SPA Files

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Associate Chief of the Division of International Security Affairs (Blaisdell)

Notes of a Conference Between State Department Officials and Certain Senators, April 1, 1946, 2:30 p.m., Senate Foreign Relations Committee Room in the Capitol

At the suggestion of the President and on the instructions of the Under Secretary, Messrs. Hiss and Blaisdell conferred today with Senators Connally, Thomas of Utah,7 Vandenberg and Austin8 regarding SWNCC 219/8 and the statement of principles to be advocated by the United States in the negotiating of agreements under Article 43 of the Charter. Senator George was invited but was unable to attend because of illness. There were also present Mr. R. V. Shirley, Clerk of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Mr. Francis Wilcox, Head International Relations Analyst in the Library of Congress Legislative Reference Service.

At the beginning of the conference, copies of SWNCC 219/8, “U.S. Guidance as to the Armed Forces to be Made Available to Security Council of the United Nations,” and the paper, “Principles to be Advocated by U.S. in Preparing Military Agreements between Security Council and Member Nations of U.N.,” dated March 29, 1946,9 were distributed. Most of the discussion was focused on the latter paper; there was no attempt made to read through the former paper, the principal reference being to the suggested quota for the United States (pages 84 and 86).

The questions raised by the Senators and their comments relate principally to the following four matters: 1) the responsibility for meeting the expenses of operations engaged in by contingents under the authority of the Security Council; 2) the size of the proposed U.S. contingent; 3) regional use of earmarked forces; and 4) the atomic bomb.

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Cost.—Senator Vandenberg queried the suggested principles in paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 for meeting the expenses of operations engaged in by earmarked United States forces. As a general principle, he thought that the cost of such operations, exclusive of pay of troops, should be borne by the organization. Senator Austin agreed. Mr. Hiss and Mr. Blaisdell agreed to have these paragraphs examined in the light of this suggestion.
Size of Proposed U.S. Contingent.—Senator Vandenberg thought that an aggregate of earmarked forces numbering in the neighborhood of a million from the five permanent members was too large, in as much as the forces cannot be used against them but only against other powers. Following a discussion of paragraph 2 (see below), Senator Vandenberg said that total contingents in this number from the five permanent members would probably be all right if the concept of regional use were taken care of adequately. He wondered how many men would be involved in the proposed U.S. contingent of one corps comprising two divisions and of a balanced task force of five air wings. Senator Vandenberg said he did not believe that the forces would ever be used, but that in any event they would only be used on the “little fellow.” He was apprehensive over the possible effect on American public opinion of a U.S. contingent of the size suggested. He wishes to have it made as small as possible so as to avoid “soapbox” attacks. Instead of one corps comprising two divisions, he would prefer a single division, a proposal with which Senator Thomas agreed. Senator Vandenberg emphasized that a great progress had been made in getting the United Nations accepted by the American people; the objective now should be to get them to remain tied to the United Nations. Senator Thomas suggested listing the air and naval forces in that order followed by ground forces.
Use of Forces Regionally.—With reference to paragraph 2, both Senator Vandenberg and Senator Austin expressed a dislike of the paragraph in its present form, particularly the phrase “in any part of the world.” Senator Austin would like to exclude non-American forces from the Western Hemisphere in order to show that the Monroe Doctrine is unaffected. He would not want Soviet forces brought into Latin America. Senator Vandenberg said that paragraph 2 at present makes no specific reference to the purposes of the Charter. Several amendments to the present text of paragraph 2 were proposed to have it read as follows:

The pool shall include land, sea and air force units so organized and distributed geographically as to enable the United Nations to bring prompt and appropriate military pressure to bear in the particular part of the world where a threat to the peace may occur.

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In addition, Senator Vandenberg would insert a sentence following the present text of paragraph 3, to read as follows:

Armed forces, in the first instance, so far as practicable, shall be drawn for use from the geographic or regional areas involved.

The Atomic Bomb.—Senator Vandenberg asked whether the atom bomb was included in the weapons of the proposed U.S. Contingent. When Mr. Hiss answered in the negative, Senator Vandenberg said that this question was sure to be raised on the floor of the Senate. He urged that if no specific reference is to be made in the agreement, the reasons why should be at hand. Mr. Hiss stated what he felt to be the real reason, with which Senator Vandenberg concurred, namely, that until the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission has made proposals for international control, it would be premature to take any definite position regarding the use of the bomb. Incidentally, Senator Vandenberg stated he thought that sooner or later the United Nations would acquire the bomb for its use.

Several amendments to the text of other paragraphs were suggested. Senator Vandenberg felt that the text of paragraph 4 indicated that other members, Canada, for example, does not have as emphatic an obligation to provide forces as the five permanent members. He felt that the statement of the principle in paragraph 4 should not leave the impression that there were primary and secondary obligations, the first attaching to the five permanent members and the second to the other members.

The word “contribution” to describe the earmarked forces and facilities was questioned by Senator Vandenberg, Senator Austin and Senator Thomas on the ground that it does not connote an obligation. The word “participation” was suggested as a possible substitute.

There is attached a copy of those paragraphs to which amendments were proposed, the original matter being stricken and the new matter being underlined.10

  1. Elbert D. Thomas, United States Senator from Utah.
  2. Warren R. Austin, United States Senator from Vermont; United States Representative-Designate at the Seat of the United Nations.
  3. Printed as USMS/12/Rev. 1, p. 759.
  4. The attachment is not printed.