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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1950. National security affairs; foreign economic policy

United States policy at the United Nations with respect to the regulation of armaments and collective security: the international control of atomic energy; regulation of conventional armaments; efforts to implement article 43 of the United Nations charter by placing armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council,   pp. 1-125 PDF (51.4 MB)

Page 3

  It seems to me that before we can move in any other direction than
our present one we must get an answer to the question of just what
the eventual possession of significant quantities of atomic weapons
by both the West and the Soviet Union adds up to. If we can get a
reasonably accurate answer to this question we can then tackle the
more difficult question of what we can do about it, or, in other words,
what we can do about the problem of the ;Sovie Union. Barring some
answer to the second question, we -may be effectively estopped from
doing anything regarding the first that would make any difference at
  Therefore, I agree with the point made on page 126 that if we do
not wish to see atomic weapons removed from national armaments
in the foreseeable future, barring such a basic change in Soviet atti-
tude as would be implied through acceptance of the U.N. plan, then our
existing position on international control is adequate. I would add,
however, that this position is also adequate if we do wish to remove
these weapons from national armaments. The assumption, also made on
page 12 6 of the S/P paper, that we can have international control
and prohibition of atomic weapons, even in the light of the existing
Soviet attitude, is, to my mind, completely unfounded.
   Until we get an answer to the question of what atomic weapons are
really worth, and in the light of this answer, determine what can be
done about the Soviet Union we should subject the S/P suggestions
to the following criteria:
1. Do they jeopardize U,.S. security?
   If they do, we would be remiss in our responsibilities in putting
 them forward. While -here may be some doubts expressed regarding
 the attitude of the military and the Congress regarding supporting
 the U.N. plan if the ;Soviets were to accept it, on balance, the chances
 of acceptance are good. That cannot be said :for any alternate scheme
 yet advanced, including the S/P suggestions. (Mr. Osborn.. has testi-
 fied in the past before the Joint lCommittee on Atomic Energy, and
 that body had a man on Mr. Osborn's staff during the writing of the
 Second and Third Reports.8 This Committee indicated its approval
 of the work being done.)
   6 See Kennan memorandum of January 20, p. 22.
   "Frederick H. Osborn, Deputy United States Representative to the
 Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
   "United Nations, Official Records of the Atomic Energy Commission,
 Year, Special Supplement, The Second Report of the Atomic Energy Commission
 to the Security Cowacil, .September 11, 1947 (hereafter cited as AEC, 2nd
 Special Suppl.); United Nations, OffIeial Records of the Atomic Energy Com-
 mission, Third Year, Special Supplement, The Third Report of the Atomic
 Commission to the Security Council, May 17, 1948 (hereafter cited as AEC,
 3rd yr., Special Suppl.), or Department of State Publication 3179 (July

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