26. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics1

820. Understand LA caucus New York has agreed “in principle ad referendum” proposal include on agenda Eleventh General Assembly this fall question of amendment UN Charter to enlarge Security Council (through increase nonpermanent seats) and ECOSOC and amendment Statute of International Court of Justice to enlarge Court. Caucus due meet end May after views LA governments known. LAs apparently concerned that as result admission [Page 99] new members degree LA representation on these bodies likely decrease unless they are enlarged.

Amendments come into force when adopted by two-thirds of members General Assembly and ratified by two-thirds UN Members including all permanent members SC.

Proposed LA agenda item creates difficulties for us since it includes Court which we believe should not be expanded. USUN so informing LA delegations New York. In view desirability Foreign Office also be aware our views on Court and other bodies before instructing its representative request you discuss matter with it along following lines:

US shares LA concern over need increase size certain UN organs in light increase UN membership and is of course sympathetic LA desires have adequate representation UN bodies. US prepared support consideration by Eleventh Assembly of enlargement Security Council and ECOSOC and presently favors amendment Article 23 to increase nonpermanent SC seats from six to eight and amendment Article 61 to increase ECOSOC seats from eighteen to twenty-two.
US would strongly oppose consideration by 11th Assembly of increase permanent Security Council seats. This question has serious implications for status of Council and its operations, likely embroil Assembly in difficult collateral issues, and could delay action on increase non-permanent seats. Pleased LAs not proposing increase permanent seats.
Agree with LAs no change composition Trusteeship Council necessary.
Believe Court should not be enlarged. In view fact Court sits en banc and takes decisions by Court sitting as whole increase beyond present size of fifteen which is already unusually large for Court which sits en banc would hinder its proper functioning. Moreover fifteen sufficient assure in accordance Article 9 Court’s Statute representation in body as whole of main forms civilization and principal legal systems of world. Therefore if Latin Americans submit agenda item on enlargement Councils hope no reference will be made to Court.

FYI Only. LAs have four judges on Court. Term of one (Ugon of Uruguay) does not expire until 1961 and three others (Cordova of Mexico, Moreno Quintana of Argentina and Guerrero of El Salvador) not until 1964. While problem therefore not immediate LAs probably fear if Court not enlarged there may be pressure in future reduce seats now held by LA judges to enable election additional judge from Arab-Asian group which besides Chinese Member has only two judges. Department anticipates some redistribution existing pattern would in fact be sought and there is no assurance LAs would be able maintain four judges. Therefore possible LAs will strongly urge increase in size Court. Report any indications which will assist Department gauge strength LA sentiment this matter. End FYI.

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LAs also considering agenda item on enlargement International Law Commission. Enlargement this body would not require Charter amendment but simply revision Commission’s Statute adopted by Assembly. If Foreign Office raises matter indicate Department still studying question and has reached no decision.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320/5–2556. Limited Official Use. Priority. Pouched to USUN. Signed by Wilcox for the Secretary.