends generally to matters which may be proposed under Articles 10, 11, 13 and 14. With respect to matters falling within the scope of these articles, the provisions of Article 2, paragraph 7 may operate to restrict the Assembly’s competence. A decision as to the effect of Article 2(7) in each instance depends upon the facts of the particular case, as these facts may bring the matter within the scope of Article 2(7).
Article 2(7) reads as follows:
“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.”
This paragraph constitutes one of the key provisions of the Charter. It employs terms which do not have a precise, rigid meaning and which permit of a certain flexibility in their application. Nevertheless, the paragraph is a part of a legal text, a treaty to which all the Members of the United Nations are parties, and the language must be susceptible of an interpretation which in its general outlines will not vary, and which will be consistently applied in the same manner to the diverse matters which are brought before the General Assembly. This interpretation should be one which takes into account the general sense of the language of the paragraph read in the context of the whole Charter, and in the light of the intentions of the Charter drafters.
Article 2(7) prohibits United Nations intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. Thus, this paragraph has no applicability to activity of the General Assembly which falls short of intervention. And General Assembly action which would constitute intervention is not affected by this paragraph with respect to matters which are not essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.
The term “intervention” in international law has a particular accepted meaning, denoting “dictatorial interference by a state in the affairs of another state, affecting the latter’s political independence or territorial integrity.”10 Although it may be arguable that this technical meaning of the term should be the one which should be employed in interpreting Article 2(7),11 the adoption of this meaning would not appear to accord with the intention of the Charter drafters. Dictatorial interference by the United Nations could not be effected by United Nations recommendations, and would seem to be limited to action by the Security Council in the exercise of its powers to take enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the Charter. However, under Article 2(7) enforcement measures under Chapter VII are specifically excluded from the scope of its provisions. As is clear from the records of the San Francisco Conference, Article 2(7) was intended to apply to the activity of other organs of the United Nations possessing only the power to recommend.
In determining what should be regarded as constituting intervention by the Assembly, a proper interpretation consistent with the [Page 82] plain meaning of the word would appear to place the procedure of inscribing an item on the Assembly’s agenda, as well as the discussion by the Assembly of that item, outside the scope of “intervention”. To place an item on the agenda is a simple act of procedure which can be done by the Assembly without prejudice to the ultimate decision that it may take with respect to its competence concerning the matter. It is clear from the San Francisco records that it was intended that the power to determine competence was to be exercised by the Assembly itself. In order to reach a decision as to its competence, the item must necessarily be discussed; discussion cannot therefore be regarded as an activity falling within the prohibited area of United Nations “intervention”. It may also be noted that such an interpretation that discussion should not constitute intervention takes into account the view expressed by Senator Vandenberg at San Francisco that the General Assembly should be “the town meeting of the world”.
Under the Charter, the Assembly’s recommendations with respect to matters brought before it under Articles 10, 11, 13 and 14 derive whatever force they may have from the degree of unified world opinion which may lie behind them. These recommendations have no legally binding effect, and it would thus attribute a too broad meaning to the term “intervene” to adopt the general conclusion that all recommendations of the General Assembly constitute intervention. A determination as to which recommendations of the General Assembly should be regarded as intervention must depend upon the text of the recommendation as it relates to the matter under consideration. In general, however, it would seem clear that generalized recommendations addressed to all Members of the United Nations urging that heed be paid to particular Charter principles, for example, could not be regarded as intervention. On the other hand, in a case involving an essentially domestic matter, a recommendation addressed to a particular state calling for modification of a particular place of legislation might be regarded as intervention. Or a recommendation that sanctions be instituted against a particular state might also be regarded as intervention with respect to a matter considered to be essentially domestic.
