Struggle for Disarmament

February 25, 1960

Report Outline
Renewal of General Disarmament Talks
Geneva Conference on Nuclear Test Ban
Particular Problems in Disarmament

Renewal of General Disarmament Talks

New Attempt to Stop East-West Arms Race

Afresh start on the wearisome and so far unproductive task of forging a comprehensive international agreement on arms limitation is about to get under way at Geneva. An independently established group of 10 nations, evenly divided between West and East, will take up on March 15 the job that a subcommittee of the United Nations Disarmament Commission laid down in 1957 in the face of persisting deadlock. Progress made after two months, and problems still unsolved both at the new general disarmament conference and at the separate nuclear test ban conference at Geneva, will doubtless come up for review at the Big Four summit meeting opening in Paris on May 16. Disarmament thus is due to receive in the spring of 1960 consideration commensurate with the urgency now generally assigned to it.

President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev, in the summary of their talks at Camp David published last Sept. 27, called “the question of general disarmament … the most important one facing the world today” and pledged their governments to “make every effort to achieve a constructive solution of this problem.” A resolution unanimously adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on Nov. 20 described the disarmament question in the same terms and bade the 10-nation disarmament committee success in working out “measures leading towards the goal of general and complete disarmament under effective international control.”

Soviet Proposal for Complete Disarmament

Use of the phrase “general and complete disarmament” in the U.N. resolution was on Soviet insistence. When Premier Khrushchev addressed the General Assembly on Sept. 18, he had proposed an ambitious plan for “general and complete disarmament of all states” to be carried out in three stages over a period of four years. In the first stage armed forces of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Communist China would be cut to 1,700,000 men each and British and French forces to 650,000 men each. Troop strength of other countries would be fixed at levels to be determined, and armaments and materiel would be reduced in all cases to fit the lower force levels.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Arms Control and Disarmament
Feb. 14, 2020  The New Arms Race
Dec. 13, 2013  Chemical and Biological Weapons
Mar. 2010  Dangerous War Debris
Oct. 02, 2009  Nuclear Disarmament Updated
Jan. 27, 1995  Non-Proliferation Treaty at 25
Dec. 24, 1987  Defending Europe
Feb. 22, 1985  Arms Control Negotiations
Jun. 08, 1979  Strategic Arms Debate
Apr. 09, 1969  Prospects for Arms Control
Mar. 15, 1961  New Approaches to Disarmament
Feb. 25, 1960  Struggle for Disarmament
Nov. 07, 1958  Arms Control: 1958
Jun. 11, 1957  Inspection for Disarmament
Jul. 11, 1955  Controlled Disarmament
Oct. 09, 1933  The Disarmament Conference, 1933
Jan. 05, 1932  World Disarmament Conference of 1932
Apr. 08, 1929  Efforts Toward Disarmament
Mar. 13, 1928  The League of Nations and Disarmament
Feb. 22, 1927  The United States and Disarmament
Arms Control and Disarmament
U.S. at War: Cold War
United Nations