Volume #17 - 272.|
COMITÉ DES MESURES COLLECTIVES
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 22 août 1951|
POLICY TO BE FOLLOWED IN THE CMC - COLLECTIVE MEASURES COMMITTEE|
The attached memorandum examines some of the current activities of the CMC, in particular those relating to the role which the U.N. might play in a major war and to the peace time preparations for such a role. Difficulties have been encountered recently in instructing the Delegation as to the line to take in connection with the activities of the various sub-committees because these activities are advancing into a field in which no definitive Canadian policy has been enunciated. These difficulties have arisen particularly in connection with proposals to equip the U.N. with machinery specifically designed for possible action in time of war.
2. The memorandum examines three general positions which the Canadian Government might take. Of these, two may be regarded as extreme positions, and the third, which is considered the most desirable, represents a middle course between these two extremes.
3. The first position in essence is to accept the principle of converting the U.N. into a military alliance against the Cominform states; this would involve accepting the idea that the U.N. should provide or at least designate the central agency for the higher direction of a major war, and might result in the early withdrawal from the U.N. of the Soviet bloc. The second extreme position would consist in attempting to preserve the universal character of the U.N. in the hope that it might survive as a useful organization for the post bellum period; this position would rest on the assumption that the U.N. could avoid becoming actively identified with either side in the event of a world war. The middle course, as presented in the memorandum, involves the rejection of these two extreme views and assumes (a) that the U.N. is not the appropriate body to direct a major war and (b) that the U.N. could not remain neutral in the event of such a war.
4. In a positive sense, therefore, this middle course consists in preparing the U.N. to assist the Western Powers in the event of war through its moral backing and its facilities for encouraging and co-ordinating the support of those countries which might not take a full and active role in the war. At the same time an effort would be made to maintain as far as possible the universal and non-partisan nature of the U.N. on which its moral prestige rests.
5. It is recognized that this policy, generally desirable though it probably is, is somewhat broad and indefinite, but it is not considered possible at present to be more precise. Do you agree that we should attempt to follow this line in instructing the Delegation?5j
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
Memorandum front Under-Secretary of State for External
SECRET [Ottawa], August 22, 1951
ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS IN A GENERAL WAR
The present stage of work in the various subordinate groups of the Collective Measures Committee seems to raise, as a matter of some urgency, the question of the general position we should adopt towards the role of the United Nations in the event of a general war. In particular, the activities of the Collective Measures Committee appear to make essential some clarification of our thinking regarding the respective roles of NATO and the United Nations, both in the military conduct of such a war, and in the actual direction of economic warfare measures against an aggressor.
2. In the various fields covered by the CMC, the most rapid progress has been made by the Sub-Committee on Economic and Financial Measures which has now submitted its report to the full Committee. This report is drafted in such general language that it lends itself to several different interpretations regarding the role to be assumed by the U.N. in co-ordinating economic sanctions against an aggressor. Generally speaking the report is useful as a study in the field of economic warfare. It also describes possible measures of assistance to a state suffering from aggression, and offers a number of "guiding principles" and recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly or the Security Council in the application of economic sanctions. However, on the fundamental point of the degree to which the U.N. should assume operational responsibility for applying such measures, the report is by no means clear. One of the "guiding principles" reads as follows: "In the application of economic and financial measures under the auspices of the United Nations there is a wide area in which the United Nations should assume responsibility for co-ordination, for which purpose an appropriate body should be established." Again, one of the recommendations of the sub-committee reads as follows: "In the event that the Security Council or the General Assembly decides upon or recommends the application of collective measures against an offending state, a committee (should) be designated ad hoc for the necessary co-ordination of the measures."
3. The recommendations quoted above seem to be open to the interpretation that the U.N. should set up machinery and exercise control over the implementation of economic measures by member states which are actually at war. If this is the correct interpretation, such a procedure might conflict with procedure under NATO. If, on the other hand, the correct interpretation is that the U.N. should co-ordinate economic measures by those states which are not participating in military measures, such a principle would seem to be quite unobjectionable, and also practicable within the framework of the United Nations. This interpretation would, however,probably require some modification of the wording of the "guiding principle" quoted above. The debate which has now been begun in the CMC itself will no doubt clear up the question of which of these two interpretations is the correct one. Nevertheless, it is already quite apparent that this report of the Economic SubCommittee raises, inferentially at least, an important problem of policy.
