68. Telegram 1241 to USUN, November 141

[Facsimile Page 1]

Re disarmament, USUN 1574. We are of course fully aware pressures we will face on forum issue in forthcoming GA discussion. Our position in dealing with this matter is weakened by fact that UK, Canadians and Italians are prepared to settle for 5–5–3, that Assembly as a whole is unlikely to endorse any solution which is unacceptable to Sovs since they see principal issue as being to secure earliest resumption of disarmament negotiations, and believe forum question involves only picayune procedural considerations. Difficulties are increased by fact Sovs are aware of these factors.

However we believe issues of principle involved are of great importance, and that our memorandum to Sovs July 29 setting forth four alternative forum proposals gives us strong position which we may not have fully exploited. We do not at all need to be defensive about this position or to fall in with idea that considerations are only procedural.

Furthermore, change in France’s position and its support ten plus ten or DC as forum (USUN 1592) most important [Facsimile Page 2] factor not to be overlooked. Now that France has moved toward our position, we should avoid developments that would re-open breach which has haunted us for months.

From standpoint of expeditious conduct of serious disarmament negotiations, there was no reason for Sovs to refuse continuation of negotiations in 5-power subcommittee in 1957. Addition of such satellites as Bulgaria and Romania has added nothing to wisdom, realism or technical competence of negotiating group. Sov objective in insisting upon establishment 10-nation group was purely and simply one of establishing principle and precedent of NATO-Warsaw parity. Sovs sought in making this change to make our opposition to what was in reality significant issue of political principle and precedent appear as merely petty numbers game on part of West, which was thereby impeding return to disarmament negotiations.

Now once again, for reasons unrelated to utility 10-nation forum for disarmament negotiations, Sovs are seeking to establish new significant and highly unfavorable political principles and precedents by further alteration composition. While privately admitting neutrals will not contribute anything to disarmament (USUN 1578), they attempting capitalize on their willingness add neutrals per se [Facsimile Page 3] and are seeking [Typeset Page 194] additional victory to one they won in establishment of principle of NATO-Warsaw parity. They now seek to extend parity between Warsaw (8 states) and NATO (15 states) to new principle of parity between Sov bloc (11 states) and states participating in any type of military alliance with US (over 40 states). They would do this by displacing principle of geographic representation in UN bodies and replacing it with Sov concept of a 3-bloc troika world. SOV tactic once again is to characterize Western opposition to these far-reaching objectives of principle and precedent as mere Western rigidity in refusing to accept a minor alteration in the disarmament forum in order to get on with negotiations.

Believe, accordingly, that Western tactic should be to treat and debate forum question as matter of principle, while at same time pointing out US position of four alternate forums is in fact strong both on grounds principle and practicality, and range of proposals offered can be shown meet every legitimate Sov concern both re equality and re inclusion neutral states.

In order strengthen US position and underline principle geographic representation US should be prepared, if US-proposed [Facsimile Page 4] additions prove unacceptable, register our willingness accept procedure whereby GA (or DC) would elect 10 countries to be added to 10-nation group on geographic basis, namely, 3 LA’s, 3 Asian, 3 African and Middle East, and 1 non-NATO, non-Warsaw European.

In approaching problem of forum four US alternatives of July 29 can be used to disprove any impression we are opposed to broadening participation or to inclusion neutral element in negotiations which Sovs will try to make point of issue. We should, moreover, enlist assistance in debate of countries such as Argentina, Japan, Pakistan and others who should be made to realize that acceptance of principle embodied in 5–5–3 or 5–5–5, apart from innate undesirability as further step towards institutionalization of troika in UN, in effect penalizes countries participating in voluntary military alliance with US by ruling out opportunity for them to take part in disarmament talks: this would be step creating precedent of far-reaching significance. The so-called neutral states should be made to realize that under the 5–5–3 proposal the 11 contiguous Sov-bloc states are given greater representation than 50 widely dispersed non-aligned states.

Strong defense and firm stand on these positions probably will throw disarmament issue into full Disarmament Commission, [Facsimile Page 5] our 4th alternative, since neither Sovs nor French probably prepared in long run refuse to participate in this body. We recognize may be some negative reaction since full DC will be regarded primarily as forum for propaganda exploitation and impracticable for conduct of serious negotiations. We should combat this attitude by pointing out that even [Typeset Page 195] present 10-Nation forum also unwieldy and mainly used as platform for formal speech-making. While same conditions would exist in Disarmament Commission, it would provide umbrella for informal bilateral and quadrilateral negotiations and contacts, which, as past experience demonstrates, is way in which progress, if there is to be any, is made in any case. DC could set up subcommittees, as deemed desirable, for specific functional purposes, and entire machinery of UN could be brought into disarmament negotiation process in meaningful way.

In light of above you should submit as soon as possible, and if feasible before US opening speech on disarmament, US draft res containing Part A as in Deptel 913 and Part B communicated Deptel 566 as amended Deptel 1139. Do not believe Allies can object to our putting forward US position to which they agreed during bilaterals. French of course have indicated (USUN 1599) they would support Part A only if submitted together with Part B. Believe this procedure would put us in favorable [Facsimile Page 6] tactical position since it would focus debate on our proposal and open way, if necessary, for later shift toward procedure suggested above for electing additional 10 members. Before submitting draft res you should contact reps countries listed in our draft, except members Ten-Nation Committee, and inform them our intention table draft. In approaching them you should recall fact draft contains US proposal of which their govts informed during bilaterals and to which no objection voiced at that time. At your discretion you may omit approaching those countries that appear on both US and USSR lists.

  1. Western strategy for countering Soviet tactics at U.N. Confidential. 6 pp. Department of State, Central Files, 600.0012/11–961.