342. Telegram 172239 From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations1 2


  • Soviet Proposed Item for UNGA on Non-use of Force and Non-use of Nuclear Weapons
Soviet Minister Counselor Vorontsov called on Assistant Secretary De Palma 19 September to draw Department’s attention to Sov proposed item for UNGA on non-use of force and non-use of nuclear weapons. He left text of oral statement urging USG support. We will transmit memo following translation. Vorontsov said Sov Govt leaving similar memoranda with a number of other govts.
Vorontsov said that adoption by UNGA of a res on non use of force and permanent prohibition of use of nuclear weapons would contribute to the strengthening of international security and prevention of armed conflicts. Renunciation must include prohibition of use of all types of weapons, both conventional and nuclear. Vorontsov added that while Sovs have not yet stated so publicly they do intend to seek to make renunciation of use of force binding through SC action under Article XXV of the UN Charter.
De Palma responded that we would want to study Soviet proposal in detail but offered personal observation that proposal added nothing to UN Charter or to a number of UN reses involving renunciation of use of force. Cited [Page 2] declarations on friendly relations and strengthening international security as most recent examples containing such provisions. Said he saw serious drawbacks in efforts to restate Charter language in reses. Although he could see some possible advantages to reminding members of Charter obligations from time to time, if the wording varies at all from Charter language then it tends to detract from Charter.
De Palma expressed particular concern about the exception introduced by Gromyko in his explanation of the new item for the UNGA to effect that people of “oppressed colonial countries”, among others, can legitimately carry on a struggle against “aggression for the elimination of its consequences, for their freedom and independence and for their legitimate interests, using all available means in that struggle”. Said this created enormous loophole which would be dangerous and subject to misuse. He noted also that by failing to mention threat of use of force, Soviet proposal does not even go so far as UN Charter in renouncing force and this was also dangerous. De Palma said he would be particularly concerned if Sovs were to press for SC action in relation to their item, since this would likely result in acrimonious dispute in SC and could in fact thereby harm effectiveness of SC.
  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 Armitage (UNP), Kadilis (EUR/SOV), and in substance by Martin (PM/DCA); and approved by De Palma (IO).
  2. The telegram reported on Soviet Minister Counselor Vorontsov’s discussion with Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs De Palma of the Soviet proposal for a UN resolution on the non-use of force and prohibition of nuclear weapons.