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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959: background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Report by Secretary of State Dulles on the Geneva foreign ministers meeting, November 18, 1955,   pp. 178-185 PDF (3.4 MB)

Page 181

the United Nations Disarmament Subcommittee. But the Foreign
Ministers were directed to help if they could.
Both sides showed an eager desire to bring about limitation of
armament. We want this both as an aid to peace and to permit
economic resources to be devoted in greater measure to the benefit
of mankind. But the Western nations are unwilling to agree to dis-
arm unless we can be sure that both sides are carrying out the agree-
ment. That is why we insist that disarmament be effectively super-
vised and controlled.
Three times in this century the United States experience has shown
that one-sided weakness in disarmament does not in fact preserve
peace. The United States does not intend now to risk its very exist-
ence upon promises which may not be kept.
The United States is, however, second to none in its desire for
safeguarded reduction of armaments. It was to make that more
possible that President Eisenhower, at the Summit Conference, pro-
posed to the Soviet Union an exchange of blueprints of military es-
tablishments, and then aerial inspection to verify the blueprints and
thereby improve the atmosphere by dispelling the fear of aggressive
intentions on either side. That concept of President Eisenhower
was rejected by the Soviets, although they did recognize for the first
time that aerial inspection had a proper place in a control system.
But the Soviet Union does not attach the importance which we do
to inspection and control. It continued to urge agreements, even
though there was no way to check adequately whether these agree-
ments were being fulfilled.
So our discussion of disarmament was inconclusive. We left fur-
ther development of the subject to the United Nations Subcommittee
on Disarmament.
It seems that the Soviet Government feels as yet unable to allow
inspection and control which, if it is adequate, would open up their
society, which is still largely based on secretiveness. So the Soviet
Union, while wanting the immense benefits that could come from
reduction of armament, is not willing to submit itself to the safe-
guards which would make this possible.
-         ~~~III
The third and final item of our Agenda was the development of
contacts between the East and the West. The Western Powers put
forward 17 proposals of a concrete nature. Many of these would have
involved the freer exchange of ideas, information, and news. All
such proposals the Soviet Delegation rejected. It was willing to have
contacts which would enable it to garner technical knowhow from
other countries. It was willing to send and receive persons under con-
ditions which it could closely control. But it reacted violently against
anything that smacked of the elimination of barriers to a freer
exchange of ideas. It abhorred the introduction into the Soviet bloc
of thoughts which might be contrary to the official doctrine of the
Soviet Communist Party.
So we reached no agreement on this topic.
The reason again is clear. We believe that human contacts are
designed, not to serve governmental purposes, but to enable the mem-
bers of the human family to have the understanding and knowledge
40109  159  -13

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