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

Delga 429. Reference: Outer Space.

Kuznetsov came to see Lodge this noon. At outset he repeated USSR desired two resolutions. First would deal with international scientific conference; second with composition and terms reference of new committee. They reiterated Soviet desire to establish committee. Second resolution could be based on US text which was in principle acceptable except for references to 1958 ad hoc committee. Kuznetsov gave US revised text contained Delga 430.2
Lodge replied we could probably reach agreement easily on other points, provided we solved composition problem.
After short exchange in which Kuznetsov sought our views on composition first, he put forward Soviet proposal. He said USSR did not think committee should be “big”. Membership should be based on understanding “interested countries should be present” and there should not be any “discrimination”.
Thereafter Kuznetsov made two specific proposals. First would include US; UK; France; three additional countries “on recommendation of Western Powers”; UAR; India; USSR; five additional countries “on recommendation of socialist countries”. Second listed same countries but provided for four countries “on recommendation of Western Powers” and five3 members “on recommendation of socialist countries”.
Sobolev added “of course, if US were prepared to accept committee smaller than fourteen that would be agreeable”, and they would be glad to have our proposal.
Lodge saw problem in dropping off members of previous committee and thought UN reaction to Soviet proposals would therefore be bad. Both Sobolev and Kuznetsov immediately rejoined their proposals did not “drop” anybody. They were just disregarding previous committee which “after all had been established for one year badly [only?]”. In same way new committee proposed by USSR had two-year term, after which membership would be subject to revision.
Lodge suggested it might make better impression in UN if we began with last year’s list, to which we could add Romania and Bulgaria. Kuznetsov immediately said this “wouldn’t work” since it would mean “same discrimination in composition” as before. Sobolev[Page 898]stressed we were now talking about new committee since ad hoc committee’s term had been for one year only, there should be nothing embarrassing about considering entirely new body.
Lodge said although legally speaking Sobolev was correct, practically speaking this would mean cutting people out. He thought best way to proceed now was for him to put Soviet suggestions up to our group and obtain their views. He would ask them specifically how they would feel about being dropped from new committee.
At close of conversation Kuznetsov emphasized USSR was willing to cooperate and that its desire was to reach agreement.
We agreed meet again as soon as we had opportunity consult our group and obtain their views.
Department will note that Soviet proposals involve 6–6–2 and 7–7–2 proportions. We asked them directly whether “on recommendation of socialist countries” meant only countries allied with them, and Kuznetsov confirmed this interpretation. We believe this is first bargaining position. USSR probably aiming for agreement on so-called “soft parity”.
On Soviet initiative we agreed not to inform press of meeting. However, we said that, although we would urge our group not to leak any information to press, we feared something might come out after we met with them.4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320.5701/11–1459. Confidential.
  2. Dated November 14. (Ibid.)
  3. On November 16, Lodge cabled that the number five should be changed to six. (Delga 435; ibid.)
  4. On November 16, Lodge met with the 12 other country representatives who had participated in the ad hoc committee. In the discussion, a consensus emerged in favor of expanding the committee and there was complete agreement that parity was “totally unacceptable.” (Delga 446 from USUN, November 16; ibid., 320.5701/11–1659)