IO Files: US/A/C.1/441

Memorandum of Conversations, by Mr. LaVerne Baldwin of the United States Delegation Staff of Advisers


Subject: Warmongering

Participants: Mr. Finn Moe, Norwegian Delegation
Mr. Sverker Astrom, Swedish Delegation
LaVerne Baldwin, United States Delegation

Norwegian Views: I informed Mr. Moe of our adamant position both against any amendment and the resolution itself, stating that we considered there was no innocuous resolution of this character and that should any resolution be passed, it would accuse us in the eyes of the world of being war mongers. He inquired whether we would then vote against the Australian amendment, which I answered in the affirmative.

He continued, pointing out that our position at this late moment was obviously going to embarrass several delegations who had either committed themselves to support one amendment or another, or who had openly made known their position in that respect; he would question the fact that we had delayed so long in announcing our position and wondered whether it would not be more satisfactory for the amendments to be withdrawn by their originators rather than to invite delegations to vote against them; he did not feel that many such negative votes would be cast. I pointed out that of course it would be possible to abstain on an amendment or even to vote for it but to vote against the final resolution. I promised to keep him informed of any developments in this regard during the course of the day. He expressed his interest and desire in this respect.

Our delegation in Committee I was promptly informed.

Swedish Views: I also informed Mr. Astrom of our position as above. He said hesitantly that he felt we had chosen the wrong moment to announce such a strong position and should certainly have done so long, long before if that were to be our position. He pointed out the same resultant position as had Mr. Moe, inquired whether we had attempted to have the amendments withdrawn, to which I replied that Evatt was out of town. He also asked how the U.K. delegation felt on the matter, on which I was not informed. He also requested to be kept advised of developments.

He took the personal liberty of pointing out to me that we might be subject to severe criticism in the U.N. for taking this position admitting of no tolerance, which might perhaps be less acceptable to other delegations than the temporizing one of accepting some type of amendment; further the Russians could of course use our position just [Page 94] as much if not more so for propaganda purposes than if we were to accept amendments. He pointed out that the Australian proposal was completely unacceptable to the Soviets and changed the Soviet resolution to such an extent that the Soviet name could hardly be attached to it. I mentioned that I understood there were numerous delegations who felt that we should not throw out every Russian proposal but should rather twist them to be acceptable to us where possible to avoid a complete blackout of the Soviet proposals; we had nevertheless arrived at our decision in this question after long discussion and firm decision and considered it necessary for the reasons I had cited.

Mr. Astrom took the further liberty of stating that we were perhaps open to the charge of inconsistency in that war mongering was one of the charges against Goebbels and his group and was specified in the Nuremberg Act and had been one of the principal features of the Nuremberg Trials; in the U.N. we were an active sponsor in Committee 6 of a proposal for a convention which would cover war mongering. I pointed out that the latter was obviously a more detailed legal matter, to which he agreed saying that of course it would necessarily include considerable study and definition in detail, but he would like to call our attention to the fact that our different positions both in the U.N. might very well become the subject of criticism. I replied I would delve into the issue and let him know.

We agreed to keep in touch during the day.