476. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • UK—Foreign Secretary Owen
  • Deputy Under Secretary Hibbert
  • Mr. Ferguson, Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
  • France—Foreign Minister DeGuiringaud
  • Political Director DeLaboulaye
  • Mr. Andreani, Director for European Affairs, Foreign Ministry
  • FRG—Foreign Minister Genscher
  • State Secretary Van Well
  • Mr. Terfloth, Foreign Ministry Press Spokesman
  • Mr. Weber, Foreign Ministry Interpreter
  • US—Secretary of State Vance
  • Assistant to the President Brzezinski
  • Assistant Secretary Hartman
  • Mr. Hunter, NSC Staff
  • Mr. Dobbins (Notetaker)

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Special Session on Disarmament.]

The UN Special Session on Disarmament

Gencher felt that they should take very seriously and begin to prepare as soon as possible for the UN Special Session of Disarmament. There were elements of this meeting which the West could turn to its advantage. For instance, the West might wish to call attention to the fact that its ability to contribute to Third World economic development was limited by the arms burden imposed on it by the East.

Owen suggested that the preparations for CSCE, which went forward concurrently in NATO, EEC, and the Council of Europe, offered a model for preparation for the UN session. Gencher noted that there were a larger number of countries involved in the special session than in the CSCE. One must seek to avoid a polarized UNCTAD type situation. This was why this was an urgent question. Once opinion on these issues became formulated, it would be very difficult to exert any influence. Close cooperation with the U.S. was essential, which was why he raised the matter with the four power forum.

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Owen suggested that the four Political Directors might look into this matter and report to the Ministers. Vance thought this a good suggestion. If, he said, there were issues included which didn’t seem to fit in other forums, then they should consider dealing with them among the Four.

DeGuiringaud said that he was quite willing to have the Political Directors discuss the issue, although he was not sure that they would be able to agree on a common position. They might have common goals but different approaches. Owen said that for the moment, their task would be to look at the procedural questions of how they might eventually reach substantive agreement. It was agreed that the Political Directors would do a paper on preparations for the Special Session on Disarmament for Ministers’ consideration at their next meeting.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Special Session on Disarmament.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State—1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Box 10, NODIS Memcons, 1977. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place at 10 Downing Street. The memorandum is scheduled to be printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe.