40 Tange to Burton

Letter (extract) LONDON, 21 January 1946


We were surprised and naturally very disappointed not to be elected to the Economic and Social Council. [1] There were possibly two factors which explained the vote:-

1. Our success in the Security Council ballot for a place in the elected six, capped with our more unexpected success in getting election for the maximum two-year period [2] in the ballot which immediately followed. We obtained the second highest vote in that ballot. I think this exhausted the goodwill of the Latins and the Middle East Group and perhaps some of the Western Europeans. It was unfortunate that the ballot for the Economic and Social Council followed immediately after the Security Council ballot. We almost literally saw our name being crossed off the slate-for example, United States told us that they were substituting New Zealand for us and at this stage there was no time to do anything further to press our claims afresh with our friends.

2. There was abandonment of any criterion for election to the Economic and Social Council except geographical distribution, modified (as the over representation of Europe indicates) by sentiment about war sacrifices, and the desire to console those who lost election to the Security Council or Offices in the Assembly.

We were fairly confident of support for both Councils until just before the ballot, even though we knew that countries such as the United States, who gave us no place on the Security Council but were running us for a long term on the Economic and Social Council, would drop us from the second if we succeeded in the first. Just before the Security Council ballot commenced the United States again enquired whether we insisted on membership of both. I think some last minute canvassing from New Zealand, the Philippines and Norway weakened our chances.

We canvassed for New Zealand against Yugoslavia over the weekend, playing up her interest in expanding world trade and experience in improving social conditions, and had a speech on procedure, with electioneering on those lines carefully interwoven, prepared for use by Colonel Hodgson on Monday. However, prior to the Assembly meeting, Peter Fraser agreed to withdraw after receiving a promise of United States and United Kingdom support for a three-year term in September. South Africa and Canada were not consulted and I believe the latter, in particular were, like us, opposed to the withdrawal.

From our point of view I believe we shall have to come out in the open as a competitor with New Zealand in the September elections or resign ourselves to being off the Council for the first four years of its life.

United Kingdom officials told me they are considering proposing us for one of the commissions and I told them that our interests lie particularly in the Economic and Employment Commission and its committees, and in the Statistical Commission.

[matter omitted]


1 See Document 28, note 1.

2 Although non-permanent members of the Security Council would normally be elected for a two-year term, the U.N. Charter provided that, in the first election of non-permanent members, three would be chosen for a one-year term.

[AA:A1067, ER46/3/4]