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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Nixon-Ford Administrations > Volume V
Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume V, United Nations, 1969-1972
Released by the Office of the Historian

Expansion of UN Headquarters

1. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon/1/

Washington, May 10, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 298, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. I. No classification marking.

Dear Mr. President:

I respectfully propose for your consideration the enclosed joint resolution to authorize a grant of not more than $15 million to defray a portion of the cost of expanding the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York./2/ If you approve this legislation as part of your program, I should greatly appreciate your so informing the Congress.

/2/ A memorandum from Rogers to President Nixon, also dated May 10, elaborated on the reasons why the U.S. contribution was in the national interest: "(1) The existence of a strong UN Headquarters in this country enables the U.S. more effectively to maximize its influence in the organization. (2) Expansion in Geneva at the expense of New York could cost the U.S. economy millions of dollars annually just in UN salaries now spent in the country. (3) A special contribution by the country hosting an international organization is customary. (4) Concentration of the functions of the United Nations in one location is conducive both to the organization’s efficiency and its economy of operation." A draft letter of transmission to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President of the Senate and a draft joint resolution authorizing a grant to defray part of the cost of an expanded UN Headquarters were attached to this memorandum. (Ibid.)

There is an urgent need to adapt the physical facilities of United Nations Headquarters to meet the requirements of an organization that has more than doubled in membership since its original plant was constructed almost twenty years ago and has expanded substantially the scope of its activities. There is a serious shortage of office space with consequent overcrowding and scattering of components of departments which should function as integral units in adjacent accommodations. There is as well a major problem of space for document storage resulting in the inefficient and hazardous use of corridor areas for this purpose. Moreover, facilities for reproduction of documents and language training are both makeshift and inadequate, as are the organization’s conference and staff dining arrangements. The only available recourse has been to rent office space outside the original Headquarters site. But the use of rented space is both expensive and inefficient in its scattering of office units. It adds over $1 million annually in rental charges alone.

At its most recent session last fall, the UN General Assembly examined a feasibility study prepared by the Fund for Area Planning and Development, Inc. on expanding UN Headquarters facilities through new construction and major alterations to existing premises. After consideration, the Assembly authorized the UN Secretary-General to proceed with the preparation of plans and specifications on the basis of which cost estimates could be presented to the Assembly for decision at its 1969 session. At the same time, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report on the over-all problem of accommodations at the New York Headquarters in relation to available or potential space at all locations utilized by the United Nations. One reason for this latter request is that some members are interested in moving the focus of United Nations activities to locations outside the United States.

In my view, both the United Nations and the United States would benefit from a decision to expand the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The UN would benefit by being able to keep related activities together and thereby provide unified and efficient direction to them. Similarly, the United States would be better able to supply the constructive leadership required for an effective United Nations. Moreover, American citizens who are needed for many tasks of the United Nations can be more readily recruited for service in this country thereby making significant contributions to the organization’s efficiency.

One of the most important considerations that will influence the decision of the General Assembly on expansion will be the magnitude of the burden that would fall on the regular budget of the United Nations. As host government, the United States would be expected to assist Headquarters expansion as, among others, the Austrian and Swiss Governments have aided the construction of facilities for UN activities within their borders. The City of New York plans to make the necessary land available south of 42nd Street and has indicated it will give favorable consideration to matching such funds as may be appropriated by the Congress for capital costs. It is also expected that private philanthropic sources will assist in financing this project. Should these contributions all materialize, our Mission to the United Nations believes it likely that the UN will decide in favor of expanding its Headquarters in New York.

William P. Rogers

2. Memorandum From the Assistant Director for Legislative Reference, Bureau of the Budget (Rommel) to the President’s Counsel (Ehrlichman)/1/

Washington, May 21, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 298, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. I. No classification marking.

Federal contribution for expansion of the UN Headquarters

The Department of State is proposing legislation to authorize a special grant of up to $15 million to cover a portion of the estimated $60 million cost of expanding the United Nations Headquarters in New York on land to be made available by the City of New York. The remainder of the cost would be financed by the City of New York, the Fund for Area Planning and Development, Inc. (composed of private foundations and businesses in the area), and the UN regular budget.

