406. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1
2820. Talk with Kuznetsov (USSR). At suggestion of the Secretary who thought it might be useful, I had a private and rather prolonged discussion of approximately one and one half hours with Deputy FM Kuznetsov at the Soviet mission this morning.
- After the usual pleasantries and exchange of courtesies, Kuznetsov opened the conversation by making a strong plea that we withdraw our support for the Canadian res on peacekeeping.2 He said that his govt would regard the adoption of a res of this type as constituting a renewal of the difficulties which arose between our two countries during the Article 19 dispute. He reiterated familiar Soviet arguments that the Charter required agreement between the permanent members at the Security Council level on peacekeeping operations and argued at considerable length that the Canadian proposal was not based upon a sound interpretation of the Charter.
- I told him in friendly but in categoric terms that our govt completely rejected his arguments. I pointed out that the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion had sustained our interpretation of the Charter in the Article 19 dispute, and that we had gone as far as we were prepared to go in not seeking the applications of the Charter’s provisions against the Soviet Union, France and other defaulters. I further said that we still maintained our position in principle concerning the Article 19 matter but that this was not the current issue in the Canadian res. On the contrary, the Canadian res sought merely to repair the damage done by the Soviet and French unwillingness to give genuine support to the necessary peacekeeping activities of the UN. I emphasized that even where our interests are parallel, as in the India-Pakistan dispute of last year, the Soviets had insisted in the Security Council upon a position which would have paralyzed Secretary General’s necessary efforts to maintain the fragile peace which the SC by resolution had brought about. I said that we would persist in our support of the Canadian res but that we were perfectly willing, following its adoption, to pursue a constructive dialogue with the Soviet Union and with France, if the dialogue would lead to a concert of opinion in support of genuine peacekeeping activities by the UN.
Kuznetsov, in reply, asked whether this could not be done by sidetracking the res and by referring the matter again to the Committee of 33. I in turn pointed out our experience in last round involving Committee 33 which had led us to conclusion that Soviets were not genuinely interested in viable peacekeeping and were only proposing the reference to Committee of 33 as a burial ground for genuine peacekeeping.
Comment: Canadians have told us Kuznetsov made a similar pitch to Paul Martin and Martin replied in terms similar to mine.
I then raised question of our problems in completing space treaty due to the French belated proposals.3 I repeated to Kuznetsov in great detail objections which I had made to these proposals in our meeting between US and Soviet delegations earlier in the day. Since these have been separately and fully reported, I shall not repeat these arguments here. Kuznetsov listened very intently but finally commented that they thought virtue of having French as a signatory to treaty more than compensated for difficulties which I described. I in turn said that I was convinced that French would be a signatory to the treaty without their views being specifically mentioned in the res if both US and Soviets were to indicate undesirability of France pressing its position at this late hour.
Comment: It seems perfectly clear that Soviets wish to maintain posture of accepting French proposals to put onus on US of rejecting them.
- At conclusion of space discussion we then turned to question of non-proliferation negotiations. Kuznetsov said that he thought good progress was being made and that currently they were awaiting a reply from US concerning the most recent discussions.
Finally, I asked Kuznetsov how long he intended to stay and he stated that in all probability he would stay throughout the rest of the General Assembly.
Comment: As indicated above, the meeting was very cordial in tone and when I was leaving, Kuznetsov in particular asked me to remember him most cordially to the Secretary.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 5. Secret; Limdis.↩
- Reference is to a seven-power resolution introduced by Canada and adopted on December 14; for text, see UN doc. A/SPC/L.130.↩
- Incorporated during the drafting of UN General Assembly Resolutions 2221 (XXI) and 2222 (XXI), both December 19.↩