As has been noted above, Article 2(7) has no application to a matter which is not “essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state”. To determine that a matter is or is not essentially domestic must depend upon a consideration of whatever international aspects the matter might have. One criterion which should be employed is the relation which international law, including international agreements, has to the matter under consideration. This criterion is derived from the statement of law made by the Permanent Court of International Justice in its advisory opinion relating to the [Page 83] case of the Nationality Decrees in Tunisia and Morocco. In that case the Court found that the matter submitted to it was not one solely within the domestic jurisdiction of a single state because the question involved the interpretation of international engagements which had been undertaken by the parties concerned. Thus, a question which arises out of a failure of a country to live up to treaty obligations, such as a Charter obligation, or which requires an inquiry into treaty relations for its solution cannot be claimed by any one party to the treaty to be one which is essentially within its own domestic jurisdiction. In addition to questions requiring consideration of treaties or general international law, there may occur, as was pointed out during the Hearings on the United Nations Charter before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations,12 questions which have their origin within the domestic affairs of a single country, but which may have grown to proportions which have brought about international repercussions and thus have become of the legitimate concern of the United Nations Organization. For example, matters falling under the human rights provisions of the Charter may be of this sort. It is thus not possible to spell out before hand with rigid precision those matters which must fall within the category labeled essentially domestic. The question is an essentially relative one and in each case must depend upon an assessment of the international aspects of the matter.
United States Practice in the General Assembly
United States practice in the General Assembly with respect to items which involved a consideration of Article 2(7) has for the most part been consistent with the interpretation of Article 2(7) outlined above. With the exception of the Algerian Question at the Tenth General Assembly, the United States has never opposed the inscription or discussion of an item on 2(7) grounds.
At the first, second, and third Assembly sessions the United States supported inscription and discussion of the item concerning relations of Members of the United Nations with Spain. At the first session during debate on the item, the United States representative, stressing the importance of the principle of non-intervention laid down in Article 2(7), proposed a resolution inviting the Spanish people to form a new and acceptable government in Spain. Subsequently the United States supported the resolution which was finally adopted by the Assembly containing provisions designed to secure a change of government in Spain.[Page 84]
The United States has consistently supported inscription and discussion of the item on treatment of people of Indian origin in the Union of South Africa, and in no case has its failure to support proposed resolutions or parts of resolutions been on 2(7) grounds.
At the third session, the United States supported inscription and discussion of the item on observance of human rights in the USSR, (the Chilean wives item), and also supported the resolution which was adopted, recommending to the Soviet Union Government that it withdraw certain measures.
The United States supported the inscription and discussion of, and the resolutions adopted under, the item on the observance of human rights in Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania. During the debate on inscription of this item, the United States representative took the position that discussion could not normally be construed as intervention within the meaning of Article 2(7) of the Charter.
The United States has made no objection on 2(7) grounds to inscription and discussion of the Moroccan and Tunisian Questions nor has it opposed any of the resolutions under these items on 2(7) grounds.
With respect to the item concerning race conflict in the Union of South Africa, the United States has consistently voted for inscription and discussion of the item. The United States position on the applicability of Article 2(7) to this question has, however, been slightly beclouded by the statement made by the United States representative in the General Committee at the eighth and subsequent Assembly sessions. In connection with the vote for inscription of the item, the United States representative has noted that “an item of this character invites questions about the competence of the General Assembly under Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter. The United States has observed with increasing concern the tendency of the General Assembly to place on its agenda subjects the international character of which is doubtful.” During consideration of this item at the seventh and eighth sessions, the United States voted against a South African motion of no competence, noting that the motion would preclude even discussion of the item. The United States supported the resolution adopted under this item at the seventh session embodying a generalized approach of calling upon Member States to conform with their Charter obligation respecting human rights. On other resolutions on this question which have been adopted by the Assembly, the United States has abstained, resting its abstention on grounds other than Article 2(7).
At the tenth Assembly session the United States voted against inscription of the Algerian Question, citing Article 2(7) in explanation of its position. The United States representative, while recalling “that a vote on the inscription of an item is without prejudice to the [Page 85] ultimate question of the Assembly’s competence”, explained that because of the action to be sought in the General Assembly under the item, that of encouraging fundamental changes in composition of the French Republic, the item fell under the provisions of Article 2(7) of the Charter. In spite of the rationale which was advanced in support of it, this vote against inscription on 2(7) grounds constituted a departure from the traditional United States position.
A study of the practice in the General Assembly reveals a tendency on the part of many Members to express varying interpretations of Article 2(7) from case to case, as the political factors of each case may dictate. As has been shown by the review of United States practice, the United States has been quite consistent in applying one interpretation to almost all of the cases. The legal interpretation of Article 2(7) is one which has the same meaning for all situations, and should not be subject to modification in response to pressures which may on occasion be brought to bear. To apply this provision inconsistently not only undermines our own integrity in the United Nations but also has the effect of arousing the antagonism of these States who may not on occasion have been favored by us with as flexible an interpretation.
