452. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations1

Gadel 138. Re Outer Space (Degal 4992). If USSR announces it refuses participate in ad hoc committee as constituted 20 power res, you should, nevertheless, proceed on basis 20 power res.

Dept believes overriding consideration this regard is not what ad hoc committee can accomplish if Soviets do not participate but, rather, that UN shall not be frustrated if USSR demands on representation question not met. Dept fears if UN does not proceed on basis envisaged in 20 power res because of Soviet obstruction, impression will inevitably be given that USSR has, in effect, veto power over UN[Page 877]action in outer space activities. We consider withdrawal of proposal for ad hoc committee in favor formula such as suggested in Delga 499 would be regarded as capitulation to Soviets.

Moreover, we consider it would be most unfortunate for US give any appearance of backing down after strong initiative taken in this field by Secretary, Lodge, and Johnson.

Dept believes USSR very vulnerable on issue “parity” re outer space problems and fully concurs with argumentation you have been using against this concept. We consider Soviets have picked particularly bad time and issue to insist on parity and believe they are on defensive.

Finally, Dept questions whether USSR will boycott outer space committee. We consider it possible that as with IAEA, after initially balking, USSR may decide in own best interest to participate.

As to utility of study without Soviets, you may wish to make point that while ad hoc committee’s study would probably be better with Soviet participation and cooperation, this not essential precondition. Number of committee members, in addition to US, in position to make worthwhile contributions so that study would undoubtedly contribute to progress in field.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320.11/11–2158. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Buffum; cleared with Breithut and Nunley; and approved by Wilcox who signed for Herter.
  2. Delga 499, November 21, speculated that the Soviet Union might not serve on the ad hoc committee proposed in the U.S. resolution and requested instructions on the U.S. position if this happened. (Ibid.)