In the attached memorandum to the President, State recommends that the President transmit this legislation to the Congress. For this purpose it has prepared the attached Presidential transmission letter, accompanying back-up letter from the Secretary to the President, and a draft joint resolution./2/

/2/ Attached but not printed; regarding this memorandum and its attachments, see footnote 2, Document 1.

Justice has no legal problems with the draft resolution and defers to State on the policy issue. The package has been cleared informally with NSC staff (Moose). We have no objection to the proposal.

State plans to ask for the appropriation in its 1971 budget, but seeks early action on the authorization in order to facilitate the raising of the balance of the funds.

We should like to call to your attention the final paragraph of the attached transmittal memorandum of May 10, 1969, from the Secretary to the President which reads as follows:

"The Department’s preliminary notification to the Congress of the Headquarters’ expansion problem has elicited, on the whole, mildly favorable reactions. However, it would be advisable to inform appropriate Congressional members in advance of your submission of the legislation, should you decide to do so. We would especially need to alert Congressman Ross Adair, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who has told us of his strong reservations to the proposal. If your decision is favorable, we should therefore very much appreciate having a few days advance notice to permit these important preliminary consultations."

Also, Carl Marcy, Chief of Staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has indicated to State that this bill might become the occasion for focusing in general on U.S. policy toward the UN.

We are forwarding State’s proposal to you for appropriate action.

Wilf Rommel

3. Letter From the Representative to the United Nations (Yost) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

New York, August 19, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Limited Official Use.

Dear Henry:

Just a brief note on two procedural matters.

First, I see that the NSC is due to meet on Southern Africa on September 17. As you know this is a meeting at which I would very much like to be present because we have a whole series of problems on this area before the United Nations. This is however a particularly difficult date for me, being the second day of the forthcoming General Assembly, and the whole first week of a General Assembly is an extremely hectic time. Would it be possible to have the NSC meeting on Southern Africa either during the week of September 7 or the week of September 21, or indeed at any other generally convenient time? I should perhaps note that I am receiving an honorary degree at Hamilton College on September 10 so would be unavailable on that day.

The second matter relates to the recommendation to the President from Bill Rogers and myself that he request the Congress for $15 million, as part of a package of $60 million to which the United Nations, the City of New York and private foundations would also contribute equal amounts, for an extension of the United Nations Headquarters one block southward. The point is that the United Nations Secretariat is physically bursting at the seams and that unless it can enlarge its available space more and more of its subdivisions will be transferred to Geneva or elsewhere with consequent damage both to the Secretary General’s capabilities for coordination and United States influence on the Organization. There is no disagreement at all about the desirability of this extension and the only question is whether the necessary funds can be obtained.

Our recommendation on the matter has been pending in the White House since May and I write you about it only because I was told it might have been referred to your office. The matter will come up for action in the General Assembly this fall and it is of great importance that we be able to say that the Administration is at least actively seeking the necessary funds. I should appreciate it very much if you could push this along.

Best regards,


4. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Counsel (Ehrlichman)/1/

Washington, August 26, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 291, Agency Files, USUN. No classification marking.

Proposed US Contribution for UN Building Expansion

You asked for my comments on a State Department recommendation that the President propose a $15 million Congressional authorization as the US share in paying for proposed expansion of the UN Headquarters facility in New York. State documents are at Tab A./2/

/2/ See Document 2 and footnote 2 thereto.

We have been trying for some time, with little success, to get some straight answers from State on the arguments for requesting the $15 million. The State memo, it seems to me, is based on some questionable propositions, and I am frankly concerned that they have played fast and loose with giving the President free choice in this matter. The main State arguments for the $15 million, and counter considerations, are as follows:

1. The new building strengthens the Headquarters operation of the Secretary General, and will enable the US to maximize its UN influence in the face of Soviet and Arab efforts to move the UN out of New York.

What we are really talking about here is staff people for the UN Development Program, UNICEF, and some incidental offices of the Secretariat. Without a new building in New York, these organizations or the Economic and Social Affairs Department will probably move to Geneva. But it is hard to see how even that move would seriously hurt our "influence" over all the UN. We are the biggest contributor to the UN Development Program, have the Chairmanship by tradition, and will call the shots wherever it is located simply because we hold the purse strings. Our role in UNICEF and Economic and Social Affairs is marginal despite our present location in New York, and thus we cannot lose much if these organizations go to Switzerland.

