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all possible decisions which the Security Council may take under the Charter and under the Statute of the International Court of Justice. A subcommittee of the Interim Committee studied this list and prepared conclusions and comments as to the appropriate voting procedure which should apply to each of the decisions.

In its conclusions, the Interim Committee proposed to the General Assembly among other things that it recommend to the members of the Security Council that they should consider 36 possible decisions to be procedural. The purpose of this conclusion was to supply a clarification which would assist the Security Council in determining what decisions are procedural in as much as a great deal of the disagreement as to the voting procedure in the Security Council has been caused by the absence of a clear definition in the Charter as to what decisions are procedural.

The Interim Committee also suggested that the permanent members of the Security Council should agree among themselves that 21 other possible decisions should be adopted by a vote of any seven members whether the decisions are considered procedural or nonprocedural. This conclusion was based on the assumption that this agreed liberalization of the voting procedure would greatly improve the functioning of the Security Council. The Interim Committee further suggested a code of conduct to be followed by the permanent members in connection with the exercise of their privileged vote. Finally, the Interim Committee recommended to the General Assembly to consider whether the time had come to call a general conference of the Members of the United Nations for the purpose of reviewing the Charter.

Despite certain reservations maintained by several members, the conclusions of the report as finally adopted by the Interim Committee represent a broad area of agreement obtained as a result of the first comprehensive study of this question undertaken since the San Francisco conference.

The Soviet Union and the other Eastern European countries did not participate in the Interim Committee's work.

Developments in Security Council

The Security Council did not appoint a committee for the purpose of cooperating with the Interim Committee in its study of the voting problem as it was requested to do in the General Assembly resolution. Only one consultation among the permanent members took place in response to the Assembly request contained in the same resolution. This consultation, held in January 1948, did not bring about any tangible results and only emphasized the need for a thorough study of the problem.


From the adjournment of the Second Session of the General Assembly in the fall of 1947 until the end of 1948, the Soviet Union used the veto five times. In the Czechoslovak case it blocked the establishment of a fact-finding subcommittee; it prevented the approval by the Security Council of the reports filed by the Atomic Energy Commission;

it made impossible the admission of Italy and Ceylon to membership in the United Nations; and it defeated the resolution proposed by the six neutrals of the Security Council outlining a plan for the solution of the Berlin crisis.

During the same period, the practice of abstention was resorted to in numerous instances by all the permanent members, including the Soviet Union. In some questions, the Security Council was unable to take any action because all of the proposals submitted to it had failed to receive the required majority of votes.

Action in General Assembly

The Ad Hoc Political Committee of the General Assembly considered the report of the Interim Committee during the First Part of the General Assembly's Third Session. At the outset of the discussions in the Ad Hoc Political Committee, China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States submitted a joint draft resolution embodying in substance the conclusions recommended in the Interim Committee's report. The joint draft resolution recommended to the members of the Security Council that they deem certain decisions enumerated in the annex to the draft resolution as procedural and conduct their business accordingly. In its second recommendation, the joint draft resolution suggested that the permanent members of the Security Council seek agreement among themselves as to the possible decisions of the Council upon which they might voluntarily refrain from using their veto when seven affirmative votes are cast in the Council, giving a favorable consideration to the list of such decisions contained in the conclusion of the Interim Committee report. The most important decisions contained in this list are those relating to peaceful-settlement procedure and admission to membership in the United Nations. Finally, the joint draft resolution incorporated substantially the "code of conduct” recommended by the Interim Committee with special emphasis on the desirability for consultation among permanent members.

The debate in the Ad Hoc Political Committee disclosed the same pattern as appeared in the preceding sessions. The Soviet Union, with the other Eastern European countries, opposed any discussion

of the problem and any attempt at a liberalization of the voting procedure, branding it as illegal and contrary to the Charter.

Another minority group of members, led by Argentina, while expressing support for the joint draft resolution as far as it went, considered it inadequate and advocated the elimination of the veto through Charter amendment. A large majority of the members viewed the joint draft resolution as a desirable middle course between the two extreme schools of thought.

In the debate, the United States reaffirmed its willingness to agree to the elimination of the veto from such matters as the admission to membership in the United Nations and decisions relating to peaceful settlement. It supported the text of the joint draft resolution as offering the most promising way of realizing the objective of liberalization of the voting procedure in the light of the realities of the present situation. While appreciating the initiative and the motives of Argentina in calling for a general conference for the purpose of reviewing the Charter, the United States expressed the view that the time has not yet arrived for the convening of such a conference and that further efforts must be made to develop more fully the potentialities of the Charter in its present form. The United States also stressed that any Charter amendment liberalizing the voting procedure required ratification by all permanent members, which at this time would clearly not be forthcoming.

