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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

Office of the Historian

Bureau of Public Affairs
United States Department of State

www.state.gov/r/pa/ho

February 25, 2005

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume V, United Nations, 1969-1972. This volume, part of the ongoing official documentary history of American foreign policy, presents the record of the policy of the first administration of President Richard Nixon towards the United Nations, including a variety of issues related to the membership, management, funding, and operation of the organization.

President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, considered themselves realists who stressed the importance of national self-interest and major power relationships in international affairs. As a consequence, they were often skeptical of the value of the United Nations and were generally content to leave the day-to-day direction of United Nations affairs to the diplomats at the Department of State. However, as realists they recognized that the United Nations was too important and too visible a world organization to be totally ignored. When the UN policy on Chinese representation in the organization intersected with Nixon’s and Kissinger’s primary objective of opening relations with the People’s Republic of China, they became involved in the question of Chinese representation in the United Nations. On such high-profile issues as the selection of a new UN Secretary General to succeed U Thant, they also took an active interest in the process that eventually resulted in the selection of Kurt Waldheim of Austria. These are the primary concerns of the White House that are reflected in the documentation presented in this volume.

Other major issues also covered in the volume: U.S. concern with the radical tone of the Committee of 24 on Decolonization and the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Committee; the desire by members to hold periodic Security Council meetings and other meetings outside of the UN forum in New York; the perennial problem of the U.S. share in funding the virtually bankrupt United Nations; the selection of UN officials below the Secretary General level; and a variety of other questions involved in specific issues, such as the expansion of UN headquarters, the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the UN, or the security of UN missions. Before he was elected President, George H. W. Bush served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from March 1971 through 1973. Many of the documents provide insight into his role in the Nixon Administration and his tenure as head of the U.S. mission.

While no single volume of Foreign Relations can cover all the points at which U.S. policy and United Nations issues intersected, this volume concentrates on policy related to UN internal affairs and questions specific to the United Nations. Other volumes published or scheduled for publication will also cover the United States and the United Nations. For example, while President Nixon was publicly supportive of the United Nations, he could be quite critical in private, as indicated in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969-1972. Several volumes scheduled for later publication will further document U.S. relations with the UN and its role in international affairs. For example Electronic Volume 1, 1969-1976, Global Issues, 1969-1972, will document U.S. involvement in UN initiatives concerning international narcotics, space exploration, terrorism, the environment, and oceans policy.

The text of the volume, the summary, and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/v). Copies can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov. For further information contact Edward Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series at (202) 663-1131; fax (202) 663-1289; e-mail: history@state.gov.


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