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confronted by virtually the same deadlock that stultified its initial discussions. The Commission concluded that
“The failure to achieve agreement on the international control of atomic energy arises from a situation that is beyond the competence of this Commission. In this situation the Commission concludes that no useful purpose can be served by carrying on negotiations at the Commission level.
“The Commission, therefore, recommends that until such time as the General Assembly finds that this situation no longer exists, or until such time as the sponsors of the General Assembly Resolution of 24 January 1946, who are the permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission, find, through prior consultation, that there exists a basis for agreement on the international control of atomic energy, negotiations in the Atomic Energy Commission be suspended."
The Commission recommended that its three reports be transmitted to the next regular session of the General Assembly “as a matter of special concern".
Nine of the eleven members of the Commission, including the United States, approved these conclusions and recommendations.
Security Council Consideration of Three Reports
On June 22, 1948, the Security Council voted upon a resolution introduced by the United States which would have approved the plan of the Atomic Energy Commission embodied in the First and Second Reports and the recommendations, notably for suspension of the AEC work, of the Third Report. The resolution also directed the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly and the Member nations the three reports of the AEC, together with the record of the Security Council's approval thereof. Although nine members of the Security Council voted in favor of this resolution, it was vetoed by the Soviet Union. Following this vote, a Canadian resolution simply calling for a transmittal of the reports of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission to the General Assembly as a matter of special concern was adopted by a vote of nine in favor, with two abstentions (the Soviet Union and the Ukraine). General Assembly Consideration of Atomic Energy
Control The Secretary of State, in addressing the plenary session of the General Assembly on September 23, 1948, called for the "early adoption of an international system for the control of atomic energy, providing for the elimination of atomic weapons from national armaments, for the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only, and for safeguards to insure compliance by all nations with the necessary international measures of control.”
The international control of atomic energy was the first item considered by the Political and Security Committee of the General Assembly. At the first meeting of the Committee, on September 30, 1948, the Canadian Delegation introduced a resolution similar to that which had received majority support in the Security Council on June 22. The question was actively considered by the First Committee, or by a subcommittee of the First Committee, from September 30 to October 20, 1948, with the committee holding 15 meetings and the subcommittee 8 meetings.
In the debate in the Political and Security Committee, Warren R. Austin, the United States Representative, pointed out that, from the day on which the first bomb was dropped, the United States had moved with speed to get international control of atomic energy in order to eliminate the menace of atomic warfare. Moreover, the offer of the United States to submit its atomic-energy resources and facilities to an effective system of international control still stands. Only through an international system of control with effective enforceable safeguards can long-term security be insured. This is why the United States is anxious for control. Ambassador Austin stated that this is a policy of the people of the United States as evidenced by actions of the Congress. The majority of members of the UNAEC agree, he said, that the international agency must own all nuclear fuel and must own, operate, and manage all atomic facilities which might endanger international security. Failure in the UNAEC to make swift progress was not due to lack of effort by the large majority of UNAEC members, but rather to Soviet Union insistence on placing its sovereignty ahead of the security and survival of all. The impasse in the UNAEC could be broken only if the overwhelming majority of the General Assembly supported the majority plan and thus aroused world opinion, which in turn would focus attention on the necessity for a new spirit of cooperation among all nations.
In the committee meetings the Soviet Union was reckless in its denunciation of the majority plan of control. It then introduced a resolution stating that the activities of the Atomic Energy Commission had “not so far yielded positive results” and recommended that the Atomic Energy Commission “prepare a draft convention for the prohibition of atomic weapons and a draft convention on the establishment of effective international control over atomic energy, both the convention on the prohibition of atomic weapons and the convention on the estab
lishment of international control over atomic energy to be signed and brought into operation simultaneously.”
The principal arguments of the Soviet Union against the Atomic Energy Commission's plan appeared to the majority to be without foundation. The Soviets claimed that the plan does not provide for the prohibition of atomic weapons. The plan clearly provides for prohibition in explicit terms as an integral part of the treaty establishing international control. The Soviets claimed that the United Nations plan would create a giant monopoly controlled by the United States. There is nothing in the plan to justify such a claim. On the contrary the plan provides for the establishment of an international control agency in which the United States would have but one vote and no veto. The Soviet Union claimed that acceptance of the plan would be a derogation of its sovereignty. This is true but is inherent in the solution of the problem. The Third Report of the Commission states, “In the face of the realities of the problem it [the Commission] sees no alternative to the voluntary sharing by nations of their sovereignty in this field to the extent required by its proposals.”
The General Assembly found no evidence that the Soviet Union was prepared to accept any effective international controls. The Soviet resolution was defeated by the General Assembly in the Committee and subsequently in plenary session on November 4, 1948. Six votes were cast in favor, forty against, and there were five abstentions.
The Canadian resolution, which had been supported by the United States, was considerably modified as a result of the strong feeling of a number of the smaller nations that somehow the Atomic Energy Commission must be reconvened. On October 20, 1948, the Committee approved a resolution by 41 to 6 (10 abstentions) recommending that the General Assembly approve the Aec plan “as constituting the necessary basis for establishing an effective system of international control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes and for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons in accordance with the terms of reference of the Atomic Energy Commission.” The Assembly would also express “its deep concern at the impasse which has been reached in the work of the Atomic Energy Commission as shown in its third report" and would regret that unanimous agreement had not yet been reached. According to the resolution approved by the Committee, the Assembly “requests the six sponsors, of the General Assembly resolution of 24 January 1946, who are the permanent members of the Atomic Energy Commission, to meet together and consult in order to determine if there exists a basis for agreement on the international control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes and for the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons, and to report to the General Assembly the results of their consultation not later than its next regular session.” Meanwhile the General Assembly “calls upon the Atomic Energy Commission to resume its sessions, to survey its programme of work, and to proceed to the further study of such of the subjects remaining in the programme of work as it considers to be practicable and useful.”
This resolution was approved in plenary session of the General Assembly on November 4, 1948, by a vote of 40 to 6, with 4 abstentions. Of the 8 Members absent at the time of this vote, 6 had voted in favor of the resolution in the First Committee, making a total of 46 Members in favor of this resolution.
The United States voted in favor of this resolution. In the plenary session on November 3, 1948, Ambassador Austin reiterated the consistently maintained policy of the United States that atomic weapons must be removed from national armaments through effective international control: “We are continuing a policy to which the people of the United States have been committed since the beginning of the Atomic
To illustrate, Ambassador Austin referred to various actions looking toward international control initiated by the United States within the first year of the atomic age, to the relationship of domestic to international control as provided for in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, and to the provision of the United States Senate resolution of June 11, 1948, which calls for “maximum efforts to obtain agreement among member nations upon universal regulation and reduction of armaments under adequate and dependable guaranty against violation."
In addition, Ambassador Austin said that it was the desire of the United States that the consultations called for in paragraph 3 of the resolution should be "principally concerned with the cause of the Soviet Union's finding itself at present unwilling or unable to take a cooperative part with other nations in the necessary measures for the maintenance of peace.” He added that “the United States will do its share to carry out this mandate of the General Assembly in such a way as to advance, by every possible means, toward our common goal of control, and elimination from national armaments, of this dangerous weapon."
In concluding he stated that “what is needed is that the mandate of the General Assembly should be expressed in clear and unequivocal terms. The General Assembly has now an opportunity to approve this resolution by the vote of an overwhelming majority of its members. In doing so, the Assembly would add to the opinion of its Atomic Energy Commission the moral power of its carefully considered judg
ment. It would provide a new lever by which new forces of cooperation could be activated. It would stimulate the faith of uncounted millions of anxious people that the United Nations can and will persevere, however complex the differences, to the pacific solution.”
The day following Ambassador Austin's speech, the Soviet Representative rejected the idea of consultations in sharp language, stating that there is no basis for consultations and that "these consultations are unnecessary.” If the Soviet Union persists in this attitude, the consultations called for in the resolution can hardly be fruitful.
In view of the complexity of the problem of atomic-energy control and of the abandonment of national sovereignty in this field which adoption of the plan would require from each nation, the area of agreement reached by General Assembly approval of the plan constitutes an outstanding achievement. It is not only an endorsement of the Commission's plan as constituting the necessary basis for agreement. The plan of the 12-government UNAEC has now become the United Nations plan. The General Assembly action in approving the resolution constitutes a world-wide judgment that the Soviet proposals are inadequate and thus unacceptable. It confirms what the Atomic Energy Commission had already determined—that there can be no ef.fective control of atomic energy as long as the Soviet Union refuses to take an open and cooperative part in the world community. Finally, it establishes a firm foundation upon which future work looking toward international control must be based.
The United Nations plan of control meets the conditions of the longstanding offer of the United States to give up its atomic weapons and plants, and all its knowledge in this field, provided that a system of international control be set up, so that when the United States disposes of its atomic weapons, it will not be possible for any nation to make or use atomic energy for destructive purposes. This offer still stands.
REGULATION AND REDUCTION OF
The slight progress made during 1948 in the Commission for Conventional Armaments was but another unhappy illustration of the impasse in the United Nations between a large majority of the Member nations and the Soviet bloc. The crux of the difficulty was clearly demonstrated in the discussions of the Commission and in the General Assembly by the frank admissions of lack of confidence and security. This served to underscore the statement of the prospects of the Commission set forth in the 1947 Report to the Congress on the United