501.BC/1–1547: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Secretary of State


49. The following telegram is intended to supplement the regular summaries and to give you additional background concerning the Security Council’s consideration of general regulation of armaments.

By the middle of the afternoon meeting, when Senator Austin spoke,1 it had become quite clear both from what was said at the Council table and from private discussions that the Council was unwilling to support a proposal along the lines discussed over the telephone with the Under Secretary.2 We decided, therefore, in accordance with telephone conversations with Hiss3 and Ross, not to introduce our revised resolution as planned. Instead Senator Austin requested the Council to postpone further consideration on all three items on the Council’s agenda until February 4, without prejudice as to the order in which they would then be considered, and without prejudice to the position of any member of the Council on the various issues presented. The exact wording of the resolution follows:

“The Security Council resolves that further consideration of items 2, 3, and 4 on the agenda of the 92nd meeting be deferred until February 4, 1947.”4

After his statement Senator Austin left to catch his train for Chicago.

We had hoped that the United States motion would be agreed to by the Council at this meeting. By the time the statements of representatives wishing to speak on the substance of the matter were finished, [Page 361] however, there were indications that if we had pressed for a vote, we might not have received a majority of seven. Hasluck felt we might have 5 or 6 votes at this point. He indicated that he was doubtful whether Makin5 would vote for the United States proposal if we pressed it to a vote immediately. We had learned that the French delegation had requested the floor in order to propose an amendment to our motion, which would have set up a subcommittee of the council to draft a resolution during the interval before February 4. I made it clear in presenting our motion formally that we could not agree to discussion in a subcommittee any more than in the Council. We later received a copy of the French proposal, which is as follows:

“Add to the American draft resolution:

In the meantime a subcommittee of the Security Council will meet in order to submit to the Council for the 4 February:

A draft resolution merging in a single text the French and Australian draft resolutions;
A common proposal relating to the eventual composition of the Disarmament Commission and to the general rules for its work and procedure.”

Since the Syrian delegation had made a similar suggestion and was opposed in substance to our general position, we could not count on their vote. Under the circumstances, I felt it wiser to accede to the President’s suggestion that we adjourn the meeting until Friday morning without voting on our resolution.

My estimate of the present situation is that we are likely to succeed in obtaining from the Council a postponement of further consideration of these items, probably until February 4. I plan to see Parodi6 tomorrow and I am hopeful that I will be able to persuade him not to introduce his amendment to our proposal. When he gave me a copy of his draft amendment after the meeting, he asked me whether we would accept it. I referred to the remarks which I had made in the Council and advised him I was quite certain we could not accept it, but that I would request instructions. He assured me again, as he had done the previous day, that he would support our request for postponement.

I also plan to see Makin and hope I can persuade him that he must support us in our request. We have reason to believe that he might prefer a postponement until January 27 so that the problem will be considered again during his presidency.

I believe we can count on the support of United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Colombia, Belgium and France. The position of the Syrian [Page 362] delegate is doubtful but I believe lie would probably support us if Parodi’s motion is not introduced. We can assume that the USSR and Poland will oppose our resolution.

It appears probable now that we will obtain postponement until February 4 from the Council at Friday’s meeting, although there may well be considerably more discussion and efforts to amend or water down our proposal. With the exception of the United Kingdom, who are genuinely interested in a postponement, it is quite clear that those members of the Council who will support our motion will do so largely as a courtesy and out of goodwill to the United States and with considerable reluctance.

Our position on Friday may be slightly eased by the fact that the Albanian case will be on the Council’s agenda.

  1. Reference is to the 93rd Meeting of the Security Council, January 15, 2:30 p.m. For the text of Senator Austin’s statement, see SC, 2nd yr., No. 4, pp. 80–83.
  2. See footnote 2, p. 359.
  3. Supra.
  4. In introducing this resolution, Senator Austin contended that there was a good chance for agreement through informal conversations by February 4 on how to deal with the Atomic Energy Commission Report and the implementation of the General Assembly resolution. At its 95th Meeting, January 20, the Security Council adopted the United States proposal for postponement 9–2 (the Soviet Union and Poland voted against the proposal).
  5. Norman John Oswald Makin, Australian Representative on the Security Council; Ambassador in the United States.
  6. Alexandre Parodi, French Representative on the Security Council and Atomic Energy Commission.