320/10–2150: Telegram

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


429. Ref Delga 162 Oct 20 and 166 Oct 21. Since it now appears that it would not be feasible to vote down Soviet resolution on strengthening peace, Department’s next preferred position is to support a substitute resolution. Text (contained in US/A/C.1/2144/Rev.1) would be satisfactory basis for negotiations with other dels. US itself should not sponsor such resolution.

In Department’s opinion Soviet resolution does not lend itself readily to amendment and, therefore, Department prefers substitute as set forth in USDel Document referred to above, in order to make clear majority position on essentials of peace.

We think Canadian text parallels Soviet text to such an extent as to preclude possibility of its acceptable modification. Canadian text is unsatisfactory in following specific respects: If operating para 1, which follows Soviet language, is adopted, Soviets will claim GA approval of Soviet doctrine that US is warmonger. This para not readily susceptible of amendment and can not be accepted. Operating para 2 is complete departure from US position on atomic energy control and regulation of armaments in two main respects:

it would have effect of diluting UN control plan through emphasizing one important but not primary feature of the plan, namely “inspection”.
Para condemning first government to use atomic weapons for aggressive purposes is completely objectionable. In event of use of weapon, Soviets could readily obscure issue of responsibility for aggression. US position is that there must be no restriction upon use of weapon unless and until effective control achieved. Apparent Canadian objective is to make aggression itself the crime, but amended para fails to do this, especially since language is still directed at weapons of mass destruction and would thus exclude land armies. Possible alternate language for para 2 would be as follows: “The General Assembly calls upon every nation to agree to the exercise of national sovereignty jointly with nations to the extent necessary to attain international control of atomic energy which would make effective the prohibition of atomic weapons and the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only.” Operating para 3a is as objectionable this year as it was last year and on the same ground, as it adds nothing to Charter obligations and merely serves to distract attention from essentials of peace.
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Any substitute resolution or amendments to Soviet resolution should specifically reaffirm essentials of peace resolution even though this already done in preamble Uniting for Peace Resolution.

Para 3 of preamble states Soviet and not US position in discussing prohibition of atomic weapon without referring to effective control of atomic energy. Possible amended language would be as follows: “Recalling the unanimous decision of the General Assembly of 1946 as to the necessity of effective control of atomic energy which would ensure that atomic energy cannot be used for war-like ends”.

Department in main prefers USDel language on armaments to UK version as quoted in Delga 162 on grounds greater clarity. USDel text might, however, be somewhat expanded substantially as follows: “In response to the desire of all mankind for reliable assurance that they will not again be subjected to the horrors of war, regulate and reduce all armaments and armed forces under a UN system of control and inspection; and make possible the prohibition and elimination of atomic weapons under the UN plan which will provide dependable safeguards that atomic energy will be developed for peaceful purposes only.” You will note the substitution of the phrase “the UN plan” for “a UN system” in the second part of the para quoted immediately above, which makes this language more precise insofar as US position is concerned.