IO Files: SD/A/226


Position Paper Prepared in the Department of State for the United States Delegation to the Fifth Regular Session of the General Assembly2


Development of a Twenty-year Programme for Achieving Peace Through the United Nations (The “Lie Peace Proposals”)

the problem

To determine the position to be taken with respect to the memorandum on this subject which the Secretary-General communicated [Page 392] to the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in April and May 1950; circulated to the other Members of the United Nations on June 6; and placed on the General Assembly’s provisional agenda on July 21. The memorandum suggests ten points for consideration in the formulation of a twenty-year United Nations peace program. These points cover possible United Nations action on the following subjects:

Periodic meetings of the Security Council;
Progress toward an international control system for atomic energy;
A new approach to control of armaments;
Agreement on Article 43 armed forces;
Universality of United Nations Membership;
Technical assistance and international investment;
Promotion of high living standards, full employment, and economic and social progress;
Human rights and fundamental freedoms;
Advancement of dependent peoples;
Development of international law looking toward enforceable law for a universal society.

The proposals made under these headings are described by the Secretary-General in his annual report for 19503 as “not … a definitive and formal programme …” but “rather an outline of preliminary proposals as a basis for a programme.” It should be noted that the memorandum was prepared before the Korean crisis arose.4


The objectives of the Delegation on this subject should be:
to maintain a posture of sympathetic interest in the Secretary-General’s proposals without endorsing or facilitating the adoption of specific suggestions of which we do not approve;
to utilize the proposals as appropriate in argumentation in support of the major political items introduced in the General Assembly by the United States, and conversely to utilize the proposals wherever possible to refute points made by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in any “peace plan” it may present;
to avoid as far as possible separate and detailed discussion of each specific suggestion in the memorandum, which would in large part duplicate discussion under other agenda items and would seriously increase the work load of the General Assembly’s political committees;
to support the right of the Secretary-General to make proposals of this character, in the event that he is subjected to strong criticism for having done so.
Accordingly, the United States should:
associate itself with the broad objective of the Lie memorandum—to employ Charter principles and United Nations resources on a long-term basis to relieve tensions and move toward lasting peace—in the Assembly’s general debate and in major statements in the Political Committees, pointing out at the same time that this objective cannot be achieved by words alone but only by action in the spirit of the Charter;
stress the fact that adoption of the United States proposals for action against aggression etc., will result in progress toward the goals singled out by the Secretary-General, whereas Soviet “peace” proposals would if adopted facilitate aggression and make impossible the attainment of the Secretary-General’s aims;
propose that the memorandum be considered as a single item, and oppose separate reference of each of the ten points to an appropriate main committee of the Assembly;
seek, as a preferred course, direct action in plenary session on the memorandum, if possible through the adoption of a single resolution at the conclusion of the general debate;
if the United States and the Soviet Union, or either of them, introduces a major “peace proposal,” advocate simultaneous or consecutive consideration of all such proposals by the same main committee, including the Secretary-General’s if not dealt with in plenary;
seek to limit action on the Lie memorandum to a single simple resolution commending the Secretary-General for his initiative, endorsing his general objective, and requesting the main committees of the Assembly to take his proposals into account in their discussions;
refuse to be a party to any move to question the Secretary-General’s right to issue such a memorandum, as distinct from criticism of specific points contained in it.
If, despite the Delegation’s efforts, the General Assembly decides to consider each of the Secretary-General’s suggestions separately, the Delegation should act as follows:
Wherever possible, it should seek to have the Secretary-General’s suggestions discussed in conjunction with other proposals on the same subject-matter: thus, his proposals on atomic energy and the admission of new Members would be considered along with other agenda items on these subjects;
Where the Secretary-General’s proposals are so general as to amount to nothing more than appeals for progress (support of all governments for extension of human rights; development of international law), the Delegation should seek to conclude discussion quickly in the committee concerned by stimulating the adoption of a short resolution recommending that Members bear the Secretary-General’s proposals in mind in the formulation of their policies.
If it is necessary to discuss specific portions of the memorandum and its letter of transmittal, Delegation comments should follow the lines of the papers prepared on the specific topics involved. With this qualification, the following points may be stressed as appropriate:
Need for settlement of Chinese representation question before progress can be made toward relieving tensions.—This question has already been dealt with in virtually every United Nations organ, by majority decision. It will be re-examined in these organs later. It is not the Chinese representation question, but the illegal Soviet boycott, Soviet encouragement of aggression, and Soviet refusal to cooperate with others in support of the Charter which hamper progress toward peace. (See separate paper on Chinese representation.)
Need for basing action on the possibility of peaceful co-existence of different economic and political systems, and for genuine negotiation.—By word as well as by deed, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics appears to have denied the possibility of peaceful co-existence; the free world has always affirmed it as a desirable end. But peace is not possible on a lasting basis if unprovoked aggression can result in gains for the aggressor. We hope the Soviet Union will make possible genuine negotiations looking toward the reduction of tension, through the prior creation of conditions which will ensure compliance with the pledged word.
Inauguration of periodic Security Council meetings.—While no miraculous results can be expected merely from the physical juxtaposition of the high-level personalities who would attend such meetings, we will give careful consideration to any proposal for holding a periodic Security Council meeting and to the items which might be included on its agenda. Although one obstacle to such a meeting may have been removed by abandonment of the Soviet boycott in the Security Council, we see no point in considering it so long as Soviet imperialism and Soviet satellites continue to support aggression in Korea. (We should if at all possible avoid the onus of preventing a periodic Security Council meeting.)
Re-establishment of private Big-Five consultations on limitation of use of the veto in pacific settlement procedures.—We approve. We have always sought this objective.
A new attempt to make progress toward an effective international control system for atomic energy.—See separate paper on atomic energy.
Conference of scientists on control of weapons of mass destruction.—We oppose such a conference. The problem of control is essentially political, and only to a secondary degree technical or scientific. Until the political obstacles are overcome, a conference of scientists would be of no value.
An interim agreement to moderate the atomic arms race.—Without the effective means of control which are provided in the United Nations Plan, any agreement on atomic weapons would be worse than useless because it would tend to produce a false sense of security.
A new approach to regulation of other armaments, to go hand in hand with efforts to reach political settlements.—Until we are sure [Page 395] that aggression will not succeed and until an atmosphere of confidence in the good faith of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics can be created, effective regulation of armaments is impossible. Confidence cannot be created until the facilities for observation and inspection in the Soviet-dominated area approximate those in the free world.
A new approach to the problem of establishing Article 43 forces, including an interim accord on a small force to prevent or stop localized outbreaks.—As long as the Soviets persist in their present conduct, Article 43 forces cannot be established as the Charter envisaged them. The United States, however, is considering a proposal for interim action along the lines suggested by the Secretary-General.
Progress toward universality of membership as rapidly as possible, with admission of all current applicants, and of Germany and Japan when peace treaties are concluded.—We agree that universality is a highly desirable objective, but until agreement is reached on the practical steps which can be taken to obtain it, we cannot take a specific position at this time.
An active technical assistance program and encouragement of broad scale capital investment.—We agree with the Secretary-General on the value of this program and intend to remain in the forefront in its development.
Promotion of higher living standards, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress through more vigorous use of the specialized agencies.—We agree fully with the Secretary-General’s comment, including his advocacy of ratification of the Charter of the International Trade Organization.
Extension of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world.—We agree with the Secretary-General.
Use of the United Nations to promote the peaceful advancement of dependent peoples.—We fully agree.
Use of Charter powers and United Nations machinery to speed up the development of international law towards an eventual enforceable world law for a universal world society.—We support this objective and are willing to move toward it as rapidly as may be practicable without endangering the existence of the Organization.
  1. Short title for the master files of the Reference and Documents Section of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State.
  2. For information regarding the composition and organization of the U.S. Delegation, see p. 24.
  3. United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifth Session, Supplement No. 1 ( A/1287), Annual Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization 1 July 1949–30 June 1950, p. xii.
  4. For documentation regarding the North Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25 and the United States response, see volume vii .