Memorandum by the Deputy United States Representative at the United Nations (Gross) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Sandifer)


Subject: Discussions with Malik and Zinchenko1

For “straw collectors division”, following summary of talks with Malik and Zinchenko may be of interest.

After Security Council Dinner, February 27,2 I found Malik in talkative mood. After giving him message from Dulles3 (reported by phone to latter 28 February), Malik smilingly commented that he and Dulles were on “two different paths.” When I asked what he meant, he replied, “Only one of us is taking the path to peace.” I said this was an unfair comment, and that our course of action, both within and outside the UN, was based on the conviction that a peaceful solution of all issues could be found if Soviet policies were changed so as to eliminate fear of her intentions. Malik said that only the Soviet Union had cause to fear, and that we were using fear as an excuse. We talked about “defense”, but through history his country had always been attacked by people who insisted they were “defending themselves.” Napoleon marched on Moscow, saying he was defending France, and Hitler attacked his country for “self-defense.”

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At this time Jebb4 and Lacoste5 joined us. The latter, who heard Malik’s comment concerning Napoleon and Hitler, said he could not believe the Russians really feared that armies were preparing to march against the Soviet Union.

Malik replied, “No, not marching.” But American officials were talking every day about dropping bombs on Moscow and many Senators made speeches saying we should attack the Soviet Union. No one heard any Soviet official talk about marching against Detroit or Chicago, or bombing American cities. Lacoste said this was true, but there was a fear in Western European countries that the large armies the Soviet Union had maintained might be used against them.

This precipitated a long, somewhat dialectical, argument by Malik that people were lying about the size of the Soviet armies. He repeated Stalin’s6 thesis that it was impossible for the Soviet Union to have a large military establishment because of her use of manpower to rebuild cities and factories which Hitlerite armies had destroyed. Malik brushed off attempts by Lacoste to develop the point that it was a fact that fear of Soviet intentions was widespread.

I brought the discussion around to the UN by saying that many people were “misinterpreting” Stalin’s Pravda interview to mean that the Soviet Union was considering leaving the UN. I thought this was seriously affecting the prestige of the Soviet Union in the UN, and that it might be desirable for the Soviet Government to correct these “misinterpretations.”

As I anticipated, the unexpected direct mention of Stalin caused Malik to consider his reply quite deliberately. He thought for a moment and then said that what we had done during this Assembly was making the UN a different kind of organization than had been agreed upon at San Francisco.7 The General Assembly was not a substitute for the Security Council. We knew we could always rely on the “twenty and ten” votes in the Assembly. (Obvious reference to the Latin Americans and the Atlantic Pact countries.) Any additional necessary votes could be found by using pressure. We had “our rope around the necks of many countries” and that was how we managed to get Trygve Lie8 elected again. He had been told this by one Delegate who was “not a friend of the Soviet Union”, but who admitted to Malik that his Government had voted for Lie “because the [Page 459] US had tightened the rope.”9 Malik accompanied this comment with a gesture at his throat.

Jebb, who had been silent up to this moment, said it was “obvious the UK could not succeed unless the Four Powers agreed among themselves.” When Malik failed to reply to this comment, Jebb repeated it. I commented that the UN might help to bring about such agreement eventually.

Malik, who appeared determined to concentrate on the US, said that the US was trying to keep the peace by pointing a pistol at the Soviet Union. He referred to a recent editorial he had read in the New York Times which was entitled “Shotgun Wedding”. The US insisted on a “shotgun wedding.”

We were afraid of a business depression and wanted a large arms program. We also thought we could intimidate the Soviet Union with our atom bombs and air force.10

I said I had frequently observed that Soviet representatives in discussing these matters refused to accept the facts, and the facts were clear that, as Lacoste had said, there was great fear of the Soviet Union. It was this fear which accounted for the decision of the rest of the world to make itself so strong that it could not be attacked.

Malik replied this was exactly the theory expressed by Secretary Acheson a year ago. The Secretary talked about “situations of strength”.11 This was only an excuse to bring pressure, and that was what was causing tension.

The conversation ended more or less on this note. Malik was as intransigent as I have ever heard him, but was not grim. At frequent intervals he smiled, or put his hand on my arm in a friendly fashion. He gave me the impression of pointedly confining his remarks to the US and, while not rude to Jebb or Lacoste, paid little or no attention to their comments.

Later in the evening, I approached Zinchenko, to compare his attitude with that of Malik.

I tried the same heavy-handed approach of saying that Stalin’s Pravda interview was being “wrongly interpreted” by many as indicating that the Soviet Union intended to leave the UN. It seemed to me this was doing the Soviet Union more harm than it was doing the UN.

