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Five nations are given permanent membership in the councilthe United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and France. These nations possess most of the industrial and military resources of the world. They will have to bear the principal responsibility for maintaining peace in the foreseeable future. The provisions of membership recognize this inescapable fact.
The five powers do not, however, form a majority of the members of the Council. Six members are elected by the General Assembly from among all the other United Nations. This is the first of several checks and
balances provided for in the Charter in order to safeguard the rights of smaller nations.
The voting provisions for the Security Council also recognize the special powers and responsibilities of the great nations. A majority of seven members which includes all five of the permanent members is required in any decision by the Council for dealing with a dispute either by peaceful means or by enforcement action, except that a party to a dispute must abstain from voting in the peaceful settlement stage.
There has been a great deal of discussion of these voting provisions, and I should like to request permission at this time to place in the record my statement of March 5, 1945, made at the Mexico City Conference; the statement of March 24, 1945, made by the Under Secretary of State, Mr. Grew; and the interpretative statements by the delegations of the four sponsoring governments on June 7, all of which are on this subject. I think they will prove useful to the committee, and I recommend that the members of the committee give their most serious attention to them.
The CHAIRMAN. They will be inserted in the record. (The documents referred to are as follows:)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
March 5, 1945.
No. 201 For the press.
At the Crimea Conference the Government of the United States of America was authorized, on behalf of the three governments there represented, to consult the Government of the Republic of China and the Provisional Government of the French Republic, in order to invite them to sponsor invitations jointly with the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to a conference of United Nations called to meet at San Francisco on April 25, 1945.
Those consultations have now been held. The Government of the Republic of China has agreed to join in sponsoring invitations to the San Francisco Conference. The Provisional Government of the French Republic has agreed to participate in the Conference but, after consultation with the sponsoring governments, the Provisional Government-which did not participate in the Dumbarton Oaks conversations-is not joining in sponsoring the invitations.
Today, at noon Washington time, representatives of the Government of the United States of America stationed at various capitals throughout the world are presenting to the Government of 39 different United Nations the following invitation:
The Government of the United States of America, on behalf of itself and of the Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Republic of China, invites the Government of (name of Government invited was inserted here) to send representatives to a conference of the United Nations to be held on April 25, 1945, at San Francisco in the United States of America to prepare a charter for a general international organization for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The above-named governments suggest that the conference consider as affording a basis for such a charter the proposals for the establishment of a general international organization, which were made public last October as a result of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, and which have now been supplemented by the following provisions for section C of chapter VI: "C. Voting
"1. Each member of the Security Council should have one vote.
"2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters should be made by an affirmative vote of seven members,
"3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters should be made by an affirmative vote of seven members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under chapter VIII, section A, and under the second sentence of paragraph 1 of chapter VIII, section C, a party to a dispute should abstain from voting.”
Further information as to arrangements will be transmitted subsequently. In the event that the Government of (name of Government invited was inserted here) desires in advance of the Conference to present views or comments concerning the proposals, the Government of the United States of America will be pleased to transmit such views and comments to the other
participating Governments. The invitation has been presented to the Government of the following United Nations: Commonwealth of Australia
Kingdom of Iraq Kingdom of Belgium
The Republic of Liberia Republic of Bolivia
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourgh United States of Brazil
United Mexican States Canada
The Kingdom of the Netherlands Republic of Chile
Dominion of New Zealand Republic of Colombia
Republic of Nicaragua Republic of Cost Rica
Kingdom of Norway Republic of Cuba
Republic of Panama Czechoslovak Republic
Republic of Paraguay Dominican Republic
Republic of Peru Republic of Ecuador
Commonwealth of the Philippines Kingdom of Egypt
Republic of El Salvador Empire of Ethiopia
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Greece
The Republic of Turkey Republic of Guatemala
Union of South Africa Republic of Haiti
Oriental Republic of Uruguay Republic of Honduras
United States of Venezuela India
Kindom of Yugoslavia Empire of Iran
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
March 24, 1945. For the press.
No. 264 STATEMENT BY ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE JOSEPH C. GREW The Department has received inquiries concerning the operation of the proposed voting procedure in the Security Council as agreed to at the Crimea Conference. These inquiries relate to the peaceful settlement of dispute in cases (a) when a permanent member of the Security Council is involved, and (0) when a permanent member is not involved.
The question is put in the following form : Could the projected international organization be precluded from discussing any dispute or situaton which might threaten the peace and security by the act of any one of its members?
