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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

Letter from President Eisenhower to Premier Bulganin, on Germany, European security, and disarmament, January 12, 1958,   pp. 228-236 PDF (3.9 MB)

Page 230

best it can * * * means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to
Now the Soviet Union is no longer weak or confronted by powerful
aggressive forces. The vast Sino-Soviet bloc embraces nearly one
billion people and large resources. Such a bloc would of course be
dominant in the world were the free world nations to be disunited.
It is natural that any who want to impose their system on the
world should prefer that those outside that system should be weak
and divided. But that expansionist policy cannot be sanctified by
protestations of peace.
Of course the United States would greatly prefer it if collective
security could be obtained on a universal basis through the United
This was the hope when in 1945 our two governments and others
signed the Charter of the United Nations, conferring upon its Security
Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international
peace and security. Also, by that Charter we agreed to make available
to the Security Council armed forces, assistance and facilities so that
the Council could maintain and restore international peace and
The Soviet Union has persistently prevented the establishment of
such a universal collective security system and has, by its use of the
veto-now 82 times-made the Security Council undependable as a
protector of the peace.
The possibility that the Security Council might become undepend-
able was feared at the San Francisco Conference on World Organiza-
tion, and accordingly the Charter recognized that, in addition to
reliance on the Security Council, the nations possessed and might exer-
cise an inherent right of collective self-defense. It has therefore been
found not only desirable but necessary, if the free nations are to be
secure and safe, to concert their defensive measures.
I can and do give you, Mr. Chairman, two solemn and categorical
(1) Never will the United States lend its support to any ag-
gressive action by any collective defense organization or any
member thereof;
(2) Always will the United States be ready to move toward
the development of effective United Nations collective security
measures in replacement of rigional collective defense measures.
I turn now to consider your specific proposals.
I am compelled to conclude after the most careful study of your
proposals that they seem to be unfortunately inexact or incomplete
in their meaning and inadequate as a program for productive negotia-
tions for peace.
You first seem to assume that the obligations of the charter are non-
existent and that the voice of the United Nations is nothing that we
need to heed.
You suggest that we should agree to respect the independence of
the countries of the Near and Middle East and renounce the use
of force in the settlement of questions relating to the Near and
Middle East. But by the Charter of the United Nations we have

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