501.BC Armaments/6–1048

The Department of State to the British Embassy



The Department of State refers to the Aide-Mémoire of the British Embassy dated May 18 (595/-/48) and the Department’s acknowledgment of May 251 concerning the proposal of the British Government for a course of action to be taken in the United Nations with respect to atomic energy control, regulation of conventional armaments, and the agreements prescribed in Article 43 of the Charter.

[Page 347]

2. The Department is now in a position to give its views respecting a course of action to be followed in the Commission for Conventional Armaments.

3. While agreeing with the desirability of the objective stated in paragraph 9 of the British Aide-Mémoire, the Department does not share the view that steps should be taken to suspend the work of the Commission for Conventional Armaments prior to the next session of the General Assembly.

4. The Department agrees that the Commission for Conventional Armaments should report to the Security Council before the next session of the General Assembly. In view of paragraph 3 above, however, it is believed that such a report should be interim in character. It might state, inter alia, that in accordance with the Security Council’s instructions the Commission will continue its discussions of the remaining items of the Plan of Work; that the majority of the members feel obliged to inform the Security Council that the Soviet Union has been unable to agree with the majority on principles considered by the majority to be basic to the regulation of armaments; and that until such agreement is obtained, it is unlikely that the Commission will be able to formulate plans for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments which will be generally acceptable. Such a statement would avoid possible disadvantages of suspension at this time, but nevertheless would achieve much of the objective of suspension as conceived by the British Government by calling attention to a repetition by the Soviet Union in the Commission for Conventional Armaments of the obstructive tactics it has employed in the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.

5. The remaining questions raised by the United Kingdom in its note are still under consideration. The British Embassy will be advised as promptly as possible of the results of this consideration.

  1. See footnote 3, p. 343.