Non-Aggression Pacts and Surprise Attack

September 11, 1963

Report Outline
Proposed Est-West Non-Aggression Pact
Anti-War Treaties Between World Wars
Proposals to Forestall Surprise Attack

Proposed Est-West Non-Aggression Pact

Foreign ministers of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States, who conferred in Moscow after signing the nuclear test-ban treaty on August 5, will meet again in the opening days of the 18th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly, which convenes September 17. The three men—Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Foreign Secretary Lord Home, and Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko—are expected to resume discussions on two more East-West agreements proposed by the Soviet Union: a non-aggression treaty between North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and the Warsaw Pact nations, and a corollary agreement on measures to prevent surprise attack. The outcome of the New York talks may depend in large part on France; there is as yet no word on whether French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville will attend the Assembly session.

Coming Foreign Minister Talks at United Nations

A communique made public on July 25, after initialing of the test-ban treaty, stated that “The heads of the three delegations discussed the Soviet proposal relating to a pact of non-aggression between the participants in [Nato] and the participants in the Warsaw Treaty.” They agreed “fully to inform their respective allies in the two organizations concerning these talks and to consult with them about continuing discussions on this question with the purpose of achieving agreement satisfactory to all participants.” Soviet Premier Khrushchev, speaking after the test-ban signing ceremony 12 days later, declared that “The most important thing now is not to rest content with the achieved, not to stop the struggle against the threat of another war.” He went on to assert that conclusion of a NATO-Warsaw Pact non-aggression treaty would “show to all peoples that the militarily most powerful states, and in the first instance the nuclear powers, have reached agreement among themselves with the aim of evading thermonuclear war.”

Neither of the Soviet proposals is new. The non-aggression pact was suggested first in 1957, and a plan to station observers in Western and Communist countries to give warning of any suspicious concentrations of military forces had been put forward as early as 1955. Western countries, aware that the Soviet Union has violated almost every non-aggression pact it has signed, are in no hurry to take up the latest offer of such a pact from Moscow. They are more interested in Soviet proposals to minimize the danger of surprise attack. On his return from Moscow, Aug. 11, Secretary Rusk said that East-West negotiations on a non-aggression pact “will not move ahead at a great speed.” At a news conference five days later, he stated that the “surprise attack field is one that we might be able to build further on,” but he did not think there would be any “rapid agreement on this point” either.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S.-Soviet Relations
Sep. 14, 1990  The Western Alliance After the Cold War
Feb. 10, 1989  Soviet Trade: In America's Best Interest?
Nov. 01, 1985  U.S.-Soviet Summitry
Jul. 09, 1982  Controlling Scientific Information
May 25, 1973  Trends in U.S.-Soviet Relations
Apr. 05, 1972  Russia's Diplomatic Offensive
Feb. 09, 1972  Trading with Communist Nations
Mar. 10, 1971  Indian Ocean Policy
Apr. 21, 1965  Negotiations with Communists
Nov. 13, 1963  Scientific Cooperation with the Soviet Union
Oct. 03, 1963  Trade with the Communists
Sep. 11, 1963  Non-Aggression Pacts and Surprise Attack
Oct. 11, 1961  East-West Negotiations
Mar. 29, 1961  Russia and United Nations
Aug. 10, 1960  Challenged Monroe Doctrine
Sep. 02, 1959  American-Soviet Trade
Jul. 03, 1959  Cultural Exchanges with Soviet Russia
Aug. 11, 1958  Conference Diplomacy
Jul. 23, 1958  Limited War
May 14, 1958  Cold War Propaganda
Feb. 26, 1958  Military Disengagement
Feb. 20, 1957  Indirect Aggression
Jul. 25, 1956  Trading with Communists
Jan. 11, 1956  Economic Cold War
Nov. 26, 1954  Peaceful Coexistence
Dec. 01, 1953  Tests of Allied Unity
Sep. 18, 1953  Negotiating with the Reds
Jun. 17, 1953  East-West Trade
Apr. 12, 1951  Non-Military Weapons in Cold-War Offensive
Apr. 20, 1949  Mediterranean Pact and Near East Security
Apr. 28, 1948  Trade with Russia
Sep. 11, 1946  Loyalty in Government
Jul. 31, 1946  Arctic Defenses
Apr. 01, 1943  American and British Relations with Russia
Feb. 24, 1933  Soviet-American Political and Trade Relations
Nov. 03, 1931  Russian-American Relations
Feb. 14, 1924  Russian Trade with the United States
Arms Control and Disarmament
International Law and Agreements
U.S. at War: Cold War