500.A15/674: Telegram

The Chief of the American Representation on the Preparatory Commission (Gibson) to the Secretary of State


11. No decision has as yet been reached as to how to deal with Soviet proposals despite repeated consultations among the interested delegations. Several courses are under discussion:

Full discussion immediately.
Reference of the matter to a small committee on which the leading delegates have already informally all refused to serve.
Placing the Russian proposals in column clause by clause opposite draft of first reading. This draft already has parallel columns on most points giving divergent views.

If the third course is adopted the result will be that in the second reading each clause will give rise to a new debate upon the fundamental differences between complete disarmament and the limitation of armament. This would inevitably involve us in debate on practically every point with the Soviet representative.

I cannot help feeling that this procedure would not only be futile but intolerable and that we should consider seriously whether it would be worth while for us to continue should it be adopted. I feel certain that the states bordering on Russia would take this view and that some others would also if they realized what are the implications of such procedure.

If the above course seems about to be adopted, you may feel that you can allow me to point out that the two ideas are fundamentally irreconcilable; that, therefore, it is useless to try to assimilate the details of the Soviet proposals with those of our first reading draft; that such a procedure would lead us away from the work entrusted to us on an endless discussion as to provisions for limitation of armament versus complete disarmament; that if this course is adopted we would have to consider, perhaps with other governments, whether we could continue with any profit to participate in the work of the Preparatory Commission.

Such a statement would be, I think, entirely effective.

I venture to ask for immediate instructions, as this situation may arise at any moment. It may come up tomorrow afternoon.