IO Files

United States Delegation Working Paper


Subject: New Soviet item, on Mutual Security Act

This memorandum is intended to summarize briefly the main points concerning the Kersten amendment in the MSA and the line which the US will take in Committee I in replying to the Soviet charges.


1. The MSA authorizes appropriations totaling about 7.5 billion dollars for the fiscal year 1952, the purpose of which is to support and strengthen the security of the free world.

2. The assistance provided by the MSA will go to a number of countries, including a large amount for the countries participating in NATO.

3. The Kersten amendment, which became Section 101(a), authorizes the appropriation of “not to exceed $100,000,000 … for any selected persons who are residing in or escapees from the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, or the Communist-dominated or Communist-occupied areas of Germany or Austria, and any other countries absorbed by the Soviet Union either to form such persons into elements of the military forces supporting the NATO or for other purposes, when it is … determined by the President that such assistance will contribute to the defense of the NA area and to the security of the US”.

Line to be taken by US in Committee

1. The US denies flatly the Soviet charges.

2. The authorization of the $100,000,000 in the Kersten amendment is permissive, as shown by the legislative history of the MSA, and is not mandatory upon the President.

3. The Soviet complaint relates to the mere enactment of legislation, and not to any concrete action taken under the legislation. The true meaning and character of the legislation in question is to be determined from the action taken under it.

4. Prior to action under the Kersten amendment, the meaning of that amendment can be judged by reference to its context and to the purposes of the amendment as disclosed in the legislative history. The context of the Kersten amendment is the whole of the MSA. The purposes of the Act are stated to be “to maintain the security and promote the foreign policy and provide for the general welfare of the US by furnishing assistance to friendly nations in the interests of international peace and security,” and “to strengthen the individual [Page 484]and collective defenses of the free world; to develop their resources in the interests of their security and independence and the national interest of the US; and to facilitate the effective participation of those countries in the UN system for collective security”. The history of the Kersten amendment shows that it was intended to apply to persons who have escaped from behind the Iron Curtain, or who may in the future so escape, after they have come over to this side.

5. Present conditions behind the Iron Curtain make it clear why inhabitants of the Eastern European countries desire to escape and come over to the free world.

6. The Roosevelt-Litvinov agreement, cited by the USSR in its complaint, was violated from the beginning by the Soviet Union, which itself has consistently engaged in interference in the affairs of other countries and more recently in open aggression.

7. The US is confident that the GA will reject quickly and decisively the groundless charges contained in the new Soviet item so that the UN can return to its great constructive tasks in the field of disarmament, raised living standards, extension of human rights to all peoples, and the establishment of a firm peace based on justice and tolerance and mutual understanding.

8. Whether or not the USSR introduces a resolution or resolutions under its item concerning the MSA, we do not believe any counterproposals or substitute resolutions by the Western powers are called for or desirable.