IO Files: A/1253

The Secretary-General of the United Nations ( Lie ) to the Members of the United Nations

International Control of Atomic Energy

communication received by the secretary-general from the representatives of canada, china, france, the united kingdom and the united states of america dated 27 january 1950

Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General has the honour to communicate to the Members of the United Nations the attached communication from the [Page 46] representatives of Canada, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America dated 27 January 1950 together with the summary record of the fourteenth meeting of the Consultations of the six permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission (A/Permanent Members/AEC/SR.14).1

[Enclosure]

Communication From the Representatives of Canada, China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States to the Secretary-General ( Lie )

In its resolution of 4 November 1948, the General Assembly requested the six permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission “to meet together and consult in order to determine if there exists a basis for agreement on the international control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes and for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons.”

On 23 November 1949, the General Assembly passed a resolution on the international control of atomic energy, in which the General Assembly expressed itself as follows:

Anxious to free humanity from the dangers which will continue to exist as long as States retain under their individual control the development and operation of atomic energy facilities,

Convinced that an international co-operative effort can avoid these dangers and can hasten the development of the peaceful uses of atomic energy for the benefit of all peoples,

  • “1. Urges all nations to join in such a co-operative development and use of atomic energy for peaceful ends;
  • “2. Calls upon Governments to do everything in their power to make possible, by the acceptance of effective international control, the effective prohibition and elimination of atomic weapons;
  • “3. Requests the permanent members of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission to continue their consultations, to explore all possible avenues and examine all concrete suggestions with a view to determining whether they might lead to an agreement securing the basic objectives of the General Assembly in this question, and to keep the Atomic Energy Commission and the General Assembly informed of their progress;” …

In accordance with the above resolution, the six permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission met on 20 December 1949 and again on 19 January 1950. At the beginning of the latter meeting, the representative of the Soviet Union objected to the presence of the [Page 47] representative of China and submitted the following draft resolution for consideration:

“The Consultative Conference of the representatives of the six states—permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission decides:

“To exclude from its membership the representative of the Kuomintang group.”

The other representatives present decided that this proposal was out of order, for the reason that representation in these Consultations was consequential on membership in the Atomic Energy Commission, and the group engaged in the Consultations had not the competence to pass on the issue raised by the representative of the Soviet Union. In this situation the representative of the Soviet Union announced that he would not participate in the Consultations so long as the present Chinese representative attended these meetings. He said he would not recognize as legal any decisions adopted by the group. After making this statement he left the meeting.

The representatives of Canada, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States are of the opinion that the members of the General Assembly will be anxiously concerned that these important and serious Consultations have been interrupted in consequence of the position taken by the representative of the Soviet Union.

The General Assembly resolutions cited above make it clear that the primary purpose of the Consultations among the six permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission is to reconcile the divergent views of the Soviet Union on one side, and of the other five permanent members on the other. The representatives of these five permanent members are, therefore, of the opinion that so long as the Soviet Government refuses to participate in these Consultations, it is impossible for them to achieve the primary purpose of the mandate given by the General Assembly.

These five permanent members have undertaken to remain in close contact with one another and they will meet and consult with each other on such limited objectives as are possible of achievement under the circumstances.

The representative of France, as the next Chairman of the group, will determine in agreement with the Secretary-General the possibility of reconvening the Consultations of the six permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission.

In accordance with the request of the General Assembly to keep the Atomic Energy Commission and the General Assembly informed of their progress, the representatives of these five permanent members request the Secretary-General to make known to the members of the [Page 48] Atomic Energy Commission and of the General Assembly, the situation created by the refusal of the representative of the Soviet Union to participate in the Consultations. To this end they request that copies of this letter, together with the summary record of the 14th Meeting of the six permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission, held on 19 January 1950, be transmitted to all States Members of the United Nations.

  • A. G. L. McNaughton
    Representative of Canada
  • T. F. Tsiang
    Representative of China
  • J. Chauvel
    Representative of France
  • Alexander Cadogan
    Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • John C. Ross
    Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council
  1. Summary record not reproduced.