IO Files: USGA/PS DelMin 2

Minutes of the Meeting of the United States Delegation Members Assigned to the Political and Security Committee of the General Assembly, London, January 18, 1946


A draft statement of the United States position with regard to the resolution proposing the establishment of an Atomic Energy Commission was circulated to the meeting.38

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After some discussion it was decided that a drafting committee consisting of Messrs. Cohen,39 Pasvolsky40 and McRae41 should revise the statement to a form suitable for introduction to Committee I and submit it to Senator Connally42 for his approval. The purpose of the revision would be (1) to eliminate those parts of the draft statement which seemed directed to the American public rather than to an international body; and (2) to give emphasis to the U.S. conception as to how the proposed Commission would operate. Senator Connally also stated that in his opinion the statement should be compressed.

Mr. Pasvolsky pointed out that one of the principal questions that would be raised in the deliberations of Committee 1 would be as to how the Commission could establish effective safeguards against atomic disclosures without knowing more about the details of the matters involved. It was agreed that this question could not be answered in an entirely satisfactory manner. Mr. McRae pointed out that certain safeguards could be agreed upon based on hypothetical cases and Mr. Cohen added that on the basis of the testimony of scientists the Commission could make recommendations as to the adequacy of proposed safeguards. He pointed out further that under the Charter the Commission has no coercive power to compel disclosures from any nations or from any witnesses.

Admiral Turner raised the question of the meaning of the phrase “other major weapons adapted to mass destruction” and pointed out that this made the work of the Commission assume the proportions of a disarmament conference. Mr. Cohen stated that the reason this phrase was inserted in the proposed resolution was to enable the Commission to produce well balanced recommendations as atomic weapons were only one part of a larger problem. If the Commission made recommendations concerning the control of the atomic bomb alone, such recommendations would be lop-sided if in fact there were other important weapons on which similar controls should be placed.

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Mr. Pasvolsky suggested that it would be advisable to have a preliminary meeting of the nations sponsoring the atomic resolution prior to its discussion in Committee 1. Senator Connally stated that he would take this matter up with Mr. Byrnes.

[Here follows a brief discussion of another subject.]

Mr. Johnson43 pointed out that the Secretariat in drawing up the business for Committee 1 had put consideration of the atomic resolution as the first order of business. Senator Connally stated that Mr. Byrnes was anxious to have the work on the atomic resolution given priority.

  1. The draft has not been found in Department of State files. For the text of the statement delivered by Senator Connally at the 2nd Meeting of the First Committee of the General Assembly, January 21, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, First Part, First Committee, p. 7. Hereafter cited as GA(I/1), First Committee.

    The First Committee recommended, without opposition, that the proposed resolution be adopted. At its 17th Meeting, January 24, the General Assembly unanimously approved the resolution. For text, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, First Part, Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly during the First Part of the First Session, p. 9. Hereafter cited as GA(I/1), Resolutions.

  2. Benjamin V. Cohen, Counselor, Department of State; Adviser, United States Delegation to the General Assembly.
  3. Leo Pasvolsky, Adviser, United States Delegation to the General Assembly.
  4. William A. McRae, Adviser, United States Delegation to the General Assembly.
  5. Tom Connally, United States Senator from Texas; Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Representative to the General Assembly.
  6. Joseph E. Johnson, Chief of the Division of International Security Affairs; Adviser, United States Delegation to the General Assembly.