ON September 25 of last year, President Kennedy laid before the 16th General Assembly a four-point program of space coöperation under United Nations auspices. The program called for a régime of law and order in outer space; the promotion of scientific coöperation and the exchange of information; a world-wide undertaking in weather forecasting and weather research; and international coöperation in the establishment of a global system of communication satellites. As a result of this initiative, an effort in outer space coöperation is now under way. The President's program was incorporated in a resolution adopted unanimously by the 16th General Assembly on December 20, 1961. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has finally begun its work-with the Soviet Union on board.

This U.N. effort has built upon the extensive network of bilateral arrangements developed between the United States and other free-world countries. It has gained momentum from the exchange of letters between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev following the successful orbital flight of Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. In accordance with this exchange, bilateral conversations have taken place between Dr. Hugh Dry- den, Deputy Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and A. A. Blagonravov of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. These talks coincided with the meeting in New York last March of the U.N. Outer Space Committee and the June meeting in Geneva of its Scientific and Legal Subcommittees.

What has this effort of space coöperation accomplished? Just how far is coöperation likely to go in the future? To answer these questions we must take a closer look at the four aspects of the program approved by the General Assembly.


The first part of the program embodied in the U.N. resolution looks toward a régime of law and order in outer space on the basis of two fundamental principles:

1. International law, including the United Nations Charter, applies to outer space and celestial bodies.

2. Outer space and celestial bodies are free for exploration and use by all states in conformity with international law and are not subject to national appropriation.

The General Assembly did not seek to go beyond these two principles and to define just where air space leaves off and outer space begins. It has been the general view, not challenged by any nation, that satellites so far placed in orbit have been operating in outer space. There are, in addition, powerful practical reasons why the ceiling on sovereign air space within the exclusive unilateral control of underlying states should be a good deal lower than the lowest point reached by orbiting satellites. In both ascent and re-entry, space vehicles follow relatively "flat" flight paths. Unless there is a realistic boundary to the upward limit of national sovereignty, it will be impossible for some nations to get in and out of space without violating the territorial air space of other nations. It is of little value to speak of the freedom of outer space if men cannot travel freely to that realm and back again to earth. Nevertheless, the drawing of a precise boundary is not a practical proposition at the present time. This task must await further experience and a consensus among nations.

The U.N. program takes international law and the U.N. Charter as the standard for space activities. Mankind would thus be free to use space on the same basis as it uses the high seas-free of any restraints except those on exclusive use and illegal activity such as aggression. This formula is designed to promote the maximum exploitation of space technology in the service of human needs. It is designed to prevent space and celestial bodies from becoming the objects of competing national claims.

The General Assembly Resolution, besides laying down these principles, called upon the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space "to study and report on the legal problems which may arise from the exploitation and use of outer space." When this Committee met in March 1962, it did not attempt to prescribe an agenda for its Legal Subcommittee. The meeting did indicate, however, that there was general agreement on the desirability of proceeding on two subjects: first, liability for space vehicle accidents; and second, assistance to and return of space vehicles and personnel.

When the Legal Subcommittee met in Geneva in May, a third subject was added to the discussion-principles to govern the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space. The Soviet Union presented a draft "Declaration of Basic Principles" which was directed more toward casting an unfavorable light on certain aspects of the U.S. space program than toward any real effort to extend law and order in space. The U.S. delegate to the Subcommittee made it clear that, while the Soviet draft was unacceptable, we were not opposed to the elaboration of principles to govern space activities in addition to those set forth in the resolution of December 1961. Indeed, as he noted, these principles were originally drafted and proposed by the United States.

The Soviet draft would prohibit the use of outer space for "propagating war, national or racial hatred, or enmity between nations." The United States is understandably skeptical about the utility of discussing this subject in the context of outer space in view of the fact that the Soviet Union, after initiating a lengthy negotiation on war propaganda in the 18- nation disarmament conference in Geneva, refused in the end to sign the Declaration which was unanimously agreed upon.

The Soviet draft also calls for prior discussion and agreement on any measures to be undertaken by a given state which "might in any way hinder the exploration or use of outer space for peaceful purposes by other countries." While this provision might appear innocent enough at first glance, it is clearly intended to give the Soviet Union a veto over U.S. space projects such as "West Ford," an experiment to place hairlike copper filaments in a short-lived orbital belt around the earth to determine the feasibility of using such filaments as passive reflectors for the relay of communications. This experiment was reviewed in advance by a special panel of the President's Science Advisory Committee and by the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences, both of which concluded that it did not represent a danger. The experiment was also discussed thoroughly in advance with a broad range of scientists from other countries. While some of these expressed concern, there was an over-all consensus that the experiment would not impede radio astronomy or other scientific research.

