320.2 AC/6–1851: Telegram

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


1664. Re CMC. Lacoste and Tine (France) and Laskey (UK) met with us in our office this afternoon to discuss military aspects of CMC work. Lacoste said Foreign Office is anxious about appointment of military subcomite, fearing it would drag CMC way beyond desirable scope of its efforts. They felt NATO and similar bodies should decide military questions and opposed idea of creating in peace time a UN body charged with dealing with an as yet uncommitted act of aggression. They feel subcomite for military study may slide down into permanent military planning body.

Laskey said London had given him no specific reaction on our coordination paper (WGCMC D–16a)1 but general reaction was similar to French. Foreign Office does not wish turn UN into military organization. They share French views bodies like NATO should be used in acts of aggression, with UN giving general moral support and what additional material support members can muster. They feel military [Page 646]aspects of uniting for peace res are and should remain limited to meeting technical requirements of units made available for UN service. They oppose peace time UN army, UN command, or secretariat military staff. They think US, UK and France should agree on aims of any military study before asking CMC to undertake it. Thus, they agree with recommendation in our paper that one country or group of countries should be appointed as unified command but fear discussion in CMC might lead to pressure for giving strategic direction to some UN body like CMC itself. They fear some delegates might say if we are to have UN operations we should have UN control. This is the last thing British want.

We said it would be disappointment to world if CMC reported with no mention of military aspects. Korean experience, after all, was immediate basis for uniting for peace res. Our aim was to strengthen peace and obviously some military coordination would be necessary to achieve this objective. We agreed three countries should move forward together on common sense basis, building on Korean experience wherever possible. We suggested fears of Foreign Offices might be diminished if we proceeded to detailed discussion of paper in order to see what was difficult or dangerous and rectified it.

On specific discussion of paper, Laskey and Lacoste emphasized they had no clear governmental positions but were merely asking questions for purposes of clarification. Both questioned section b, last introductory para, on collective measures “where UN might act prior to an actual armed attack”. Laskey said they did not visualize such situation arising but rather foresaw possibility of attack being met by one state, with UN then moving to support its act. He said chief difficulty in carrying out res was to maintain balance between in fact strengthening anti-Communist forces while at same time not appearing to turn UN into anti-Communist alliance. Lacoste spoke similarly. We discussed hypothetical situation in which second possibility might be useful and agreed to redraft para in order to make meaning more clear.

Laskey also questioned recommendation (j) on questionnaire. He thought this should be studied carefully since, again, it might lead to too much peace time military planning. We explained questionnaire would only be sent out after aggression had occurred.

Laskey and Tine were both concerned about possible creation of secretariat military staff, Tine raising question particularly on recommendation (e). We explained this would be “staff” in terms of “personnel” not “étât major”. Tine also inquired about CMC dealing with minimum strength of units and logistics arrangements. He thought these were too technical. We explained they were mentioned in connection with Korean procedures simply to point out range of difficulties involved.

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Lacoste and Laskey agreed to approach their Foreign Offices again with explanations we had made, to see if they would agree to appointment of military subcomite. We agreed tentatively to proceed in two weeks if Foreign Offices concurred. Tentative schedule would call for full CMC meeting to consider report of working group on panel of military experts, para 8 replies on earmarking forces, general plan for future work of CMC, and appointment of subcomite on military coordination. Neither Lacoste nor Laskey had thought about composition of military subcomite. On personal basis, we advanced suggestion of choosing two states from each present subcomite: France and Turkey, UK and Yugo, US and Philippines; plus Brazil as chairman. They said they would consider this.

  1. Document WGCMC D–16a, “Initial Steps for United Nations Coordination of Collective Measures Involving Use of Armed Forces,” June 4, 1951, is not printed.