3. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State 1
850. Re Charter review. Dixon (UK) called on me today to discuss, among other things, Foreign Office’s instructions concerning Charter review. These instructions have gone out to all UK posts in UN member countries.
The UK is opposed to taking any definite decision at the 10th GA concerning the convening of a Charter review conference. They hope that the outcome of the discussions at the next session will show the Charter to be sufficiently flexible as is. They would probably accept a decision only to the effect that the 11th GA should decide the question of whether to convene the conference.
UK Delegation pointed out, without in any way committing themselves or even advocating it, that, if there are any parts of the Charter on which there is hope of adopting amendments, the procedures in Article 108 of the Charter2 could be used. Their interpretation of this article is that the GA, in regular session, could put forward an amendment to the Charter by a ⅔ vote. This would, of course, have to be followed by normal ratification processes. They believe such a procedure is better suited for achieving specific objectives, such as change in procedure for admission of new members or for increasing the size of the Security Council. They regard it as definitely undesirable to open up the whole Charter for discussion at this time and presumably in the foreseeable future.
The UK missions in all of the member countries are also instructed to try to discourage representatives from raising the question of Charter review in their speeches at San Francisco. They have some doubts about the success of this operation but they intend to make a good try at it.
As I told Dixon, it is obvious that we are quite far apart on this question. On thinking over the UK idea, it seems to me they miss the whole point of our position which is that it is possible on certain issues to build up so much pressure in world opinion that the Soviets are less likely to veto a particular amendment. Under the UK suggestion for Article 108 procedure, to which they do not commit [Page 4] themselves, you could not achieve such a build up of pressure. The Article 108 procedure would, in fact, prevent the maximum use of public opinion forces. It would leave the Soviet attitude to be determined solely on the basis of the more regular forces at play during an assembly session.
I intend at next opportunity to ask British point blank whether they would stand with us on revision of membership requirements under Article 108 procedure as they suggested. When they reject this proposal in addition to turning us down on Charter review, they should be feeling at least slightly penitent and they may just be willing to go along on non-member participation.3
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 310.1/6–255. Confidential; Priority.↩
- Article 108 of the U.N. Charter reads: “Amendments to the present Charter shall come into force for all Members of the United Nations when they have been adopted by a vote of two thirds of the members of the General Assembly and ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by two thirds of the Members of the United Nations, including all the permanent members of the Security Council.”↩
- Telegram 721 to New York, June 6, reads as follows: “Your 850. Similar representations made Department by British Embassy Friday. Embassy officer told no change US position favoring decision hold conference. Memorandum conversation being pouched. Mission will shortly receive request initiate conversations this matter other friendly UN delegations in order to effect an exchange of views. Response UK representations should await assessment situation basis outcome these conversations and similar talks to be undertaken our Missions abroad.” (Department of State, Central Files, 310.1/6–255)↩