- On the basis of the interpretation outlined above, under which inscription and discussion of an item proposed for the Assembly’s agenda do not fall within the scope of United Nations “intervention” prohibited by Article 2(7), the United States should not on 2(7) grounds oppose inscription and discussion of any item.
- A position that inscription of an item should not be opposed on 2(7) grounds does not preclude the possibility of opposing inscription on the ground of the unwisdom of discussion, in the rare case in which the facts might clearly support such a position.
ACTION PROGRAM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN U.S. PARTICIPATION IN THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Team 3: U.S. Policies on U.N. Elections
The problem is to reexamine U.S. policies on U.N. elections to determine if any changes are advisable and, in particular, to ascertain whether it is possible to eliminate or minimize frictions and disputes with U.S. allies, and with majority sentiment, over these elections.
Geographic Allocation of Seats and Area Candidates
U.N. elections generally are based upon geographic patterns which have developed for various U.N. bodies. The United States has normally accepted or acquiesced in these patterns, realizing that in the absence of overriding reasons such as significant changes in U.N. membership, suggested alternatives would be strongly resisted.
Many groups (i.e., Latin America, Western Europe, British Commonwealth and Arab League) have adopted a policy of reaching area agreement on candidates for seats allocated to them. The United States and others have normally supported the candidate selected for election by these areas.
The above practices have greatly facilitated U.N. elections and minimized resentments of the various geographic groups which consider the question of their representation on U.N. bodies to be primarily a matter for themselves to decide without outside interference. The chief disadvantage of the practice of supporting candidates selected by an area for seats belonging to it is that it restricts freedom of choice. For this reason it is questionable whether the areas which have not firmly established the practice (i.e., Asia and the Far East) should be encouraged to do so, or whether the United States should become committed to accepting area candidates in all instances.
As a result of the admission of many new Members at the Tenth Assembly, there will undoubtedly be pressure for revisions in the present geographic patterns for at least certain organs and also for increases in their size. The Members will desire that the revised [Page 87] patterns be adhered to unless and until new circumstances warrant changes.
U.S. Policies on Soviet Bloc Candidates
In applying the above practices, the United States has excepted Soviet bloc candidates. It is normal U.S. policy not to vote for such candidates. The question whether to abstain or to campaign and vote against a candidate from this bloc has depended upon the circumstances of each case.
a. Policy of Abstention—In some instances (as, for example when the Big 5 have traditionally been elected to U.N. bodies, such as ECOSOC), the United States has normally not raised objections to the election of a Soviet bloc candidate and if a vote has been taken, has abstained. In these cases the United States has not voted in favor on the grounds that the conduct of the members of the Soviet bloc is such that they are not entitled to be represented on U.N. bodies and in the belief that there might be domestic opposition to U.S. support for candidates from that group. At the same time the United States has abstained rather than cast a negative vote because it has concluded that in these particular cases its interests have not been sufficiently at stake to make an issue out of the elections and because even if it did oppose, its position would not carry.
The policy of abstention has not kept Soviet bloc candidates from being elected since most countries have continued to support such candidates on the ground that each area in the United Nations should be represented on the various bodies and that the election of a country does not connote approval or disapproval of its government or conduct. Moreover, the U.S. policy on U.S.S.R. candidacies has certain disadvantages. First, it creates problems for the United States in its efforts to obtain the election of candidates of the Republic of China. One of the most effective arguments in seeking support for the latter is that the permanent members of the Security Council have traditionally been reelected to various other U.N. bodies. However, it is difficult for the United States to advance this argument in the case of China when it is unwilling to support Soviet candidacies. Second, this policy fails to take into account the fact that we are better able to deal with some situations if the U.S.S.R. is represented on certain bodies. For instance, if a Soviet national were not a member of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions or of the Contributions Committee, it would be more difficult for us to cope with the issues involved in Committee Five of the Assembly.
b. U.S. Opposition to Certain Soviet Bloc Candidates—In certain instances, the most notable being the Security Council elections, the United States has vigorously opposed Soviet bloc candidates. It has [Page 88] opposed their election to the Security Council on the ground that they were not qualified for a seat on that organ and that it was definitely in United States interest to obtain the election of a friendly country. It has also taken the position that the 1946 “gentleman’s agreement”, which allocated one seat to “Eastern Europe”, was a commitment for the first election only. During last year’s election the United States stressed that no Far Eastern country had ever been elected to a non-permanent seat and that this situation should be rectified by electing a country from that area to the seat originally allocated to Eastern Europe.
