APRIL 15, 1949
NEW YORK, Thursday—I found yesterday morning that I was expected to be at the plenary session of the General Assembly in Flushing, but the subject with which I was to deal was not expected to come up early, so I did not go out until noon. When I arrived there was a discussion going on to decide whether the admission of the State of Israel should be considered in the Political Committee before it was taken up in the General Assembly. The final vote proved that the majority of delegations wanted the question first considered in the Political Committee and reported in the usual way to the General Assembly.
I came to the conclusion that there must be a liking for discussing the same subject twice, since some members of the Political Committee also represent their governments in the General Assembly.
After lunch I was asked to do a recording in French, translating a speech written in English as I went along. I have not been doing that sort of exercise of late and I found myself painfully slow. I managed to get through it, though.
When I got back to the Assembly meeting I found our chief delegate, Warren Austin, making a major speech on the modifications suggested in the use of the veto. I knew this would cause considerable discussion but it was really the speech by Andrei Gromyko of Russia that created the greatest excitement. He took this occasion to make, for the first time, a full-dress attack on the North Atlantic Pact.
Mr. Gromyko said all the things one expected he might say but hoped against hope he not only would not say but would not believe. This pact is directly conceived, said he, as a means of aggression against the Soviet Union. He said to call it a regional agreement is impossible because we have taken an area which could not possibly be considered as a geographical region.
The sad thing about all this is that evidently the government of the Soviet Union really believes that we want to make war on them. They do not understand even now that the USSR has created conditions that make a pact of this kind the only way to give the democracies of the world some sense of security, not for aggression but for defense. What misunderstandings can exist between people! They think we want war and we think the facts show just the opposite. We want peace, and the Soviet Union has acted in a way to create apprehension.
On the whole, I do not think Mr. Gromyko sounds as belligerent as Andrei Vishinsky, but the things he said were just as devastating and will have to be answered. The representative from New Zealand, Sir Carl Berenson, made a very telling speech afterward, in which he remarked that it was confusing to follow the Russian polemics all around the world. Following him, the delegate from Peru really made a fine oration, which I think must have made a considerable impression on the entire audience. These two speeches brought us back to the subject in hand, which was the modifications proposed in the use of the veto. This discussion will be continued tomorrow.