Urkraine and Belarus in the UN

Why were these “states” in the UN before their independence. I vaugly recall reading the US was offered three votes to but declined.

It was some political poker playing by Stalin, mainly to get some extra votes.

My understanding is that Stalin argued that since Commonwealth countries each had a seat in the U.N., so too should Ukraine and Belarus. That was the excuse, and didn’t make any sense in international law, since the Commonwealth countries are independent of the U.K. The reality was he wanted the extra votes, and Britain and the U.S. were willing to accept it for political reasons.

But their membership only entitled them to sit in the General Assembly. I would doubt that they were ever temporary members of the Security Council, but I don’t know that for sure - I would just think that there would be opposition to giving the USSR three votes in the Security Council, in addition to its veto.

I never knew that, but the U.S. State Department confirms it:

Of course, if the two extra seats had been held by specific states of the U.S. it would have caused all sorts of domestic political headaches figuring out who would have held them. Can you imagine how, say, Mississippi might have voted? One shudders to think… (It’s not clear if the two extra votes would have had to have been allocated that way or not; I guess when the UN first got rolling we could have just said “this seat is for the U.S., and these two seats are for ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’. Anybody gonna argue with that?”)

No, this page lists who held the non-permanent seats on the Security Council over the years, and screwy as it was, the Ukrainian SSR held a temporary (non-veto) seat on the Security Council in 1948-49 and again in 1984-85. (Independent Ukraine held a seat in 2000-2001.) Belarus (which would then have been called the Byelorussian SSR) was on the Council in 1974-75.