450. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations 1

Gadel 126. Re Outer Space. Delga 453, 454, 455.2 Department views Soviet move as major effort to wrest initiative from US in field peaceful uses outer space. Fact that our initiative has forced Soviets to our view, i.e. that program of international cooperation this field should be separated from disarmament aspects is clear indication of political importance which Soviets attach to leadership in this field. It represents substantial gain for our approach to problem. It is also recognition strong UN interest this matter and Soviets probably wish avoid putting themselves in defensive position in which they were in 1953 when US made atoms for peace proposal.3 In light above therefore, Department agrees with your view that some accommodation to Soviet initiative necessary. Department believes Lodge statement of yesterday welcoming Soviet initiative provides basis for accommodation.4

1. We agree fully you should hold firm line against “parity” approach in Committee composition. We expect serious fight in GA on this aspect of issue.

2. We agree also that character of our Committee should be retained rather than concept of preparatory commission.

3. Main objective Soviet resolution appears be to get UN to take decision in principle that there should be UN body providing means for international cooperation in peaceful uses outer space. We are convinced that strong UN interest in this matter will manifest itself in future towards strong drive to set up appropriate organizational arrangements within UN framework. We believe we can meet this view without prejudging form of organizational arrangements by addition following preambular paragraph in 20–power resolution: “Considering that an important contribution can be made by the establishment of an appropriate international body within the UN framework for cooperation in the use of outer space for peaceful purposes”. Inclusion of [Page 873] above in preamble would not in our judgment constitute GA decision in principle and would not prejudge study of organizational arrangements recommended in operative paragraph 1c of 20–power resolution.

4. In order show added flexibility, you authorized add to preamble of 20–power resolution first two preambular paragraphs of new Soviet resolution (changing word “cosmic” to “outer”. Make same change elsewhere in resolution where appropriate.).

5. We believe it also important we take starch out of Soviet operative paragraph 3 without prejudging study. We believe this can be done by adding following after word “development” in operative paragraph lb of 20–power resolution: “taking into account the discussions in this committee and proposals made by various members.” FYI You should inform co-sponsors foregoing language is as far as we consider wise to go toward meeting the specific programs recommended in operative paragraph 3 Soviet resolution. We do not wish weigh views of Ad Hoc committee in favor specific proposals advanced by USSR in view problems they pose for us but find it difficult advance alternative suggestions. If, however, your discussions with co-sponsors reveal strong feeling we would suffer set-back if res fails include concrete suggestions and if strong pressure to do so exists you may as fall-back position accept following language after word “development” in par lb 20–power resolution: “, taking into account the following proposals among others: continuation on a permanent basis of the outer space research now being carried on within the framework of the international geophysical year; organization of mutual exchange and dissemination of information on outer space research; and coordination of national research programs for the study of outer space and rendering all possible assistance and help towards their realization.” End FYI.

6. You undoubtedly will wish concert as appropriate with UK and other co-sponsors. We agree with your recommendation that GADel talk directly to Soviets on this matter as soon as you in position do so. We do not believe it advantageous allow Indians get in middle.

7. In general we believe it important that US maintain control and carry forward momentum initiated in Lodge speech American Legion and Secretary’s general debate statement and carried forward by Lodge and Johnson speeches in Political Committee.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 701.022/11–1858. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Sisco; cleared by Farley, Wilcox, Becker, Kohler, Nunley, and Farinholt; and approved and signed by Herter.
  2. Regarding Delga 453, see footnote 2, Document 447. Delga 455, November 18, transmitted recommendations to be considered in responding to the Soviet resolution. (Department of State, Central Files, 701.022/11–1858)
  3. For text of President Eisenhower’s atoms for peace proposal, December 8, 1953, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, pp. 813–822.
  4. For text of Lodge’s statement on November 18, see Department of State Bulletin, December 15, 1958, pp. 980–981.
  5. Regarding Lodge’s speech, see Document 445; for text of Dulles’ general debate statement, September 18, see Department of State Bulletin, pp. 525–530; for Lodge’s statements on November 11 and 12 and Senator Johnson’s statement on November 17, see ibid., December 15, 1958, pp. 972–981.