23 Eggleston to Evatt

Cablegram 121 WASHINGTON, 3 February 1945, 8.35 p.m.


Your telegram 150. [1]

I sent you my personal reactions in personal and confidential letter of 22nd January [2] which should reach you at the coming week end. It is difficult to get definite reactions here owing to the fact that the big states are not really interested and the small states are divided in their interests. I had a talk with Halifax who had not given the matter any close consideration. He says that he has received no information as to reactions in London. His personal views are against waiting on the vote of the Assembly before execution of the decisions of the Council but favourable to some method of weighting the vote of the Council, say by military potential or having regional basis. The latter, he says, would not be favoured by Canada. He does not appear to be impressed by the unfavourable position of the small nations and thinks that the Dominions can get the influence they want by close co-operation in Commonwealth block. He said that whatever appeared in the document it would be difficult to bring a power into a war without its consent but I pointed out that without the co- operation of states in the locality in which a war took place Council action would be practically impossible or at least ineffective.

United States official opinion seems satisfied that domination of the great powers is essential for an effective opposition to aggression. [Commentators] [3] like Lippmann and Swing [4] support this, but there is some criticism from academic circles.

Canada used the I.P.R. Conference at Hot Springs as a sounding board. At this conference several State Department officials were present. Canadian representatives emphasized the distinction between middle powers, but there was no reaction in favour of this distinction. The small powers emphasized the inadequacy of their status and an American answer from the United States Delegation was that they would obtain satisfaction in the Assembly, the economic and social Council and various [functional] agencies where they could exercise their influence to prevent the growth of conditions likely to cause a breach of peace. There was some support for regional representation. One report of a discussion said that members felt that since under the present proposals for peace preservation, the calling into action of lesser powers is likely to fall more heavily on some nations than on others, the nations so affected should be given special consideration in the election of member states in the Security Council particularly the first Council.

Canadian representatives also suggested that the big powers' right of veto should be limited to the imposition of sanctions and that they should not be able to prevent the Council taking cognizance of matters or making recommendations. I am trying to obtain the Chinese reactions but the views of the Ambassador would be of no value and the Russians will say nothing.

Representatives of small European powers show little concern about the position of the small powers. One central European Ambassador told me that things would sort out all right and another said that the big powers should guarantee some rights to the small states.

My own view, finally, is that if we want a seat on the Council we must:-

(a) Support the regional principle for election to the Council.

(b) Secure demarcation of a favourable region.

(c) Secure support of the powers within it.

1 Dispatched 31 January. On file AA:A1066, H45/765. It requested Eggleston's comments on Document 12.

2 On file AA:A3300/5, 1945, Post war: International World Organisation.

3 Words in square brackets have been added from the Washington copy on the file cited in note 2.

4 Journalist and author Walter Lippman; radio commentator Raymond Swing.

[AA:A1066, H45/765]