167. Memorandum From Michael Guhin and Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2
- CBW Resolutions at the UN
This gives you a brief status report on the state of play in New York on disarmament questions, with emphasis on the various CBW resolutions for which State has just sent guidance to our UN Mission. (The State cable is attached at Tab A.) We talked to State informally about these instructions to New York and said that we would let them know immediately if there seemed to be any problems with their UN tactics on CBW. We do not see any.
General debate on all disarmament items has been taking place the past two weeks in the First (Political) Committee and will conclude in the next couple of days. The remainder of this week should be taken up by negotiations among delegations on the texts of various resolutions, with voting commencing next week. In addition to CBW, the major item of interest will be the Seabeds Treaty (Hal Sonnenfeldt is following this—Canadian changes in the verification section have increased chances for General Assembly endorsement of the draft treaty but this may still be impossible in light of remaining problems and the December 16 GA adjournment). There are also various resolutions on other disarmament topics such as peaceful nuclear explosives, the SALT talks, enlargement of the Geneva Disarmament Committee (CCD) and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban. The operators (Hal Sonnenfeldt and Bob Behr) and I (Lord) have been following these items; State and USUN are taking the appropriate lines in New York. The overall U.S. objective is to center substantive disarmament matters in Geneva and protect the prerogatives of the CCD against inroads by the General Assembly.
Resolutions on CBW
The President’s CBW announcement and the NPT ratification have of course helped Ambassador Yost greatly in New York, with the stickiest problem still [Page 2]being the question of tear gas and herbicides under the Geneva Protocol. There are four main CBW proposals floating in New York. The attached cable guides Ambassador Yost as follows.
— Canadian Resolution. This is essentially a procedural resolution which would have the General Assembly refer all CBW proposals to the Geneva disarmament talks. This Canadian effort remains our preferred vehicle for heading off substantive resolutions and wrapping up the CBW debate at the UN.
— British CBW Convention. Per the President’s November 25 statement, we will associate ourselves with the principles and objectives of this convention while working in Geneva toward clarification of such problems as the conduct of biological research.
— Soviet Draft Resolution. This commends their own draft CBW convention which covers the waterfront and allows for no international verification. The Soviets seem intent on pressing this issue. We are telling them that their initiative is unfortunate; that the President has made clear our CBW positions; that the Soviet move hampers the efforts of the cochairmen in common handling of arms control matters in Geneva and New York; and that we hope they will not press for a vote. We are telling other delegations that we oppose the Soviet resolution and are asking for their help in preventing a vote and burying it in the Canadian omnibus resolution.
— Swedish Draft. This Swedish proposal, with co-sponsorship by nonaligned nations might give us the most difficult time. The resolution inter alia would put the General Assembly on record that the use of any chemical weapon, including tear gas and herbicides, is contrary to the generally accepted rules of international law. We hope to persuade the Swedes to withdraw their resolution or at least not press it to a vote—but they seem determined to move ahead and might well muster widespread support. In New York we are reaffirming our position on riot control agents and herbicides, pointing out that this will not be changed by a GA resolution, and saying that focusing CBW debate on this question is unconstructive and ill-timed after the President’s far reaching decisions.[Page 3]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 29, Agency Files, U.S.U.N. Vol. II, 1 Aug 69–31 Jan 70 [Part 3]. No classification marking. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it on December 3. A copy was sent to Behr and Sonnenfeldt. The attached telegram was drafted in IO/UNP; cleared in ACDA, L, and PM/ISP; approved in IO. It was sent for information to Geneva. ↩
- Guhin briefed Kissinger on the CBW resolutions at the UN. He then attached a Department of State telegram transmitting guidance to the U.S. Mission to the UN.↩