It is true that a shift overseas of UN agencies does cut into the recruiting of Americans for UN jobs, and to that degree we lose something. But the basic policy orientation in any of these agencies will still be determined by the financial and political weight we pull in the UN at large regardless of physical location of facilities.

2. State argues that a special contribution by the host country is customary when an international organization wants a building.

Again, the facts here are mixed. In some cases–such as Austria–the UN is either given a building or charged a token rent. But the Swiss, for example, do no more than provide favorable loans, and the French charge UNESCO the going commercial rate with a loan on its building in Paris. What has been "customary," of course, is that the US has always paid a chunk–almost in toto–for any of the UN facilities in this country. In this proposal, the US share, public and private, would be almost 90 percent of the cost of the building. We should be under no illusions that we are driving a hard bargain.

3. State also argues that moving facilities from New York will cost our economy millions in UN salaries now spent in this country.

This is a more valid argument. Our research turns up a figure of $14 million per year loss if UNDP and UNICEF personnel shift to Geneva. But this should be weighed against the fact that the $15 million contribution from the USG and the $15 million contribution from the City of New York will, under present estimates, only purchase enough space for projected UN needs through 1976. So sometime over the next four or five years we will be confronted again with a major building expansion program to accommodate needs beyond 1976. We have to assume that that cost will be considerably higher, and over time the arithmetic is such that the US could end up spending as much on new buildings as we lose in purchasing power of UN salaries.

But beyond these points, there is, in my view, a more serious question about State’s prior commitment to both the UN and the City of New York on the $15 million figure before they got Presidential approval. State and USUN argue that we walked into the $15 million with the UN, and any lesser grant would require a "renegotiation" with Mayor Lindsay. I am simply not competent to judge the domestic political implications of all this. It is clear that the City of New York would like to have the expansion for economic reasons. But the present proposal leaves precious little room for the US to do any bargaining to get a larger contribution from the UN itself.

On balance, there is probably no reason to make a major issue out of this. But if we go ahead, it should be with the instruction that we take a much more independent line than we have planned in bargaining our contribution. I do not believe the President should pretend to the Congress or the United Nations that the presence of a UN staff in New York is a blessing for which we will pay without question.


I would support a Presidential request for these funds on the understanding that our Mission in New York would be instructed to undertake some hard negotiations to get the UN itself to shoulder a larger share of the $60 million total than the 25 percent now contemplated for the UN in State’s proposal.

5. Memorandum From William Watts of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, September 16, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 291, Agency Files, USUN. No classification marking. Sent for action.

UN Building Expansion

The question of our monetary support for expansion of the UN building facilities in New York City is now an urgent issue, since we have been informed that U Thant may raise it with the President when they meet Thursday.

Just after the decision had been taken to move ahead in getting State to redraft letters from the President to leaders on the Hill concerning Administration willingness to support this expansion to the tune of $15 million, the President announced the 75% cut back on federal building expenditures. Given the highly volatile prospects as to how a major commitment for international buildings would sit with Congress and many private citizens in view of the President’s cut back order, I felt we must reopen the issue with Budget to see what kind of guidelines they were coming up with.

The Director of the International Division in Budget said this was indeed a major topic of concern there and he discussed the matter with Director Mayo. Mayo in turn has written a memo to the President (included in the attached package), which focuses on the possible political implications of this construction./2/

/2/ Attached but not printed. In his May 16 memorandum, Mayo observed that even though expansion of the UN Headquarters would be funded by a matching grant rather than by a "direct Federal construction" project, authorization would be politically sensitive among Congressmen and Governors who faced cutbacks in public works projects.

A memo from you to John Ehrlichman stating that you see no overriding foreign policy reasons to oppose construction, but deferring to his judgment as to the domestic and political implications is also attached. This gets the issue back into the proper arena for the President’s decision, since the most difficult decision he may have to deal with on this is domestic and not foreign.

Recommendation: That you sign the memo attached./3/

/3/ Attached but not printed. In this September 17 memorandum, Kissinger wrote: "My judgment remains that there is no reason to oppose State’s proposal on foreign policy grounds. But the construction hold-back does put a new domestic light on the matter. Therefore, I would appreciate your carrying the matter through for Presidential decision." Reference is to President Nixon’s statement on the construction industry, issued at San Clemente on September 4, in which he directed all Federal agencies to implement a 75 percent reduction in new construction contracts, urged state and local governments to make similar reductions, and urged businessmen to postpone non-essential construction projects so that the construction industry could devote more time and effort to building more homes. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pp. 706–707)

6. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, September 18, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. No classification marking. Sent for information. The date is handwritten. A covering memorandum from Watts to Kissinger, dated September 17, bears a handwritten note in the left margin: "Memo handed by HAK to President on AF–1. 9/18/69."