4. On the military side, the problem of the participation of the U.N. in a general war is also raised implicitly by the question of the directive which should be given to the Panel of Military Experts. There is a genuine danger that, if too broad a directive for this Panel is drawn up, the latter may become an agency through which the U.N. is drawn into such fields as operational planning and the standardization of military equipment, which would appear to be quite outside its proper sphere. Also in this field, the CMC has, under United States leadership, set up a Sub-Committee on Military Measures, which has now agreed on an agenda including a study of the question of "initial" and "further" steps to be taken in preparing collective military measures. On the question of "initial" steps, the U.S. Delegation has produced a draft paper recommending that, on the decision of the General Assembly or the Security Council that collective measures should be undertaken, a State or group of States should be designated as "the executive military authority" for conducting the military operations. (The term "executive military authority" is apparently considered more appropriate than "Unified Command", although there is no explicit consideration given in the U.S. paper to the distinction between a general and a limited war.)
5. This U.S. working paper deals at some length with the relationship between the proposed "executive military authority" and the U.N. The paper makes clear that full responsibility for strategy and tactics would be in the hands of the executive military authority, but adds that "the Security Council or General Assembly should define United Nations objectives" and that "in the event of the failure of the executive military authority to carry out its responsibilities to the satisfaction of the United Nations, the Security Council or General Assembly should be in a position to revoke its authority". It is still too early to assess the proper importance of the proposal contained in this U.S. working paper. If it is merely intended as a device for assigning authority to NATO from the United Nations, in the event of general war, the proposal would seem to be quite unobjectionable. If, on the other hand, the intent of this paper is that the military conduct of the war by NATO (or by any alternative "executive military authority" which might be designated), should be subject to constant scrutiny and debate by a committee of the U.N., many important problems are obviously raised. The attached teletype WA-3096 of August 13? from our Embassy in Washington quotes Mr. Hickerson as saying that, in the U.S. view, the "entire responsibility for the operational conduct of such a general war" would be in the hands of NATO and that the U.N. would not be allowed to "get in the way". Despite this assurance, however, it is evident that the precise relationship between the "executive military authority" (e.g. NATO) and the U.N. will need very careful examination.
6. In view of the above, it seems evident that, in drafting instructions to our Delegation in New York on the economic and military aspects of CMC's work, we should proceed from some definite. basic assumption as to the degree to which the U.N. should participate in a general war; and also concerning the degree to which public preparations for the U.N.'s wartime role should be carried out. Generally speaking, there would seem to be three possible alternative concepts:
(A) We might frankly accept the idea that the United Nations should be used as the basis for a military alliance against the Cominform states. This would involve accepting the principle that the U.N. should be the central agency for operational control in wartime. It would also, of course, mean a frank abandonment of the U.N.'s present pretentions to universality. If such a course is followed, the almost inevitable Soviet withdrawal from the organization might well be followed by the withdrawal of such "neutralist" states as India, Indonesia and Pakistan, with the consequent decline in the U.N.'s prestige in the Asian territories, where its influence is of great importance to us.
Moreover, it must be recognized that the constitution of the United Nations, and the distribution of voting strength, is such that it would inevitably be a very cumbrous and inefficient mechanism for securing strategic and operational decisions in wartime. Again, any attempt to give the U.N. a fully operational role in wartime would seem to require a very careful examination of Article 103 of the Charter which states that: "In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail." In other words, if the U.N. were turned into an anti-Cominform alliance, there would be a serious possibility of redundant and conflicting obligations for such states as Canada, on the one hand under NATO, and on the other hand under the U.N. For these various reasons, it seems that we should reject the idea of using the U.N. as the basis for an anti-Cominform military alliance.
