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December 2, 1946

Cable Nos. 512-515, Molotov to Druzhkov [Stalin]

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)


Top Secret


3rd UNIT




Spets. Nº Nº 512-515


Today the text of the US delegation’s proposal on the question of arms reduction submitted on 30 November was sent [in] Nº 509-511.


We consider it possible to accept the American draft as a basis and to propose some changes to this draft from our side.


Our proposals come down to the following:


First. Give point two of the American draft in the following wording:


“As a substantive step on the path to achieving the immediate goal of excluding atomic weapons and all other main types of armaments suitable for mass destruction from national armaments the General Assembly urgently recommends that the commission on atomic energy rapidly fulfill its tasks as they were presented in section 5 of the General Assembly’s 24 January 1946 resolution. Consequently, in order to ensure a situation in which general regulation and arms reduction will address the main kinds of weapons of modern war, and not just secondary types of weapons, the General Assembly recommends that the Security Council expedite consideration of the report which the commission on atomic energy will submit to the Security Council by 31 December 1946, and facilitate the successful progress of the work of this commission, and also for the Security Council to expedite consideration of the draft convention on the prohibition of atomic weapons”.


The text of this point was drawn up this way:


a) the exact text of the first phrase of the second point of the Australian resolution on this same question was taken Instead of the first phrase of the American draft;


b) the second phrase of the American draft has been changed such that the words “in order for the Security Council to begin first with consideration of the report” have been replaced by the words, “so that the Security Council facilitate consideration of the report” and, in addition, the following words have been added at the end of the second point, “and also that the Security Council expedite consideration of the draft convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons”.


We think that such a wording of the second point, which is the most important for us, might be accepted by us, although it does not completely reflect what was said in the second point of our draft.


Second. We consider it necessary to add our proposal about the creation of two control commissions to the third point of the American draft. As a last resort we consider it possible to not insist on this addition.


Third. Point one of the American draft proceeds from the position that a reduction of armaments should occur “according to international treaties and agreements’, that is, by the conclusion of international conventions, and not through Security Council resolutions. We consider it possible to agree with this.


Fourth. The American draft uses the term “general regulation and arms reduction”, which is closer to the terminology of the Charter, but not to our terms “general reduction of armaments”. We consider the American terminology acceptable.


Fifth. We consider it necessary to submit one addendum to the American draft, namely the following:


“The General Assembly recognizes it necessary for all member countries of the United Nations to submit information about all their armed forces and armaments; however, this information should be submitted when the Security Council is considering proposals about a general reduction of armaments”.


If such a point is adopted by the Assembly it would overturn the decision of the first committee about submitting information by 1 January 1947 about troops located inside a country.


However, and without the adoption of this addendum of ours, we consider it possible to vote for the American draft if our proposal about the second point of the American draft is accepted.


Sixth. The American draft about arms reduction received the follow interpretation in today’s (1 December) newspapers (for example, Kenneth Bilby, correspondent of the newspaper New York Herald Tribune):


“There is complete agreement with Russia that the Security Council, which consists of 11 members, is the proper tool to work out practical measures about disarmament. This also means recognition of the right of any of the great powers to use a veto when working out this program. But the right of veto should be eliminated when this program is adopted in the form of international treaties or agreements.


In fact, if an agreement is adopted then the countries which have signed it, both great and small, will be obligated to observe it, and the Security Council will no longer have the right to speak about the observance of the agreement.


This is the main thing in the American proposal”.


On the basis of a number of facts, including the speeches of some delegates in the first committee, we think that the “Herald Tribune” newspaper correctly interprets the position of the American government on this question; however, this interpretation is acceptable to us. This means that when working out a convention about armaments reduction we can use the right of veto, that is, not to sign a convention unacceptable to us. However, when the convention is signed (if such a convention becomes a fact at all) then when employing the convention not one country will use the right of veto any more, but should observe the convention precisely. When this is done we believe that we will not have a need to stipulate a right of veto in the convention since only such articles should be in it with the use of which we (like others) have agreed and without the right to use the veto.


Seventh. If the ideas expressed above are correct then we will make an attempt to come to agreement with the Americans before the formal submission of our proposals in the first committee in order to turn the American draft into a joint Soviet-American proposal.


Please approve these proposal or give other instructions. Nº 721/sh


1 December    MOLOTOV


New York


Authenticated: [illegible signature] (Kozlov)


2 December 1946




An outline of the Soviet Union's proposed changes to the USA's draft proposal for arms reduction (submitted to the UN).

Document Information


RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 103, ll. 0082-0084. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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