April 3, 1945
United States Department of State Bulletin.
At a press conference on Friday, March 30, correspondents submitted to the Department of State for consideration a number of questions relating to representation in the General Assembly of the proposed United Nations Organization, a matter that was discussed at the Crimea Conference.
The inquiries submitted related to various aspects of several principal questions: Whether unpublished agreements had been made at Yalta; why the American representatives at Yalta agreed to support the Soviet proposals for initial membership of two Soviet Republics in the proposed International Organization; whether it was agreed that the two Soviet Republics would have separate representatives at the San Francisco Conference; why the agreements with reference to the proposal for initial membership of two Soviet Republics had not been announced; and whether the agreements on the subject of representation in the General Assembly affected the principle of sovereign equality of peace-loving nations expressed in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.
I wish to make the following statement in response to these questions:
Both military and political questions were covered at the Crimea Conference. The military plans agreed to at Yalta and related matters connected with the defeat of the common enemy can be made known only as they are carried out.
Among the other matters dealt with at the Crimea Conference were several open questions left over from the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations: The voting procedure in the Security Council; invitations to the United Nations Conference on International Organization; the time and place of the Conference; initial membership in the International Organization; and the possible addition to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals of provisions relating to territorial trusteeship.
The decisions taken at Yalta with reference to the time and place of the United Nations Conference were made public in the communiqué issued at the close of the Crimea Conference. The voting procedure in the Security Council was not announced until after consultations on this subject with the Government of the Republic of China and the Provisional Government of the French Republic. Following these consultations, the voting procedure together with the text of the invitation and the list of nations to be invited to the San Francisco Conference were made public on March 5, approximately a month after the close of the Crimea Conference.
The only other decisions reached at Yalta and not made public in the Crimea Conference communiqué related to initial membership in the International Organization when it meets, and to territorial trusteeship.
The Soviet representatives at Yalta proposed that the White Russian and the Ukrainian Republics be initial members of the proposed International Organization. This was a question for the United Nations assembled at San Francisco to consider and decide.
In view of the importance which the Soviet Government attached to this proposal, the American representatives at Yalta, having the utmost respect for the heroic part played by the people of these Republics in their unyielding resistance to the common enemy and the fortitude with which they have borne great suffering in the prosecution of the war, agreed that the Government of the United States would support such a Soviet proposal at San Francisco if made. No agreement was, however, made at Yalta on the question of the participation of these republics in the San Francisco Conference.
In the circumstances, the American representatives at Yalta believed that it was their duty to reserve the possibility of the United States having three votes in the General Assembly. The Soviet and British representatives stated their willingness to support a proposal, if the United States should make it, to accord three votes in the Assembly to the United States. The President has decided that at the San Francisco Conference the United States will not request additional votes for the Government of the United States in the General Assembly.
Announcement of these proposals was made first to the United States Delegation to the San Francisco Conference. In order to correct the impression conveyed by partial publication of the facts, public announcement was made prior to a final determination of the course to be followed by the Delegation with regard to possible additional representation for the United States.
As to territorial trusteeship, it appeared desirable that the Governments represented at Yalta, in consultation with the Chinese Government and the French Provisional Government, should endeavor to formulate proposals for submission to the San Francisco conference for a trusteeship structure as a part of the general Organization. This trusteeship structure, it was felt, should be designed to permit the placing under it of the territories mandated after the last war, and such territories taken from the enemy in this war as might be agreed upon at a later date, and also such other territories as might voluntarily be placed under trusteeship. No discussion was had at Yalta or is contemplated prior to, or at, San Francisco regarding specific territories.
The basis of the San Francisco Conference remains the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals. It is for the Conference to decide whether any proposal affecting voting in the General Assembly of the proposed United Nations Organization impairs the principles of sovereign equality, just as the Conference itself must determine the application and interpretation of any general principles enunciated in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.
In other words, the San Francisco Conference will doubtless vote on many proposals for the detailed setting up of the United Nations Organization, and there is no way of knowing what the proposals will be. The final organization will be passed on by the United Nations in accordance with their customary procedures, and it is hoped and believed that the result will be so clear that this great effort to eliminate future wars will receive practically unanimous approval.