501.BB/10–2547: Telegram

The Chargé in Norway (Huston) to the Secretary of State


481. Foreign Minister Lange, who is returning to New York by air October 30 as head [of] Norwegian delegation at UNGA, expressed to me yesterday deep pessimism regarding growing antagonism between great powers, notably US and Russia. Saying virtual stalemate had already been reached, he expressed conviction international life was approaching stage of “complete paralysis” which might have most serious consequences if principal powers should fail [to] find common ground of agreement on some of more vital issues. Principal points made by Lange in lengthy discussion were:

Norwegian policy in UN is directed toward maintenance of original conception of principles on which organization founded, id est, big power agreement. This explains Norwegian voting. It is popularly believed Norway’s attitude is determined by “fear of Russians” but this is not true; it is based on hope of promoting agreement of great powers and desire to avoid closing door on big power accord.
Lange is aware Norwegian voting, particularly on Greek question, is not “appreciated” by US delegation and others including some Norwegians. Discussing point made in Norwegian delegate’s speech at time of vote on US resolution to effect [that] Greece was point of clash between big power interests, Lange recognized that US desire to enable Greeks to be masters in own country corresponded to interests of Norway and other western countries but said he could not help feeling there was “something else” that was direct clash of US-Soviet interests and that “each wanted to get there first”. He admitted interference across frontier of Greece’s northern neighbors but believed this outside influence only aggravated already bad situation and that even if frontier were sealed there would still be civil war in Greece. There were considerations he had in mind “when I wrote Langhelles speech”.
Lange, whom Embassy considers entirely western minded and friendly to US, criticized American attitude on following points:
US delegation gave impression it had come to GA “with mind already made up”, with patience already exhausted and with premature admission of defeat in endeavors [to] reach common viewpoint with Soviets. Lange admitted “Russians are very difficult fellows to get along with—it may even be impossible to get along with them” and described them as troublesome, trying, uncooperative, adding everyone’s patience was wearing thin but he felt US patience had given out Before abandonment of all hope of avoiding fatal final division was justified.
He could not escape feeling “Americans were trying to drive Russians out of UN”. His observations and conversations with Gromyko had on other hand led him to conviction Russians would not “quit UN” as UN was too valuable to Soviets as propaganda instrument.
US intransigence with respect acceptance Ukraine for seat in Security Council as representative Slav bloc was unfortunate not only because it stiffened Soviet antagonism but represented bad tactics psychologically from American point of view.