The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Marshall)


My Dear Mr. Secretary: At the present time the Department of State is preparing its position with respect to the various phases of implementation of the General Assembly resolution of November 3, 1950 (United Nations document A/1481) known as the Uniting for Peace Resolution.1 As you know, the Collective Measures Committee created by paragraph 11 of this resolution has already held its initial meeting.

Paragraph 8 of the resolution “recommends to the States Members of the United Nations that each Member maintain within its national armed forces elements so trained, organized and equipped that they could promptly be made available, in accordance with its constitutional processes, for service as a United Nations unit or units, upon recommendation by the Security Council or General Assembly, without prejudice to the use of such elements in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized in Article 51 of the Charter.” Paragraph 9 of the resolution “invites the Members of the United Nations to inform the Collective Measures Committee provided for in paragraph 11 as soon as possible of the measures taken in implementation of the preceding paragraph.” The language of paragraph 9 clearly contemplates that the United States as well as other United Nations Members should submit a preliminary response to the General Assembly recommendation contained in the above quoted paragraphs as expeditiously as possible.

Paragraph 8 of the resolution goes no farther than to recommend that each Member maintain within its national armed forces elements [Page 637]trained, organized and equipped so that they could be made available promptly as a United Nations unit or units. It does not require any State to create a particular component for the specific purpose of providing a contingent for the United Nations nor does it require a State to increase its military strength for this purpose. This is recognized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in its memorandum dated December 14, 1950 (SM–3050–50), a copy of which was transmitted to the Secretary of State by letter dated December 21, 1950.2 This memorandum points out “The entire military strength of the United States is in fact maintained to further the principles enunciated in the Charter of the United Nations, subject, of course, to the limitations of Article 51. A general statement to this effect may suffice for purposes of the present resolution. Should the Department of State indicate at some future time that more detailed information is required, the Joint Chiefs of Staff will consider recommending the availability of forces but will not in any event indicate specific elements comprising such forces.”

The Department of State attaches great importance to the statement of the United States in response to paragraphs 8 and 9 of the resolution since its statement will probably set a pattern for the declarations of other States. The long-range purpose of the United States in connection with the implementation of this resolution is, of course, to strengthen on a world-wide basis the forces resisting aggression and to increase the determination of the United Nations Members to resist aggression through participation in what may become an effective collective security effort. With this in mind, we believe that the United States declaration should seek to set up a pattern of responses among other countries which will give rise in such countries to a heightened sense of participation in a world-wide effort against aggression and may lead to tangible steps in the direction of strengthening collective security.

We have accordingly prepared a proposed United States statement to accomplish this objective. In the preparation of this statement, we have taken into consideration the memorandum of the Joint Chiefs of Staff referred to above, and we believe that the statement fully conforms to the principles set forth therein.

We fully agree with the memorandum of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that a number of considerations make it unwise for the United States to designate the specific elements comprising any forces which it could make available. It should be reiterated that the response of the United States to paragraphs 8 and 9 of the resolution which we are proposing will not constitute a United States commitment to furnish any units to the United Nations. The extent of the United States commitment [Page 638]is to train, organize and equip elements so that they could promptly be made available.

Since the United States response should be submitted to the United Nations as soon as possible, we suggest that the matter should be considered on an urgent basis in the Department of Defense.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson


Proposed Communication to the United Nations Pursuant to Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Uniting for Peace Resolution 3

1. At the present time, elements of the national armed forces of the United States are serving under the Unified Command in Korea pursuant to the recommendations of the Security Council and the General Assembly. A general description of these elements as now constituted follows:

  • [To be supplied by Department of Defense]4

The United States Government regards the maintenance of these forces as in fulfillment of the purposes of the recommendations of the General Assembly in the Uniting for Peace Resolution. The extent to which these or comparable elements will continue to be maintained by the United States so that they could be made available for United Nations service after termination of the Korean hostilities will depend upon further consideration by the United States. At that time, in furtherance of the Uniting for Peace Resolution, the United States will make a further communication to the United Nations.

2. The United States is maintaining elements of its national armed forces in Europe, shortly to include six divisions of ground troops, in furtherance of the North Atlantic Treaty and as a part of the efforts of the parties to the Treaty for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security. This Treaty by its terms comes within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations. The United States considers [Page 639]that these forces could be made available for service as United Nations units in appropriate circumstances in the event of the United Nations taking action to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

3. Furthermore, the entire military strength of the United States is in fact maintained to further the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

4. The United States will continue to keep this matter under constant review in the light of changing circumstances and in furtherance of the policy of the United Nations to build up an effective collective security system.

  1. GA (V), Resolutions, pp. 10–12.
  2. Not printed.
  3. In a letter to the Secretary of State of April 12, not printed, George C. Marshall, Secretary of Defense, transmitted the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding the wording of the proposed communication. The JCS provided a definition of the ground, naval, and air forces serving in Korea, and suggested certain modifications in the present draft. (320.2 AB/4–1251) The two Departments reconciled remaining differences in a second exchange of letters: Acheson to Marshall, April 18, and Marshall to Acheson, May 10, neither printed (320.2 AB/4–1251).

    A note for the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State by Lucius D. Battle, Special Assistant to the Secretary, May 10, reads as follows: “The Secretary told me on his return from the White House today that he talked to the President about the proposed United States reply to the ‘Uniting for Peace Resolution.’ He said that the President had approved the reply, as drafted.” (Secretary’s Memoranda, Lot 53 D 444) For the text of the U.S. communication transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on June 8, see p. 644.

  4. Brackets in the source text.