January 24, 1958 – the Cold War 50s and the United Nations was filled with anticipated Nuclear Disarmament talks. At the helm, and pleading the case for sanity in this new and dangerous time, Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold took the opportunity to discuss the upcoming talks in an impromptu Press Conference earlier in the morning.
At the briefing, the Secretary said he had no doubt the talks would be resumed within a short time. Mr. Hammarskjold pointed out that four UN organs were involved in the issue in one way or another. The Disarmament Commission, The Secretary General’s Office, The Security Council and the General Assembly.
The Secretary General was asked if he was optimistic about the possibility of the continuation of Disarmament talks. Hammarskjold answered that he had never been pessimistic, so he did’t know if was more optimistic now than he was before. He goes on to say he may have been a little worried by the loss of time, which was unavoidable a certain stages where careful diplomatic preparation was needed. But he was nonetheless keen on getting the talks resumed as quickly as possible.
As the Press Conference was underway, new developments took place on the disarmament issue in other parts of the world. West Germany criticized the plan for a Central European Zone, free of Nuclear weapons, arguing that the key necessity was to curb the production of atomic weapons in accordance with Western disarmament proposals. The position was articulated by German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to Soviet Premier Bulganin on the issue of a Summit meeting, to which Dr. Adenauer said that he would be agreeable providing it was properly prepared.
And for its part, the Soviet Ministry of Information issued a statement proposing that nuclear and rocket weapons by excluded from the Middle East. Some criticized the proposal saying that, for the moment, Israel was enjoying the longest stretch of peace almost in its existence, and this could only be a prelude for war at some point. And so the option was necessary as a deterrent for the future.
And so it went – the debate over nuclear weapons and their disarmament, as it was viewed from the United Nations during their daily broadcast report over the Mutual Radio Network on January 24, 1958.