In my memorandum to you of May 15th, which is attached, ? I made certain recommendations as to Canadian candidature for the UN Councils which, in the light of the information now received that New Zealand will be a candidate for the Security Council for 1954-55, might now be summarized:
in respect of the Economic and Social Council:
1st choice: that at elections next year we run for the period 1955-57 (seats vacated by Belgium and Egypt);
2nd choice: that at elections this year we run for the period 1954-56 (seats vacated by Sweden and the Philippines);
3rd choice: that at elections in 1955 we run for the period 1956-58 (to succeed Australia);
in respect of the Security Council: that we consider running for 1956-57;
in respect of the Trusteeship Council: that we do not run for the Trusteeship Council in the near future.
2. Our Permanent Delegation in New York has now commented on these recommendations and incidentally reported that the Netherlands will definitely be a candidate for ECOSOC at elections in 1954 to succeed Belgium. Mr. Johnson considers that an attempt to get on ECOSOC this year will embarrass Norway and an attempt next year will embarrass the Netherlands. In addition, in respect of the seats from other regions, viz. to replace the Philippines this year or Egypt next year, he doubts that we would have much chance of winning. He doubts that we should seek election to ECOSOC until Australia comes off at the end of 1955, but says he might revise this view if he thought that we were extremely interested in the work of ECOSOC and anxious to give leadership to it. As to the Security Council, Mr. Johnson considers that we might stand for 1956-57 (to follow New Zealand), unless you are of the opinion that it is Australia's turn, and if you are of this opinion, that we should stand to follow Australia for 1958-59. He agrees that we should not seek early election to the Trusteeship Council. (Letter No. 494 of May 28th ? from the Permanent Delegation, which is attached, goes into the question of membership in United Nations Councils in some detail.)
3. If we should wish to go back on ECOSOC before Australia retires at the end of 1955 or to go on the Security Council after New Zealand, it would be well for a very early decision to be taken so that we might inform our friends and get their support. The practice of announcing candidature to elections at a very early date has been followed by other countries, and I believe it would be desirable for us also to make a very early announcement when a decision is taken that we wish to be elected to any one of the Councils.
4. Having regard to the views which our Permanent Delegation has expressed, I feel that I must now revise my recommendations as to ECOSOC. I think we might agree that we should not run for ECOSOC17 in the elections this year (my second choice above). As between that which was my third choice, namely waiting until 1955, which the Permanent Delegation favours, and my first choice of running next year, the decision is difficult. If we wait until 1955, there will be a period of three years, 1953-55, during which we will not have served on any UN Council. From the establishment of the United Nations up to this year of 1953 we have always been on one or other of the Councils. To remain off for three years does not appear consistent with the importance we attach to the support of the United Nations. Mr. Johnson's letter stresses the importance of working contacts with other Delegations in order to maintain the usefulness of the Permanent Delegation as a channel of political reporting on subjects of general interest to the Government, and if we are not on any of the Councils of the United Nations for three years, the Delegation will undoubtedly be at a disadvantage as a result. It is true that any contribution we have to make to UN debates in economic and social matters can be made in the General Assembly, and that it is reasonable for other countries which have not served, or have served short terms only, to have a turn. I do not think we should accept Mr. Johnson's implication that we are not sufficiently interested in ECOSOC to give leadership, but it is true that if economic conditions should change in the next couple of years, we might go back on the Council at a more favorable time. Notwithstanding the disadvantages of remaining off the Council, I am impressed by the argument that we would have difficulty in getting on and that it will cause embarrassment to our friends. If we should compete with the Netherlands, a division of votes may cause us both to lose. There is no doubt a possibility that the Netherlands would be elected and in addition, we could take the seat vacated by Egypt. It is clear, however, that if we stand next year, we may cause some embarrassment to the Netherlands and in addition run the risk of defeat.18 Having regard to the conflict of advantage and disadvantage, I do not make a firm recommendation as to whether we should run for ECOSOC next year or wait until 1955, and in my final paragraph below I suggest that you yourself may wish to take the decision as to this. If we should wish to stand for ECOSOC in the 1955 elections, this should be considered in relation to our candidature for the Security Council, as to which I comment below.
5. The Permanent Delegation points out, and I agree, that because of Canada's importance in the world and of the part we have played in international affairs, we should seek a seat on the Security Council as soon and as often as we decently can. Having regard to the difficulties of the Asian countries in representation on the Security Council, we may, if we wait too long, meet with increasingly stiff competition from an Asian country. There are arguments, therefore, in favour of attempting to follow New Zealand on the Security Council for the period 1956-57. You may, however, consider that we should not attempt to precede Australia and should wait our turn after that country.19 In addition, if we try in the elections of 1955 for the Security Council for 1956-57 and wished in the ECOSOC elections held at the same time to go back on ECOSOC following Australia, we might have some difficulty in securing election to both, but it should not, however, be impossible.
6. The question of a Conference to revise the Charter will come up for consideration at the General Assembly in 1955. As from 1956, therefore, there is some possibility that the Councils may be enlarged and that a greater number of countries may be admitted to the United Nations. In the result, there may be more countries seeking seats on the Councils, and with more places available, the traditions established as to representation of areas will no doubt be altered. It may perhaps be simpler for us to secure election when this occurs. Any decision we take now need not, however, be affected by this possibility. It is a point that if we should go back on ECOSOC for the period 1956-58 and on the Security Council for 1956-57 and if there should be a Conference to revise the Charter in 1956, we would have a pretty heavy burden to carry on the UN side all at the one time. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, and I believe it would be a good thing for us to be on one or more of the Councils again before a Conference to revise the Charter is called.
7. I should be glad to have your instructions
(1) (a) as to whether we should remain off ECOSOC through 1954 and 1955 and try to get back after Australia for the period 1956-58;20 or
(b) as to whether we should now announce our candidature for ECOSOC for the period 1955-57 at the elections next year when seats are vacated by Belgium and Egypt;
(2) as to whether we should attempt to follow New Zealand on the Security Council for the period 1956-57 or whether this should be left as Australia's turn;21
(3) as to whether we should refrain at the present time from any attempt to take a seat on the Trusteeship Council.22
17Note marginale:/Marginal note: I agree unless we are pressed by others to do so. [L.B. Pearson]
18Note marginale:/Marginal note: I think that we might discuss this matter with the Netherlands and then make up our minds. They might be willing to withdraw in our favour & stand the next year. L.B. P[earson]
19Note marginale:/Marginal note: If we are on ECOSOC we should wait until Australia has had its turn. [L.B. Pearson]
20Note marginale:/Marginal note: Yes -- if the Netherlands insist on running after they know our desires. [L.B. Pearson]
21Note marginale:/Marginal note: Decision to be postponed until we see about ECOSOC. [L.B. Pearson]
22Note marginale:/Marginal note: Yes [L.B. Pearson]