341. Telegram 171873 From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations 1 2

Subj:

  • Soviet Proposed Item for UNGA on Non-use of Force and Non-use of Nuclear Weapons
1.
Septel reports call by Soviet Minister Counselor Vorontsov on Assistant Secretary De Palma in which Vorontsov asked USG support for subject item. Following is Dept’s unofficial translation of oral statement left by Vorontsov.
2.
Begin text:

For examination by the 27th session of the UN General Assembly the Soviet Union has raised the important and urgent question of “the non-use of force in international relations and the prohibition forever of the use of nuclear weapons.” (The text of the letter of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR to the Secretary General of the UN on this question is attached).

Under present conditions, the task of the United Nations is to consolidate achievements in the reduction of international tension and to carry out measures which would further the elimination of existing conflicts and the creation of conditions which would eliminate the outbreak of wars and armed conflicts between states.

[Page 2]

An effective means of achieving this goal is the consistant application by all states of the principle of the rejection of the use of force, which embraces all kinds of weapons, including nuclear weapons, which are the most destructive weapons of mass destruction.

The rejection of the use of force and the prohibition forever of the use of all kinds of weapons, both conventional, as well as nuclear, is the main idea of the new Soviet proposal. In the past, the General Assembly repeatedly took up the question on the non-use of force in international relations. The question on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons was placed separately before the UN. But it is quite obvious that the rejection of the use of force must include the prohibition of the use of all kinds of weapons—both conventional, as well as nuclear. Such an approach is dictated by the entire course of the development of post-war international relations. Our proposal that the prohibition of the use of nuclear and conventional weapons would constitute a single whole, meets the principle of equal security of states and the prevention of military advantages. Putting the question in this way, we think, meets the interests of all nations.

The Soviet Government intends to strive for the General Assembly, in the name of member states of the organization, to declare solemnly, in accordance with the UN Charter, their rejection of the use of force or the threat of its use in international relations, and the prohibition forever of the use of nuclear weapons, and also to recommend that the Security Council adopt an appropriate resolution as soon as possible, which will give this declaration of the General Assembly a binding force in accordance with Article 25 of the UN Charter.

The Soviet Government hopes that the Government of United States will give this information its serious consideration and will make its contribution to the resolution of the question on the rejection of the use of force and on the prohibition forever of the use of nuclear weapons. End text

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, DEF 18–6. Limited Official Use. Also sent to Moscow. Drafted by McIntyre (IO/UNP); cleared by Kadilis (EUR/SOV); and approved by Armitage (UNP).
  2. The telegram transmitted a Soviet verbal statement urging U.S. support for the Soviet proposal for a UN resolution rejecting of the use of force in international relations and forever prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons.