HickersonMurphyKey files, lot 58 D 33, “US–UK Talks—September 1952”

United States Informal Minutes of Meeting Between the United States and United Kingdom Groups (Fourth Session), Washington, September 24, 1952



  • united kingdom
  • Sir Christopher Steele
  • Sir Gladwyn Jebb
  • Sir John Martin
  • Mr. D. S. Laskey
  • Mr. William Mathieson
  • Mr. J. H. A. Watson
  • Mr. J. K. Thompson
  • Miss Barbara Salt
  • Mr. R. W. D. Fowler
  • Mr. Michael Butler
  • united states
  • Mr. John D. Hickerson
  • Ambassador Ernest Gross
  • Mr. Harding F. Bancroft
  • Mr. Jack B. Tate
  • Mr. Walworth Barbour
  • Mr. G. Hayden Raynor
  • Mr. David W. Wainhouse
  • Mr. Ward P. Allen
  • Mr. John D. Jernegan
  • Mr. James N. Hyde
  • Mr. D. L. Kennedy
  • Mr. David H. Popper
  • Mr. John Utter
  • Mr. Richard H. Davis
  • Mr. R. E. McBride
  • Mr. Howard Elting
  • Mr. Robert Robbins
  • Mr. Eric Stein
  • Mr. Louis Henkin
  • Mr. Warren Hewitt
  • Mr. James Fowler
  • Mr. Howard Meyers
  • Mr. Lawrence Weiler

The session convened at 10:10 a.m.

Mr. Hickerson expressed appreciation for the British decision to take the lead in meeting the Soviet hate-America campaign and suggested the US and UK exchange the information each had on the subject. Mr. Gross commented that we would have to work out a common line on the Geneva Protocol.

[Page 30]

part i. the un in the political and security field

D. The UN and the Cold War

Item 4. Utility of UN Organs as Propaganda Forums

Sir Gladwyn said the UK group had given further thought to the general bacteriological warfare question. If the Soviets avoid any charges and merely push a resolution on the Geneva Protocol, the West should estimate the GA situation at that time and if it appears a majority can be obtained, we should try to refer the resolution to the Disarmament Commission. If the voting situation appears doubtful, we should raise the question of the communist charges and, after emphasizing that the Protocol resolution was merely part of the Soviet propaganda campaign, should attempt to refer the resolution to the Commission.

Mr. Hickerson stated that the US probably will not raise the Katyn massacre question as a special item. This tentative decision, however, is subject to review by the Secretary and consultation with other delegations. Sir Gladwyn replied that the subject was “old stuff” as propaganda. Mr. Davis said the US would refer to the Oatis case1 in various speeches. Mr. Allen commented that a possible occasion for this sort of thing would be during the discussion of the Yugoslav item.

In a discussion of the question of violation of human rights by the Satellites, Mr. Gross expressed the view that we should not soft-pedal the subject of forced labor. Sir Gladwyn did not want it made a special issue. It was agreed that our joint efforts on this subject should not cut across the work of the Ad Hoc Commission on Forced Labor. Mr. Hickerson said we could not merely rely on the report of the Commission for our attacks for the report will not be good propaganda material. Mr. Davis added that the Soviets had been very sensitive on the subject of forced labor. Sir Gladwyn believed we should not raise the subject in a separate speech but rather should continue to needle the Soviets in various speeches not specifically devoted to forced labor.

Mr. Watson said the West should endeavor to get a suitable Commission report that can be used to quote from in broadcasts into the Satellites. In the GA, however, we will be aiming at the delegates, particularly those of the “neutral” countries. Therefore, we should gear our speeches to their reactions and if they object to a forceful attack, we should not play up the subject. Sir Gladwyn quickly added, however, that we must, of course, keep up the references to the conditions existing behind the Iron Curtain. Mr. Gross commented that while the forced labor question could be referred to in various committees [Page 31] and not treated as a special item, it should be considered as a major subject to be run in on various other items. It was agreed that the US and UK delegations should keep in close touch with each other on this subject during the GA.

Item 5. Selectivity in Determination of Problems To Be Regarded as East-West Issues

There was general agreement that a selective approach should be followed in determining issues to be treated primarily as East-West items. Such an approach would enable the West to preserve voting support on the most vital issues. Determination of such questions should be on an ad hoc basis following consultations among the Western delegates.

Item 6. Relations with “Neutrals” on East-West Issues

Mr. Hickerson outlined the US position which followed the general line that our paramount objective should be to build up the unity and strength of the free world and, therefore, effort should be made to avoid antagonizing the “neutrals” by undue emphasis in the UN on East-West issues. The US, however, is perhaps more impressed than the British with the urgency of mobilizing the broadest possible free world support against Soviet tyranny and aggression and is also inclined to assess more highly the usefulness of UN discussion of East-West issues. Furthermore, we might be somewhat less solicitous than the British of “neutral” reactions in deciding to press a specific issue possessing major East-West connotations. If the West is to get maximum support from the “neutrals” in dealing in East-West issues, we must as far as possible adopt a moderate and reasonable policy on “colonial” issues. The US program for the Seventh General Assembly is extremely moderate and should not arouse “neutral” suspicion or resentment. The only exception we now foresee concerns the Korean problem, which we think has reached a stage where additional measures against the aggressors must be considered. Sir Gladwyn concurred in the general line of the US approach and agreed that differences were those of emphasis and possibly in the approach to particular items. However, the UK believes that on “colonial” issues, there is not much value in “buying off” the “neutrals” with one concession after another.

[Here follows a brief and inconclusive discussion of the last item of Part I of the agenda, item 7, “Admission of New Members”. After item 7, the conferees proceeded to Part II of the agenda, “Nationalist and Racial Problems in General Assembly Political Committees”. Agenda Part III deals with items regarding colonial policy; see pages 1075 ff.

The United States-United Kingdom discussions ended on September 26.]

  1. American newsman William Oatis was arrested by Czechoslovak authorities in April 1951, tried and convicted of alleged espionage in July 1951, and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment He was released in May 1953.