Cablegram PC11 PARIS, 6 August 946, 11.50 p.m.
Report No. 8.
1. The Commission on Procedures held three meetings yesterday but
failed to conclude discussion on voting procedures. By the
commencement of the morning meeting Brazil had filed an amendment
to the rule proposed by the Council of Foreign Ministers making
the same proposal as South Africa.  The Netherlands also had
filed an amendment suggesting both recommendations by the
Commission and Conference should be made by simple majority vote
and in addition the United Kingdom had suggested that
recommendations of the Conference should be of two types, firstly
those adopted by 2/3rds majority vote and secondly those which
obtained majority of more than half but less than 2/3rds of
members of conference, both of which types should be submitted to
the Council of Foreign Ministers for consideration.
2. Brazil, the Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand opened
proceedings by supporting the South African amendment. Jordan, New
Zealand delegate, made an effective statement emphasising that it
was proposed that the Peace Conference of Nations which had fought
to save democracy should act not by democratic practice of simple
majority vote but by qualifying vote and with the use of 2/3rds
majority. The rule meant that negative vote on a motion was twice
as powerful as affirmative one. It also meant that 66% of the
Conference could be overruled by a minority of 33%.
3. Poland, Czechoslovakia and the United Kingdom opposed the
amendment, the latter pointing out that their amendment was
preferable as it contained the substance of the rule of the
Council of Foreign Ministers and yet answered the merits of
arguments advanced by proponents of the South African proposal.
4. The United States supported the rule of the Council of Foreign
Ministers as amended by the United Kingdom proposal, stating that
the principle of 2/3rds. majority was a common practice in
international conferences and moreover had been adopted in the
United Nations Assembly. It was true that as the Great Powers had
agreed not to deviate from decisions of the Council it would be
difficult to obtain a 2/3rds. majority on any amendments opposed
to those decisions. However, it would be possible to obtain a
2/3rds. majority on 26 subjects on which the Council had not been
able to agree and also upon any new subjects raised. If decisions
of Conference did obtain 2/3rds. majority the United States even
when it had voted against the proposal at the Conference would
abide by the decision of the majority and support the Conference's
recommendation in Council. Also the decision of Conference adopted
by simple majority would be considered by the United States in
Council but would not carry as much weight as decision by 2/3rds.
majority. Canada had suggested that the Council might meet during
the Conference and the United States hoped this would be possible.
5. China and Norway also supported the United Kingdom amendment.
Molotov in a long speech repeated the arguments that the 2/3rds.
majority was written into the United Nations Charter and had been
used at San Francisco with good results. He opposed the United
Kingdom amendment as deliberately calculated to upset decision of
the Council and stated he hoped that amendments which had been
moved were not intended to create discord among the Great Powers.
He criticised Byrnes' view that procedural decisions of the
Council were not binding on the United States but expressed
appreciation of Byrnes' readiness to have the Council meet during
the Conference which he said had originally been suggested by the
Soviet but rejected by the United States. in view of arguments
advanced in discussion he suggested that the Council's rule be
amplified to provide that if a proposal failed to gain 2/3rds.
majority States which supported it might refer it to the Council
which would consider it.  After France had supported the United
Kingdom proposal the Minister in a lucid statement clarified the
issue before the Commission and refuted the arguments of the
Opposition. He emphasised the importance of the issue as affecting
the whole efficacy of the Conference. He stated that the decisions
of the Moscow Conference provided that after the Peace Conference
the Council of Foreign Ministers would prepare final drafts of
treaties after considering the Conference's recommendations and
the United States had told France that these recommendations would
be given fullest consideration. But under the Council's rule it
was necessary for a proposal to be supported by a 2/3rds. majority
before it became recommendation and could be considered by the
Council. This was a restriction which could not be justified. The
argument had been advanced that a recommendation of eleven members
would not carry the same weight as that of fourteen members. This
argument was based on the fallacy that States favouring a simple
majority vote were trying to write the Peace Treaties. In fact
they were only requesting the right to have voice of Conference
reach into the recesses of the council. The Great Powers had gone
beyond the original Potsdam Agreement which had provided that the
Council should be merely a drafting body and had taken it upon
themselves to give Council jurisdiction to finally determine
treaties. Other powers had now been compelled to accept this
position but the Great Powers should now be satisfied without
asking for further power or privileges.
7. The Minister then showed that Molotov's comparison of the
Conference with San Francisco was inappropriate as San Francisco
had actually drawn up final binding documents. He criticised the
Soviet's accusation that the amendments proposed were designed to
disrupt the unanimity of the Great Powers referring to the
Soviet's position in the Security Council where they had defied
the will of the majority of nine members. He also said that
overwhelming practical argument against the Council's rule was
that judging from the result of votes already taken, a 2/3rd.
majority could not be obtained on a proposal opposed by the
8. The Minister concluded by stating that Australia would support
the proposal for a simple majority vote but if that were lost she
would then support the United Kingdom proposal which recognized
the principle of simple majority vote. However, there was a gap in
the United Kingdom proposal which did not deal with proposals in
Commissions. He hoped that the United Kingdom would agree to
extend their amendment to Commissions as well as to Conference.
Finally, he was opposed to the Soviet's amendment which meant that
a proposal which only obtained simple majority was not forwarded
to the Council with the endorsement of the Conference.
9. The United Kingdom assured the Commission that they would give
due consideration to responsible criticism from other seventeen
powers in the final draft of treaties and refuted the Soviet's
charge of infidelity to Council decisions by referring to Bevin's
specific reservation of the right to amend rules. They agreed with
the Minister's argument that San Francisco could not be compared
with the Conference and stated that they would be prepared to
extend their amendment to the Commissions as asked by Australia.
10. After India had reiterated the Minister's arguments the
Commission was adjourned until this morning. At this morning's
meeting, the United States strongly replied to Molotov's statement
yesterday, pointing out that no member of the Conference had
impugned Soviet motives as the Soviet had done both with regard to
the United Kingdom and United States and smaller powers. Molotov
had never asked for a meeting of the Council during the Conference
to consider the recommendations as they were adopted, although he
had twice requested Council meetings since the Conference opened
first to decide who should preside over Commission on procedures
and second to select chairmanships of other Commissions. The
United States had refused these requests as attempts to dictate
decisions which the Conference should itself make. These requests
were in accordance with general Soviet attitude towards
peacemaking of restricting it to the smallest possible number of
States. Byrnes then repeated that the United States had agreed to
abide by substantive decisions of the Council but not by
procedural decisions. He concluded by saying that Molotov's
charges yesterday would have been published in the United States,
which had free press, and he challenged Molotov to publish his
answers to these charges in the Soviet Union. He had complete
confidence in the reaction of Soviet peoples whom the American
people admired and who would not permit their admiration to be
lessened by any attacks by Molotov.
11. Molotov replied to Byrnes' statement with another long speech
most of which was occupied with criticism of the press in the
United Kingdom and United States. He admitted that the Soviet had
requested meetings of the Council during Conference for the
purpose mentioned by Byrnes but said that the Soviet now desired
the Council should meet to discuss proceedings at Conference.