Another plank in the Soviet draft of "Basic Principles" declares that space activities shall be carried out "solely and exclusively by states." This provision, which would rule out the participation of private enterprise in space activities, is a blunt attempt to impose socialist principles on an important sector of human activity-an obvious attack on Telstar and our communication satellite legislation.

Still another Soviet "principle" declares the collection of intelligence from space to be "incompatible with the objectives of mankind in the conquest of outer space." The fact is, of course, that observation and photography from outer space are consistent with international law, as are observation and photography from the high seas. Moreover, space observation can contribute to the reduction of the risks of war by accident or miscalculation inherent in dealings with a closed society. And it is a use of space which may prove important some day in monitoring disarmament agreements.

Despite the Soviet effort to focus the work of the Legal Subcommittee on its "Declaration of Basic Principles," the United States advanced specific proposals at the Legal Subcommittee meeting on both the subject of liability and the subject of assistance and return. With respect to liability, it proposed to call upon the U.N. Secretary-General to establish a small advisory panel of legal experts drawn from various geographic areas whose task it would be to prepare a draft of an international agreement. Its resolution commended a number of principles to the guidance of the advisory panel-e.g. that liability for damage caused by space vehicles shall not require proof of fault; that a claim for injury may be presented internationally to the state or international organization responsible for launching the vehicle without the prior exhaustion of local remedies; and that the International Court of Justice should have jurisdiction to adjudicate any dispute relating to the interpretation of the international agreement on liability in the absence of agreement between the states concerned upon another means of settlement.

With respect to assistance and return of space vehicles and personnel, the United States proposed a draft General Assembly Resolution which would have embodied two principles: first, that all possible assistance should be rendered to the personnel of space vehicles who may be in distress or who may land by reason of accident or mistake; second, that space vehicles and their personnel which land by reason of accident, distress or mistake should be safely and promptly returned to the state or international organization responsible for launching.

The Legal Subcommittee was unable to reach agreement on either of these proposals. While there was general recognition that agreement on assistance and return was desirable, the Soviet bloc insisted that the subject be dealt with by a formal international agreement rather than by a General Assembly Resolution. Its draft agreement also contained a number of objectionable features designed, among other things, to cast doubt on the propriety of space observation and photography.

The Soviet bloc also opposed any advance on the subject of liability. It refused to endorse the various principles on liability contained in the United States Resolution and insisted that government representatives rather than experts should deal with the matter. In an effort to meet the Soviet views, the United States delegation agreed to select a Working Group on liability from among the members of the Legal Subcommittee and agreed to omit any substantive principles of liability from the draft resolution establishing the group. The U.S.S.R., however, refused to accept this procedure in the absence of agreement to proceed simultaneously with its "Declaration of Basic Principles."

The Soviet Union continued to demand negotiations on the basis of its draft "Declaration" when the full Outer Space Committee met in September, just before the 17th General Assembly. It will be difficult to proceed with the orderly consideration of specific legal problems connected with space exploration so long as the Soviet Union maintains its position. This does not mean, of course, that there will be "no law" in outer space. On the contrary, as the United Nations Resolution confirms, international law already applies to outer space, and outer space and celestial bodies are free for use in conformity with international law and are not subject to national appropriation. Beyond these principles, which the United States regards as currently the law, other customary rules of law with specific application to space will develop through the established practice of states. This will happen both as a result of what states do or fail to do unilaterally and as a result of coöperative arrangements developed to deal with specific functional problems.


The second part of the U.N. program concerns coöperation in the technical and scientific field. The Outer Space Committee, together with a small unit in the U.N. Secretariat, will serve as a focal point for the exchange of information and for the initiation of coöperative projects.

One measure of information exchange is already under way. Pursuant to the Resolution of December 1961, a comprehensive public registry of all objects launched into orbit or beyond is being maintained by the United Nations. The idea for a registry was first put forward in 1959 in the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space-the predecessor of the present U.N. Committee. In the words of this Report: "A regular census of satellites which are circling the earth must be maintained. Their number will become considerable in the near future and they will ultimately be useful to many countries."

