United States. Dept. of State. Office of Public Co.

Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 46, Jan- Mar 1962) online

. (page 70 of 101)
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have all the powers.

Guided by these considerations, the Soviet Government
proposes that the work of the 18-nation committee be
opened by the heads of governments (states) represented
on the committee. For this, the heads of government
should arrive in Geneva by 14 March and themselves ac-
complish the most important and complex part of the work
which awaits the IS-nation committee at the start. It may
be that this idea will seem rather unusual at first, but you
will agree that it is quite justified by the greatness of the
aim and the conditions in which the disarmament com-
mittee is beginning its work.

Direct contacts between national leaders — meetings,
conferences, exchanges of messages, personal participa-
tion in the work of the most representative international
bodies — have become an established international practice
in our days. And this is understandable. The smaller
the distances between states and the more terrible the
weapons of destruction become, the greater becomes the
responsibility of statesmen, and the more sagacity and
wisdom is required in solving both major international
issues and those which, at first glance, seem of secondary
importance, but which are frequently rooted in questions
of war and peace.

This is doubly true of the question of disarmament,
which affects the most sensitive interests of the states
and the interests of national securit.v, and whose solution
requires special circumspection, flexibility, and boldness.

I shall not conceal that I received your joint message
when I was working on this message to the heads of gov-
ernment of the states represented on the 18-nation dis-
armament committee. It is gratifying that our reasoning,
on the whole, runs in the .same direction. I fully share
your thought that the heads of government should be
personally responsible for the direction of disarmament
negotiations and that the state of affairs in the 18-nation
committee should be the subject of a broader exchange
of opinions between us.

But why should we take only half the step and limit
ourselves to being represented by foreign ministers at
the start of the disarmament committee work? If one
Is consistent, one would, proceeding from our considera-
tions, inevitably arrive at the same proposal that is being
put forward by the Soviet Government : to begin the
work of the disarmament committee at the highest level.
The work of the 18-nation committee could begin at the



highest level even if not all the heads of governments
(states) belonging to this committee want to or do take
part ; this need not bo an obstacle to our participation in
its work. It goes without saying that the foreign ministers
of our countries must also take part in the work of the 18-
nation committee, both with the heads of government and
in the subsequent period of the committee's work.

Thu.s, there is much in favor of our proposal for the
participation of the heads of government in the work of
the 18-nation committee. Of course, there may be people
who will take our proposal to mean that the Soviet Union
is again raising the question of a summit meeting and
will start considering whether or not conditions exist for
such a meeting at this time. I want to explain in advance
that I am speaking here not of a meeting at the summit,
as It is generally understood, but of participation by the
heads of government in the work of the 18-nation com-
mittee established by the United Nations, not of consid-
ering a wide range of international questions, but of talks
on one specific issue — disarmament. And the claim that
conditions are not yet ripe to consider the problem of dis-
armament can only be advance



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 46, Jan- Mar 1962) → online text (page 70 of 101)