U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 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

U.S. Position Papers and Assessments of General Assembly Sessions

82. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, August 7, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 3 GA. Confidential. Drafted by De Palma.

Soviet Views on Issues of 24th UNGA

Mr. Yuly M. Vorontsov, Counselor, Soviet Embassy
Mr. Samuel De Palma, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations

Vorontsov, Counselor, Soviet Embassy, invited me to lunch on August 7 at the Rive Gauche to discuss the pending General Assembly.

1. Chinese Representation. On the Chinese representation issue, he said he assumed there would be no real "fire" in the discussion this year and that the outcome would be pretty much like last year’s. In this connection, he made some wry comments about recent U.S. statements looking to improved relations with Communist China and said these had not struck a happy note in Moscow in view of recent Chinese-Soviet border incidents. I pointed out that the U.S. statements were consistent with our long-term approach to the Chinese problem and were not calculated to take advantage of the heightened tension between the Soviet Union and China.

2. Korea. Vorontsov asked whether we foresaw the usual debate on Korea. I told him that some of our friends wonder whether it would be necessary this year to have the usual discussion on Korea and even suggested that perhaps it could be avoided. I said that we would, of course, consider that possibility but that a discussion could only be avoided if both sides cooperated. Vorontsov said he did not know Moscow’s views but he too wondered whether it was necessary to press for any discussion of this question this year.

3. Ministates. In response to Vorontsov’s request for an explanation of our approach to the question of ministates, I summarized briefly the U.S. position as it has been discussed in New York and expressed the hope that the Soviet Union would look at the question in terms of its real interests and the interests of the U.N. and not merely in terms of scoring propaganda points with certain less-developed countries. Vorontsov thought that there was a genuine interest in this question in Moscow but felt that the Soviets would leave it to the U.S. to carry the brunt of the discussion.

4. Disarmament. Vorontsov then turned to disarmament questions and wondered what could be put before the General Assembly as an indication of progress in arms control and disarmament. He said that Foreign Minister Gromyko would want to have some "initiative" (he himself put the word in quotations) and disarmament might well be an area he would choose in his G.A. statement. Vorontsov, however, refused to speculate on what Gromyko might suggest other than to imply that some-thing would have to be said in connection with the beginning of the Strategic Arms Talks and possibly on the seabeds arms control measure under discussion in the ENDC. He said he was certain that a date and place for SALT would soon be agreed upon and was awaiting word on this from Ambassador Dobrynin. (He said Dobrynin has been expected to return about the 15th, but the date had not yet been confirmed.)

When I expressed the view that the apparent unwillingness of the Soviet delegation to move from its original position in Geneva would make it impossible for ENDC to register much progress on the seabeds arms control treaty at this session, Vorontsov said that perhaps something could be done at the G.A. to bring our positions closer together. I agreed this was possible but reminded him of the joint interest I assumed both countries had in using the ENDC as a negotiating forum and hoped that some progress could be made there before the Assembly. He seemed to take it for granted that the Soviet position was negotiable as was that of the United States.

5. Peacekeeping. Finally, he alluded to the discussions on peacekeeping in New York. I said that we would be interested in some indication of a genuine Soviet interest to strengthen U.N. peacekeeping machinery. He said that this matter has attracted high level attention in Moscow, that the practical necessity of having a peacekeeping arrangement in mind in connection with a possible Middle East settlement might be an inducement to make progress in the talks in New York, but no progress could be made unless the United States was prepared to make a substantial accommodation to the Soviet position. I suggested that the prospect for progress would be enhanced if we both looked at the question in terms of the practical arrangements required to improve the efficiency of U.N. peacekeeping rather than in terms of past political developments and positions.

6. Middle East. In a brief aside regarding the Middle East talks initiated by Vorontsov’s statement that recent Israeli pronouncements were most unhelpful, I said I personally was still looking for some evidence of Soviet willingness to lean on their friends. After asserting that the real question was the willingness of the U.S. to convince Israel to withdraw, Vorontsov said the USSR has put considerable pressure on the UAR and he thought that more pressure could be applied once the question of withdrawal is settled. I stressed the need for a firm and direct commitment by the Arabs to a permanent peace.

83. Position Paper Prepared in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs/1/

Washington, undated.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. Drafted in IO/NAP on September 10. An attached transmittal letter to Henry Kissinger signed by Executive Secretary Theodore Eliot is dated September 12. Airgram CA–4850, August 29, sent all posts a general assessment of the upcoming 24th session of the General Assembly and information on issues that might arise. Airgram CA–4891, September 2, identified for all posts the most significant economic, social, and human rights items on the provisional agenda, and airgram CA–5522, October 7, set out the items to be considered by the Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Committee Five). (All ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 3 GA)


The 24th United Nations General Assembly, which opens on September 16, should not confront us with any new critical issues and–barring some additional major crises–should not differ substantially from recent Assemblies. It will deal with a familiar list of perennials and on-going programs. Many key questions–Middle East, some aspects of disarmament, Asian regional security, Nigeria, and perhaps peacekeeping–will be discussed off stage but will be of major interest to the Assembly.

The atmosphere is somewhat better than last year when the invasion of Czechoslovakia underscored the UN’s limitations in dealing with issues involving the vital interests of the superpowers. The President’s policy of moving from confrontation to negotiation in superpower relations has been reassuring. Despite slow progress of the Paris negotiations, current US policies have reduced anxieties about Vietnam. The prospect of SALT talks–even with the disappointments of excessive expectations–will be welcomed in a body preoccupied with disarmament. The moon landing not only enhances US prestige, but has lifted spirits and raised hopes about man’s ability to cope with problems of his environment.

The tone of recent Soviet utterances (and Moscow’s preoccupation with China) presage a more muted East-West debate, though probably no Soviet concessions on hard issues. We see no sign that the Soviets want to rock the boat at this Assembly. Such initiatives as they may surface will probably be based on known Soviet positions, for example, banning chemical and biological warfare.

The underlying mood will be one of concern and deepening frustration that little progress has been made on key issues of interest to the smaller powers. Awareness that the poor and technologically backward societies are being left behind in the new era of technological achievement may lead to pressures in the Assembly for international arrangements that will protect their interests and give them a fair share of the potential benefits of outer space, seabeds and nuclear energy. Another main preoccupation will be whether the major developed powers are ready to make increased financial commitments to accelerate development during the second development decade. A third concern will be with working out an equitable balance of obligations between the nuclear and non-nuclear powers respecting disarmament and the peaceful uses of atomic energy as related to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. There will be renewed efforts to move the West toward concrete support of African causes and hope for significant progress toward a Middle East settlement.

Attitudes toward the major powers are likely to be ambivalent. While wishing to avoid the tensions of the cold war and welcoming signs of major power cooperation, some of the smaller members resent what they consider to be big power collusion at their expense on certain aspects of disarmament, holding down UN budgets, inadequate development assistance, and a general neglect of their priorities.

Because the UN (especially the Security Council) cannot seem to secure "peace", and because the growing gap between the developed nations and the developing nations is increasingly evident in the UN setting, there is a corresponding tendency to look upon the UN primarily as a forum for pleading causes and bringing pressure to bear on the major powers.

The Assembly has not overcome the problems associated with its membership explosion. It is hampered by cumbersomeness and loquacity and by use of formal majorities to steamroller through unrealistic resolutions and vote programs with budgetary implications over the heads of major contributors on whom the organization must rely for effective action.

The policies and attitudes of the new United States Administration–toward the issues before the Assembly and toward strengthening the United Nations in general–will, of course, be watched with particular attention.

Middle East

The escalation of conflict and passions in the area, and the lack of significant progress in the Four Power and bilateral negotiations, have hardened Arab and Israeli positions and appear to have adversely affected the prospects of successful peacemaking. One or another aspect of the conflict has been before the Security Council almost continuously. The presence of the Foreign Ministers of the Four Powers and of the Middle Eastern States provides one of the remaining opportunities for making progress toward a peaceful settlement. If no progress is made, the Arabs may press for active consideration of the agenda item on the Middle East, which otherwise will probably not be discussed, with resultant polemics and extreme resolutions. The Arab refugee and human rights items will in any case almost certainly be marked by polemics which will not spare the United States.

Arms Control and Disarmament

The Assembly will again devote major attention to arms control issues. Key objectives for the United States are to build support for an approach to strategic arms talks and for the NPT, to deflect unhelpful constraints and criticisms on such issues as chemical and biological warfare (CBW) and to maintain the Assembly’s support for the Disarmament Committee which we consider a more manageable forum than the Assembly for arms control negotiations. Evidence of substantive progress in Geneva on seabed arms control, coupled with the recent modest enlargement of the Committee and the prospective beginning of SALT talks, would help counter criticism about the restricted composition of the Geneva forum (and its dominance by the Big Two) as well as dissatisfaction with the slow progress in big power negotiations. In any event, there may be sentiment in the Assembly for calling a meeting of the 126-nation UN Disarmament Commission in 1970 which some countries see as a means of pressuring the superpowers to accelerate negotiation on nuclear as well as general disarmament, particularly in moving toward a comprehensive test ban and a ban on chemical and biological weapons. A possible Swedish or Soviet initiative on CBW could be troublesome for us.

Colonial-Racial Issues

These issues present increasing difficulties for us in the Assembly. The Afro-Asians are frustrated over the refusal of South Africa and Portugal to heed hortatory resolutions by the Security Council and the General Assembly on apartheid, Southern Africa and the Portuguese Territories, and disillusioned over the ineffectiveness of mandatory economic sanctions against the Smith regime in Rhodesia. Given this mood, we can expect once again to find ourselves in a small minority of those opposing extreme Assembly resolutions calling on the Security Council to impose sanctions against South Africa and Portugal, as well as for the use of force against the Rhodesian rebels.

In both the Assembly and the Council we have made it clear that we do not believe the application of mandatory sanctions to South Africa and Portugal would be effective or wise. However, our position is increasingly challenged as more Africans become disenchanted with the UN and seek a confrontation between members favoring political efforts and members inclined toward military liberation activities. As it becomes more difficult for us to demonstrate convincingly our disapproval of racism and colonialism in Southern Africa, United States interests in other parts of Africa are likely over time to be under increasing pressure. Confrontation with the Africans on this issue could also affect African support on other issues of concern to us.


A perennial East-West item, Korea, will occasion the usual polemics and resolutions. We had hoped this year to avoid the annual time-consuming wrangle over Korea by avoiding inscription on the agenda, but the USSR and other supporters of North Korea have now inscribed their items calling for the withdrawal of United Nations forces and the dissolution of the UN Commission for Korea. Despite the Assembly’s weariness with the question and failure of many newer countries to appreciate the issue, we expect that with extensive lobbying the Assembly will again adopt resolutions that maintain South Korea’s position.

Chinese Representation

Canadian and Italian moves toward recognition of Peking are not likely initially to alter the Assembly’s basic arithmetic on Chinese representation, largely because of Communist China’s unresponsive policies and a widespread feeling–specifically shared by the Soviets–that this is not a propitious time for change. While we are thus reasonably confident of defeating the annual attempt to substitute Peking for Taipei in the United Nations, we cannot rule out the possibility of embarrassing initiatives from some of our friends who are under domestic pressure and interested in testing the limits of current US policy for diplomatic, cultural and economic openings to Communist China. These possible initiatives, which would focus on the desirability of Communist China’s admission rather than Nationalist China’s expulsion, could present us with a most difficult situation.

UN Peacekeeping

Deep differences over future arrangements for peacekeeping remain unresolved and the deficit resulting from the Soviet-French refusal to pay their assessments for the Congo and Middle East operations unliquidated. In recent months some progress has been made in the peacekeeping committee (established by the Assembly in 1965) on guidelines for observer missions (as against those involving organized contingents), mainly as a result of quiet exchanges between us and the Soviets. The Assembly will thus be in a position to register some degree of progress and routinely continue the mandate of the peacekeeping committee. Further private US-Soviet exchanges will be required to determine whether progress can be made on arrangements involving military contingents and on the financial question.

Development Decade

We will be under pressure throughout the Assembly on our trade and aid policies, particularly our reluctance to commit ourselves at this stage to larger contributions to development. The focus will be Assembly discussion of plans for the Second Development Decade. The poor countries are increasingly frustrated at the inability or refusal of the major developed powers to speed economic solutions and suspect them of becoming less interested and less generous in helping the poor. The majority–not confined to the developing nations–is pressing for major new international commitments in both trade and aid before the decade starts.

Our view–shared by many of the other developed countries–is that the decade should be primarily a vehicle for better coordination of UN development efforts, more effective and sophisticated use of available and prospective resources (in terms of funds, human resources, and family planning) and generating public backing. Our difficulty is that while we have publicly favored an enlarged role for multilateral institutions (IBRD, regional development banks and an increase in our contribution to UNDP), our policies regarding the magnitude of our foreign aid in general and the question of tariff preferences are still under consideration.

Human Environment

One of the newest and most hopeful areas of UN cooperation is the field of human environment. Last year the Assembly broke new ground by expressing the concern of member states over the threat to the quality of the environment and decided to schedule an international conference on the subject in Stockholm in 1972. We have an opportunity at the 24th Assembly to suggest specific areas of international cooperation on such problems as urban planning, housing and community service, air pollution, water supply, and land utilization.


Partly as a result of pressures from the Big Four, the Secretary General’s budget for 1970, which will be presented to the Assembly, has been kept to $164.1 million, about 6% over the 1969 appropriation. We consider this the tightest and the best budget in years. However, there will be strong pressures for additions from the developing countries, and because of the substantial reduction in surpluses from prior years, a greater proportion of the 1970 budget will have to be met from new assessments. As a result, the US contribution may be almost 10 percent higher than for 1969, or about $45.5 million. We must therefore continue our efforts to effect economies wherever and however possible.

An additional concern this year is likely to be the drive to alter the UN percentage scale of assessments so as to give additional relief to the poor nations. We will have a tough time in defending the present assessment criteria, which include the principle of a ceiling of 30 percent on the largest assessment (the US). Any increase in our assessment percentage would provoke a strong Congressional reaction.

Of major importance to us will be Assembly consideration of a proposal by the Secretary General to expand the UN Headquarters facilities in New York at a cost of $60 million. Approval of this measure is required if New York is to remain the focal point of UN activities and important elements of the Secretariat are not to be moved abroad. It is unlikely that the Assembly will approve the proposal and vote funds ($15 million) for the expansion unless the United States is prepared to make some kind of a commitment to contribute a matching $15 million.


Among other items likely to be formally or informally considered during the Assembly, the following are of particular interest:

Microstates. In our efforts to check the extension of full membership to newly independent small entities, we initiated Security Council consideration of the microstates problem as a step toward Assembly discussion of some form of associate status for microstates. The Council appointed an expert committee of the whole to study the matter, leaving open the possibility of later inscribing such an item on the Assembly’s agenda.

Nigeria will probably not be formally considered despite widespread concern about the civil war. There is little disposition to override the desire of the Africans and the Secretary General to keep the issue outside the UN except for cooperation on relief. The Assembly may provide openings to enlist the delegations in diplomatic efforts toward promoting a settlement and improving relief operations.

Seabeds. We want to marshall support for a set of principles and arrangements governing exploration and exploitation of the seabeds in the area beyond national jurisdiction. However, sentiment among the developing countries is swinging toward concentration on establishing international machinery as a means of helping to ensure that they will participate in exploitation and obtain a just share of benefits. We hope the Assembly will not press important substantive seabeds issues to a vote, but refer them back to the 42-member Seabeds Committee.

Outer Space. The Assembly will have before it a report of the Outer Space Committee dealing with the still unnegotiated liability convention and with use of satellites for direct broadcast. With respect to satellite broadcasting, many countries fear that the space powers will misuse this technology for propaganda purposes, and call for international controls on program content. We understand their concerns, but believe these should be balanced against world interest in freedom of information. We expect the debate to be manageable, and that the Committee’s mandate will be continued.

Human Rights. We will again support the proposal for establishing a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to spotlight human rights violations throughout the world and render assistance to states requesting it. The Soviets have opposed the idea because of the vulnerability of closed Communist societies to such exposure but we believe this proposal could materially improve protection of human rights throughout the world.

International Education Year (IEY). The Secretary General will report on preparations for observing the International Education Year in 1970. We expect a consensus that the IEY is primarily an occasion for action by the member states to improve and expand their educational systems.

Tourism. The less developed countries are pressing for establishment of a new intergovernmental tourism organization. The resumed session of ECOSOC this fall is expected to refer to the Assembly a report of the Secretary General on the constitutional, organizational and financial implications of establishing such an organization. We prefer to strengthen the International Union of Official Travel Organizations rather than establish a new organization.

Declaration on Social Progress and Development. We hope this General Assembly will complete an acceptable Declaration, extensively considered last year, intended to define the objectives of social development and the methods and means of achieving it. We hope to compromise a contentious Soviet proposal related to the Arab-Israeli dispute that compensation be made for economic and social damages "caused as a result of aggression and of illegal occupation of territory by the aggressor."

Youth. The General Assembly will consider a quite satisfactory report of the Secretary General on strengthening and coordinating existing programs of international action relating to youth which was considered by the recent session of ECOSOC.

We expect to have problems with a possible Soviet-Bulgarian proposal that the Assembly adopt a far-reaching "Declaration on Youth" covering economic, political, cultural and human rights and containing politically-slanted provisions.

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

Washington, September 26, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates that Kissinger saw it on September 30.

State Department Paper on 24th UN General Assembly

Attached for your information is a State Department piece on the scope and major issues likely to arise in the United Nations General Assembly this fall./2/ Roger Morris canvassed the operators before the President’s UN speech and they found no egregious errors in this paper.

/2/ Document 83.

I see no reason to forward this to the President or for you to read it fully. Summarized below are the unsurprising major highlights.

General. There should be no new critical issues, barring unforeseen crises. The menu consists of traditional dishes. The general atmosphere should be better, thanks to a year’s blurring of the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the President’s Vietnam initiatives and emphasis on negotiation over confrontation, and the prospects of SALT.

Soviets. Neither concessions on gut issues or major boat-rocking. A more muted East-West debate.

Smaller Powers. Deepening frustration over lack of progress on issues that concern them. They want the developed countries to share the technological fruits of the space/nuclear age, to help accelerate economic development in the third world, to be serious about disarmament. Given the UN’s peace-securing limitations, there is a growing tendency to regard it primarily as a forum to plead causes and exert pressures on the major powers.

Membership Explosion. The Assembly is hampered by cumbersomeness, loquacity and the use of formal majorities to steamroller through unrealistic resolutions and vote programs with budgetary implications over the heads of major contributors on whom the organization must rely for effective action.

Middle East. The Security Council will undoubtedly have its share of crisis meetings and there will be traditional Arab refugee and human rights polemics. Any meaningful discussions on the Arab-Israeli problem will of course take place off stage.

Arms Control. This will be a major theme. We will attempt to maintain Assembly support of the Geneva Disarmament Committee as being a more manageable forum than the Assembly. Our task will be eased if a seabeds treaty looks likely and SALT talks begin. The Soviet (and other) initiatives on CBW could be the most troublesome for us.

Colonial-Racial Issues. We will once again find ourselves in a small minority opposing extreme Assembly resolutions calling on the Security Council to impose sanctions against South Africa and Portugal, as well as for the use of force against the Rhodesian rebels. (Comment: regardless of the merit of such resolutions or of our having influence in black Africa, I do believe that this Administration seriously underestimates the explosive impact that black-white African issues are likely to have on the American domestic scene in the 1970s. I think that once Vietnam winds down, our policy toward South Africa and company will be a major target of American blacks and youth.)

Korea. Once again on the agenda despite our efforts. With extensive lobbying we should defeat communist resolutions calling for withdrawal of UN forces and the dissolution of the UN Commission for Korea.

Chinese Representation. We are reasonably confident of defeating the annual attempt to substitute Peking for Taipei, but some of our friends might embarrass us with more subtle initiatives that seek to test the limits of this Administration’s fresh China policy.

Other Issues. The more significant problems among those touched in the paper include: some limited progress with the Soviets on UN peacekeeping concepts; general pressure on us to liberalize our trade and aid policies in light of the Second Development Decade; UN cooperation in the field of human environment (a theme of the President’s speech); the UN budget and expansion of the Headquarters in New York; and our initiative on checking the extension of full membership to microstates.

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

Washington, October 21, 1969.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. According to an attached memorandum from Winston Lord, the memorandum was transmitted to Kissinger on October 24.

Political Committee Issues in General Assembly

In response to a suggestion of Mr. Winston Lord, the agenda items to be taken up in the First (Political) Committee of the General Assembly are listed below, together with an estimation of the dates between which they will be discussed and a brief assessment of the problems which they pose for the United States.

1. Soviet Omnibus Item on Strengthening International Security (October 10–24)

This is mainly a propaganda item in which the USSR is seeking to have the Assembly endorse Soviet formulations on a wide range of issues. It seems generally to be recognized as such by the General Assembly membership. We will attempt to dispose of the Soviet proposal in some way which avoids a vote at this Assembly session. No important policy questions are likely to arise.

2. Korean Invitation Item (October 27–28)

The issue is whether to invite both North and South Korea unconditionally to attend the substantive debate on the UN’s role in Korea, or to condition the invitation to North Korea on Pyongyang’s acceptance of UN jurisdiction in the question. We expect that, as in the past, our proposal for a conditional invitation will be adopted.

3. Seabeds Item (October 29–November 7)

We will endeavor to have the Committee, following a general discussion of the various issues involved in the Seabeds question (except arms limitation), refer the problem to the Seabeds Committee for further study. We expect no major issues to arise.

4. Korean Substantive Item (November 11–12)

We expect that the Committee will, as in the past, adopt the resolution which we favor reaffirming the UN’s role and presence in South Korea, and defeat resolutions calling for the withdrawal of UN forces and for the dissolution of the UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea.

5. Disarmament Items (November 12–December 12)

There are two Agenda items on disarmament questions:

a) a catchall which includes the report of the Conference of the Geneva Committee on Disarmament (CCD) and certain standard arms control issues such as comprehensive test ban, as well as problems related to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy arising out of the NPT; and

b) a special item on chemical and biological warfare.

The order in which these will be taken up is not yet agreed. This complex of issues will be the most difficult Committee I question for the US. The principal focus in the general disarmament item will be on the draft Seabeds Arms Control Treaty which will be submitted, whether entirely agreed as yet or not, in the report of the CCD. Here, as elsewhere in discussions under these items, there will be some criticism of the US and USSR for not proceeding with nuclear disarmament and for what some nations consider to be highhanded tactics in pressuring other forms of arms control through the CCD and the Assembly. There may be attempts to amend the Seabeds Treaty, and depending on the state of completion of the draft we will hope either to get Assembly endorsement of an acceptable draft or to have the issues referred back to the CCD.

The most troublesome problem is likely to be CBW. Particularly if our domestic policy review is not completed, or if completed does not satisfy the hopes of foreign governments for a cutback in these weapons, we may have to deal with far-going draft resolutions prohibiting the use of CBW, including tear gas and herbicides. Tactics in New York will have to be coordinated with the policy formulation process in Washington. We hope to have the various proposals regarding CBW referred back to the CCD for study.

6. Outer Space Item (December 15–16)

The principal substantive issue is the completion of the convention on liability for damage resulting from the launching of objects into outer space, which has been under negotiation for several years and may well not be ready for Assembly approval at this session. We also plan to introduce some specific proposals regarding resource survey satellites in following up the President’s General Assembly speech. Neither subject will confront us with any major difficulty.

Robert L. Brown/2/

/2/ Brown signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typed signature.

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

Washington, January 7, 1970.

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

Highlights of the 24th United Nations General Assembly

At Tab A is a State Department message to all diplomatic posts which gives a useful rundown of the principal events of this fall’s United Nations General Assembly session./2/ Following are the major highlights.

/2/ Airgram CA–6802, December 22; attached but not printed.

General. The three month session was relatively quiet with no particular issue dominant. It demonstrated once again both the UN’s usefulness for public and private diplomacy and its limitations as a legislative body. A good deal of the attention was focussed on preparations for this year’s 25th Anniversary. The Assembly was marked by a more muted East-West atmosphere, some quiet U.S.-Soviet cooperation, and a growing revolt of the smaller countries against the large, wealthy, nuclear nations.

Your September Speech./3/ Your address served both to reaffirm American support for the world body and to lay out some concrete, non-ideological tasks on which there has already been some movement. The Assembly passed a resolution urging nations to take effective actions against air hijacking; encouraged the sharing of benefits on earth resource surveying techniques; established a Preparatory Commission for the 1972 International Conference on Environment in Stockholm; and spurred preparations for the Second Development Decade.

/3/ See footnote 4, Document 12.

Seabeds, CBW and Disarmament. This was the most striking area of small nation rebellion against the superpowers. A resolution was adopted, over U.S. and Soviet opposition, providing for a moratorium on claims and exploitation of seabeds beyond national jurisdiction pending establishment of an international regime. The draft seabeds disarmament treaty was referred back to the Geneva disarmament talks, there being insufficient time to incorporate small power changes and obtain Assembly endorsement. A Mexican resolution passed (U.S. and Soviets abstained) welcoming SALT talks but calling for a preliminary moratorium on testing and development of new strategic systems. An omnibus CBW resolution, co-sponsored by the U.S., the Soviets and others, unanimously referred all action proposals, including a Soviet draft and the UK Biological Convention, back to Geneva. A Swedish resolution passed decisively (only the U.S., Australia and Portugal opposed with most Western Europeans abstaining) which intends to declare the use of tear gas and herbicides as contrary to international law under the Geneva Protocol.

New York Headquarters Expansion. We scored a major success in our effort to keep UN activities focussed in New York when the Assembly authorized the construction of an additional Secretariat office building in New York, provided an appropriate financial package can be assembled. This was made possible largely due to two of your recent decisions: your intention to request $20 million in the FY 1971 budget for this project and your submission of the UN Convention on Privileges and Immunities to the Senate. There is still great opposition to New York expansion from communist nations, Arabs, France and black Africans for several reasons, including the inconveniences and expenses of New York, the belief that social-economic units should be in Geneva, and straight politics.

25th Anniversary. For 1970 the Assembly decided upon a short commemorative General Assembly session culminating on October 24 and attended by many Heads of State; endorsed the convening of a World Youth Assembly for ten days in July in New York; and adopted various preparatory documents. (Secretary Rogers will soon be sending you his recommendations with regard to the UN’s Anniversary, including a proposal that you appoint a Commission of outstanding private citizens to advise and publicize the U.S. role.)

Perennial Issues. There were few surprises on the major traditional questions. Our victory margin on Chinese representation was narrowed by six votes (the Albanian resolution was defeated 48–56 with 21 abstentions), with the Soviets playing a passive role. We maintained traditional margins on the Korean questions, including continuation of the UN role. There was some quiet progress with the Soviets in devising outlines for UN peacekeeping observer missions. Southern Africa and colonialism issues generally followed the pattern of recent years. The Assembly, including the U.S., welcomed the moderate Lusaka manifesto, in which the black Africans prefer non-violent solutions to southern African questions. In addition to the private Middle East talks, there was bitter public debate on refugees and Palestine, and concern over the fedayeen role in refugee camps served by UNRWA. There was generally constructive progress on the preparation for the Second Development Decade, including the Pearson Commission Report on foreign aid and a hard-hitting study by Sir Robert Jackson (Australia) on the UN’s capacity in the economic/social field. Human Rights action included our focus on the plight of Vietnam POWs and movement toward establishment of a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

87. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, March 26, 1970, 2120Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use.

533. Subj: 25th GA–Measures To Improve Assembly’s Work Methods.

1. Department will recall that in document circulated last Dec. (A/7633), Canada proposed that 25th GA consider initiation of study GA workings and noted that one way pursue matter might be establish committee of three wise men to examine procedures and practices and report to 26th GA with any appropriate recommendations for improvements.

2. With reference this proposed initiative, USRep has received letter dated March 12 from Canadian PermRep indicating intention convene small informal group in near future to consider ideas for improving GA procedures, with broader consultations to be carried out later in an effort to secure general agreement on desirable modifications prior 25th GA. In addition Canada and US, small group is to include PermReps of Australia, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and UK.

3. In participating these discussions we propose take general position along following lines:

A. We regard 25th GA as highly appropriate occasion take action designed streamline procedures and practices in light extensive experience to date, with view maximizing GA’s effectiveness, economizing on time and minimizing duplication and overlapping.

B. We tend believe that adoption initiative this direction likely be facilitated if proposed by middle and small powers, although we have no strong views on this and would ourselves be prepared co-sponsor if friendlies consider this would be helpful.

C. While extensive consultations in advance upcoming GA which Canadians have in mind may reveal widespread agreement on a few specific reform measures which could be readily adopted in 25th session, it seems impracticable for 25th GA itself undertake general review of procedures and arrangements and come up with worthwhile and generally acceptable reforms. Consequently, we believe that focus of initiative at 25th GA should relate to establishment of machinery to undertake review and report to 26th GA in 1971.

D. We would favor having 25th GA establish working group as small as feasible but representative enough to offer prospect that group’s recommendations can command adequate support in 26th GA. Therefore we would doubt advisability of confining group to three wise men. More practicable size likely approximate that of General Committee (namely 25) appointment of which might best be left to GA President following informal consultations as appropriate. (We would assume membership would include Big Four.)

E. It would seem appropriate for President 25th GA (presumably Hambro of Norway) to serve as chairman Committee on Procedural Reforms.

F. Also with view promoting general acceptability of Committee’s conclusions, it would be appropriate for resolution this subject to provide that comments of governments should be solicited in advance Committee’s meetings and taken into account in its deliberations.

4. If Dept. agreeable proceeding along foregoing lines, it may be useful at some point brief 25th Anniversary Presidential Commission on exercise and invite commission members to submit informally to Dept, in time to be factored into US submission to GA working group, any specific ideas they may have for improving GA operations.

5. Mission would appreciate comments ASAP on foregoing and, re para 3(C) above, any ideas Dept. may have on specific reforms which could be enacted by 25th GA.


88. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, April 2, 1970, 0036Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Virginia F. Hartley, cleared by John A. Armitage, and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma.

47868. Subj: 25th GA–Measures to Improve Assembly’s Work Methods. Ref: USUN 533./2/

/2/ Document 87.

1. Dept concurs it would be impractical for 25th GA itself undertake broad review of Assembly’s work methods and therefore welcomes Canadian proposal for preliminary consultations looking toward general agreement on desirable modifications prior 25th GA.

2. If out of extensive consultations Canadians propose, widespread agreement develops on even a few specific reforms that could be adopted by 25th GA, or if these consultations indicate likelihood widespread agreement given more time for intensive study, Dept believes initiative at 25th GA to establish machinery for further review and report to 26th GA worthwhile. If, however, general reaction to Canadian initiative equivocal, then Dept doubts usefulness (on basis results from last committee on same subject (1962–63)) establishment Committee on GA Procedural Reforms since its chances of real accomplishment would be slight and the impact of its mere establishment, in Dept’s view, minimal. Dept would therefore prefer reserve judgment with respect focus any initiative this matter at 25th GA pending outcome proposed consultations.

3. Otherwise Dept concurs in general position outlined para 3 reftel.

4. We would be interested in Mission’s ideas re specific reforms that might be adopted by 25th GA, as Mission clearly in best position judge not only what is needed but what it is practical to attempt. Dept will also be interested in what surfaces as result Canadian consultations.


89. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, April 16, 1970, 1803Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use.

681. Measures To Improve GA Work Methods. (A) State 47868, (B) USUN 533,/2/ (C) USUN 578./3/

/2/ Documents 87 and 88.

/3/ Telegram 578 from USUN reads: "In addition to points raised in reftel [USUN 533] we will of course press energetically for initial step of reallocating items relating to science and technology to new main comite of the GA as set forth in our note to SYG of 16 March pursuant to DepAir A–51." (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA)

1. Improvement GA procedures and practices seems to us important enough to GA’s effectiveness to warrant continuing effort this direction, and GA decision to undertake general and systematic review seven years after last such exercise, and in context UN’s 25th anniversary, would be timely and desirable.

2. While we are not optimistic about outcome, neither do we think excessive pessimism is justified. Meager results from 1962–63 general review should not rule out new attempt seven–eight years later. Last review took place at inauspicious time, on heels of membership explosion which admitted large number new states constituting one-fifth of current membership. These new states have hopefully now had sufficient exposure to parliamentary procedure to make them appreciate need for reform and able contribute more usefully toward review. Moreover, many speakers 25th anniversary GA seem certain to refer to need for reforms and to advocate some specific measures, some good and some bad. In any case, if interest in reform is to grow and not evaporate, some kind of machinery should be provided to permit orderly consideration of suggestions put forward on occasion 25th GA.

3. Therefore, while we agree we should encourage friendlies to direct their pre-GA efforts toward securing agreement on few specific measures which could be adopted by 25th GA rather than exclusively on establishment of review machinery, we do not believe that we should reserve our position on latter nor make our support for it contingent upon agreement being reached or in early prospect on specific reforms.

4. Re para 4, Ref A, one specific reform which we propose press at 25th GA, and effectuate at that session if at all possible, is cited Ref C. As Dept. aware, this measure is directed toward rationalization of comite structure and provides for reallocation of (non-disarmament) agenda items on science and technology to single and possibly renamed main comite. We plan utilize occasion forthcoming friendlies’ meeting being convened by Canada to solicit support for this reform and to invite suggestions as to how we might best proceed in GA.

5. Set forth below are additional suggestions for reforms, all aimed at single purpose of saving GA’s time. We believe it would be worthwhile for 25th GA to adopt these reforms and would also plan mention them at friendlies’ meeting. Whether these measures can attract necessary support would be revealed during course extensive pre-GA consultations of type Canadians have in mind. General acceptance of these and similar reform measures would be enhanced if put forward on limited basis, e.g., that they would be put into effect for two-year trial period only, beginning with 26th GA, and would be subject review 28th session. We propose so note to friendlies and to suggest that group focus on developing program of few measures for adoption 25th GA which might be put to others on this limited basis.

6. Such measures could include following:

A. Arrange for outgoing General Comite to meet shortly prior to new GA to formulate recommendations to new GA re such organizational matters as (I) meeting schedule, (II) establishment of deadline for closing speakers’ list for general debate, (III) inclusion in agenda of items on provisional and supplementary agendas as well as "urgent and important" items proposed prior GA convening date pursuant Rule 15, (IV) allocation of items to committees and plenary, (V) closing date for 25th session. As part of this, General Comite would be enjoined, taking into account proposed closing date for session, to review agenda paying particular heed to possibility afforded by Rule 40 of recommending deferral items and their inclusion in provisional agenda of subsequent GA. To preserve original geographic balance, makeup of "old GC" would have to allow for substitutes for old GC members elected as individuals, i.e. pres and comite chairmen, in event latter unable attend. Substitutes should logically be reps of member states from which these officials were elected.

B. Establish "target" time limits of 40 minutes for general debate speeches and 15 minutes for plenary explanations of vote, with dels having option in both cases extend remarks in verbatim record up to maximum of 10 double-spaced pages.

7. Dept will recognize both of above arrangements as adaptations developed from our review of suggestions advanced by various govts. In connection 1962 general review of GA procedures and of time-saving innovations used by certain of SAs. Re latter, arrangement suggested in B above is adapted from procedure utilized with marked success by last three World Health Assemblies. Limited steps along foregoing lines would admittedly save only small amount GA’s time. However, they should serve to start ball rolling in direction procedural reform and to set stage for general review and adoption more substantial measures at subsequent GA sessions, presumably on recommendation of review mechanism of kind described Ref B.


90. Memorandum From the Representative to the United Nations (Yost) to Secretary of State Rogers/1/

New York, June 23, 1970.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential. A typed note on the memorandum indicates that it was received on June 24.

Content of U.S. Statement at Opening of the 25th General Assembly

Pursuant to our conversation last week,/2/ I transmit herewith a list of subjects to be considered for inclusion in the U.S. statement in the G.A. general debate, probably September 17. It might be delivered by the President or, if he prefers to come to the U.N. later, by you. In the latter event the President might choose to address the Assembly during the "commemorative session" in the week ending October 24. He would then speak more briefly and in more general terms, but would perhaps wish to include some points of substance, perhaps reserved from among the items below.

/2/ No other record of this conversation has been found.

There are no major surprises in this list, but it does cover–and includes some constructive proposals on–the major issues with which the U.S., as the world’s leading power, would be expected to comment in this forum. It is in keeping with the philosophy of the Nixon Doctrine that we will not shirk our world responsibilities but we do expect others to share the burden in a spirit of partnership. In addition to certain points which would be welcome to (and whose absence would be missed by) the majority in the U.N. audience, the list includes a number of points that the American public will recognize as serving our interests and our prestige as a world leader.

These suggestions have been worked out with IO and have Mr. De Palma’s concurrence.

Charles W. Yost



Critical World Issues–Moving toward International Stability

1. Arms control--SALT and key issues at CCD
2. Southeast Asia peace efforts U.N. role in implementing settlements
3. Middle East peace effort
4. Major concerns of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America–brief mention

Keeping Globe Habitable

1. Securing the peace–in context of Nixon Doctrine (less by ourselves, more in partnership)–devise more reliable peacekeeping methods to share security responsibilities effectively. Proposals in peacekeeping and peaceful settlement (e.g., better organization and financing of peacekeeping, U.S. logistical support, fact-finding/conciliation panels, ICJ reform).

2. Sharing World’s Resources and Benefits of Technology

a. Development Decade–pronouncement re U.S. position on multilateral aid; need to improve performance of UN Development Program.

b. Seabeds–orderly and equitable exploitation, stress benefits to all nations from cooperative use (take account of U.S. economic and security interests).

c. Cooperation in scientific/technological advances–with stress on benefits to all, including America.

3. Making World Safer

a. Human rights–Genocide Convention, Southern Africa, spotlighting violations everywhere through Human Rights Commissioner.

b. Population–UN efforts in services and research.

c. Environment–monitoring pollution and safeguarding ecology.

d. Narcotics–World Plan of Action.

e. Measures against hijacking and diplomatic kidnappings.


We need to do more through international institutions–let’s make them effective.

91. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, September 17, 1970, 1953Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential. Drafted by Betty-Jane Jones, cleared by G. Norman Anderson, and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Repeated to Moscow.

152721. Subject: UNGA–Soviet Views.

1. Soviet Chargé Vorontsov called on Asst Secy De Palma Sept 16 to present routine résumé of Soviet views re 25th UNGA, along lines reported Wellington 2147./2/ He was able provide no info on Kosygin or Gromyko attendance at GA./3/

/2/ Dated September 11. (Ibid.)

/3/ Foreign Minister Gromyko did attend the session and addressed the UN General Assembly on October 22. A summary of his address is in telegram 2632 from USUN, October 22. (Ibid.)