(B) A more practicable alternative would seem to be acceptance on our part of the position that the U.N. and NATO have complementary roles to play in the event of a general war. Such a basic assumption would mean that we would accept the principle that the actual operational direction of activities against an aggressor would be in the hands of NATO, in the case of a general war originating in the NATO area, or, alternatively, in the case of a general war originating outside NATO territory, in the hands of some other executive authority established under the auspices of the U.N. This would mean that, while the U.N. would not concern itself with the actual direction of economic and military measures imposed by the states actively engaged in the war, it would be used as a mechanism for obtaining the greatest possible co-operation from member states which were not actually participating. (The attached,message from Washington indicates that the United States Government now generally accept this basic assumption regarding the U.N.'s wartime role.)
If such a middle policy were adopted, it might still provide the main advantages to be hoped for by U.N. participation in a war against aggression, without frightening off the neutralist states whose moral (and, possibly, economic) support in such a war is obviously of great importance to us. The political advantages to the free world of obtaining the U.N.'s blessing for collective military action against aggression are obviously of the first importance. Moreover, by limiting the wartime role of the U.N. in this manner, we should be able to maintain the organization in a position where it would be able to resume its essential role of a peace-preserving agency, when the fighting ceases. Even in wartime it is most important to preserve some symbol of the world community and to take account of the post-war period.
If we accept the principle of limited U.N. participation, careful consideration will obviously have to be given of the degree to which the activities of the CMC should be continued and of the publicity which these activities should be given. Nevertheless, it seems desirable to continue some, at least, of these studies, even if the U.N.'s role is limited to securing the maximum support from states not directly participating in the war. Great care will obviously have to be taken to ensure that, in the continuation of these studies, projects are not adopted which have the effect of assigning to the U.N. any actual operational responsibility in a general war. On the other hand, it is quite possible that from these studies there might emerge, among other things, a more clear conception of the sanctions which the U.N. can employ in any remaining peripheral disputes which do not directly involve a headon clash between the Soviet Union and the West. The continuation of studies of this nature would also not seem to afford any valid pretext for Soviet withdrawal from the U.N. Unless the activities of the CMC have the effect of causing the General Assembly to establish some bodies with direct military and economic operational responsibility in wartime, the U.S.S.R. cannot very well present a convincing case for leaving the organization, and it seems unlikely that they would do so.
(C) The last alternative position which might be considered is to try to keep the U.N. in "cold storage" if a general war breaks out, in the hope that the U.N. machinery would remain fully intact for the post-war period. It could be argued that participation by the U.N. - even somewhat indirect participation - would destroy the essential character of the organization as a peace-making body. Nevertheless, Article 1, which calls on the U.N. to take collective measures for the suppression of acts of aggression, cannot be ignored. Moreover, in view of the Korean experience and the adoption of the "Uniting for Peace" resolution, it seems quite unrealistic to expect the U.N. to remain on the sidelines in the event of a war. The Korean crisis has shown that the United States Government (and, probably, the United Kingdom) will go to the greatest possible lengths to secure U.N. sanction for any hostilities in which it engages. It now seems very unlikely indeed that the leading democracies would enter a general war without securing the U.N.'s moral support.
Moreover, if the U.N. were kept in "cold storage" during any future war, it would be very difficult to obtain public support for reviving the organization once the fighting had ceased. This would, no doubt, be particularly true so far as public opinion in the United States is concerned. It would not be easy to convince the public that an organization which had played a purely passive role during a general war was an organization with any real moral validity. In view of these reasons it appears unrealistic to expect the U.N. to be a complete "non-participator", if a war breaks out, attractive though such an ideal may be, from several standpoints.
7. From the above it seems that the only practicable course for us to follow is to accept the basic position outlined above in alternative (B). If this general position is accepted, we can then proceed to give more explicit instructions to our Delegation in New York regarding the stand they should take on the military and economic aspects of the CMC's work.
8. I would, therefore, appreciate your guidance as to whether alternative (B) is a correct reflection of our position on this matter; and whether we should instruct our Delegation in New York in accordance with this general position. Do you agree?
53 Note marginale :/Marginal note: