320/9–551: Circular airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions 1


As already indicated in Circular Airgram of June 27, 8:45 a.m., the Department hopes to consult widely in advance with other UN Members concerning the major issues which will arise at the Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly, scheduled to convene in Paris on November 6. The US Mission to the UN has already initiated such discussions in general terms with a number of Delegations in New York. Consultations on questions relating to trusteeship and non-self -governing territories are being held separately, some in Washington, some in the field; for this reason these questions are not dealt with in this message.

As a preliminary step to the discussion of our detailed positions on individual subjects which will be set forth in subsequent circulars, you are now requested to discuss with the Foreign Office at as high a level as practicable, general prospects for the Assembly, making such use of the following material as you consider desirable in setting forth [Page 17]US views. In your discussions you will, of course, wish to indicate that these views are tentative and subject to change in emphasis and substance in the light of any major developments which occur between now and the opening of the Assembly. For example, the Soviet maneuvers at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference may cause us to alter our program in certain respects. (For your information, the following material is not intended as a summary of the entire US program; additional elements are under consideration and you will be sent any additional information in this connection as soon as decisions are made.)

1. Role of the GA in the Present Situation

This GA session promises to be unusually important. It will be essential to consolidate the gains made by the UN in Korea, and those made by the free world generally in developing its ability to resist aggression. Having inspired and guided the international Cominform policies which led to the present situation, the USSR is now exerting its efforts in a world-wide peace campaign. This campaign, which will presumably come to a climax in the Assembly, is intended to prevent the growing strength and unity of the free world from reaching full realization. With no basic change in objectives, strategy or position, the Soviet method of procedure is to demand adherence by all to a set of slogans or catchwords ostensibly directed toward peace, disarmament, peaceful coexistence, etc., with the implication that those refusing to accept these generalizations at face value are warmongers reactionaries, imperialists, etc. The purpose of these tactics is to sow disunity among governments and peoples; to the extent that they succeed, the task of building up the defensive strength of the free world is hampered.

The task of moving forward toward the realization of UN and free world objectives does not, at this point, appear to require further major changes or adjustments in UN machinery. The steps already taken by the GA to develop the UN structure and adapt it to current realities are essential and sound. For our part, we will plan to devote our major energies to consolidating and perfecting the existing arrangements.

2. Major Questions in the GA

A. Korea

In view of the uncertainty as to an armistice it is difficult to foresee precisely what action will be required at the sixth Assembly session on the Korean question. If there is no armistice the GA will undoubtedly be asked to consider further measures against the aggressors. If an armistice is concluded we would expect the sixth GA (if such action has not already been taken by the present Assembly session), as a minimum, to take note of the armistice and to reaffirm UN objectives for Korea. It will be necessary for the sixth session to [Page 18]review the question of appropriate UN machinery in Korea. In addition, the Assembly will discuss the problem of rehabilitation, reconstruction and relief in Korea. It will be necessary in this connection for delegations to give increased support to the Korean reconstruction fund.

B. Work of the Collective Measures Committee

The Uniting for Peace resolution adopted by the last GA was designed to embody in UN practice the lessons learned in the Korean operation and to further the development of an effective collective security system. The report of the CMC will, we believe, embody a genuine advance in this field, and will, of course, be fully discussed. The essential aim at the sixth session with respect to this item should be to consolidate the gains of the Uniting for Peace program by appropriate action, including continuance of the CMC in order that it may complete the formative phase of the work assigned to it by the GA.

C. Economic and Social Problems

Adequate emphasis should be given to the varied problems of human welfare, and to the review of the continuing work of the UN on these problems, in the Second (Economic and Financial) and Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committees.

In the economic field the general US objective may be simply described as an expanding world economy; most of the economic problems before the sixth session have a bearing on this objective. One of these problems is that of land reform. The UN is serving as a clearing house for information and a source of encouragement for this movement. The report of the Economic and Social Council on this project should warrant special attention in the Second Committee.

In the social field in the Third Committee our general objective is to further the freedom and well-being of the individual. Our proposed positions on many of the individual items in the economic and social fields will be dealt with in later communications.

D. Financial and Administrative Questions

There should in our view be no undue increase in the regular UN budget (i.e., the total budget figure should be in the neighborhood of 40 million dollars), and, within the amount voted, there should be greater concentration on activities of real priority and urgency. Our detailed views on the matter of the budget and other administrative and financial problems which will be considered in the Fifth Committee will be dealt with in subsequent messages.

3. Possible Soviet Themes

The main Soviet propaganda lines in the GA may include:

Proposals for a Five-Power Pact. A recent variant of this well-worn propaganda proposal would open the pact—once it was concluded among the Five Powers—to all other Members of the UN.
Proposals concerning “peaceful coexistence”.
Intimations that the Soviet Union may permit some cultural and personal interchange with other countries.
Soviet “disarmament” proposals.
Attacks on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

For the most part these are routine themes that have been played repeatedly at previous GA sessions. On those occasions the whole free world joined in exposing them as a fraud, and in declaring its own condemnation of the Soviet offenses against peaceful behavior, in the GA resolutions on “Essentials of Peace” and “Peace Through Deeds”. Judged by the standard of these resolutions, Cominform policy is no more peaceful today than it was then, and any sudden protestations of peace should continue to be measured with a skepticism based on the record. For its part the US expects to analyze such proposals strictly on their merits, in the light of well-known and continuing facts of which we shall remind the GA.

We would appreciate the views of other governments as to the nature of probable Soviet proposals and tactics which would be most effective in placing them in proper perspective.

4. Length of Session

The recommendations for improving the methods and procedures of the Assembly, approved in 1949, contemplated sessions of 8 to 10 weeks as most desirable, and sessions have usually been completed in about 12 weeks. Because of the international crisis, it has been necessary for the Fifth Assembly to remain formally in session all this year. While the United States has strongly supported the continuance of the Fifth Session, we believe that this situation should be considered as exceptional.

It should, in our opinion, be possible to complete the essential work of the Sixth Session within the normal time. In view of the greatly increased expense of holding the session in Paris and the budget stringency in many countries, including the US, we assume that all delegations will wish to cooperate in holding the session to the mini mum practicable length.

  1. Sent to USUN and 52 diplomatic missions for action; sent to Moscow, Praha, Warsaw, Saigon, Pusan, and Tokyo for information only.