28. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State1

1072. For Wilcox from Lodge. Draft circular on enlargement UN Councils.2

[Page 102]
Seriously question prudence of proposed circular telegram which commits US now in effect, to a “gentleman’s agreement” on allocation of seats in Security Council which would be without qualification and could therefore only be reversed in very serious emergency.
It seems unwise to tie our hands down indefinitely in face of unpredictable future circumstances. So-called gentleman’s agreement of London3 about Eastern Europe has already been great bother to US.
While we will no doubt ultimately have to accept some kind of understanding on Eastern European seat as part of enlargement, we should not commit ourselves now and give our bargaining power away. At this state we could leave definition Eastern Europe vague and express our position on allocation seats as tentative thinking without saying we would agree to “understanding” on any allocation. We should not be taken for granted on specifics.
There is little doubt that Middle and Far Eastern countries will be dissatisfied with formula for one WE and one FE seat contained in circular telegram. India has in effect told us that they intend to resist FE (mytel 9914).
There is no doubt that there is shift of power away from Europe and towards Asia due not only to population but also to growth in national productivity and that we must not lend color to the often uttered criticism of US that we are restraining political development and appearing to support outgoing regimes. If we take rigid position, our influence will be diminished to vanishing point and Russians will have the bargaining position.
Even if I felt formulas in circular telegram were correct (which I do not) I would be opposed to tying myself down to them firmly insofar as other nations are concerned because I would want to retain some maneuverability, some flexibility, some bargaining position.
I recommend that we merely announce interim positions the way we have been doing and say in effect we presently would support an increase of two in Security Council, one for Western Europe and one for Far East. This would let us see how cat was going to jump and throw our weight accordingly.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 330/6–856. Secret; Niact.
  2. The draft circular telegram under reference has not been found. However, a summary of this document with an attached excerpt was sent to Ambassador Lodge on June 6, by Richard F. Pedersen of the Mission to the United Nations. According to Pedersen, the draft circular telegram set forth the U.S. position on enlargement of the Security Council by two members, the Economic and Social Council by four members, with no increases in either the Trusteeship Council or the International Court of Justice. According to Pedersen, the proposed circular telegram “also states that we will subscribe to an ‘understanding’ (preferably not a more formal ‘agreement’) that one seat in the Security Council will be reserved for Eastern Europe. This means (a) a seat for the Satellites and possibly Yugoslavia, but not including Turkey, Greece, Austria or Finland, and (b) an ‘understanding’ which will grant them the seat without time limitation.” (USUN Files, IO, Councils, Memb)
  3. See the Minutes by the United States Delegation to the Five-Power Informal Meeting, held at London, January 9, 1946, and the related memorandum by David H. Popper in Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. I, pp. 141147 and 209210.
  4. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 350/5–1756)