USUN Files1

Memorandum by the Deputy United States Representative to the Commission for Conventional Armaments (Osborn) to the Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs (Rusk)


Subject: The question of the suspension of the C.C.A.

For planning purposes with respect to the future work of the Commission for Conventional Armaments, it is recognized that the following facts must be taken into account:
The present policy of the United States Government with respect to the continuance of the C.C.A. is under review. Up to now it has been the announced United States policy to proceed with the approved plan of work in the order of the items given. Until the decision for or against suspension is made, it is important not to commit ourselves either way.
The British Government in an Aide-Mémoire to the Department of State on May 18 has suggested that the three organs, the A.E.C, C.C.A. and M.S.C. each be allowed to bring its activities to a close before the fall session of the General Assembly on grounds that, owing to Soviet obstructionism, no useful purpose can for the present be served by continuance and suspension in all three might put sufficient pressure on the Soviets to cause them to change their tactics.
On the other hand, the French and Canadian Governments favor continuance because they believe the advantages of such a course outweigh the disadvantages.
Without going into the merits of the case for and against continuance, I am suggesting a third possible course of action between these two alternatives which seems to me worth consideration by the Department in connection with its review of the problem. The proposed interim report of the C.C.A. to the Security Council might state that the C.C.A. is continuing its discussions of the remaining items of the plan of work as it has been instructed to do, but in view of the obstructive tactics of the Soviet Union, it must be recognized that it is likely such discussions will have little practical result. Such a statement would, on the one hand, avoid the disadvantage of suspension at this time, but, on the other hand, would achieve much of the objective of suspension as conceived by the British by calling attention to repetition in the C.C.A. of tactics employed by the Soviet in the U.N.A.E.C.
In a recent informal talk with Mr. Miles of the United Kingdom Delegation, I suggested that such a formula might be substituted for the United Kingdom proposal for adjournment of the C.C.A. and [Page 346] that it might attain the same end of serving notice on the Soviets that their tactics must be changed or the responsibility for failure in this organ would likewise be theirs. (The suggestion was, of course, made on an informal basis as my own impromptu suggestion which I have not yet discussed with my Government.) His immediate reaction was favorable although he wished to consider the matter further.

Frederick Osborn
  1. Files of the United States Mission at the United Nations.