500.A15A4 Permanent Disarmament Commission/6: Telegram
The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 2—8:50 a.m.]
428. I am inclined to believe that the difference between the instructions in your 228 and our views expressed in our 426 is mainly a matter of strategy involving no essential modification in the underlying principle of your 228. But at this moment the question of strategy is of the highest importance as I shall endeavor to make clear.
The Conference and the commissions have debated ad infinitum the question which should be examined first, the problem of control or the problem of figures. An overwhelming majority prefer the former course. We can naturally insist on the latter course but this will lead, I feel, to entirely sterile results. We, therefore, have the choice either to go along with the majority reserving our rights until we see what measure of reduction the treaty offers or to dig in and say we will not discuss control until figures are discussed thereby running the danger of wrecking the Conference. Acquiescence in the desire of the majority will enable the work to continue and an expression of our views following generally my 426 will make any arrangement of a purely tentative nature the final acceptance of which involving a formal change in our attitude will depend upon the ultimate contents of the treaty. Furthermore, the bargaining utility of our action as outlined in your 163, June 30, 7 p.m., is maintained as a constant pressure in the type of action which I have envisaged and can be used again and again in debate on subject of figures. It will be an ever present threat.
I hold to these views the more strongly in that for the first time we have approached the threshold of results. But the other states will not cross this threshold until a tentative solution of the problem of control can be envisaged.[Page 355]
I hope this suggested modification will meet your views and at the same time enable us to exercise the strategy which is so necessary for continuation of our present progress. Since meeting is tomorrow afternoon I request most urgent reply.