Hasluck to Evatt

Cablegram Precom 2 LONDON, 16 August 1945, 11.52 p.m.


First meeting of the Executive Committee was held this morning, Noel-Baker (United Kingdom) as temporary chairman. Election of chairman was the main item of business. Koo (China) proposed that chairmanship should rotate among Big Five quoting San Francisco as precedent. Brazil, Netherlands and Australia immediately objected and presented a case for single chairman. In my statement I made the following points- (a) In this instance the Great Powers had no special position as their role as sponsoring powers ceased with the signing of the Charter.

(b) The only special position accorded to them by Charter was recognition that Military power and influence entitled them to permanent membership of the Security Council but considerations which applied to the Security Council did not apply to purely administrative functions of the Executive Committee.

(c) The Executive Committee was first organ of the United Nations Organisation and care should be taken not to introduce any system of chairmanship contrary to the interests of organisation.

(d) Selection of the special group of members to share chairmanship was contrary to principle of sovereign equality of members.

(e) We would vote for election of a single chairman freely nominated whether from among Great Powers or from other members.

2. Gromyko (Soviet Union) favoured continuation of the San Francisco method of rotating chairmanship. Canada, who supported our view, then suggested postponement of decision to allow further discussion, thus throwing responsibility on the Great Powers to bring forward new suggestion. The possibilities now appear to be either- (a) Election of Russian as single chairman or (b) Election by the Committee of panel larger than the Big Five among whom chairmanship will rotate. British do not seek chairmanship themselves.

3. After general discussion of procedure, the Committee adjourned to to-morrow. Papers relating to meeting are being forwarded by air with memorandum AR/1.



[AA : A1066, H45/777/2]