In the case of these Security Council elections the U.S. position has prevailed except in the election last year, when the United States had to accept a compromise under which the U.S. candidate is to serve for only half a term. However, in an effort to elect its favored candidate, it has been necessary for the United States to engage its prestige through the most intensive campaigns in New York, Washington and foreign capitals. This has been necessary because most other U.N. Members, including the UK and other close allies, have disagreed with the U.S. view that the “gentleman’s agreement” of 1946 was a commitment for the first election only and have also felt that in any event the question was not of such importance that it should be made a major issue.
In the election last year Poland was defeated and the need to elect a Far Eastern country to a non-permanent seat was partially met. However, in other respects the election was unfortunate. First, after Poland withdrew, the election became a contest lasting for over thirty ballots between two friendly countries (Yugoslavia and the Philippines), with the United States waging a vigorous campaign for the latter; second, because many of our closest allies, including the UK, opposed the U.S. position; and third, because in the end, the United States was not entirely successful, despite its efforts, since it had to accept the election of Yugoslavia for one year. This experience points up the need to obtain the support of the UK and other Western European countries if the U.S. position on elections requiring a two-thirds vote is to obtain the necessary support.
When the question of increasing the number of non-permanent seats of the Council in the light of the admission of many U.N. members is considered, the U.S.S.R. can be expected to demand that one non-permanent seat be reserved for the Soviet bloc and to prevent the adoption of any amendment to increase the size of the Council unless this demand is met. It is believed that most Members will agree to the allocation of one seat to the satellites and that if the United States opposed such an allocation, they would hold it rather than the U.S.S.R. responsible for blocking an increase in the number of non-permanent seats.[Page 89]
Policy of Support for Candidates Which Share U.S. Views on Major Issues
Whenever there is a choice as between two or more candidates for a particular post (as occurs most often in the case of Asian candidates), the United States has usually supported the candidate most likely to support the United States on major questions. In view of the particular importance of the Chinese representation issue, wherever feasible it is U.S. policy to support and encourage a candidate which supports its position on that issue. This policy has encountered growing resentment in UN bodies.
In some instances, the candidate favored by the United States has been successful. However, U.S. ability to support and elect its candidates is limited because, as noted above, on many occasions there is only one candidate for a particular seat and this candidate has the general support of its own area. Moreover, even when it can choose between two or more candidates, the candidate favored by the United States does not always have the requisite support of others.
- The United States should in the future continue its normal practice of adhering to geographic patterns generally agreed upon by UN members for various bodies and posts. In the case of those areas which have developed the practice of reaching agreement upon their own candidates, the United States should generally continue its policy of supporting such candidates. However, it should not encourage other areas which have not yet developed this practice to do so, and should not become committed to accepting area candidates in all instances.
- The United States should recognize that the admission of a number of new members at the close of the Tenth Session will require changes in the geographic allocation of seats and increases in the size of many bodies. The United States should support such changes where justified.
- Where the election of a Soviet bloc candidate would not adversely affect United States security interests, and where the UN Members have accepted a geographic pattern which would allocate a seat to a Soviet bloc candidate, the United States should normally be prepared to vote for (but not campaign for) such a candidate, but should examine each case to determine its position. (In this connection it should be realized that in order to obtain Soviet agreement to any amendments to the Charter enlarging the Security Council and ECOSOC, it will, in all probability, be necessary to agree upon geographic patterns which reserve seats for the Soviet bloc.)
- The United States should make every effort to avoid differences with its close allies on UN elections and should seek to avoid active campaigning or engagement of US prestige unless important US interests are substantially involved and unless it has a reasonable chance of success.
- It is assumed that the United States will continue wherever feasible to support and encourage candidates which support the United States on major policy issues, including the Chinese representation issue.