The answer is, "No." It is only when the question arises as to what, if any, decision or action the Security Council should take that the provisions covering the voting procedure would come into operation. This Government proposed the provisions for voting procedure in the Security Council which have been accepted by all governments sponsoring the San Francisco Conference as part of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals which will afford a basis for a pattern for the international organization. It is this Government's understanding that under these voting procedures there is nothing which could prevent any state from bringing to the attention of the Security Council any dispute or any situation which it believes may lead to international friction or may give rise to a dispute. And furthermore, there is nothing in these provisions whch could prevent any party to such dispute or situation from receiving a hearing before the Council and having the case discussed. Nor could any of the other members of the Council be prevented from making such observations on the matter as they wish to make.
The right of the General Assembly to consider and discuss any dispute or situation would remain, of course, at all times untrammeled.
THE VOTING PROCEDURE Under the proposed voting procedure for the Security Council an affirmative vote of 7 out of the 11 members is necessary for decision on both substantive and procedural matters. Decisions as to procedural matters would be made by the votes of any 7 members. A. When a permanent member is involved
In decisions on enforcement measures, the vote of seven must include the votes of all five permanent members whether or not they are parties to the dispute. On questions involving the peaceful settlement of disputes, no party to the dispute—whether or not a permanent member-may vote. In such decisions the vote of seven must include those permanent members which are not parties to the dispute.
This means that when a permanent member of the Security Council is involved in a dispute the representative of that state may not vote on matters involving the peaceful settlement of that dispute (under sec. A of ch. VIII). In other words, that permanent member would have no “veto" in these matters. In this case, however, the remaining permanent members must concur in the total vote of seven by which the Security Council, reaches its decisions. Any permanent member not party to the dispute would thus have a “veto," should it care to exercise it.
Further, if two of the permanent members of the Council are parties to a dispute, neither of them can vote and the decision must be made by the three remaining permanent members and four of the nonpermanent members of the Council. If more than two permanent members are involved in a dispute the vote would require the concurrence of the remaining permanent members plus the nuniber of nonpermanent members necessary to make a total of seven. Under such circumstances, if there are four members of the Council involved in the dispute—and, therefore,. none of the four could vote-each of the remaining members of the Council, whether permanent or nonpermanent, would have the same "veto." B. When a permanent member is not involved.
When a permanent member of the Security Council is not involved in a dispute, the affirmative vote of each of the five permanent members is required for the Council to take any decisions or action on that dispute.
JUNE 7, 1945. STATEMENT BY THE DELEGATIONS OF THE FOUR SPONSORING GOVERNMENTS ON VOTING
PROCEDURE IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL Specific questions covering the voting procedure in the Security Council have been submitted by a subcommittee of the Conference Committee on Structure and procedures of the Security Council to the delegations of the four governments sponsoring the Conference—the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Republic of China. In dealing with these questions, the four delegations desire to make the following statement of their general attitude toward the whole question of unanimity of permanent members in the decisions of the Security Council.
I 1. The Yalta voting formula recognizes that the Security Council, in discharging its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security, will have two broad groups of functions. Under chapter VIII, the Council will have to make decisions which involve its taking direct measures in connection with settlement of disputes, adjustment of situations likely to lead to disputes, determination of threats to peace, removal of threats to the peace, and suppression of breaches of the peace. It will also have to make decisions which do not involve the taking of such measures. The Yalta formula provides that the second of these two groups of decisions will be governed by a procedural votethat is, the vote of any seven members. The first group of decisions will be governed by a qualified vote that is, the vote of seven members, including the concurring votes of the five permanent members, subject to the proviso that in decisions under section A and a part of section C of chapter VIII parties to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
2. For example, under the Yalta formula a procedural vote will govern the decisions made under the entire section D of chapter VI. This means that the Council will, by a vote of any seven of its members, adopt or alter its rules of procedure; determine the method of selecting its president; organize itself in such a way as to be able to function continuously; select the times and places of its regular and special meetings; establish such bodies or agencies as it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions; invite a member of the Organization not represented on the Council 'to partticipate in its discussions when that Member's interests are specially affected; and invite any state when it is a party to a dispute being considered by the Council to participate in the discussion relating to that dispute.
3. Further, no individual member of the Council can alone prevent consideration and discussion by the Council of a dispute or situation brought to its attention under paragraph 2, section A, chapter VIII. Nor can parties to such dispute be prevented by these means from being heard by the Council. Likewise, the requirement for unanimity of the permanent members cannot prevent any member of the Cuncil from reminding the members of the Organization of their general obligations assumed under the Charter as regards peaceful settlement of international disputes.
