From Yalta to Disarmament: Cold War Debate

By Joseph P. Morray | Go to book overview

8
The General Assembly Resolution of December 14, 1946

By October 1946, as the second part of the first session of the General Assembly opened, the futility of discussions in the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission over the problem of international control of atomic energy had become clear. At this juncture the Soviet Union opened a new initiative. In a speech before the General Assembly on October 29, Molotov pointed out that the disarmament of Germany and Japan, the principal aggressor states, had been carried out and measures had been taken to limit strictly the armaments of other states that had helped the aggressors. "The time has come," he said, "for a general restriction of armaments." The fact that some states (obviously referring to the United States and Great Britain) were increasing and improving their armaments (though reducing the numbers of their armed forces) made doubtful, he said, the sincerity of their professions of a peaceful policy. He expressed the fear that these arms could be used for aggressive purposes against the Soviet Union. "The reduction of armaments," he said, "will be a deserved blow at the expansionist strivings of those groups which have not yet sufficiently learned the lessons of the ignominious collapse of aggressors in the recent war."1

It is quite likely that the Soviet Union saw in the hardening of American policy, in the hostile declarations of Churchill, in the break- down of wartime cooperation, and in the retention of great mobilized military strength by the West (despite the reduction of personnel in the armed forces of the United States from twelve million in 1945 to three million in 1946) evidence that a dangerous power struggle was beginning. Collective security through military strength in such a divided world meant a dangerous arms race, if not even an early attack by the West to suppress the Soviet threat to the capitalist world, labeled a threat to international peace and security. Soviet-American friendship and cooperation, the basic assumption of the United Nations security system, was rapidly vanishing. Collective security was coming

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