ACTION PROGRAM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN U.S. PARTICIPATION IN THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Team 4: Internal Operations and Practices
While the content of policies primarily determines their acceptability in the General Assembly, the internal operations and practices of the Department and the United States Delegation also have important effects on their success. The purpose of this study is to ascertain whether improvements can be made in U.S. internal preparations, diplomatic liaison, delegation operations, and public relations, which may reduce unnecessary frictions with other governments, maximize U.S. leadership, and in general utilize our diplomatic instruments most effectively.
Preparation of U.S. Positions
A. Timing: While recognizing that it is often necessary to defer top-level decisions on important positions until the last moment, experience shows that the result is frequently to create difficulties in accumulating adequate support for those positions in time for their effective execution. At the tenth session the delay in firming up the U.S. position on the admission of new members may have contributed to U.S. difficulties with the question.
The enlarged United Nations makes it imperative that early decisions be taken on the maximum number of items. For the coming General Assembly sessions we should seek to have all high-level [Page 91] decisions made in sufficient time to permit at least two full weeks of intensive pre-Assembly consultations.
B. Preparation, Review and Approval of Position Papers: Position papers for the General Assembly have now, on the whole, been reduced to a reasonable length and the format and content include most of the important elements. We should continue to strive for further improvements. Position papers should more clearly delineate issues and give a picture of the anticipated negotiating situation in the General Assembly, i.e., initiatives and attitudes of other states. Such an analysis will help to ensure that the original position adopted by the United States is a reasonable one which, if implemented effectively, has a good chance of receiving the broad support of others. We should try to avoid initial positions which we know will require substantial modification as a result of anticipated pressures. In order to give the Delegation greater flexibility it would be desirable, wherever possible, to include in the position paper a maximum and minimum U.S. objective.
C. Evaluation of U.S. Positions: An overall review of the position papers should be made prior to the opening of the General Assembly in order to determine which issues, if any, are of sufficient importance in terms of the national interest to warrant full engagement of our prestige. A system of priority should be established with respect to the gradation of United States interests on specific items in order to eliminate the tendency to “twist arms” on issues of secondary importance.
Scope, Timing, and Method of Diplomatic Consultations
- The pre-General Assembly circulars to the field are useful and should be continued.
- With respect to certain of the new members of the United Nations, a systematic program of developing our relations with them should be initiated at an early date. First, the geographic bureaus should be requested at an early date to provide brief papers which (1) identify the general posture which the new members can be expected to take within the United Nations and, if possible, on the more important specific key issues; (2) indicate any particular factors which should be borne in mind in conducting negotiations with the new members; and (3) any concrete suggestions as to the steps the Delegation might take to establish good relationships with them. For example, ARA might be asked to comment on the degree to which the Latin American group will wish to associate itself with Italy, Spain and Portugal in the General Assembly and whether it would be to our interest to encourage a closer or looser association. Secondly, the desk officers should contact the respective embassies here in [Page 92] Washington to make inquiries as to the individuals who will be handling U.N. matters. This would be followed up with discussions of a more technical and organizational nature between foreign representatives here and IO officers with a view to providing background material and such assistance as may be desired. Thirdly, USUN might be asked to begin to develop such contacts on a systematic basis. Fourthly, a separate circular should be sent asking our embassies to make informal contacts with foreign representatives responsible for United Nations matters. (Mr. Hickerson in a letter to Mr. Wilcox indicated he has already undertaken this step with Finnish representatives.)
- In view of the later opening date for the General Assembly, the United States should support the Secretariat’s efforts to initiate early pre-session consultations. The Department should be prepared to send a limited number of officers to New York two weeks in advance of the General Assembly, if necessary, to assist in intensive negotiations. We should at an early date determine our own preference as to the allocation of items to the various committees as well as an acceptable order within those committees. We should also be prepared to advance pre-General Assembly preparations to the point where we are ready to consult on the basis of concrete draft resolutions on agenda items expected to arise first in each Committee. Efforts should be made to arrive at a consensus on organizational questions, particularly slates, so that the elections will be largely pro forma and completed in an expeditious manner.
The enlarged membership will make U.S. diplomatic liaison tasks more difficult and place an even greater premium on its effective organization and conduct. The liaison system used at the Tenth Session was an effort to benefit from past experience. In general it operated quite well. Nevertheless, certain deficiencies continued to hamper effective liaison and we should be prepared to suggest practicable improvements for the Eleventh Session.
