IO Files, Lot 71 D 440

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Special Assistant on United Nations Affairs, Bureau of European Affairs (Allen)1



Subject: Work of the Collective Measures Committee

Participants: Mr. John Coulson—United Kingdom Delegation
Mr. Denis Laskey2—United Kingdom Delegation
Ward P. Allen—EUR

1. In response to my question as to what lay behind the British cautious approach to the work of the CMC, Mr. Coulson stated that he felt the difference is not great and is primarily potential, but that the UK has two preoccupations: (1) they do not think it desirable for the CMC to seek to develop for the GA a complete collective security system parallel to that provided for in the Charter under the SC and the Military Staff Committee, and they feel that our reference to problems of bases and to special agreements indicated that we tended in that direction, and (2) neither the UK nor the US had given much study and thought to all the problems which the CMC might consider and the UK feel that until this has been done and we have jointly worked out preliminary answers to some of the problems it would be preferable not to throw them all into the CMC forum. He added that the UK Delegation had several times, from October through January, suggested consultation with us on the work of the CMC, and due to preoccupation with other matters this had not materialized. They were therefore surprised at the apparent speed with which we suddenly desired to move in the CMC in the last two or three weeks.

I indicated that as to their first point it was obviously impossible to foresee at this time the extent to which it would be desirable to develop under the GA a collective security system comparable to that envisaged under the Security Council and that we would obviously want to proceed cautiously. As to their second point, I admitted that we did not have the answers to all the problems which the CMC might consider and that we are anxious for a thorough consultation with the British and French in order to develop our joint thinking on these matters. On many of these problems we are frankly threshing around and exploring and it would be desirable to do it together. We agreed that we should seek now to work out the system of priorities in the work of the CMC and, having decided upon the various jobs on which we believe its efforts should be concentrated, we could [Page 631]then focus our joint attention on these. Mr. Coulson indicated that they were developing a paper which they would like to present to us in a day or two, giving their ideas on some of the problems.

2. I indicated that we were in consultation with our military officials concerning the nature of the response which the US would make to the request for the maintenance of UN units in its armed forces,3 and that on this concrete and important first step we would want to consult with them and asked if they had been giving thought to the problem. Mr. Laskey replied that the British Joint Chiefs were thinking in terms of indicating that a brigade group plus a certain number of ships would be specified as the British response. I suggested that this, while specific, seemed small and that before the UK makes any formal response it would be useful if we could compare the intended nature of our respective responses. We hoped to be able to do that promptly.

3. As to the problem of the relationship to NATO, Mr. Coulson stated that in his view this was very simple. If aggression should occur in the NATO area the UN would pass a resolution designating SHAPE as the Unified Command and then contributions from non-NATO countries would be fitted into the military units as the latter would determine exactly, as is now done in Korea. If the aggression should occur outside the NATO area, then the NATO countries would through consultation decide the extent to which they might individually contribute forces to the action in the light of the circumstances and the necessity of defending Western Europe. I indicated that this seemed reasonable and logical but too simple and undoubtedly did not exhaust the problems of relationship which we would want to consider.

4. In a passing comment on the problem of additional measures against China, Mr. Coulson said that he thought there was no real cause for concern at the US–UK differences since he felt that if we should try at the present time to obtain AMC and GA approval for our program of diplomatic and economic sanctions, we would find difficulty in obtaining the support of the substantial majority which we desired, but that he was confident that the situation was so fluid something would happen in the near future which would break the log jam—some external circumstances, such as Peiping response to GOC efforts, or the Communists fourth phase offensive. I suggested that there might not be time to wait for possible external events to resolve the problems.

  1. Circulated as USUN document US/A/AC.43/9, March 16.
  2. First Secretary and Head of Chancery, Permanent United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations.
  3. Paragraph 9 of the Uniting for Peace Resolution (GA (V), Resolutions, p. 11) invited member states to inform the Collective Measures Committee of action taken to make forces available for United Nations service upon call.