Freedom From War
The United States Program
for General and Complete
Disarmament in a Peaceful
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 7277
Disarmament Series 5
Released September 1961
Office of Public Services
BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C. - Price 15 cents
The revolutionary development of modern weapons within a world divided by serious
ideological differences has produced a crisis in human history. In order to overcome the
danger of nuclear war now confronting mankind, the United States has introduced at the
Sixteenth General Assembly of the United Nations a Program for General and Complete
Disarmament in a Peaceful World.
This new program provides for the progressive reduction of the war-making capabilities of
nations and the simultaneous strengthening of international institutions to settle disputes and
maintain the peace. It sets forth a series of comprehensive measures which can and should
be taken in order to bring about a world in which there will be freedom from war and
security for all states. It is based on three principles deemed essential to the achievement of
practical progress in the disarmament field:
First, there must be immediate disarmament action:
A strenuous and uninterrupted effort must be made toward the goal of general and complete
disarmament; at the same time, it is important that specific measures be put into effect as
soon as possible.
Second, all disarmament obligations must be subject to effective international controls:
The control organization must have the manpower, facilities, and effectiveness to assure that
limitations or reductions take place as agreed. It must also be able to certify to all states that
retained forces and armaments do not exceed those permitted at any stage of the disarmament
Third, adequate peace-keeping machinery must be established:
There is an inseparable relationship between the scaling down of national armaments on the
one hand and the building up of international peace-keeping machinery and institutions on the
other. Nations are unlikely to shed their means of self-protection in the absence of
alternative ways to safeguard their legitimate interests. This can only be achieved through
the progressive strengthening of international institutions under the United Nations and by
creating a United Nations Peace Force to enforce the peace as the disarmament process
There follows a summary of the principal provisions of the United States Program for
General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World. The full text of the program is
contained in an appendix to this pamphlet.
FREEDOM FROM WAR
THE UNITED STATES PROGRAM
FOR GENERAL AND COMPLETE DISARMAMENT
IN A PEACEFUL WORLD
DISARMAMENT GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
The over-all goal of the United States is a free, secure, and peaceful world of independent
states adhering to common standards of justice and international conduct and subjecting the
use of force to the rule of law; a world which has achieved general and complete
disarmament under effective international control; and a world in which adjustment to
change takes place in accordance with the principles of the United Nations.
In order to make possible the achievement of that goal, the program sets forth the following
specific objectives toward which nations should direct their efforts:
- The disbanding of all national armed forces and the prohibition of their reestablishment in any
form whatsoever other than those required to preserve internal order and for contributions to a
United Nations Peace Force;
- The elimination from national arsenals of all armaments, including all weapons of mass
destruction and the means for their delivery, other than those required for a United Nations
Peace Force and for maintaining internal order;
- The institution of effective means for the enforcement of international agreements, for the
settlement of disputes, and for the maintenance of peace in accordance with the principles of the
- The establishment and effective operation of an International Disarmament Organization within
the framework of the United Nations to insure compliance at all times with all disarmament
TASK OF NEGOTIATING STATES
The negotiating states are called upon to develop the program into a detailed plan for
general and complete disarmament and to continue their efforts without interruption until the
whole program has been achieved. To this end, they are to seek the widest possible area of
agreement at the earliest possible date. At the same time, and without prejudice to progress
on the disarmament program, they are to seek agreement on those immediate measures that
would contribute to the common security of nations and that could facilitate and form part of
the total program.
The program sets forth a series of general principles to guide the negotiating states in their
work. These make clear that:
- As states relinquish their arms, the United Nations must be progressively strengthened in order
to improve its capacity to assure international security and the peaceful settlement of disputes;
- Disarmament must proceed as rapidly as possible, until it is completed, in stages containing
balanced, phased, and safeguarded measures;
- Each measure and stage should be carried out in an agreed period of time, with transition from
one stage to the next to take place as soon as all measures in the preceding stage have been
carried out and verified and as soon as necessary arrangements for verification of the next stage
have been made;
- Inspection and verification must establish both that nations carry out scheduled limitations or
reductions and that they do not retain armed forces and armaments in excess of those permitted
at any stage of the disarmament process; and
- Disarmament must take place in a manner that will not affect adversely the security of any state.
The program provides for progressive disarmament steps to take place in three stages and
for the simultaneous strengthening of international institutions.
The first stage contains measures which would significantly reduce the capabilities of
nations to wage aggressive war. Implementation of this stage would mean that:
- The nuclear threat would be reduced:
- All states would have adhered to a treaty effectively prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons.
The production of fissionable materials for use in weapons would be stopped and quantities of
such materials from past production would be converted to non-weapons uses.
States owning nuclear weapons would not relinquish control of such weapons to any nation not
owning them and would not transmit to any such nation information or material necessary for
States not owning nuclear weapons would not manufacture them or attempt to obtain control of
such weapons belonging to other states.
A Commission of Experts would be established to report on the feasibility and means for the
verified reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons stockpiles.
- Strategic delivery vehicles would be reduced:
Strategic nuclear weapons delivery vehicles of specified categories and weapons designed to
counter such vehicles would be reduced to agreed levels by equitable and balanced steps; their
production would be discontinued or limited; their testing would be limited or halted.
- Arms and armed forces would be reduced:
The armed forces of the United States and the Soviet Union would be limited to 2.1 million men
each (with appropriate levels not exceeding that amount for other militarily significant states);
levels of armaments would be correspondingly reduced and their production would be limited.
An Experts Commission would be established to examine and report on the feasibility and
means of accomplishing verifiable reduction and eventual elimination of all chemical,
biological and radiological weapons.
- Peaceful use of outer space would be promoted:
The placing in orbit or stationing in outer space of weapons capable of producing mass
destruction would be prohibited.
States would give advance notification of space vehicle and missile launchings.
- U.N. peace-keeping powers would be strengthened:
Measures would be taken to develop and strengthen United Nations arrangements for
arbitration, for the development of international law, and for the establishment in Stage II of a
permanent U.N. Peace Force.
- An International Disarmament Organization would be established for effective
verification of the disarmament program:
Its functions would be expanded progressively as disarmament proceeds.
It would certify to all states that agreed reductions have taken place and that retained forces and
armaments do not exceed permitted levels.
It would determine the transition from one stage to the next.
- States would be committed to other measures to reduce international tension and to
protect against the chance of war by accident, miscalculation, or surprise attack:
States would be committed to refrain from the threat or use of any type of armed force contrary
to the principles of the U.N. Charter and to refrain from indirect aggression and subversion
against any country.
A U.N. peace observation group would be available to investigate any situation which might
constitute a threat to or breach of the peace.
States would be committed to give advance notice of major military movements which might
cause alarm; observation posts would be established to report on concentrations and
movements of military forces.