4. Beyond this point, decisions and actions by the Security Council may well have major political consequences and may even initiate a chain of events which might, in the end, require the Council under its responsibilities to invoke measures of enforcement under section B, chapter VIII. This chain of events begins when Council decides to make an investigation, or determines that the time has come to call upon states to settle their differences, or makes recommendations to the parties. It is to such decisions and actions that unanimity of the permanent members applies, with the important proviso, referred to above, for abstention from voting by parties to a dispute.
5. To illustrate: In ordering an investigation, the Council has to consider whether the investigation—which may involve calling for reports, hearing witnesses, dispatching a commission of inquiry, or other means-might not further aggravate the situation. After investigation, the Council must determine whether the continuance of the situation or dispute would be likely to endanger international peace and security. If it so determines, the Council would be under obligation to take further steps. Similarly, the decision to make recommendations, even when all parties request it to do so, or to call upon parties to a dispute to fulfill their obligations under the Charter, might be the first step on a course of artion from which the Security Council could withdraw only at the risk of failing to discharge its responsibilities.
6. In appraising the significance of the vote required to take such decisions or actions, it is useful to make comparison with the requirements of the League Covenant with reference to decisions of the League Council. Substantive decisions of the League of Nations Council could be taken only by the unanimous vote of all its members, whether permanent or not, with the exception of parties to a dispute under article XV of the League Covenant. Under article XI, under which most of the disputes brought before the League were dealt with and decisions to make investigations taken, the unanimity rule was invariably interpreted to include even the votes of the parties to a dispute.
7. The Yalta voting formula substitutes for the rule of complete unanimity of the League Council a system of qualified majority voting in the Security Council. Under this system nonpermanent members of the Security Council individually would have no veto. As regards the permanent members, there is no question under the Yalta formula of investing them with a new right; namely, the right to veto, a right which the permanent members of the League Council always had. The formula proposed for the taking of action in the Security Council by a majority of seven would make the operation of the Council less subject to obstruction than was the case under the League of Nations rule of complete unanimity.
8. It should also be remembered that under the Yalta formula the five major powers could not act by themselves, since even under the unanimity require ment any decisions of the Council would have to include the concurring votes of at least two of the nonpermanent members. In other words, it would be possible for five nonpermanent members as a group to exercise a veto. It is not to be assumed, however, that the permanent members, any more than the nonpermanent members, would use their veto power willfully to obstruct the operation of the Council.
9. In view of the primary responsibilities of the permanent members, they could not be expected, in the present condition of the world, to assume the obligation to act in so serious a matter as the maintenance of international peace and security in consequence of a decision in which they had not concurređ. Therefore, if majority voting in the Security Council is to be made possible, the only practicable method is to provide, in respect of nonprocedural decisions, for unanimity of the permanent members plus the concurring votes of at least two of the nonpermanent members.
10. For all these reasons, the four sponsoring governments agreed on the Yalta formula and have presented it to this Conference as essential
an international organization is to be created through which all peace-loving nations can effectively discharge their common responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security.
II In the light of the considerations set forth in part 1 of this statement, it is clear what the answers to the questions submitted by the subcommittee should be, with the exception of question 19. The answer to that question is as follows:
1. In the opinion of the delegations of the sponsoring governments, the Draft Charter itself contains an indication of the application of the voting procedures to the various functions of the Council.
2. In this case, it will be unlikely that there will arise in the future any matters of great importance on which a decision will have to be made as to whether a procedural vote would apply. Should, however, such a matter arise, the decision regarding the preliminary question as to whether or not such a matter is procedural must be taken by a vote of seven members of the Security Council, including the concurring votes of the permanent members.
Mr. STETTINIUS. The requirement for unaniminity of the five great nations has been criticized because each of them can exercise a veto. I submit that these five nations, possessing most of the world's power to break or preserve peace, must agree and act together if peace is to be maintained, just as they have had to agree and act together in order to make possible a United Nations victory in this war.
The question is asked: What would happen if one of the five permanent members used the unanimity rule to veto enforcement action against itself? The answer is plain. If one of these nations ever embarked upon a course of aggression, a major war would result, no matter what the membership and voting provisions of the Security Council might be.
The Charter does not confer any power upon the great nations which they do not already possess in fact. Without the Charter the power of these nations to make or break the peace would still exist. What the Charter does is to place special and binding obligations upon the great nations to use—in unity together for peace, not separately for war—the power that is already in their hands. The unanimity rule is an expression of those special obligations and of their commensurate responsibilities.
With an important exception, the unanimity rule applies to peaceful settlement as well as to enforcement action, because any action toward settling a dispute peacefully may lead to the necessity for enforcement measures. Once the Council orders an investigation or takes similar action in a dispute, it must be prepared to follow through