Memorandum by William Sanders to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson)1

  • Subject:
  • Your meeting with the Panel of Consultants on Disarmament, May 6.

You may wish to brief the Consultants at the meeting tomorrow on developments since your last meeting with them on April 28.2

The following items might be covered:

There has been no meeting of the Disarmament Commission during this period.
The British have informally submitted to our UN Delegation their initial reactions to the US proposals for disclosure and verification.3 They have characterized our proposals as being much more extensive than the UK had anticipated, and they welcome the US proposals as effectively countering one of the main Soviet themes to the effect that disclosure was to proceed by such slow stages that nothing substantial would ever be revealed. The UK would prefer that there be eight stages, with the early disclosures involving less sensitive matters so that verification would be correspondingly easier. Specifically, the UK dislikes the introduction of aerial surveys in the first stage of disclosure and verification. The UK also believes that disclosure should be related as closely as possible to concrete proposals for reduction of armed forces and armaments.
On May 2, at a meeting of the Canadian, French, UK and US Delegations, Ambassador Cohen referred to our difficulties with the French and UK comments and suggested that it was premature to propose publicly changes in the US plan for disclosure and verification until there was some sign of real interest on the part of the Soviet Delegation. He believed that, when the time came, we should be able to agree among ourselves on a satisfactory number of stages, but that to put forward publicly now widely differing points of view would provide the Soviets with a propaganda advantage. The British agreed with this point of view. Since Mr. Moch was not present the French Delegation’s attitude was not declared. [Page 915] We know that Mr. Moch favors fewer stages and that he links prohibition of atomic weapons and reduction of armaments to the system of disclosure and verification rather than to the system of controls.
You may wish to bring the Panel up-to-date on the revision of the working paper on “Numerical Limitation of Armed Forces” (RAC (NS)D–4).4
On May 3, the UK gave our Mission comments on the US draft paper on reduction of armed forces, agreeing with the initial limitation of forces to 1,500,000 but suggesting a formula utilizing one-fourth of one percent of the population of non-self-governing territories and one percent of the population of metropolitan territories. The British believe that dependent areas should be separated from metropolitan areas in making calculations, so that emphasis can be placed upon maintaining law and order and protecting inhabitants of dependent areas, without over-emphasizing interest in overseas territories and without giving the advantage to Western powers which would be received by lumping together dependent and metropolitan populations.

  1. Drafted by Howard Meyers of UNP. Sanders was Special Assistant and Planning Adviser to Assistant Secretary Hickerson.
  2. For the minutes of the meeting of Apr. 28, see p. 901.
  3. Reference is to the U.S. proposals contained in UN doc. DC/C.2/1, Apr. 5; for text, see Documents on Disarmament, 1945–1959, vol. i. 346–356.
  4. The draft working paper under reference, dated Apr. 30, is not printed. (Disarmament files, lot 58 D 133, “RAC (NS) Documents”)