85. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Political Committee Issues in General Assembly

In response to a suggestion of Mr. Winston Lord, the agenda items to be taken up in the First (Political) Committee of the General Assembly are listed below, together with an estimation of the dates between which they will be discussed and a brief assessment of the problems which they pose for the United States.

1. Soviet Omnibus Item on Strengthening International Security (October 10–24)

This is mainly a propaganda item in which the USSR is seeking to have the Assembly endorse Soviet formulations on a wide range of issues. It seems generally to be recognized as such by the General Assembly membership. We will attempt to dispose of the Soviet proposal in some way which avoids a vote at this Assembly session. No important policy questions are likely to arise.

2. Korean Invitation Item (October 27–28)

The issue is whether to invite both North and South Korea unconditionally to attend the substantive debate on the UN’s role in Korea, or to condition the invitation to North Korea on Pyongyang’s acceptance of UN jurisdiction in the question. We expect that, as in the past, our proposal for a conditional invitation will be adopted.

3. Seabeds Item (October 29–November 7)

We will endeavor to have the Committee, following a general discussion of the various issues involved in the Seabeds question (except arms limitation), refer the problem to the Seabeds Committee for further study. We expect no major issues to arise.

4. Korean Substantive Item (November 11–12)

We expect that the Committee will, as in the past, adopt the resolution which we favor reaffirming the UN’s role and presence in South Korea, and defeat resolutions calling for the withdrawal of UN forces [Page 139] and for the dissolution of the UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea.

5. Disarmament Items (November 12–December 12)

There are two Agenda items on disarmament questions:

a catchall which includes the report of the Conference of the Geneva Committee on Disarmament (CCD) and certain standard arms control issues such as comprehensive test ban, as well as problems related to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy arising out of the NPT; and
a special item on chemical and biological warfare.

The order in which these will be taken up is not yet agreed. This complex of issues will be the most difficult Committee I question for the US. The principal focus in the general disarmament item will be on the draft Seabeds Arms Control Treaty which will be submitted, whether entirely agreed as yet or not, in the report of the CCD. Here, as elsewhere in discussions under these items, there will be some criticism of the US and USSR for not proceeding with nuclear disarmament and for what some nations consider to be highhanded tactics in pressuring other forms of arms control through the CCD and the Assembly. There may be attempts to amend the Seabeds Treaty, and depending on the state of completion of the draft we will hope either to get Assembly endorsement of an acceptable draft or to have the issues referred back to the CCD.

The most troublesome problem is likely to be CBW. Particularly if our domestic policy review is not completed, or if completed does not satisfy the hopes of foreign governments for a cutback in these weapons, we may have to deal with far-going draft resolutions prohibiting the use of CBW, including tear gas and herbicides. Tactics in New York will have to be coordinated with the policy formulation process in Washington. We hope to have the various proposals regarding CBW referred back to the CCD for study.

6. Outer Space Item (December 15–16)

The principal substantive issue is the completion of the convention on liability for damage resulting from the launching of objects into outer space, which has been under negotiation for several years and may well not be ready for Assembly approval at this session. We also plan to introduce some specific proposals regarding resource survey satellites in following up the President’s General Assembly speech. Neither subject will confront us with any major difficulty.

Robert L. Brown 2
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. According to an attached memorandum from Winston Lord, the memorandum was transmitted to Kissinger on October 24.
  2. Brown signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typed signature.