Proposed UN Contribution to UN Building Expansion

We have learned that Secretary General U Thant may raise with you the question of a US contribution to a proposed UN building expansion in New York. John Ehrlichman is now studying this issue, but I thought it useful to give you a brief run-down on the facts if John has not raised the matter for your decision prior to your session with U Thant.

State has proposed that you request the Congress to authorize $15 million as the US Government’s share of a $60 million total package for the expansion of the UN Headquarters facilities in New York. Three other $15 million contributions would be provided each by the City of New York, US private philanthropies, and the UN itself. State argues that the contribution is justified on two main grounds:

–The UN is badly over-crowded in New York. And there is an increasing tendency, supported by the Soviets and Arabs, to shift the focus of UN activities away from the United States. In this case, offices of the UN Development Program and UNICEF would probably move to Europe. State contends that this acts to weaken our influence in these agencies./2/

/2/ In the left margin is the handwritten notation: "no–RN, 10–6–69."

–There is the added argument that the departure of UN personnel from New York will deprive the City’s economy of the purchasing power of UN salaries.

I have reviewed these assertions from a foreign policy standpoint and find plausible counter-considerations. The physical location of UN offices is not the decisive factor in determining our influence over the Organization. The general thrust of our policy, and particularly our financial contributions, are likely to be the determining factors wherever the headquarters of the programs are located.

Furthermore, we would not necessarily lose money in a gross economic sense if we forego the contribution and UN personnel moved elsewhere. With regard to the economic sacrifice in lost purchasing power, it can be argued that a US outlay for the building expansion (almost 90% of the total when we count public and private sources as well as our major share of the UN budget) may be as great over time as the income which we would have gained in UN salaries spent here. This is particularly true since projected needs for UN Headquarters space in New York will involve another building expansion–and another US contribution–in the early 1970’s.

On balance, however, I advised John Ehrlichman that I found no overriding objection on policy grounds to State’s proposal, provided our Mission in New York be instructed to undertake hard negotiations to get the UN itself to shoulder a bigger share than the 25% contemplated. This issue has been complicated anew, however, by your order on a construction hold-back. I understand Bob Mayo feels that a US contribution for this construction could have adverse political effects in the Congress. Thus, John Ehrlichman is looking at the problem now in terms of its domestic implications.

If U Thant should raise the proposed contribution, and you have not yet reached a decision, I recommend you make the following reply:

–We fully appreciate the need for expansion of the UN facilities. We hope to have an answer very soon regarding a US contribution in order that the Secretary General may present his expansion plans to the General Assembly.

–But we have had to study this matter very carefully in light of the Administration’s new guidelines on federal financing of construction in an effort to combat inflation.

7. Memorandum From the President’s Counsel (Ehrlichman) to Secretary of State Rogers/1/

Washington, September 30, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. No classification marking.

The President has weighed the international and domestic political considerations relating to the proposed expansion of the U.N. Building.

In view of the construction moratorium and the war on inflation, he has decided not to approve the funding for this project at this time.

John D. Ehrlichman/2/

/2/ Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

8. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon/1/

Washington, November 11, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 10–4. Confidential. Drafted by Ward P. Allen and Richard V. Hennes (IO) on November 1, and cleared by Ambassador Horace G. Torbert, Jr. (H), Assistant Secretary Frank G. Meyer, Louis Frechtling, Stephen M. Boyd, and Roberts. At the top of the page is the typewritten note: "Approved by memo of 11/25/69 from Mr. Watts to Mr. Eliot, recd 11/27," and a handwritten note reading: "IO informed 11/28."