The registry has now been established, and the United States makes regular filings listing the international designation of its space objects, the launch vehicles, their launch dates, general purpose and orbital characteristics. The United Nations registry is of interest to all nations which wish to identify space vehicles. It may help to develop habits of coöperation useful for the advance registration and inspection of space launches called for in the Western draft treaty for general and complete disarmament.

The United States commenced submitting information for the U.N. registry in mid-February 1962. We have always interpreted the intent of the Resolution to be that the registry should be a log of all objects in orbit and space transit. Our initial report, submitting information as of February 15, 1962, included all U.S. objects in orbit as of that date. Since then the United States has reported all of its launchings of objects intended to be placed in earth orbit or space transit, including launch failures as well as successes. As a matter of convenience, ii has submitted these reports first on a biweekly basis and, since mid-April, semi-monthly. The Soviet Union has also been reporting its launchings.

Our reports do not make a distinction between launchings under the supervision of NASA and those under the supervision of the Department of Defense. They are national reports, not agency reports. The U.N. Resolution did not specify the precise information which should be included; the United States includes the information which appears relevant to the purpose of the U.N. registry. In addition, it reports considerably further detail to the world scientific community concerning its scientific experiments in space through the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), as had been the custom for several years before the U.N. registry was established.

Beyond this registry, the Scientific Subcommittee has drawn up plans for the orderly compilation and exchange of scientific and technical information. The space powers are being asked to submit information on a voluntary basis about their national programs. The dissemination of this information, quite apart from being of practical value, will encourage openness in the conduct of national space programs and give all U.N. members a sense of participation in a great adventure of mankind.

At the June meeting of the Scientific Subcommittee the United States proposed the establishment of an international sounding rocket facility to be located near the geomagnetic equator under U.N. auspices. This facility would be available to all members of the organization for scientific research. A sounding rocket, as the name suggests, is designed to take soundings of the upper atmosphere, including measurements of atmospheric density, wind, cloud formations and radiation. It is used principally for meteorological experiments above the effective level of operation of weather balloons and, in general, below the level at which artificial satellites orbit. Its guidance system and instrumentation are considerably less complex and less expensive than those of orbiting satellites. A good deal of interest in sounding rocket experiments has been shown by countries which cannot mount full-blown space programs, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has entered into bilateral coöperative sounding rocket programs with a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan and Sweden.

The 17th General Assembly is being asked to approve the proposal that a U.N. sounding rocket facility be established near the geomagnetic equator. India has expressed interest in having this joint venture of the United Nations located on its territory.

President Kennedy's letter to Chairman Khrushchev last March mentioned a number of scientific projects in which coöperation might be desirable, such as mapping the earth's magnetic field, research in the medical aspects of manned space flight and eventually coöperative probes of Mars and Venus. Bilateral discussions of the first subject were held during the recent meeting of the U.N. Scientific Subcommittee. The U.N. Committee provides a way in which bilateral projects of this kind can become multilateral undertakings with wider participation.


The third part of the U.N. space program looks toward a worldwide program of weather forecasting and research.

The space age has brought revolutionary advances in meteorology. The orbiting of weather satellites, supplementing other advances in meteorological technology such as sounding rockets, radar and electronic computers, will make it possible for the first time to keep the entire atmosphere of the earth under constant observation.

The U.N. program calls upon the World Meteorological Organization (W.M.O.), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the scientific community, to develop two kinds of proposals. The first is for an international weather service program-a global network to receive, process and transmit meteorological information from orbiting weather satellites as well as earth-based instruments. The second is for an international research program to yield information essential for improved weather prediction and perhaps eventually weather control.

The United Nations has made a good beginning in this part of its space program. Following passage of the General Assembly Resolution, the W.M.O. invited the United States and the Soviet Union to send experts to Geneva to help develop proposals for a coöperative weather program. In response to this invitation Dr. Harry Wexler, Director of Meteorological Research of the Weather Bureau, and Dr. V. A. Bugaev, Director of the Soviet Central Weather Forecasting Institute, produced a draft which, with some modifications, was approved by the W.M.O.'s Executive Committee in June. The recommendations in the W.M.O. report have been discussed by the Outer Space Committee and the General Assembly. They will be on the agenda for action by the quadrennial congress of government representatives to be held by the W.M.O. in April 1963.

