We are carrying into the fourteenth year of the life of the United Nations our discussions on disarmament. Solutions to the problem have so far eluded us. The perfection of nuclear weapons and the development of rockers and satellites, while lending even greater urgency to the problem, have interposed what appear to be insurmountable barriers to its solution.
To these deep frustrations has been added the two year dead-lock on both the procedure and substance of disarmament negotiations, Unmoved by the mortal danger to the human race from the fierce competition in the accumulation of new weapons the great powers have not shown that awareness of time which is of such critical importance in the problem.
It is, therefore, with no small measure of relief that we welcome the break in the double deadlock which makes it possible to discuss the substantive aspects of disarmament in the Ten-Power negotiating committee, set up as a result of the decision of the foreign Ministers of the Four Great Powers.
We note that the Committee will present reports on its work to the United Nations Disarmament Commission, and through it to the General Assembly and the Security Council, in recognition of the ultimate responsibility for general disarmament measures vested in the United Nations by its Charter.
The distinguished Representative of the United Kingdom has suggested that it would be appropr4iate if the Secretary-General were to appoint a representative at the proceedings of the Ten-Powe3r group. We endorse this suggestion, as it will establish a direct link between the United Nations and the Ten-Power group which was established outside the framework of the organization.
In this context, the Pakistan delegation warmly welcomes the proposal of the distingui9shed Representative of Greece that the Chairman of the Disarmament Commission, Ambassador Padilla Nervo, should represent the United Nations at the meetings of the Ten-Power Committee. Both by virtue of his personal qualifications and the office he holds, the distinguished Permanent Representative of Mexico would be the most suitable choice for this purpose.
The proposals for general and complete disarmament of all states, outlined to the General Assembly on September 18 by Prime Minister Khrushehev, and the scheme of comprehensive disarmament submitted by the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, a day earlier, promise, in the view of my delegation, the prospect of further loosening of the deadlock which has existed among the great powers, on the substantive aspects of the disarmament question, since the twelfth session of the General Assembly. The two sets of proposals may well open real possibilities of agreement between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union on important measures of disarmament. We feel uplifted by new hopes of significant progress towards the ultimate objective of a disarmed and war-less world –an objective which all nations and all peoples must attain by their collective efforts if they are to escape from the ultimate catastrophe which the arms race portends.
The Pakistan delegation agrees with the distinguished Representative of Argentina that the Soviet and British proposals should be examined in the first instance by the Ten-Power group. We hope that every effort will be made by this body to resolve differences and to evolve an agreed plan embodying the greatest possible measure of controllable disarmament to be implemented in stages. The Members of the United Nations will best be able to evaluate the merits of the stands of the Western Powers and the Soviet Union after the report of the group is transmitted to the Disarmament Commission. At the present time, neither of the two plans has been set forth in such fullness as to enable the First Committee to do more than make observations of a general nature in regard to them, and the views expressed by the parties primarily concerned at this stage.
Even a cursory comparison of the two plans reveals marked progress in the thinking of the two sides, as compared with that reflected in the discussions of the Sub-Committee of the Disarmament Commission in 1957. In this respect, the following advances from previous positions must be regarded as significant:
First, the reinstatement of comprehensive disarmament by both sides as the objective of negotiations in the place of partial measures;
Second, the implicit abandonment by the West of its insistence on linking progress in the reduction of armed forces and conventional disarmament to political conditions and to the preliminary solution of certain political problems;
Third, the loosening of the Western ‘package’ proposals making it possible to implement individual measures of disarmament which may be agreed upon without making this dependent upon implementation of other disarmament measures in the whole complex;
Fourth, the abandonment by the Soviet Union of its demand for the renunciation of the use of atomic and hydrogen weapons before any start can be made with conventional disarmament;
Fifth, the relegation by the Soviet Union of its demand for the abolition of foreign military bases from priority status to the stage when conventional disarmament is complete. These, we believe, are delimte forward steps towards the goal of disarmament, whether total or partial.
On the question of an inspection and control system, which must always remain the keystone of the structure, it is not possible at the present moment to say to what degree the respective positions may be expected to converge. The statements of the Soviet representatives on this all important aspect of the pro0blem have been generally construed as implying that a control body is to be established in the third and final phase of disarmament and that complete inspection will be permitted only after major steps in disarmament are already accomplished.