U.S. Assurance of Contribution toward UN Headquarters Building

In the light of your decision in September not to seek specific funding authority for a U.S. contribution at that time toward construction of an additional UN Headquarters building, our Delegation has been reviewing its preparations for handling the Headquarters issue when it comes before the General Assembly about November 15. To help keep the concentration of UN activities in the United States, the Delegation has recommended that it be authorized to state in the General Assembly debate that the U.S. Government strongly supports construction of the proposed additional UN Headquarters building and will request Congressional authorization and an appropriation in its fiscal year 1971 budget for a U.S. contribution not to exceed $20 million toward the construction of this building. (This is a $5 million increase over the previous figure, an increase which has resulted from an up-to-date architectural and engineering survey of the contemplated construction and a consequent total cost estimate by United Nations officials of $75–$80 million for the project.)

The Delegation reports that an assurance of this nature is the minimum necessary to counter growing pressures of a number of members, including the Soviet bloc, France and the Arab states, to shift the focus of UN activities from New York to Geneva or some other European location and that such an assurance would hopefully enable the UN Secretary General to obtain from this session of the General Assembly approval for the construction and financing of the new building, subject only to agreement on an acceptable financing package./2/

/2/ The views of the delegation were summarized in a November 3 memorandum to Rogers from Assistant Secretary De Palma. (Ibid.)

I concur in this recommendation. I would point out that in any event no U.S. funds would need to be turned over to the United Nations for about 18 months, when hopefully the risk of inflationary pressures will have been contained. I concur in the judgment of the Delegation that failure to be able to give such an assurance at this session would run the grave risk of being unable to check the movement of the United Nations away from New York at the expense of U.S. prestige and influence in the organization, as well as an appreciable loss of revenue.

I therefore recommend strongly that you authorize an assurance related to the fiscal year 1971 budget request.

Arrangements would of course be made to inform selected Congressional leaders before the assurance would be given so that Congress would not feel that its power of decision had been pre-empted.


9. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Counsel (Ehrlichman)/1/

Washington, November 17, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. Sent for action. Drafted by Winston Lord on November 14.

U.S. Assurances of Contribution Toward UN Headquarters Building

Secretary Rogers has come to the President with an urgent request concerning the issue of expansion of the United Nations Headquarters in New York. His memorandum is at Tab B./2/ You will recall that we were prepared last summer to recommend authorization of $15 million as the U.S. government’s contribution toward this expansion, but that in light of the President’s order for a 75% cutback on federal building expenditures in September the authorization was denied on domestic political grounds.

/2/ Document 8.

Secretary Rogers now asks that our UN delegation be authorized to state in New York that the U.S. government strongly supports construction of the proposed additional UN headquarters building and will request Congressional authorization and appropriation in its fiscal year 1971 budget for a U.S. contribution not to exceed $20 million. This $5 million increase results from an updated architectural and engineering survey of the contemplated construction. Secretary Rogers believes that such an assurance now is the minimum necessary to counter pressure to shift the focus of UN activities from New York to Geneva or some other European location.

My judgment remains that there is no reason to oppose State’s request on foreign policy grounds.

I do question the contention that we will lose a great deal of influence in the UN if some of its organs leave New York. Our policies and financial contributions are much more important than the physical location of UN offices. I also question the net revenue impact of some movement of UN bodies and personnel from this country. Our balance of payments position and New York City would clearly suffer, but these factors must be weighed against our budget outlays for this building expansion and possible future ones. However, I think it is desirable on general prestige and political grounds to keep the center of UN activities in this country. And there does appear to be the real probability of at least the economic and social functions of the UN moving to Europe if we refuse our contribution and the expansion project therefore collapses. I believe significant UN slippage away from New York for want of a U.S. contribution would entail some political costs.

Budget Director Mayo recommends approval of Secretary Rogers’ request. At Tab A is a memorandum from Mr. Mayo to the President which states BOB’s position, outlines the financing details of the headquarters expansion and points out the relationship to the federal construction freeze. Mr. Mayo enclosed a proposed Presidential memorandum to the Secretary of State approving his request./3/ If we do decide to go ahead, I support the terms of this proposed Presidential memorandum. It is important that the UN Delegation should be instructed to seek maximum contributions from private sources and to make
it clear that the special U.S. contribution will in no case exceed $20 million.

/3/ Attached but not printed.

While there are therefore no international or budgetary problems with Secretary Rogers’ request, the federal construction holdback continues to raise domestic political considerations. An essential judgment is whether a U.S. commitment now to earmark funds in the FY 71 budget (which would not be turned over to the UN for about 18 months) would still cause significant domestic problems in light of the construction freeze and the continuing issue of inflation. Domestic political reaction to the prospect of slippage of the UN from New York would appear to be another consideration.

