IO Files: US/A/C.1/1462

United States Delegation Position Paper 1

confidential

Regulation of Conventional Armaments

the problem

To determine the position of the United States in the Fourth Regular Session of the General Assembly on two Security Council resolutions dealing with conventional armaments and armed forces; (a) the Security Council Resolution of 11 October 1949 transmitting the Second Progress Report of the Commission for Conventional Armaments to the General Assembly for its information; and (b) the Security Council Resolution of 18 October 1949 transmitting majority-approved proposals on census and verification of conventional armaments and armed forces formulated by the Commission for Conventional Armaments pursuant to the General Assembly Resolution of November 19, 1948.2

With respect to the resolution adopted by the Security Council on 11 October 1949 which transmits the Second Progress Report of the Commission for Conventional Armaments to the General Assembly, no specific action is required by the General Assembly as it was sent to the General Assembly for background information. Included in that report are majority approved findings on Items 1 and 2 of the established Plan of Work: (a) Item 1 contains a definition of “conventional armaments” and the field of competence of the Commission for Conventional Armaments; (b) Item 2 contains a statement of basic principles which would govern the formulation of practical proposals for [Page 198]the regulation and reduction of conventional armaments and armed forces. Security Council approval of the findings on Items 1 and 2 of the Commission for Conventional Armaments Plan of Work was vetoed by the USSR in the Security Council on 11 October 1949.

recommendations

1.
The United States should continue to support census and verification proposals as being fully responsive to the wishes of the General Assembly expressed in the General Assembly Resolution of 19 November 1948, but should oppose action by the General Assembly recommending the drafting of an agreement to give effect to the Commission for Conventional Armaments census and verification proposals in the absence of a changed attitude on the part of the USSR.
2.
With respect to future work of the Commission for Conventional Armaments, the United States should make it clear that its ultimate objective continues to be the development of an effective system for the regulation and reduction of conventional armaments through the medium of the United Nations. To this end
(a)
The United States should support a proposal to go forward in the Commission for Conventional Armaments with the established Plan of Work by taking up the next item of the plan, viz. Item 3, “Consideration of practical and effective safeguards . . . . to protect complying States against the hazards of violations.” The United States should oppose any proposal to depart from or re-examine the established Plan of Work such, for example, as any proposal to pass over Item 3 and to take up immediately Item 4, dealing with the formulation “of practical proposals for the regulation and reduction of armaments and armed forces.” Any specific and constructive disarmament proposals which may be introduced in the General Assembly should be referred to the Security Council for transmission by that body to the Commission for Conventional Armaments for consideration by the Commission within the context of its established Plan of Work.
(b)
The United States should resist any effort to reconsider the basic principles set forth in Item 2 of the Plan of Work adopted by the Commission for Conventional Armaments on 12 August 1948, emphasizing that no compromise of these principles can be contemplated without seriously jeopardizing the effectiveness of a regulatory system and consequently the security interests of the participating States.
(c)
The United States should oppose any further resolutions dealing with census and verification in any way similar to the General Assembly Resolution of 19 November 1948, in the absence of a change in the attitude of the USSR as reflected in its veto action in the Security Council, and particularly should resist any proposal for census alone, pointing out the futility of such an exercise unless accompanied by adequate verification.
(d)
The United States should support an affirmation by the General Assembly of the need for a fundamental change in Soviet attitudes without which real progress toward the regulation and reduction of conventional armaments will not be possible.

[Page 199]

[An attached copy of the Plan of Work of the Commission for Conventional Armaments is not reproduced; the plan is described in footnote 3, p. 12.]

  1. In telegram Delga 145, October 26, the United States Mission reported that the Delegation had that day provisionally approved the conclusions of this paper pending subsequent consideration (501.BB/10–2649).
  2. The action of the Security Council is described in the editorial note on p. 189.