297. Memorandum From Samuel Belk of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Soviet Memorandum to Japan on “Measures to Strengthen the Power of the UN for Securing International Peace and Security” (Unofficial Japanese Translation Attached)2

We have now received an unofficial translation of the Soviet note from the Japanese news media and, according to press reports, all other UN members will receive the same note. Governor Stevenson, who has returned early from Illinois, is scheduled to see Ambassador Fedorenko late this afternoon, when it is assumed the note will be delivered.

If the Japanese translation can be depended on—and I think it can—the Russians have made still another strong pitch for strengthening the Security Council. We, of course, want to do the same thing, but in a different way.

The Russian approach would take away the prerogative which the General Assembly gave itself in 1950 when faced with a Security Council deadlock on the matter of going into Korea. (At that time, the GA, under the “Uniting for Peace Resolution”, decided that there were two ways to by-pass the Council when faced with a deadlock because of the veto: 1. any problem could be sent to the Assembly by an affirmative vote of any seven members of the Security Council, and 2. the GA could, by a simple majority vote, decide to take up an issue at a special emergency session.) There is a strong argument that the Resolution violates Chapter VII of the Charter, which relegates peacekeeping to the Security Council, not to the General Assembly. The US, however, is in favor of retaining the Resolution because it provides the only escape hatch from a deadlocked Council. Our hope for strengthening the Council would come through our proposals for controlling financing through the Council (a weighted Finance Committee of Council members) and increased Soviet cooperation in the Council because of the make-up of the GA.

On the problem of financing, the note alludes only to the future, but at least the way is cleared for further discussions. Stevenson is going to probe [Page 641] Fedorenko on the matter of past financing when he sees him today.

The Peacekeeping Force proposed by the Russians would be under Security Council jurisdiction and, therefore, the use of such a force would be subject to the veto. This shouldn’t worry us very much. If we and our allies decide to put a peacekeeping force into a country we can do it just as we did in Lebanon and inform the Security Council that we have done it or that we are going to do it.

The tone of the note is reasonable and holds promise at least for extensive negotiations on matters that need much to be negotiated. There certainly will be more to be said when we get the official text with whatever remarks Fedorenko makes to Stevenson.

Sam Belk
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Miscellaneous Memos. No classification marking.
  2. Summarized in an attached but not printed July 10 memorandum from Read to Bundy. The translation was not found.