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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 32

FOREIOM-( 1.Al~~fT019,t N~144)-9 , OIUME I
  The iUbjet of limitation of cnvoenitional weapons i confusd and
obsure, due (a) to the high deree6 o Uunreality which has marked
the postures assnumnd by both Soviet and ,Aierican Governments in,
the past, (b) to the tremendous dispairity -and lack of ,:mnlpability
in the armed establishments of the two powerS, () t0 -th ei repec-
tive systems 6f military alliancesand commitments and (d) to the
staggering uncertainties surrounding the possibilities for. verificAtion
and en forcemen of any agreements along this line. The evolution of
U.S. policy on regulation of conventional armaments, in particular,
has been perfunctory and haphazard, and has left us with no clear
governmental psition wnhat we think might be possible and de-
sirable and worth trying to achieve.
  A study of tht problem of international control of at omi energy
is not the framework in which to develop policy re-o=mendations
about disarmament in conventional weapons. Yet there are certain
appreciations on this subject which may usefully be borne in mind
if the problem of atomic control is to fall into proper perspective.
These are the following:
  1. There6 are imporbant differences in the problem of disarmament,
as between atomic and conventional weapons,-to wit:
       (a) Prohibition of the atomic weapons would have certain
    special advantages beyond those 'which would be obtained by dis-
    armament in conventional weapons.These advantages correspond
    to the special drawbackskof the weapon: the horror which itholds
    for civilian populations; its capacity for causing nervousness,
    insecurity and a war psychosis; the difficulty of placing its de-
    velopment into a proper relationship to other measures of defense
    and foreign policy; and its tendency to influence national policy
    as well asintlletuM life in unfortunate ways. While all distinc-
    tions in armaments, from the.moral as well as the- political stand'
    point, are ones- of degree, who can say that, for this reason they
    tare less importnt It cannot therefore be argued ,that atomic
    disarmament is aiiogical absurdity unless accompanied by cn-
    ventional disarmament.
       (b)  -tesricions onthe atomic weapon are easier to enforce than
    measures of disatmament relating to conventional weapons and
    forces. The raw materials for atomic weapon production 'are few
    and relatively scarce. The facilities and processes .necessary for
    its production are ones peculiar to this purpose and not needed,
    as things stand today,, for any normal peacetime purpose. The
    installations are costly, cumbersome, difiult to conceal, and
    delicate to operate. Conventional armaments, on-the other hand,
    involve innumerable productive process, many of which are par
    and parcel of a tnormal peacetie economy, as well as a ggreat
    multiplicity of insllationsandconcentrations of men, weapon
    failities and-m       ,.ateril.

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