449. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State1

Delga 454. Re: Outer Space.

1. Zorin (USSR) asked to see me this morning to give me “revised” Soviet draft resolution on outer space.2

2. He said it was now apparent that we would not reach agreement on mutually acceptable disarmament program on outer space and Soviet resolution therefore was confined to peaceful uses. He said he would introduce resolution this afternoon. Although he would have to say things in his speech about U.S. position which we would not like, he emphasized that last half of his speech would be “constructive”. I told him that I would of course have to answer anything he said.

3. Zorin said he had asked to see me and wanted me to have resolution first because cooperation in outer space could only be meaningful if U.S. and USSR were in agreement. However, since I was tied up with Senator Johnson, he did not wait and he saw Argentina, India, UK and UAR. Difference between Soviet resolution and U.S. resolution3 was that U.S. (20–power) draft called for a study to determine what UN might do, while Soviet draft called for decision in principle now to establish “International Committee” on outer space and for appointment of preparatory group to work out its program and rules of procedure. Soviet draft also listed functions which “International Committee” should have.

4. In response to my question he said approach USSR had in mind was substantially same as that in establishment of IAEA. Preparatory group would be appointed this year to work out plans for “International Committee”, and it would report to GA next year for final decisions. Committee would not become “operational” until after that time. In response to question whether he had specialized agency type organization in mind, he said this was something to be worked out by “preparatory group”. (Soviet draft implies they may have in mind giving committee status similar to IAEA.) However, Zorin did say committee should be more closely linked with UN than IAEA.

5. Zorin said that Soviet ideas on composition of preparatory group were: Big Four: 3 neutrals—India, Sweden and UAR; 3 members of “Socialist camp”—Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania; and

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one Latin American—Argentina. He stated this composition should not prejudge eventual composition of projected “International Committee”. (He put this composition in his revised text.)

6. I told him I thought this new resolution was interesting proposal and that nothing could please me more than to achieve agreement with USSR on issue of such importance to peace and welfare of mankind. We would study Soviet resolution carefully and immediately. We would consult with our cosponsors and we would see him again just as soon as we had a position.


1. Soviet resolution will be attractive to many GA members, especially because it shows apparent Soviet flexibility and willingness to participate in UN program on peaceful uses of outer space. It is being hailed by many as a Soviet retreat. Some accommodation therefore seems necessary.

2. I suggest we include in 20–power draft paragraph in which UN takes decision in principle now that there should be UN body sometime providing one means for international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space (i.e., the concept in paragraph 1 of Soviet draft), but that committee to be appointed forthcoming year otherwise retain character intended in our resolution and not be “preparatory commission”.

3. We should also incorporate such other aspects of Soviet draft in 20–power draft as we can with view toward obtaining Soviet concurrence, e.g., preambular reference to IGY research activities.

4. We should hold firm line on composition of committee against new Soviet “parity” approach. (Their proposed committee includes 4 Western Powers, 4 Communists, and 3 “neutrals”.)

Instructions requested urgently so that we can talk with Russians and cosponsors tomorrow.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 701.022/11–1858. Confidential.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 447.
  3. See footnote 3, supra.