The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the United States Representatives on the United Nations Military Staff Committee 2
Guidance as to Information Which States Members of the United Nations Should Furnish in Regard to Their Armed Forces
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff desire that you take the following position should your advice be sought with respect to the scope and character of the information member nations of the United Nations should be called upon to furnish in order to give effect to the United Nations resolution of 14 December 1946 on the Principles Governing the Regulation and Reduction of Armaments.
- You should inform the U.S. Representatives that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that no information concerning existing military establishments is essential for the implementation of the general resolution. However, in accordance with the policy which was in effect established for the United States by the speech of the Secretary of State before the General Assembly of the United Nations on 13 December 19463 and by formal statements of members of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly, United Nations, you should indicate that the Joint Chiefs of Staff perceive no objection to disclosing the numbers and locations of the total armed forces of the United States provided such a resolution is not based upon the specific resolution contained in paragraph 7 of the United Nations Document [Page 357] A/269 [A/267].4 If you are requested to furnish this information to the United States Representatives on the Security Council you should forward such a request to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- You should inform the U.S. Representative that no information
concerning the types and numbers of arms or armaments possessed by the
United States should be disclosed at this time since the Joint Chiefs of
Staff are unable to perceive that supplying such information would
facilitate the development of an effective system for regulation and
reduction of armaments. For your information the Joint Chiefs of Staff
are informed that if it should become apparent that the United States
would be placed in an untenable position by resisting a resolution
calling for such disclosures, the United States will insist that the
following conditions be satisfied before such disclosures are actually
- It must be demonstrated that such disclosures will be helpful in working out the practical measures for general regulation and reduction of armaments.
- Adequate safeguards must be provided to insure that all nations conform to the same standards with respect to information disclosed.
- Adequate safeguards must be provided to insure that no nation’s security is endangered by such disclosures.
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize that implementation of paragraph 7 of the general resolution will require member states to make [Page 358] known in due course the character and size of the armed forces they are willing to make available to the Security Council in accordance with Article 43 of the Charter. Guidance in this respect was furnished you by memorandum dated 11 March 1946.5 It is conceivable, but not now probable, that the figures furnished you as to the size of the forces the United States is willing to make available to the Security Council will require revision due to the length of elapsed time between the original establishment of the figures and their formal presentation. Therefore, these figures should be considered as tentative only and should not be formally presented until they have been reaffirmed or changed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You should request such reaffirmation or change when you have learned that the time for formal disclosure of the figures is at hand.
- The views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the general subject of disarmament and regulation of arms and armaments as stated in their memorandum dated 6 December 1946,6 and their memorandum dated 31 December 1946,7 remain unchanged.
Colonel, Infantry Secretary
- Lot 52M45, the files of the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee which are located in the National Archives under the administration of the Department of State. For information regarding the organization and functions of SWNCC, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, footnote 3, p. 1112. Regarding the Ad Hoc Committee to Effect Collaboration on Security Functions of the United Nations, the principal SWNCC subcommittee charged with consideration of matters relating to the regulation of armaments and collective security at the UN, see ibid., footnote 73, p. 754.↩
- Sent to the United States Representatives on the United Nations Military Staff Committee as SM–7382, January 10; circulated in the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee for information as SWNCC 240/2, January 13.↩
- For text, see GA(I/2), Plenary, pp. 1289–1296.↩
Reference is to paragraph 7 of the General Assembly resolution on the regulation of armaments of December 14, 1946, A/267; for full text, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, p. 1101. Paragraph 7 read as follows:
“There shall be established,
within the framework of the Security Council, which bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, an international system, as mentioned in paragraph 4, operating through special organs, which organs shall derive their powers and status from the convention or conventions under which they are established.
The General Assembly,
regarding the problem of security as closely connected with that of disarmament,
Recommends the Security Council to accelerate as much as possible the placing at its disposal of the armed forces mentioned in Article 43 of the Charter;
It recommends the Members to undertake the progressive and balanced withdrawal, taking account of the needs of occupation, of their armed forces stationed in ex-enemy territories, and the withdrawal without delay of armed forces stationed in the territories of Members without their consent freely and publicly expressed in treaties or agreements consistent with the Charter and not contradicting international agreements;
It further recommends a corresponding reduction of national armed forces, and a general progressive and balanced reduction of national armed forces.”
The resolution contained in Doc. A/269, also adopted by the General Assembly on December 14, 1946, read as follows:
“The General Assembly,
Desirous of implementing, as soon as possible, the resolution of 14 December 1946 on the principles governing the regulation and reduction of armaments,
Calls upon the Security Council to determine, as soon as possible, the information which the States Members of the United Nations should be called upon to furnish, in order to give effect to this resolution.”
- The document under reference, approved by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee as SWNCC 219/8, is summarized in footnote 2 in Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, p. 769.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, p. 1091.↩
- Ibid., p. 1107.↩