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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 9

   1. I agree that our present plan for the international control of
atomic energy will never produce such control. I believe this because
neither the Russians nor we would accept this plan. Our formal posi-
tion of support and acceptance, realistically considered, is a colossal
political gamble on our part.
  2. One of the difficulties about the development of policy on atomic
energy control is that it has fallen into the hands of experts who
pretend to be talking technique when in fact they are talking politics.
I have not been able to find a technical explanation of why the safe-
guards and controls of the present majority plan have to be what they
are. When questioned, the technical people immediately wander off
into politics.
  3. I agree that the forum for further discussions of atomic energy
control must somehow be changed and am inclined to agree that it
needs treatment at a more senior governmental level. I see very serious
objections to new bilateral discussions between ourselves and Russia
on atomic energy control, unless such discussions resulted from con-
sultation with and agreement by the United Kingdom, France and
Canada. Otherwise, U.S.-Soviet discussions would have a most serious
and demoralizing effect upon our common front. I doubt that these
other countries would permit us to represent them in any way. The
question may boil down, therefore, to whether we should have five or
six of the Foreign Ministers discuss the question further.
  4. Since our present plan has no prospect of producing international
control, our present choice is between (1) no control and competition
at whatever pace we can stand and (2) some other arrangement differ-
ing in important respects from our present plan. Therefore, I am
inclined to urge most careful exploration of every possible modus
vivendi which might give us time to go into the matter more fully.
  5. I agree that the fundamental question for us is that posed at the
bottom of page 21.- I have a view on it but I do not believe that my
view is relevant to the procedure by which we get a governmental
decision on the question.
  6. 1 agree that we should have an NSC clarification on the use of
atomic weapons. An over-all strategic study which is now before the
NSC staff may provide a vehicle for obtaining such clarification.
  7. I think the "healthy instinct" of the public will probably
that the risks of an imperfect system of international control will be
smaller than the risks of no agreement at all-but I believe we should
look at this one with extreme care since it is the kind of proposition
on which we could easily go wrong.
   Reference is presumably to that portion of Kennan's argument contained
the second paragraph of Part III of the memorandum of January 20, p. 29.

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