Memorandum by the Chairman of the Policy Committee on Arms and Armaments (Hilldring) to the Under Secretary of State (Acheson)

The present agreed position to be taken by the United States member of the UN on February 4, 1947 is understood to be:
First priority will be given to the A.E.C. report.
Second priority will be given to the international control of other weapons of “mass destruction”. This will be handled by [Page 389] A.E.C. and should bring forth definition of “weapons of mass destruction”.
Action looking to the regulation of “conventional” weapons should be postponed.
It may occur that the Security Council will decide over the protest of the United States member that a commission to discuss the regulation and reduction of conventional weapons separate from the A.E.C. should, be organized.
In any case the United States will be faced ultimately with the problem of conventional weapons, unless it retracts its agreement to the resolution of the General Assembly of December 14, 1946.
When that time arrives the United States member should have available an agreed course of action. This should include among other things, for example:
What feature of a reduction plan must be settled first.
What specific acts must be included in an inspection system présuméd to guarantee compliance by all powers.
What are the maximum and minimum limits for armaments that he must insist upon for the United States and the reasons for the United States position. Also, many other decisions will be required.
The time is rapidly approaching when specific details must take the place of generalities. The United States representative of [at] the UN cannot discuss the regulation of conventional weapons unless he knows at least certain specific conditions that the United States wants or objects to.
The Policy Committee on Arms and Armaments of the Department of State has prepared the basis of a plan for the regulation of conventional weapons.1 The technical details must be furnished by the War and Navy Departments, and the completed study should be an agreed document. It is urged, therefore, that the Policy Committee on Arms and Armaments plan be introduced into the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee with request that it be completed and be held available for future use. Further delay in this matter can only result in a succession of important decisions hastily improvised.
  1. Presumably Doc. PCA D–5/5, not printed, the report of PCA’s Subcommittee on the Regulation of Armaments, submitted December 6, 1946, which consisted of an outline entitled “Topics To Be Considered in Connection with the Formulation of Specific United States Proposals for the Regulation of Armaments.” (Department of State Disarmament Files)