Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. Donald M. Leith of the Division of International Security Affairs


Mr. Osborn called me on the afternoon of August 3 and told me that he had just gotten in touch with Sir Alexander Cadogan of the UK. Delegation. He questioned Sir Alexander as to the latter’s interpretation of the memorandum in question.1 Mr. Osborn said that Sir Alexander expressed himself as being very confused by the memorandum and as planning to get in touch immediately with London for clarification.

Mr. Osborn made the following comments to Sir Alexander on the substance of the U.K. memorandum:

Page 3—paragraph 7—7th line beginning “Meanwhile, the Foreign Office” and ending “Delegation in New York”

Mr. Osborn’s Comments:

The informal discussions in New York are simply a continuation of the discussions which have been held by “the Permanent Members represented on the UNAEC majority during the past two years and which have made our work possible and successful. The purpose of such meetings is not to bind the five Governments to any particular plan of action but to keep them mutually informed of proposed action as a basis for preserving their solidarity. They were not primarily initiated by the U.S. Delegation any more than by any other Delegation.

Page 2—paragraph 6—entire paragraph

Mr. Osborn’s Comments:

What the Foreign Office proposes would seem to play right into the hands of the Soviet Union by giving them an opportunity for general discussions and general debates of their positions in which kind of propaganda they can be more effective than the rest of us. We feel that by holding them down to a debate on the specific proposal submitted by the Atomic Energy Commission after two years of work they will be forced to debate realities and the great majority of the other nations will vote approval rather than repudiate the findings of their own Commission.

Mr. Osborn’s General Comments on the UK memorandum:

In view of the short time before September, it is extremely desirable that other nations be approached to see whether they will also sponsor the proposed resolution by which the General Assembly would approve [Page 380] the specific proposal of the AEC as a necessary basis for effective control. Since the UK is ready to vote approval, we do not see why it is necessary for them to withhold sponsorship which the French, Canadians, and Chinese are ready to give. If they approve sponsorship they are still in a position to continue the general discussion which they propose on the handling of the whole matter. The important paragraphs of the proposed resolution on atomic energy are those which have to do with approval of the First, Second and Third Reports and not the final paragraph which is quoted on page 1, paragraph 2 of the UK note and which is general in its nature and not considered essential.

All the views on this matter are strongly supported by General McNaughton of Canada who feels it extremely urgent that a full debate and vote be taken on the atomic energy control plan of the Commission. The French and Chinese Delegations have also informed USUN that their Governments are prepared to support joint sponsorship of a resolution approving the three AEC Reports.

Mr. Osborn’s Comments with Respect to Conventional Armaments:

The United States is entirely ready to withdraw the proposed draft resolution mentioned in paragraph 3, page 1 of the British memorandum and simply vote in the CCA Commission approval of the resolutions covering item 1 and item 2 and forward the report of the Secretariat to the Security Council, leaving the work of the Commission on item 3 to be continued when the General Assembly is over.

Mr. Osborn said that he would inform us when he had heard further from Sir Alexander but he assumed that further conversations on this matter should be held in Washington. Mr. Osborn said that in his opinion the other four Delegations could not be expected to postpone for long the informal meetings referred to simply because of the uncertainty of the UK as to its projected course of action in the GA.

  1. Reference is to the British memorandum on atomic energy control, August 2, p. 375.