The clarification given by the distinguished Representative of the Soviet Union in his intervention yesterday should dispel our fears that this may in fact be the real thinking of the Soviet Union. He expressed himself in favour of control being commensurate with concrete action on disarmament. We hope we are correct in taking it that the Soviet proposals envisage the effective enforcement of inspection and control over every step of actual disarmament from the first to the last stage. The new emphasis on effective and comprehensive controls, which we find in the Soviet statements, has raised our expectations of a meeting of minds between the great powers on this question which has so far kept them wide apart. Would it be too much to hope that now at last the Soviet Union may be prepared to elaborate, with the same boldness that characterizes its proposals for general and complete disarmament, the responsibilities, functions, rights and powers of the control organ appropriate to each stage of disarmament.
It is only then that all parties will be able to judge whether the controls to be instituted will be real and not illusory.
It will be the task of the Ten-Power Committee to work out comprehensive measures of international inspection and control to be applied to the extent necessary to each phase of an agreed disarmament plan that it may be possible to evolve from the proposals of Mr. Khrushehv and Mr. Selwyn Lloyd.
We are assured by the Western Powers that they will not take up firm positions in regard to their own proposals without giving time for patient consideration; and that they are prepared to take equal steps together, large or small, toward comprehensive or partial disarmament. The Soviet Union, for its part, has expressed its readiness to consider amendments to its own plan and to discuss other proposal.
This open mindedness augurs well for the forthcoming negotiations. If the spirit of compromise rules the talks, it should not prove an insurmountable task to iron out the differences which remain and integrate the two sets of proposals into a single balanced plan of comprehensive and controlled disarmament, to be implemented by stages in such a manner that at no stage will one side be placed in a situation of relative military advantage over the other –in other words, a plan that would ensure that each step in disarmament will enhance the security of not only of one of the parties, but of all the parties.
As Pakistan is not a member of the Ten-Power group, my delegation would like to take advantage of this opportunity to make a few observations on certain provisions of the Soviet as well as the British proposals.
In respect of the former, my colleague, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Manzur Qadir, stated as follows in his statement to the General Assembly on September 25:
“The record of the disarmament negotiations shows that control system to ensure the complete elimination of stock-piles of nuclear weapons of mass destruction is not yet feasible. If it be true that any kind of inspection which it may be possible to agree upon in this field would leave a margin of error which would expose one side to the risk of evasion by the other, I would seem that the prospects of total disarmament are not nearer than before. In that case, it would be more realistic to proceed to negotiate initially on the basis of comprehensive disarmament outlined to us by the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Selwyn Llyod, last week, The scope of the negotiations could then be enlarged to include complete and general disarmament with the development of techniques to bring the question of hidden nuclear stockpiles within the range of detection and control.”
The United Kingdom plan is based upon the principle that measures of conventional and nuclear disarmament must be related and proceed hand in hand so that when nuclear disarmament deprives the West of its nuclear deterrent, the Soviet Union may not retain its heavy preponderance in conventional armaments. None can take exception to the principle that disarmament measures, whether conventional or nuclear, should be so carried out as not to upset the present military balance between the great powers.
The fact, however, that the Khrushehev proposals do not contemplate restrictions on nuclear arms in the first and second stages and concentrate on the reduction and liquidation of armed forces and conventional armaments should not in the view of my delegation, detract from their merits or be regarded as conflicting with the basic principle of maintaining intact the balance of power while disarmament is taking place. If the side which has the advantage in conventional armaments is willing to forego it, without maki9ng this conditional upon the other party giving up its superiority in nuclear weapons, surely such a proposal can in no manner have the effect of altering the balance of strength to the disadvantage of the other party.
For this reason, we consider that the constructive elements in the Khurushehev proposals for the reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments should not be lost sight of. They may well hold out the prospect of a substantial measure of real disarmament in the near future.
It was with this hope in mind that the Pakistan Foreign Minister expressed himself as follows on this aspect disarmament in his statement of September 25:
“……We would venture to suggest that the Ten-Power Committee should make every effort to reach agreement on the reduction of the armed forces and conventional armaments of the great powers and also give consideration to the convening of a special session of the General Assembly within two years to effect a reduction of the standing armies and armaments of all other member states to appropriate levels.”
