359. Memorandum of a Conversation, Palais des Nations, Geneva, November 12, 1955, 10:15 a.m.1

USDel/MC/30

PARTICIPANTS

  • Mr. Molotov
  • Mr. Gromyko
  • Mr. Troyanovsky
  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Merchant
  • Amb. Bohlen
  • Governor Stassen (later joined the meeting)

At his request Mr. Molotov called on the Secretary in his office at 10:15 this morning. Mr. Molotov said he had asked to see the Secretary in regard to their conversation yesterday as to the possibility of an agreed resolution on Point 2 of the agenda. The Soviet Delegation [Page 755]had drawn up a text which might serve as a basis for an agreed resolution in which they had tried to include provisions on which their points of view seemed to be close. Mr. Molotov said he had only the Russian text but an English translation would be forthcoming very soon. Troyanovsky then read a copy of the Soviet draft (a copy of which is attached).

The Secretary said he would have to study more closely the text when received in English but that from hearing it he felt there were some things in it that would not be acceptable but he would wish to examine it more carefully before deciding whether it could serve as a basis for resolution or not. He mentioned that as he heard it read it apparently involved the acceptance of the principle of the prohibition of atomic weapons which was not acceptable to the United States unless means of control and inspection which at present do not exist could be found. The best thing would be to get it translated and to study it. It would perhaps be preferable not to introduce it formally at the conference this morning but to have it studied privately. He added that of course if Mr. Molotov desired he had the right to introduce it. Molotov said he agreed and did not consider it necessary to introduce this paper at the session this morning. The Secretary inquired whether Mr. Molotov had any objection to his discussing it with the British and the French. Mr. Molotov said he had none and inquired what they would do at this morning’s session. The Secretary said he thought that they might meet and then recess for an hour or an hour and a half while the Soviet suggestion could be studied. If upon study there appeared to be a basis for an agreement it might perhaps be wiser to reassemble in restricted session. Mr. Molotov said he saw no objection to that procedure. The Secretary said he wished to point out, however, that if the Soviet Delegation could accept nothing less than a reaffirmation of the principle of total suppression of atomic weapons, the United States could not agree. Mr. Molotov replied that they had no reaffirmation of that in this paper but he felt that it would not be understood if there was no mention made of atomic weapons which after all was contained in the Directive from the Heads of Government. The Secretary said he had no objection to a reference to atomic weapons. In fact in regard to the non-use of atomic weapons there were similarities in the two drafts submitted yesterday [November 1O].2 The Western Powers state that the weapon could be used only in conformity with the UN Charter whereas the Soviet proposal on this point states that the weapon should not be used except with the approval of the Security Council. There was thus a similarity on this point. He did not wish to be understood, [Page 756]however, to mean that the United States would accept the right of veto on this question but there was similarity in recognition that for some time atomic weapons would exist and that under certain conditions could be used.

The Secretary said that as chairman today he would suggest that if no one wished to speak they would recess for an hour or an hour and a half.3

[Attachment]

4

Paper Prepared by the Soviet Delegation

DECISION OF THE MEETING OF THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE FOUR POWERS ON QUESTIONS OF DISARMAMENT

Guided by the desire to contribute to a lessening of international tension, strengthening of mutual confidence in relations between states and ending of the armaments race,

The Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France recognize the need to continue to seek agreements on a comprehensive program for disarmament which will promote international peace and security with the least diversion for armament of the world’s human and economic resources.

The Ministers note that on some important matters pertaining to the reduction of armaments and prohibition of atomic weapons the positions of the four powers have come considerably closer. This relates first of all to the limitation of the levels of the armed forces of the five powers—France, the United Kingdom, the U.S.A., China and the Soviet Union—and also to the procedure of implementing measures for the prohibition of atomic weapons and the need to institute effective international control. As for the matters on which agreement has not yet been achieved, the Ministers have agreed that the Four Powers together with the other states concerned shall direct their efforts to remove existing differences on these matters and thus [Page 757]to elaborate an acceptable system of disarmament, including strict control and inspection.

It has been agreed that the steps taken in the states concerned, for the study of methods of control over the implementation by states of their undertakings regarding the reduction of armaments and prohibition of atomic weapons shall be designed to facilitate the settlement of the disarmament problem.

Agreement has also been achieved on the need to devote to the peaceful economic development of nations, for raising their well-being, as well as for assistance to less developed countries, the material resources that would be released by agreements in the disarmament field.

The Ministers have agreed that it is necessary in this connection to consider first of all the following provisions:

a)
In the proposals of the USSR of May 10 and July 215 of this year on the reduction of armaments, the prohibition of atomic weapons and the elimination of the threat of a new war;
b)
In the proposal by the President of the United States of July 216 on aerial photography and exchange of military information;
c)
In the proposals by the Government of the United Kingdom on disarmament submitted on July 21 and August 29;7 and
d)
In the proposal by the Government of France on the financial control over disarmament and on the conversion of the resources thus released for peaceful purposes.8

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/11–1255. Secret. Drafted by Bohlen.
  2. For texts of the Soviet and Western proposals on disarmament, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 184–186 and 199–201, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 131–133.
  3. Dulles consulted with the British and French concerning the Soviet draft, and then met Molotov at the latter’s office at 11:40 a.m. to say that it was unacceptable in its present form. Dulles proposed that the three Western delegations draft a new paper for consideration of the Soviet Delegation. This procedure was approved by Molotov. (Memorandum of conversation, USDel/MC/31; Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/11–1555)
  4. Unofficial translation.
  5. For text of the Soviet proposal of May 10, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 110–121; for text of the July 21 proposal, see Document 252.
  6. See Document 221.
  7. For text of the July 21 proposal, see Document 254.
  8. For text of the French proposal of July 21, see Document 253; for text of this proposal as revised and submitted to the U.N. Disarmament Subcommittee on August 29, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 122–124.