Without hesitation, Zinchenko replied that Stalin meant no such thing. The significant thing to notice, said Zinchenko, was that whereas [Page 460] before Stalin had referred to the UN as a useful “instrument of peace”, a great deal had happened since then. Decisions had been made “by a certain majority” which “did not always take into account the interests of the minority.” But this was not at all the same thing as saying; the Soviet Union would leave the UN.

(At this point I left Zinchenko to join Jebb for a discussion with. Rau12 on Kashmir, separately reported).

On March 1, after the Security Council meeting, I found Malik in the Delegates’ Lounge, and in passing remarked I had just been told his Government had agreed to a meeting of the Deputies in Paris.13 He took hold of my arm and said he had heard that the Americans “were going to the meeting without any enthusiasm” and wanted to know if this were true.

I replied I could not imagine where he had heard this, since we hoped that the meeting would be useful. He said he had just heard from a reporter that Gromyko would head the Soviet Delegation and asked who would represent the US. I told him I believed Jessup14 would be our Deputy. I said it seemed obvious to me the Soviet Union had it within its power to make the conference a success because it had created the causes of tension in Europe and could remove them by changing its policies.

Malik asked what I meant by “causes of tension”, adding the “cause of tension is Germany.” I said that the notes which we had sent to his Government set out the problems quite clearly. He repeated that Germany is the “real problem”, and said somewhat sarcastically that we talked about the Austrian question, “as if Austria and Germany had the same importance.”

I said I was without authority to discuss the matter, but, speaking personally, it seemed clear there are many causes of tension in Europe and they could not be ignored as if they did not exist. The military establishments in Eastern Europe are an obvious example.

Malik said that he could only “judge facts as he knew them.” The US had 100,000 troops in Germany and another 100,000 in England and other places in Europe. This is “not consistent with peaceful intentions.” I asked whether he seriously believed that US troops in Europe were there as part of an aggressive plan against the Soviet Union. I added that it was disturbing to hear him talk as if he expected such absurd conclusions to be taken seriously. In reply, he repeated much of what he had said in our previous conversation, [Page 461] reported above, about American industrialists fearing depression, “warmongering” by political leaders, etc.

I said I thought it was almost a tragic thing that he appeared to be unable or unwilling to believe the simple truth—We had demobilized after the war, we much preferred to make things our people could use in their daily lives, we had been driven reluctantly to set up a large military budget in order to be strong enough to defend ourselves. He asked me to explain the word “reluctantly”, which he did not understand. When I did so, he replied with some warmth, “What can we do to convince you that we do not want war and that we do not want to conquer the world?” I said I thought they could demonstrate this most clearly by their actions, both at the meetings of Ministers and after.

  1. Y. A. Malik, Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union at the United Nations, and Constantin E. Zinchenko, United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Security Council Affairs.
  2. The Security Council is organized to function continuously, but it had had only two meetings in 1951 as of this date (January 31, February 21). The Fifth Regular Session of the General Assembly was still in session, but the only main Committee of the fifth session that met in 1951 was the First Committee (Political and Security Questions); the Committee had been active in January in addressing itself to the Korean question and matters concerning China; documentation on these questions is found in volume vii .

    On February 21 and throughout the months of March and April the Security Council was seized of the India–Pakistan dispute (the Kashmir question); for documentation on this subject, see volume vi, Part 2, pp. 1699 ff. Thereafter the Council was seized of the complaint of the failure by the Iranian Government to comply with provisional measures indicated by the International Court of Justice in the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company case; for documentation on this matter, see volume v .

  3. John Foster Dulles, Consultant to the Secretary of State (for negotiation of the Japanese peace treaty).
  4. Sir H. M. Gladwyn Jebb, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations.
  5. Francis Lacoste, Deputy Representative of France to the United Nations.
  6. Iosif Vissarionovieh Stalin, Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, and Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
  7. For documentation on the United Nations Conference on International Organization held at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. i, pp. 1 ff.
  8. Trygve Lie was Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  9. For documentation relating to the question of the Secretary-Generalship in 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. ii, pp. 87 ff.
  10. For documentation regarding United States national security policy, see vol. i, pp. 1 ff.
  11. For documentation regarding United States policy in 1950 to increase the effectiveness of the United Nations to meet aggression, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. ii, pp. 303 ff.
  12. Sir Benegal N. Rau, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, and at this time President of the Security Council.
  13. For documentation regarding the discussions looking toward a resumption of the meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see volume iii .
  14. Philip C. Jessup, Ambassador at Large.