330.12/1–2550: Telegram

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


74. On January 17, SC transmitted to CCA GA resolution of 5 December 1949, calling for continuance of CCA study of regulation and reduction of conventional armaments and armed forces in accordance with its plan of work.

In anticipation of resumption of CCA discussions, instructions are requested by USUN concerning the position to be taken on the next item of CCA plan of work to be considered, viz. item III, dealing with safeguards for a system of disarmament. Reference is made to statement submitted on item III by deputy US representative in CCA in September 1947.1 Reference is also made to position paper RAC D–18/2e,2 approved in December 1947, and to draft position paper RAC D–18/7,3 pending since 1948, each dealing with the safeguards item. Instructions are desired concerning present status of these papers and extent to which policy reflected therein continues to govern.

It is further recommended that a review be made of policy prevailing since 1947 re resolution of questions concerning atomic energy, Article 43 forces, and peace treaties with Germany and Japan, as conditions precedent to regulation of conventional armaments.4

Assimilation of the establishment of atomic energy control to the Article 43 forces and peace treaties questions is understood as in fact [Page 45] requiring accomplishment of all three conditions prior to agreement on any system for regulation or reduction of armaments or armed forces. The US position, as so understood, complicates any progress in discussion of conventional armaments because of deadlock on Article 43 forces question, peace treaties, and atomic energy.

We believe that Department should consider fact that agreements on Article 43 (forces and peace treaty questions are not necessarily conditions precedent to any conceivable, practical plan for regulation and reduction of armaments and armed forces. We recommend that these two matters be separated from question of atomic energy control. As to latter question, we think treatment, in planning stage, should be regarded as parallel to question of regulation of conventional armaments, rather than as prior thereto. Such treatment would involve concurrent coordination of plans covering the two fields and would look forward to ultimate implementation of such plans through a general system of collective security.

We would continue to affirm established point of view nothing effective can be accomplished in way of actual disarmament until problem of control of atomic energy has been solved. Proposed treatment would, however, make it possible to move up conventional armaments and armed forces to parallel and coordinated position where concept of over-all system of collective security can be strongly advanced. During fourth GA, all USUN disarmament statements disavowed piecemeal approach and emphasized point that disarmament in atomic field and in conventional armaments and armed forces field were two aspects of single problem.

Policy determinations and instructions concerning foregoing will be needed by mission in immediate future to facilitate effective consultations with friendly delegations in advance of resumption of CCA meetings.

  1. For text of the U.S. statement, September 17, 1947, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. i, p. 660.
  2. Document RAC D–18/2e, December 30, 1947, not printed, announced the approval by Acting Secretary of State Lovett and Secretary of Defense Forrestal of position paper RAC D–18/2d, “United States Position on Practical and Effective Safeguards Essential to the General Regulation and Reduction of Armaments and Armed Forces,” November 25, 1947, prepared by the Executive Committee on Regulation of Armaments. For the text of RAC D–18/2d, see Foreign Relations, 1947, Vol. i, p. 703.
  3. Not printed.
  4. This position was enunciated by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in an address at the 82nd Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, September 17, 1947; for text, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, second session, Plenary Meetings (hereafter cited as GA (II), Plenary), vol.i, pp. 19–27.