When put to a vote, the joint draft resolution was adopted by the Committee by 33 affirmative votes with only the 6 Eastern European countries voting against it and 4 members abstaining,

The Argentine resolution calling for a general conference "for the purpose of discussing and taking a decision concerning the revision of the Charter" was rejected by a vote of 12 to 22, with 10 abstentions. The Argentine Representative announced that in spite of the defeat of his proposal he would continue his efforts to secure the convocation of a general conference.

At the close of the debate, the Soviet Union offered a draft resolution calling upon the United Nations to widen international cooperation and to avoid unnecessary regulation and formalism, stressing the principle of unanimity as “the most important condition” for insuring effective action for the maintenance of international peace and security, and expressing confidence that in the future the Security Council will take account of its past experience, apply the method of consultation when necessary, and seek to improve the possibility of adopting concerted decisions. The Soviet Representative introduced this draft as a substitute for the joint resolution, which in his view was illegal because it was based on conclusions of the Interim Committee and which he believed represented an attempt to introduce formalism and impose strict regulations on the activities of the Security Council. The Soviet Representative rejected amendments to his resolution proposed by Ecuador, which would have deleted the passages susceptible of being interpreted as rejecting the efforts to improve the voting procedure of the Security Council and which would have emphasized that the principle of unanimity could insure effective action only if properly used.

Commenting on the Soviet draft, the United States Representative, Benjamin Cohen, declared that while he was in agreement with many statements contained in the draft, he did not find anything in the substance that was not included in the joint resolution regarding the need for continuing consultations among the permanent members. Although he agreed with the undesirability of unnecessary regulation and formalism, he rejected any implication intended to belittle the efforts of the Interim Committee to develop standards and practices which might be helpful as guides to the Security Council. He stated that he was unable to share the confidence expressed in the Soviet resolution that the Security Council would function better in the future than in the past unless there is much better understanding among the permanent members as to how it should function, an understanding for which the joint draft resolution offered a basis.

The Soviet resolution was then rejected by 23 to 6, with 9 abstentions. The United States Representative stated that the Soviet resolution would have been acceptable to his Delegation if the Ecuadoran amendments had been accepted by the Soviet Union.

Owing to the lack of time, the plenary General Assembly was unable to take final action on the joint draft resolution approved by the Ad Hoc Political Committee. The resolution will be considered in the plenary session of the General Assembly at the Second Part of its Third Session in April 1949.




The General Assembly, by paragraph 2 (c) of resolution 111 (II) of November 13, 1947, authorized the Interim Committee to consider and formulate conclusions on “methods to be adopted to give effect to that part of Article 11 (paragraph 1), which deals with the general principles of co-operation in the maintenance of international peace and security, and to that part of Article 13 (paragraph 1a), which deals with the promotion of international co-operation in the political field"

This provision of article 13 reflects the recognition of the drafters of the Charter that the creation of the organization was, in itself, only a first step in the direction of a secure peace. Since the structure of the United Nations is necessarily such that it can accomplish no more than its Members are agreed that it shall accomplish, the necessity of agreement, or cooperation, remains the basic problem of international relations. The Charter, accordingly, charges the General Assembly with the study of the problem. In the resolution of November 13, 1947, the General Assembly took up this task and appropriately directed a committee of all its Members to make the necessary preliminary studies.

The Interim Committee on March 2, 1948, appointed a special committee (Subcommittee 2) to study any proposals submitted on this subject. A preliminary report of the subcommittee, outlining its field of study and a proposed method of work, was approved by the Committee on March 24, 1948. The Committee adopted the final report with certain modifications on July 26, 1948, and submitted it to the Third Regular Session of the General Assembly.

Utilizing a joint United States-Chinese proposal on methods of procedure, the Committee studied concrete proposals submitted by delegations as part of its general study of the peaceful settlement of disputes. It recognized, as stated in the report, that,

66 the entire project of giving effect to the pertinent parts of Articles 11 and 13 of the Charter was a task extending over many years. It may even be said that the General Assembly should never cease to 'consider the general principles of co-operation in the maintenance of international peace and security' or to study ways of 'promoting international co-operation in the political field.' The Interim Committee was reminded that the somewhat comparable activities which were conducted under the auspices of the League of Nations, and which are still in process of elaboration in the Inter-American peace system, have involved many years of work and the utilization of numerous individuals and bodies.

“The Interim Committee has not attempted to report to the General Assembly on the entire range of subjects and has been able to take only some of the first steps.

All of the proposals submitted were concerned with the pacific settlement of disputes. The Interim Committee recommended that four of these proposals be approved by the General Assembly. The

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