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

Delga 480. Re Outer Space.

1. Following first meeting with cosponsors (Delga 4792) we gave revised text3 to Zorin (USSR). Lodge explained we had made major effort to include important elements of Soviet text. He emphasized particularly inclusion of penultimate preambular paragraph. He also pointed out addition to paragraph 1 (b) as representing effort to include Soviet proposals specifically within work of committee.

2. Zorin requested translator to go over entire text in Russian. After commenting he would wish to give text careful and detailed study, he added at first glance it looked as if text could serve as basis for further discussions. Zorin said it appeared to have omitted certain vital elements in Soviet proposal. He noted particularly absence of specific reference to way in which work of ad hoc committee would be carried on, both in substance and in method of development. Soviet draft included substantive paragraph giving direction in which body should develop. Lack of this was “shortcoming” which should be corrected. He urged us to add three specific tasks Soviet text gave committee. While he recognized our desire to reflect principal points of both drafts, he felt this had produced too long and repetitive preamble. We asked whether he had any specific suggestions. Zorin thought third preambular paragraph referring to “present national rivalries” might create advance impression of an existing unhealthy conflict, which was not true, and which it would be most undesirable to reflect in unanimous resolution.

3. Zorin noted absence of reference to composition of committee and inquired whether this meant we accepted Soviet slate. Lodge immediately said, as Zorin undoubtedly already recognized, we could never accept parity. We felt criteria of technical capacity and representative character should be followed. Zorin explained USSR proceeded from fact U.S. and USSR, as only two countries actively carrying forward programs in outer space, constituted “two sides”, which [Page 875] should have equal representation. In addition Soviet slate included several neutral countries from different parts of world so that general composition of committee would embrace principal areas of world.

Lodge said although he could not accept concept of parity even in disarmament field, it was at least understandable why USSR thought it applicable in that area. On other hand, it was not pertinent in field of outer space where need was to bring best brains together to insure exploration of this new field for benefit of humanity. This made “two sides” concept totally irrelevant. He added that Zorin’s own objections to reference to national rivalries in third preambular paragraph applied equally to parity approach. U.S. had in mind 9–member committee with following composition: France, UK, U.S., USSR, 1 LA, 1 Afro-Asian, and 3 from WE and old and new Commonwealth. Zorin said if we insisted on this slate, there could be no committee. Zorin repeated his idea of “two sides” stemmed from fact Soviet Union and U.S. were only countries practically exploring outer space. This gave both basis on which to resolve question of composition and organization of future work of any body to study outer space.

Lodge repeated that no power struggle or national rivalries were involved. U.S. did not wish to see question of outer space develop in this direction. We therefore should not seek establish new international body on basis two rival groups trying to outvote each other. Zorin replied we were establishing interstate committee rather than scientific body. Ultimately new international organization would be established in which question of relations between states would be of importance. On such body Soviet Union should occupy definite place along with countries linked with it. U.S. had same right. Zorin observed that during consideration of establishment of IAEA U.S. had proposed list of countries and told USSR if it wished it could join or agency could be established without USSR. In this case USSR had proposed its slate not only to U.S. but to UN as whole and “was willing to listen to reasonable remarks and proposals as well”. He emphasized that outer space committee could be established only with mutual consent of U.S. and USSR or otherwise there would be no cooperation.

Lodge pointed out that during six years he had served at UN never once had three EE countries included in Soviet slate voted differently from USSR, whereas there was not one single country which had voted consistently with U.S. Zorin rejoined U.S. was “playing democracy” in these questions and when it was necessary on matter U.S. regarded as important, it had complete unity with its close allies. He asserted such complete support from its allies was “quite natural” and had “nothing shameful about it” since close allies should act in common. Lodge rejoined UK, France and Israel had invaded Egypt, although they knew we strongly opposed this.

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Lodge reminded Zorin radiation and peaceful uses committees were not constituted on parity basis. Zorin’s response was these two bodies had scientific representatives, whereas projected space committee was interstate committee. As far as USSR could see, its future work would have great political importance. He insisted USSR not interested in dominating group but merely interested in maintaining “usual rights”. We did not pursue composition beyond this point.

4. Zorin said again he would give test careful study and be in touch with us as soon as his views were formulated. We told him we hoped arrange adjournment of First Committee to Friday afternoon in order permit completion negotiations on resolution. He agreed this procedure reasonable and satisfactory.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320.11/11–2058. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Delga 479, November 20, reported that, at a cosponsors’ meeting during the morning of November 20, revisions were made in the U.S. draft incorporating some of the points from the Soviet draft. The telegram also reported that after Lodge met with Zorin, he again consulted with the cosponsors who agreed to further changes in the preamble and the operative paragraphs, but all of the cosponsors remained firm on the composition issue. (Ibid.)
  3. Not found.
  4. At another meeting with Zorin at noon on November 21, Zorin stated that agreement on the text of the resolution could be reached only after the composition issue had been resolved. A lengthy discussion followed in which neither side conceded any ground. (Delga 492 from USUN, November 21; Department of State, Central Files, 320.11/11–2158) Following the meeting with Zorin, the cosponsors met three times to discuss the composition of the committee. (Delga 493 from USUN, November 21; ibid.)