In light of these domestic factors I would appreciate your carrying this through for Presidential decision. This is urgent because of the need for a U.S. position at the UN as soon as possible and the indispensable requirement that State sound out selected Congressional leaders before instructing our Delegation in New York.

If you would let us know the President’s decision we will follow up with State.

10. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, November 20, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 297, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. III. Confidential.

U.S. Assurance of Contribution toward UN Headquarters Building

We understand that a problem has arisen with regard to the recommendation made in the Secretary’s Memorandum for the President of November 11, 1969 and that a determination that there is an overriding foreign policy interest is necessary in order to make the case that the requested contribution should be considered as falling within the 25% exemption in the halt in federal construction.

We fully appreciate the difficulty we could expect in the Congress in presenting a request for a $20 million appropriation for UN headquarters expansion in the 1971 budget, even though no expenditure of funds would be required at least for 18 months. Nevertheless, Ambassador Yost and we do believe there are overriding foreign policy considerations involved, as stated in the Memorandum for the President, and we therefore urge that this request be considered as falling within the area of the 25% exemption. Without repeating the arguments set out in the Memorandum for the President, there is a serious risk that our failure to act now will lead to abandonment of any further consolidation of New York Headquarters and accelerate the movement of elements of the UN to Europe, which has already begun. Such action would result in a further decline in our influence on the operations of the UN and a loss in the balance of payments and other economic benefits we derive from its location in New York.

We have tried to think of a possible fallback position, but we cannot think of one which would not pose the risk of an unfavorable decision in the United Nations General Assembly. The only possibility that comes to mind is that we might advise the Secretary-General privately of our decision to seek Congressional authorization and appropriation of a $20 million grant in the Fiscal Year 1971 budget, but refrain from making a public statement at this time. We strongly doubt that this would provide him an adequate basis for putting a proposal to the General Assembly which would head off the risk of an unfavorable General Assembly action. We are unable, therefore, to recommend that alternative.

Accordingly, we strongly recommend that, as a matter of overriding foreign policy interest, the U.S. Delegation be authorized to make the statement proposed in the Memorandum for the President. Time has run out in New York and we must give the Secretary-General our decision as soon as possible Friday, the 21st./2/

/2/ Authorization to inform UN officials of U.S. support for the construction of additional UN Headquarters facilities was transmitted to USUN in telegram 196348, November 21. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 10–4)

Robert L. Brown/3/

/3/ Brown signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typed signature.

11. Memorandum From Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, November 24, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 297, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. III. Confidential. Sent for action.

Expansion of UN Headquarters in New York

This memorandum is to a) inform you of the actions taken on the UN Headquarters problem after you telephoned White House concurrence to State Assistant Secretary DePalma on Friday and b) request your approval of a Watts to Eliot memorandum confirming the White House position.

After learning of White House approval of State’s request to commit $20 million in the FY 1971 budget, I asked State to clear with us their telegram to our UN Mission in New York. The telegram is at Tab B/2/–I cleared it with Ehrlichman’s office (Ehrlichman himself concurred in substance while his staff approved the wording) and BOB. We made two changes in the original State cable:

/2/ See footnote 2, Document 10.

–The phrase "because of the urgency placed upon expansion of UN facilities" was added to the first paragraph at Ehrlichman’s request, to underline White House understanding that State believes this to be an urgent matter.

–Paragraph three was added at my request, to spell out the two conditions, stipulated in Budget Director Mayo’s memorandum to the President, of our going after private sources for contributions and our not exceeding $20 million in U.S. government special contributions to the project.

I also confirmed that appropriate Congressional leaders were being informed before public disclosure of our position and that Harlow’s office was aware of this action.

I believe it is now appropriate to confirm the White House approval in writing to State and have thus prepared a memorandum from Bill Watts to Theodore Eliot. I think this is the proper channel, rather than involving you personally. The Watts–Eliot memorandum is at Tab A/3/ for your approval.

At Tab C for your background is the original package plus the follow up memorandum that DePalma drafted at your request at last Thursday’s AFSA lunch./3/

/3/ Attached but not printed.

That you approve the Watts to Eliot memorandum at Tab A./4/

/4/ Kissinger initialed his approval on November 25.


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