The plan as a whole is impressive. In the field of weather forecasting, the W.M.O. proposes a system of satellite and conventional observations called the "World Weather Watch" which could bring improved weather services to every country of the world. First steps in the execution of this program would include the establishment of three world weather centers-in Washington, Moscow and a city in the Southern Hemisphere-for the collection and dissemination of data; the establishment of regional centers; and the filling of existing gaps in the network of ground and ship observatories in order to establish global weather coverage.

More accurate prediction of storms, floods, rainfall and droughts will bring major savings in life and property. Significant increases in farm production will be made possible as the nature and timing of crop planting are adjusted to take account of future weather patterns. The improved weather services which this program is designed to develop could lead to the saving of billions of dollars in the United States alone. They hold special promise for countries in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere where vast uninhabited and ocean areas cannot be covered by conventional techniques.

The research aspects of coöperation in the weather field may be no less significant than the service aspects. Increased knowledge of the atmosphere may lead to new solutions to air pollution above our cities. Eventually it may help us to break up dangerous storms and achieve some control over climate and rainfall. In the words of the W.M.O. report, "it is not unrealistic to expect that mankind will eventually have the power to influence weather and even climate on a large scale." By encouraging coöperation now we may reduce the risk that this power will eventually be used by one nation to achieve selfish military or economic advantage at the expense of others. The report outlines in a preliminary fashion the research that may be undertaken in the weather field. To develop these possibilities we need a collaborative effort involving W.M.O., the U.N. Specialized Agency principally concerned, and the private scientific community operating through the International Council of Scientific Unions.

The cost of both the service and research programs in the weather field will be small compared to their potential benefits. The challenge to the United Nations in the months ahead is to find ways to encourage the necessary coöperation among nations in research, in the training of weather experts, in the financing of weather stations, in the tracking of weather satellites and in the exchange of weather information. This coöperation promises to be particularly valuable in the light of the exchange of views during the Dryden-Blagonravov talks on the coördinated launching of U.S. and Soviet weather satellites. The United States is already making available to other countries the information received from our Tiros satellites. Implementation of the Dryden-Blagonravov proposals would mean that the Soviet Union would also transmit the information gained from its weather satellites.


The fourth part of the U.N. program of space cöoperation looks toward the establishment of a global system of communication satellites.

The dramatic success of Telstar has focused public attention on the vast possibilities which space technology holds for world communications. It will be technically possible within the next few years to have in operation a global communication system for television, radio, telephone, telegraph and data transmission.

The communication satellite will have a profound impact on the future of mankind. With the aid of satellites, telephone communication between continents will become immeasurably easier. Communication satellites can offer many times the number of telephone channels available in our existing undersea cables. If intercontinental telephone communication increases sufficiently to fill this huge capacity, it may some day be possible to place a call to any place in the world for approximately the same charge as to another city in the United States.

Intercontinental radio and television open even more dramatic prospects. According to the U.S. Information Agency, there are now some 100,000,000 television receivers in use in 75 countries of the world. By the end of this decade, when a communication satellite network could be operating, there will be double that number. Programs will have a potential audience of nearly one billion people.

This fundamental breakthrough in communication could affect the lives of people everywhere. It could enable people to see and hear news events in other parts of the world at the very moment of their occurrence. It could provide a new means to improve literacy and education in remote areas. It could enable leaders of nations to talk on a convenient and reliable basis.

Some time in the future lies the prospect of direct broadcast radio and television. When this day comes, it may be possible to beam programs from communication satellites directly into people's homes. The satellite system likely to be in use within this decade, however, will be for point-to-point relay between central installations in different countries. This means that the benefits of space communications can be made available to all peoples only through political as well as technical coöperation.

The United Nations program is designed to be a contribution to such coöperation. It starts from a principle now unanimously endorsed in the U.N. resolution-that satellite communication should be available to the nations of the world as soon as practicable on a global and nondiscriminatory basis. In the view of the United States, efforts should be made to develop a single civilian system for all nations of the world rather than competing systems between contending political blocs.

A second principle underlying the program is that the United Nations and its related agencies should be able to use communication satellites both in communicating with their representatives around the world and in transmitting programs of information and education. Telstar has already been used during the 17th General Assembly for live TV transmission across the North Atlantic of events at the United Nations. From this beginning we hope to encourage a practice by which all members of the United Nations will permit their people to see and hear the organization's proceedings in the interest of international understanding and world peace.

