USUN Files1

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Acting Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs (Ross)


Following a meeting in Mr. Acheson’s office this noon in which Mr. Fahy, Mr. Marks2 and Mr. Gross also participated, I telephoned Senator Austin and told him that Mr. Byrnes and Mr. Acheson had discussed with Senators Vandenberg and Connally this morning the Department’s paper on the United States position with regard to the procedure to be followed in the Security Council concerning the Atomic Energy Commission’s Report.3 Mr. Acheson felt it would be desirable for Senator Austin to know Senator Vandenberg’s views as soon as possible, although these views might not have any immediate bearing on Senator Austin’s efforts in the Security Council this afternoon to get the whole disarmament question postponed without prejudice to February 4. As I understood them, Senator Vandenberg’s views were as follows: [Page 367]

The Senate and people of the United States would not approve a treaty on atomic energy which did not include provisions for prompt and effective sanctions imposed on violators.
If we followed the procedure outlined in the Department’s paper under reference, the impression would be given to the public and the Senate that we were welching on the position which had been taken by Mr. Baruch in the Atomic Energy Commission and were, in fact, preparing a retreat from this position.
Senator Vandenberg agreed that we should get agreement in the Security Council on as many of the recommendations of the Atomic Energy Commission as possible.
He also felt, however, that it is essential to get agreement in the Security Council in principle that there will be sanctions to punish violators.
Senator Vandenberg was apparently not worried about any magic words such as “veto” or any specific language. The main thing was to find out where the Russians stand on the principle of sanctions or punishment.
If the Russians understand that we are not worried about specific language (e.g. the veto) but that we are insistent on getting agreement in the Security Council on the principle there will be three alternatives as follows:
The Russians might agree to the principle. This would, of course, meet our objective and would be satisfactory.
The Russians might say that they did not understand enough of what we meant to agree even in principle but would be willing to abstain on a vote. This would also meet our objective and would be satisfactory.
The Russians might, however, veto our proposed agreement in principle. In this case we would have to reconsider our entire position.

I told the Senator that we were working on a revision of the Department’s paper on this matter and I hoped it would be possible to send him a copy tonight which could be used as a basis for further discussion with him. I told him we also had felt it would be desirable for him to discuss this whole matter at an early date directly with Senator Vandenberg. Senator Austin said he would like to do this.

  1. Files of the United States Mission at the United Nations.
  2. Herbert S. Marks, General Counsel of the United States Atomic Energy Commission; Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State, 1945–1946.
  3. For the January 21 draft of the paper under reference, see p. 370.