501.BC Atomic/6–1148: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin)


382. Following is the position to be followed by this Govt with respect to Third Report of UNAEC:1

In order that the SC record respecting its consideration of the Third Report of UNAEC may be completed sufficiently early to permit [Page 348] it to be used in preparatory steps taken for the GA debate, consideration of the Third Report by the SC should take place as early as possible. In view of fact that SC Chairmanship will be held by Ukraine in July and Soviet Union in August, it is desirable to have SC debate of Third Report completed before July.
Dept believes essential objectives of SC consideration of Third Report of UNAEC should be:
By utilizing the SC most effectively to call the attention of the world to the soundness of the majority proposals and the refusal of the Soviet Union to accept the principies considered necessary by the majority, while at the same time laying bare the inadequacy of the Soviet proposals, thus laying the groundwork for an informed debate in the GA.
To clarify the US position on atomic energy control for the benefit of the US public and of the UN members who are non-members of UNAEC.
To ensure that SC fulfills its responsibilities with respect to a matter so importantly a factor in world security.
Pursuant to the above objectives it is believed that SC discussion should emphasize the following:
Approval of the findings and recommendations of all three reports of UNAEC by the majority.
Strong comments on the inadequacy of Soviet proposals.
Request to the Soviet Union to reconsider its position.
A re-affirmation of US position on international control.
In order that SC fulfill its responsibilities it is considered essential that an attempt be made for it to approve the findings and recommendations of the reports of the AEC. A resolution along the following lines would be appropriate: [Page 349]

The Security Council:

Having Received and Examined the First, the Second, and the; Third Report of the UNAEC,

Accepts these Reports and,

Approves the General Findings (Part II C) and Recommendations (Part III) of the First Report, and the Specific Proposals of Part II of the Second Report as constituting the essential basis for establishing an effective system of international control of atomic energy in accordance with the terms of reference of the UNAEC,

Approves the “Report and Recommendations of the AEC” (Part I) of the Third Report of the UNAEC, and

Directs the SYG to transmit to the GA and to the members of the UN the First, Second and Third Reports of the UNAEC together with the record of SC deliberations on this matter.

In the unlikely event of an affirmative Soviet vote on this resolution, SC should adjourn its consideration pending further instructions.
In case of a veto by the Soviet Union, a member of the majority should then introduce a very short resolution directing the Secretary-General to transmit to the General Assembly and to the Members of the United Nations the First, Second and Third Reports of the Atomic Energy Commission.
With respect to voting procedure on the latter Resolution, the United States should contend that the Resolution is procedural and, therefore, cannot be vetoed, and in taking this position should note Para. 14 (b) of Part II and Item 10 of Part III of the Preliminary Report of the Working Group of Sub-Committee 3 of the Interim Committee (UN Document A/AC.18/SC.3/5).2
The US or some other member of the Council, prior to a vote on the transmittal resolution, should state in the SC or advise the Representative of the Soviet Union that it will place the reports before the GA if the SC is frustrated in its efforts to do so and should refer to the GA Resolution of January 24, 1946 establishing the AEC as an indication of the GA intention that such reports should be placed before the GA and Members of the UN. If such a statement is made, it would be unnecessary to have a vote on the question of whether the decision is procedural or to support or challenge a presidential ruling concerning; the effect either of the vote on the transmittal Resolution or on the preliminary question as to whether the decision is procedural. It might thus be possible to avoid a “double veto”. In event of attempted “double veto” and ruling by President that negative vote of the Soviet Union does not defeat preliminary question, the US should abstain on a motion to sustain or reject President’s ruling. US should not at this [Page 350] time vote in SC in manner in conflict with attitude expressed in Part II, Par. 2 of Four-Power Statement.3
Regarding preparation for an informed GA debate, the Dept plans the following steps:
Technical discussions in New York with representatives of as many Govts as possible other than the Soviet Union and its satellites by the Dep US Rep on the UNAEC. These discussions should commence as soon as possible, and the Dept should be kept fully informed of progress and reactions.
Political discussions in Washington with other UN members except the Soviet Government and its satellites. It is hoped that these discussions can be started during July. They will deal with overall prospective program and strategy for the GA including appropriate means of handling the atomic energy problem.
Discussions with the FonOffs of member nations, except the Soviet Union and its satellites, according to instructions to be transmitted to US missions abroad.
  1. The United Nations Atomic Energy Commission transmitted its Third Report to the Security Council on May 26. The Council considered it at its 318th, 321st, and 325th Meetings, June 11, 16, and 22. Philip C. Jessup, Deputy United States Representative, opened the discussion, commending the Commission for having developed the majority plan of international control. He noted that the refusal of the Soviet Union to accept that plan was not due to the fact that the plan was ineffective but rather that it was regarded as an infringement of national sovereignty. On behalf of the United States, he then submitted a draft resolution very nearly identical with that contained in the present telegram. For text of Jessup’s address and the United States resolution, see United Nations, Official Records of the Security Council, Third Year, No. 83, pp. 2–6, or Department of State Bulletin, June 20, 1948, pp. 798–799.

    On June 22, the Council voted in favor of the resolution 9 to 2 (the Soviet Union and the Ukraine). Following that vote, which represented a veto by the Soviet Union, the Canadian Delegation introduced a resolution calling merely for the transmittal of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd UNAEC Reports to the General assembly. This resolution was adopted 9–0, the Soviet Union and the Ukraine abstaining.

    For text of a statement by Frederick Osborn, Deputy United States Representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, commenting upon the action by the Security Council, released to the press on June 28, see Department of State Bulletin, July 4, 1948, pp. 14, 27.

  2. For documentation on Interim Committee consideration of the question Of voting in the Security Council, see pp. 205 ff.
  3. For text of the Statement by the Delegations of the Four Sponsoring Governments on Voting Procedure in the Security Council, issued on June 7, 1945, at the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco, see Department of State Bulletin, June 10, 1945, p. 1047; for documentation on the United Nations Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1945, volume i .