A third principle is the importance of technical assistance and economic aid to develop the internal communication systems of the less developed countries. A country with an inadequate telephone and radio system and no television at all cannot participate fully in a global network of communications.

Like the W.M.O. in the weather field, the International Telecommunication Union has been asked by the General Assembly to report on ways of promoting coöperation in space communications. In 1959 the I.T.U. made assignments of radio frequency bands for research activities in outer space-e.g. for tracking and communicating in connection with space experiments. The I.T.U. has now definitely scheduled for October 1963 a special conference to allocate frequencies for use in outer space, including those which will be needed for communication satellite systems. Agreement on the reservation of an adequate part of the scarce frequency spectrum for space communication, and the establishment of ground rules which will assure non-interference of space communications of different countries with each other or with other services on the earth, is an obvious prerequisite to progress. For this reason, the 1963 conference may well be one of the most important communications conferences ever held.

The allocation of radio frequencies is but one of many problems which will have to be solved through international agreement to clear the way for communication satellites. In recognition of this fact, the I.T.U. has been asked to consider at the 1963 conference other aspects of space communications in which international coöperation will be required. In preparation for the conference, the I.T.U. has asked members by the end of 1962 to submit information on three matters: their present programs for the development of space communications; the subjects they regard as appropriate for international coöperation in order to achieve global space communications; and which of those subjects, if any, they believe should be included on the conference agenda. The Secretary General of the I.T.U. will prepare a report for the guidance of member states on the basis of these replies.

While the I.T.U. is preparing for the 1963 conference, the foundation for a program of international coöperation is already being laid in the United States. A U.S. communication satellite corporation has been established pursuant to legislation passed by the last Congress. This corporation, under Federal regulation, will be the instrument for U.S. participation in a global satellite system. It is a joint venture of an unprecedented kind. Up to half of its stock may be held by U.S. common carriers, the other half by the general public on the widest possible basis. There will be a Board of Directors of 15, three of them appointed by the President to represent the public interest. No one company can have more than three of the 15 directors. These and other provisions are designed to provide safeguards against domination of the corporation by a single private firm.

The passage of this legislation enables the United States to exercise effective leadership in developing the international arrangements necessary for a world-wide communications system. We do not envisage that other countries will satisfy their interests in satellite communications by purchasing shares in the U.S. company. Indeed, existing law would place a 20 percent ceiling on any such purchases made in the public portion of the U.S. company. Instead, we envisage that the U.S. company would participate in a truly international arrangement which would provide for broad ownership and participation on a world-wide basis.

A number of common-sense considerations suggest the importance of developing a truly international venture in the months ahead. Since the satellites will be primarily useful for communicating with other countries, we must agree with those sovereign countries on the arrangements for talking with them. Much of the traffic will be between other countries not involving the United States at all. In view of the importance which all states attach to communications, many of them will wish to own and operate their own ground stations as well as participate in the ownership and management of the satellites themselves.

Unless we can work out mutually satisfactory arrangements with the countries principally concerned, we may encourage the development of competing systems involving wasteful duplication and political rivalry. Moreover, we shall have to work out mutually acceptable ground rules with other countries for the ownership and operation of the system if we are to secure the frequency allocations consistent with our own needs. One overriding question is the choice of the system to be established. This will have important consequences on coverage and burden-sharing-the availability of satellites for communication between and within countries, and the costliness of the ground installations which nations will have to build.

The establishment of global satellite communications will require international agreement on other questions, such as participation in ownership of the system, allocation of satellite channels between uses and users, location of ground terminals, technical standardization, assistance to less developed countries and rates to be charged for various services.

Although many of these problems are analogous to those which have been solved in connection with conventional communications systems, others raise questions that are quite new. In seeking solutions we need an approach that is not doctrinaire but functional. Different problems may require different kinds of arrangements-bilateral, regional and multilateral. We shall need to make use of the I.T.U. and other institutions of the U.N. system. New organizations may eventually prove necessary. Over-all arrangements will be sought through diplomatic means. These will be supplemented by business and technical arrangements between the operating entities in the various countries.

In the months ahead we will explore various means of dealing with these problems with other interested countries. During the recent Dryden- Blagonravov talks, the Soviet spokesman expressed interest in discussing coöperation in the field of space communications. Moreover, the Soviet representative to the I.T.U. Administrative Council indicated during the Council's session last May that the Soviet Union would be willing to send an expert to the I.T.U. to study communication satellite questions with experts of other countries in the same manner as was done with weather coöperation in the W.M.O. In such bilateral and multilateral conversations the United States will be seeking to reach the international agreements necessary to promote the objective adopted by the General Assembly in this area-"that communication by means of satellites should be available to the nations of the world as soon as practicable on a global and non- discriminatory basis."