The Pakistan delegation hopes that the Ten-Power Committee will give consideration to the convening of such a conference.
It was the stand of the Western Powers in the negotiations in 1957 that conventional disarmament cannot be limited in the later stages to the four principal powers, but that other essential states should also accept reduced levels for their forces and armaments We believe that while the relaxation of this position should facilitate the forth coming negotiations between the great powers, the principle of limitation of armed forces and armaments must be made universally applicable so as to include the great as well as the small powers by means of a multilateral convention, which would also ensure that the security of all states parties is thereby not impaired but enhanced in relation to one another.
In regard to the four-year period within which general and complete disarmament is to be carried out, we doubt whether it would be realistic, in the light of past experience, to expect that this kind of disarmament can be carried out in the manner of a crash programme. When, in the case of such peripheral issues as the discontinuance of testing, a whole year has not proved sufficient for the conclusion of an agreement, is it not too much to hope that all those formidable difficulties that lie at the heart of the central problem can be resolved within a period of 4 years. If the Soviet Union can demonstrate its ability to conclude an agreement on the discontinuance of testing before the end of the present session of the General Assembly, our skepticism will yield to rising expectations of attaining the objective of total disarmament within this time limit.
The economic burden of raising military expenditures, in consequence of the arms race, bears heavily on all the peoples of the world. It is having the result of increasing taxes and reducing the percentages of national budgets devoted to health, education and social welfare. Even the two colossi among the great armed Powers must recognize that the inexorable necessity to develop and maintain competing weapons-systems to ensure the operational maturity of one of them at any given moment, and also the means of defense against them ultimately, must lead to mutual bankruptcy and exhaustion.
For many of the smaller nations, the cost of their military establishments is becoming prohibitive, draining away 50 to 60 percent of their annual revenues.
A reduction of armaments is the only hope which these countries have of economic viability and especially those among them which are underdeveloped. They cannot reduce their armaments unless corresponding reductions are made in the military strengths of their neighbors. They do not possess nuclear weapons. For them, therefore, meaningful disarmament connotes a general and universal reduction of conventional armaments so as to release enough of their own economic and financial resources for the purpose of attaining a rate of growth which will carry them forward from their present stage of low productivity to that of the “take off” when economic development tends to become self-generating.
The present rate of flow of foreign assistance from all sources, governmental, private as well as from the international agencies, is inadequate to carry the under-developed countries to this critical stage. The incidence of this assistance is to a large extent purely compensatory, as the terms of trade have moved steeply against underdeveloped countries, mainly because of the fall and fluctuations in the prices of primary commodities. Given their present military expenditures, it would require 3 to 4 times the current rate of annual foreign assistance over the period of a decade to enable them to achieve self-sustaining economics.
Unless general, multilateral and enforceable disarmament is accomplished, the under-developed countries will not acquire the means from either domestic or foreign sources to meet the challenge of the revolution of rising aspirations of their poverty-stricken peoples.
The distinguished Representative of the United States, Mr. Cabot Lodge, has rightly pointed out that if all nations lay down their arms, there must be institutions to preserve international peace and security and promote the rule of law.
A number of delegations have spoken on the means of dealing with the new situation that would emerge following the adoption of a plan of comprehensive disarmament. Among them, the distinguished Representatives of Argentina, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Greece have made constructive suggestions to prevent aggression, protect small states, safeguard against violations of a disarmament treaty, strengthen the machinery of peaceful settlement of disputes and the International Court of Justice and for these ends, to study the political, legal and constitutional issues concerning the organization of the international community in a world without arms.
The Pakistan delegation welcomes and supports the proposals of the United States that the Disarmament Commission should study the three questions which it has formulated to enable us to meet the challenge of what we hope will be a new era in international relations.
Pakistan has always been a staunch supporter of the concept of an international police force to preserve world peace and security. We have also on several occasions urged that the charter machinery for the peaceful settlement of disputes should be strengthened and the scope of compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court enlarged to make our organization a more effective instrument for the attainment of its purposes.
What we are seeking to do on the question of disar5mament is without precedent in human history.
“New relationships of forces are reshaping the world. The search is for methods by which nations can accommodate themselves to living with each other in the new and more dangerous world. The achievement of this peaceful accommodation presently is more difficult than the conquest of space.”
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.