There were three regular meetings of the staff where guidance was given to liaison officers and, whenever necessary, emergency meetings of the staff were called at the United Nations Headquarters. However, there were a number of instances during the Tenth Assembly when delays, for a variety of reasons, in getting high-level tactical decisions in New York put the United States at a disadvantage. The U.K., as a general rule, was able to move faster, and we abdicated our position of leadership to them in too many instances. Within a 77-nation United Nations, it will be vital that tactical decisions be taken and passed on to liaison officers early enough to make effective implementation possible.
- There is also need for avoiding duplication of diplomatic representations which were evident last year on the question of the [Page 93] Security Council election and the Administrative Tribunal item. We should avoid making representations when there is little chance of success. We should be particularly careful in selecting the locale of such representations for there have been instances where the actual decision-making power resided in the foreign representative in New York, while our representations were being made needlessly either in Washington or in the field. Moreover, multiple representations (New York, Washington, the field) on the same subject often irritate one or more points of contact, without commensurate advantage to the United States.
Organization, Composition, and Use of United States Delegation
A. Organization: A concerted effort was made at the Tenth Session to give officers the opportunity to become an integral part of the Delegation. Permanent working groups attached to each of the committees were established. This system worked reasonably well and should be retained. The delegation was fairly well informed through delegation meetings held twice weekly and to which every member of the staff was invited. There were also regular staff meetings three times weekly where developments in each committee were reviewed and coordinated approaches to various problems of diplomatic consultation were worked out.
Committees 2, 3, and 4 were each assigned one Liaison Officer who assisted the Committee Executive Officer and Delegate. The Executive Officer operated essentially as the substantive technician and the liaison officer as the leg man. They provided the continuity in the Committee. It was not considered necessary to assign a Liaison Officer to Committees 5 and 6 since these two committees were able to draw upon the general liaison officer group in the limited instances of need. The liaison officers in the aforementioned committees operated across the board with all delegates and were not limited to any particular region. Committee 1 and the Ad Hoc Political Committee each had assigned to them several liaison officers who operated both on a regional and overall basis within their respective committees. Each of the political committees also had one Foreign Service officer of ambassadorial rank to act as a liaison officer in an across-the-board manner. Nevertheless, there was a tendency to concentrate on representatives of the areas with which they were generally familiar and our liaison with other areas suffered accordingly.
On the basis of the experience of the past Assemblies, the following similar arrangement should be made for the Eleventh Session; (1) Individual liaison officers assigned on an across-the-board basis to Committees 2, 3, and 4, with Committees 5 and 6 [Page 94] drawing upon the general liaison officer group in case of need; (2) Liaison officers assigned on a geographic basis in the two political committees, the number depending on the coverage which may be expected of the particular individuals assigned.
B. Use of Senior Advisers: One problem at past Assemblies has been that the experiences and capabilities of senior advisers have not always been utilized to the fullest extent. In order to correct this situation, it is recommended that the following be adopted for the Eleventh Session: (1) one ambassador, preferably with previous G.A. experience, be designated a senior adviser and chief of liaison with overall responsibility for coordinating all liaison work within the seven committees and the plenary body. He would report directly to the Counselor and the United States Representative, and he would be responsible for overall liaison guidance, after consultation with individual executive officers. He would ensure that we were not neglecting any delegations or expending our prestige needlessly. He would also be assigned at least one item in one of the political committees on which he would be United States spokesman. He would be named alternate representative on the United States delegation; (2) that a second high ranking (Class 1) Foreign Service Officer with broad experience be assigned to the First Committee as a senior liaison officer and senior adviser.
Such a system would help to utilize their experience more fully. As senior advisers they should be drawn into the delegation’s top-level planning and should meet regularly with the Counselor and the United States Representative. This would offset the disadvantageous use of inexperienced public members of the delegation in important negotiations with experienced professionals from foreign delegations.
C. Information to the Field: U.S. posts abroad are kept informed generally of General Assembly developments through Current Foreign Relations (secret weekly) which carries a comprehensive roundup at the beginning and end of each session and separate stories during the session on outstanding questions; the State Department Bulletin, which carries the texts of important resolutions and U.S. statements; the daily Wireless File; and information telegrams and airgrams on matters of particular interest to specific posts. FE and NEA pouch to their posts the U.N. pages from the daily Secret Summary. Most posts also receive the airmail edition of the New York Times. Overall coverage would therefore seem adequate.
At one time, USUN pouched on a selective basis its daily unclassified summary, or relevant portions of it, to interested posts. This practice was discontinued in 1953, and with the cut in the reporting staff at the Mission and the consequent reduction in detailed reporting, its reinstitution does not seem warranted except, possibly, to those posts sufficiently large to have one officer whose [Page 95] primary responsibility is UN developments. Posts generally have little interest in the day-by-day developments in committee, except where they may be directly concerned. In such cases, no pouched summary can meet the principal complaint by the field in the past, that information sent by air arrives too late to be really useful.
It appears, therefore, that more extensive information to the field on General Assembly developments should be on a selective basis. Three suggestions can be made in this connection:
- On occasion in the past, progress reports have been prepared on a weekly or bi-weekly basis by the regional bureaus directed toward the particular interests of the posts served, and these bureaus might consider instituting this practice on a more regular basis.
- Were the Wireless File again to be reproduced and circulated in the Department, it would be possible to keep an accurate check on what information has gone by this vehicle to the field, and to supplement as and where necessary. In the past, the Wireless File has carried résumés of U.S. and other important statements, summaries of significant resolutions, and even the full text of resolutions where their importance warranted it. Presumably, this is still the case, but since the Wireless File is no longer circulated, it is impossible to tell where the gaps, if any, are.
- Where approaches have been made to other governments on General Assembly matters, the posts concerned should be promptly informed of the outcome in the General Assembly. Such information might be sent on a routine basis by the Policy Reports Officer if no action is desired. Otherwise, if any expression of appreciation or other discussion with the Foreign Office seems indicated, the officer responsible for the original instruction should follow through.
D. Selection of Staff for General Assembly: In view of the fact that the Wriston program is now in full swing and a greater number of experienced officers can be expected to go to the field in the next year or two, it is essential that a maximum effort be made to give more officers the opportunity for protracted General Assembly experience. This is particularly true with Executive Officer positions, where certain individuals have had two or more years of valuable experience but can be expected to go to the field sometime after the Eleventh General Assembly. At this coming session we should plan, wherever possible, to bring new officers to the General Assembly as assistants to experienced Executive Officers so that the former can take over at subsequent Assemblies. (This might of course involve increased funds.)
With a view to ensuring that the United States gets the best possible press, it may be desirable to attempt, prior to the General Assembly, to identify the substantive items on which the United States should make a particular effort to develop broad and positive [Page 96] publicity and the cases on which our rule ought to be kept to a minimum publicly.
We should continue to try to cultivate the best possible informal relations in Washington and New York with the press, both domestic and foreign. Consideration might be given to the possibility of instituting background briefings and more informal daily contacts through such means as periodic background briefing sessions. Consideration should be given to the extent to which key members of the delegation might be utilized at such briefings. One possible device is informal luncheon meetings with selected correspondents.
In this general connection, thought should be given to the question of how relations with the responsible NGOs might be improved.
In order to assure a consistent posture by key delegation members in their general public relations during the Assembly, consideration might be given to briefings of the delegation to assure their most effective expression of U.S. attitudes and policies, particularly in the case of public members. This would be aimed at ensuring purposeful and consistent individual behavior toward particular foreign groupings, such as Asians, as well as toward Communist representatives and others, in official sessions, informal gatherings, public functions, press contacts, etc.
A systematic plan for the use of representation funds should be devised. Informal gatherings should be planned early in the session so that friendly contacts can be made before it is necessary to secure support on specific items.
- If possible, all high level decisions on General Assembly items should be taken in sufficient time to permit at least two weeks of intensive pre-GA consultations.
- Position papers should include a maximum and minimum objective with a view to giving the United States delegation greater tactical flexibility, and should contain an estimate of the attitudes of other delegations.
- An overall review of all the position papers should be made to determine the limited number of issues on which the United States should engage its full prestige.
- A systematic program of developing United States relations with new free world members of the United Nations should be initiated at an early date.
- During the two-week pre-GA consultation period, we should seek agreement on all organizational questions (slates, allocation of items to committees, etc.) and on concrete resolutions on agenda items which will be considered initially by the respective committees. The Department should send a few officers to USUN to assist in the pre-GA negotiations.
- Individual liaison officers should be assigned to Committees 2, 3, and 4 to operate on an overall basis. An adequate number of liaison officers should be assigned to each of the political committees to operate on a regional basis.
- Consideration should be given to the possibility of designating one career ambassador with previous General Assembly experience as Alternate U.S. representative, to serve as Chief of Liaison and senior adviser with overall responsibility for coordinating liaison work in the plenary and the seven committees.
- The policy Reports Officer or desk officers, as appropriate, should as a regular practice inform posts of the outcome on an item on which the United States has made diplomatic approaches in the field; the regional bureaus might institute regular weekly reports to the field; and we should seek to have the Wireless File circulated in the Department.
- In view of the Wriston program, we should make a particular effort to train officers as assistants to experienced Executive Officers whom they will have to replace at subsequent Assemblies.
- A systematic plan for use of representation funds should be devised as well as a systematic program as to Delegates’ attendance at informal get-togethers, Committee meetings, and official functions.
- Source: Department of State, IO Files: Lot 60 D 113, Strengthening US Participation in UNGA. Confidential.↩
- On March 22, Bloomfield circulated a memorandum
entitled “Action Program for Improvement in US Participation in the
United Nations General Assembly” to 28 persons in the various
offices of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs and in
the Office of the Legal Adviser for International Organization
Affairs. Bloomfield wrote
that as the result of a meeting in Assistant Secretary of State
Wilcox’s office on March
20, it was decided to “move ahead without delay” in carrying out
this action program. Bloomfield added that “It was agreed that the report
dated February 9, 1956 entitled ‘Evaluation of Role of US in 10th
General Assembly’ [Document 22] would be
considered as general background for all teams.’ ”
According to Bloomfield’s March 22 memorandum, four teams were established, each composed of five to six members and several alternates headed by a steering member, except for Team 4 which was composed of nine members and several alternates. The several team members were from the various offices in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Team 1 was assigned responsibility for drafting a paper on “Relations in the UN with the Uncommitted Countries,” Team 2 on “US Cold War Policy in the UN,” Team 3 on “Procedural Policy Questions,” and Team 4 “International Operations and Practices.” (Department of State, IO Files: Lot 60 D 113, Studies US Policy re UN)↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩
- Also sent to Prochnow, Holland, Merchant, Sebald, Allen, Bowie, McCardle, and Phleger.↩
- No record of any such meeting has been found. However, on June 13, Wilcox circulated a further draft memorandum for the Secretary on the subject. In a covering memorandum sent to Lodge and the same addressees cited in footnote 2 above, Wilcox wrote: “We profited very much from the collaboration of the representatives you designated in response to my memorandum to you of May 7 on this subject. I believe the attached draft memorandum to the Secretary represents a general consensus of the meetings that were held, and I would appreciate it if you could let me know of your concurrence no later than Tuesday, June 19.” (Both in Department of State, IO Files: Lot 60 D 113, Studies US Policy re UN). The various geographic and functional bureaus submitted additional revisions to the June 13 draft; memoranda containing these revisions are ibid., Central File 310. In addition, draft revisions of the Team 1 and Team 2 papers, dated June 15, are ibid., IO Files: Lot 60 D 113, Studies US Policy re UN.↩
- A notation on the source text includes that it was revision 2 of the Team 1 paper, May 7.↩
- A notation on the source text indicates it was revision 2 of the Team 2 paper, May 7.↩
- A notation on the source text indicates that it was revision 1 of the Team 3 paper, May 2.↩
- A notation on the source text indicates it was drafted on April 19.↩
- Kelsen, The Law of the United Nations (1950) 770.[Footnote in the source text.]↩
For example, Lauterpacht takes the position that the term “intervention on the part of the United Nations must be interpreted by reference to the accepted technical meaning of that term. It [Art. 2(7)] excludes intervention conceived as dictatorial, mandatory, interference intended to exercise direct pressure upon the State concerned.” I Lauterpacht, Oppenheim’s International Law (Seventh Edition 1948) 378.
On the other hand, Goodrich and Hambro reject this narrow technical interpretation. Goodrich & Hambro, Charter of the United Nations (1949) 120. [Footnote and brackets in the source text.]↩
- Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 79th Congress, pp. 309-312. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- A notation on the source text indicates that this was revision 1 of this paper, May 2.↩
- A notation on the source text indicates that this was revision 2 o f the Team 4 paper, May 7.↩