It should be apparent from this review that the work of the United Nations in the peaceful uses of outer space serves the national interest of the United States and other countries for at least three main reasons:

In the first place, it provides a way, despite political differences, to exploit the enormous possibilities which the space age opens for all mankind. This approach is not based on faith or on a fuzzy idealism. We recognize that the deep political differences of our time place an upper limit on coöperation. We are not about to send Messrs. Glenn and Titov together on a single spaceship to the moon. But we hope to develop coöperative projects with the Soviet Union, if not in the form of joint ventures, at least in the coördination of activities.

While political differences place an upper limit on coöperation, considerations of self-interest place a lower limit as well. For example, the Soviet Union for years resisted rules for frequency allocation and usage for radio communication facilities; it then accepted the frequency allocations of the I.T.U. for its own broadcasts in order to avoid interference in the operation of its radio circuits. Hopefully, the national interest of the Soviet Union will encourage it to coöperate from the outset in space communications.

It is in the interest of all countries, whatever their ideology, that space and celestial bodies should not be the subject of competing national claims, that coöperative experiments be undertaken and information exchanged, that world-wide weather services be developed and that communications among nations be improved. Recent meetings have emphasized this common interest to Soviet scientists and technical experts. While the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies are not the only institutions to promote coöperation, they do help to stimulate affirmative Soviet actions and fit cöoperation between the United States and the Soviets into a broader framework which recognizes the interests of other countries.

In the second place, a program under U.N. sponsorship can help widen and deepen coöperation on a free-world basis even if universal participation is not achieved. The assistance of many nations is needed if our national space program is to be successfully carried on. In weather and communications, for example, the technology of the United States can yield dividends to ourselves and others only if many nations join in allocating radio frequencies, in tracking and communicating with space vehicles and in placing necessary ground installations on their territories. A good start has already been made in bilateral coöperation through the activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which has coöperative ventures with some 40 countries involving tracking stations, exchanges of personnel and joint space experiments. For certain countries and for certain activities, however, coöperative projects may be easier to achieve if they are multilateral and bear United Nations endorsements.

In the third place, the program of space coöperation has deep significance for the United Nations itself and for its Specialized Agencies, which will have new responsibilities for promoting scientific coöperation and information exchange and for assisting in the development of world-wide weather and communication services. Such activities cannot fail to strengthen the United Nations as a force for peace by binding its members together through ties of common interest. This is particularly true of the developing countries, which stand to derive some of the greatest benefits.

It should be obvious that our attempt to build peaceful space coöperation in the United Nations and elsewhere does not eliminate the need for military space programs to maintain the security of the United States and the entire free world. There is no inconsistency in moving simultaneously on both fronts. For the foreseeable future, we shall wish to have military space programs to help keep the peace, and civilian space programs to help us live better in peace. In outer space, as on earth, the achievement of law and order depends ultimately on the power of free nations.

The test of the legitimacy of a particular use of outer space is not whether it is military or non-military, but whether it is peaceful or aggressive. Russian cosmonauts are members of the Soviet Air Forces, but this is no reason to challenge their activities. There is, in any event, no workable dividing line between military and non-military uses of space. A navigational satellite in outer space can guide a submarine as well as a merchant ship. Thus the United States has military space programs, but all of our space activities will continue to be for peaceful, i.e. defensive and beneficial, purposes.

This does not mean that we are unwilling to consider certain specific measures of disarmament in outer space. The Western Plan for General and Complete Disarmament includes as a first-stage measure a ban on the placing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space, with effective measures for verification. As a matter of fact, we have no program to place any such weapons in outer space, and we shall not do so unless Soviet actions compel us.

To sum up, our efforts in the United Nations to promote peaceful space coöperation, our disarmament efforts to ban the use of weapons in space, and our space programs which have military aspects are mutually consistent measures in support of a secure and peaceful world order. No Congress of Vienna can promulgate a régime of law and order in outer space. This objective will have to be developed through coöperative arrangements on specific functional problems. The United States will continue to seek such arrangements in the months ahead, not only in bilateral negotiations but in the United Nations and its family of agencies.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now