Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament

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The Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENCD) was sponsored by the United Nations in 1961. The committee's conference was an attempt to begin dialogue between the United States and Soviet Union, at the time bitter Cold War rivals. The ENCD considered disarmament, confidence-building measures and nuclear test controls.[1]


The United Nations (UN) General Assembly accepted the decision of the major powers to create the ENCD through resolution 1722 (XVI) on December 21, 1961. The ENCD began work on March 14, 1962 in Geneva, Switzerland and met regularly until August 26, 1969.[2][3] On that date the ENCD was reconstituted as the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD). The August 26 meeting of the ENCD was its 431st since its inception.[2] Soon after the ENCD began work the Soviet Union submitted a draft treaty for consideration. The USSR Draft Treaty on General and Complete Disarmament under Strict International Control was submitted to the ENCD on March 15, 1962.[3] The Soviet draft treaty was an 18-point plan for disarmament in three stages which included nuclear disarmament and the creation of a UN special disarmament organization.[4] The United States quickly countered with its own proposals on April 18, 1962.[4]


The ENCD included the original members of the Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament (TNCD) as well as eight additional member nations.[5] The ENCD actually only included the participation of seventeen nations, as France did not participate in an official capacity. However, they were involved in an unofficial role in consultations with the other Western representatives.[2]

Original members of TNCD: (Western Bloc) - Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, United States. (Eastern Bloc) - Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union.[5]

Nations added to ENCD: Brazil, Burma, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, United Arab Republic (UAR).[2]

Results and legacy[edit]

The ENCD (1962-69) was one of several predecessors to the current UN disarmament organization, the Conference on Disarmament (CD).[6] The ENCD followed the short-lived Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), and was succeeded by the CCD (1969-78) until the CD was formed in 1979.[6]

After the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 leaders in both Washington, D.C. and Moscow found that communicating with each other was plagued with certain delay. In the aftermath of the crisis the ENCD presented a working paper titled "Measures to Reduce the Risk of War Through Accident, Miscalculation, or Failure of Communication". In the paper, the United States proposed a direct link of communication between Washington and Moscow. Though the Soviets had previously rejected such a link outside the framework of a larger disarmament agreement in April 1963 both sides announced a willingness to commit to such an agreement. The agreement, usually known as the "Hot Line Agreement" was signed and entered into force on June 20, 1963.[7] Although the ENCD ratified the Hot Line Agreement the negotiations that actually led to its implementation occurred outside the confines of the committee.[2]


  1. ^ "Eighteen Nation Committee on Diarmament", University of Michigan, UM Digital Library Production Service, updated February 17, 2006, accessed June 7, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e LeGault, Albert and Fortman, Michel. A Diplomacy of Hope: Canada and Disarmament, 1945-1988, (Google Books link), McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1992, p. 197-98, (ISBN 0773509550).
  3. ^ a b Singh, Nagendra and McWhinney, Edward. Nuclear Weapons and Contemporary International Law, (Google Books link), Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1989, p. 231, (ISBN 9024736374).
  4. ^ a b Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan and Mango, Anthony. Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: A to F, (Google Books link), Taylor & Francis, 2003 p. 543,(ISBN 0415939216).
  5. ^ a b Legault, p. 170.
  6. ^ a b "Disarmament", The United Nations Office at Geneva, United Nations, 2009, accessed June 7, 2010.
  7. ^ Blacker, Coit D., Duffy, Gloria, Stanford Arms Control Group. International Arms Control: Issues and Agreements, (Google Books link), Stanford University Press, 1984, pp. 117-18, (ISBN 0804712115).