2. Vorontsov said 25th anniversary declaration should be short and general in nature, stressing reiteration of Charter aims and principles. It should deal with ways to resolve major world problems and stress "main task" of UN–maintenance of peace. Following points should be covered: end of arms race and GCD [GDC]; implementation of GA declaration on non-intervention in internal affairs of states; completion of definition of aggression and agreement on measures to stop aggression; liquidation of colonialism in accordance GA anti-colonialism declaration; development of international cooperation in solving economic, scientific, technological, social and cultural problems; respect for human rights and dignity without discrimination.

3. Following described by Vorontsov as GA items of principal interest to Soviets:

a) Strengthening of international security. USSR hoped there would not be many conflicting resolutions on the Soviet-sponsored item. Soviets understood Western dels had developed draft but hoped "we would not fight" and would deal with item in "dignified" way.

b) CBW–Soviets would continue to fight for position taken at Geneva.

c) Seabeds–Soviets considered draft treaty completed at Geneva very important matter.

d) Colonial questions–Colonial powers must fully implement anti-colonialism declaration.

e) LOS–USSR-sponsored agenda item signified Soviet interests, which seemed to be pretty close to those of US.

4. De Palma responded that 25th anniversary declaration should be document that could be adopted by acclamation and must therefore be even simpler than outlined by Vorontsov. While declaration per se perhaps not too important, it would be most unfortunate to try to achieve one and fail. He hoped Soviets would view matter in this light so that short, non-controversial declaration could be worked out in NY consultations. Similar considerations applicable to international security item. No one trying to deprive Soviets of credit for having taken initiative on this question, but if something generally acceptable to be achieved, Soviets could not insist on their original formulations. If they did, there could be no agreement. Western draft resolution covered many subjects in which Soviets interested in moderate and reasonable terms.

5. Extremely difficult tactical situation on LOS was being thrashed out in NY now, De Palma said. He agreed US and Soviet views on substance this subject quite close. On colonial questions, De Palma anticipated proposals would probably be cast in terms that would present problems.

6. On CBW De Palma noted US and USSR knew each other’s positions. He hoped differences could be bridged, but emphasized US not prepared see one instrument covering both chemical and biological weapons. Some way of relating two aspects might be possible, such as concluding instrument covering biological weapons first and agreeing at same time to work toward instrument covering chemical weapons.

7. De Palma concluded with general comment that it would be very good if real gains could be achieved at 25th GA. However, even if this not possible, both US and Soviets should at least seek ways to minimize controversy. Otherwise there danger that GA would appear to be demonstration of futility of UN. This not in interest of either country. Vorontsov nodded assent.

8. In response Vorontsov query re possible new proposals, De Palma said there considerable talk in NY about possibility of action on hijacking. He noted US initiative in ICAO, however, and wondered what useful action GA could take now. Vorontsov commented practical measures such as announced by Pres Nixon were what was needed, not declarations.


92. Paper Prepared in the Department of State/1/

Washington, September 1970.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Secret. An attached memorandum of transmittal from Martin F. Herz to Rogers is dated September 16. Rogers forwarded the paper to President Nixon on September 21.


September, 1970

Overall Objectives

The overall purposes of your participation in the opening of the Twenty-Fifth session of the UN General Assembly are to engage in an exchange of views with Foreign Ministers and other high officials and to deliver the opening U.S. statement. The most important specific objective is to overcome the difficulties which developed over the cease-fire in the Middle East and to move the parties ahead into negotiations as soon as possible. There are also a number of significant specific objectives set out below which we wish to achieve with individual countries. Less important ones are included in individual country papers.

Specific Important Objectives

I. The Middle East.

A. Arab-Israeli Negotiations.

(1) The first objective (subject to modification in detail at the time) is to seek to restore the integrity of the cease-fire among the parties and to extend it, for three more months if possible, on the basis of agreement that the cease-fire includes (a) no introduction of new or improved weapons into the zone, and no replacement of heavy weapons of any sort; (b) no forward deployment of sites or weapons from present positions, and (c) no construction of new sites or installations or "hardening" of existing ones;

(2) The second objective is to persuade the Foreign Ministers of Israel, Jordan and the UAR to open the agreed negotiations under Jarring before they leave the General Assembly, to make as much progress as possible, and to make arrangements for their continuation at the Foreign Minister level before they leave;

(3) With Jarring we will want you to urge that when negotiations are again underway he develop specific proposals himself and not confine himself to the role of an honest broker; and that he seek one or two aspects of the issue for early concentration;

(4) With the UK, France, the USSR and others as necessary we will want you to emphasize the central role of Jarring and discourage any moves to have the Four Powers or the Security Council take over a direct role;

(5) You should stress in your public statements, and directly to the parties, if the tactical situation on resuming negotiations makes it possible to do so, the necessity of each side moving from its maximum position in the course of negotiations.

B. Turkey.

(1) With Foreign Minister Caglayangil you should urge that the Government of Turkey fulfill this fall (in the upcoming session of the Turkish Assembly) its announced intention to pass licensing legislation to curb the illicit flow of opium.

(2) Assure him also that reductions in our Military Assistance Program are related to severe military budgetary restraints, especially with respect to Cambodia, and not to the opium situation (as some Turks believe).

C. India.

Urge the new Foreign Minister (Singh) to follow up recent improvements in Indo-U.S. relations with a more neutral stance on Southeast Asia.

II. Europe.

A. Mutual Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR) and a European Security Conference.

(1) Ask Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers to:

–Clarify the areas of Europe they expect to be included in a force reduction agreement, and whether the "foreign forces" they mention as being willing to discuss in their Budapest statement refers to Soviet as well as American and Canadian forces. Ask also whether they concur in reduction of "indigenous" forces as well, as included in NATO proposals.

–Indicate whether they are insisting on a Conference on European Security prior to discussions of MBFR, as the Pact statement implies. Note that it is an odd idea to suggest delaying a key security matter until after the security conference and that progress on MBFR might help contribute to assuring the success of such a Conference.

(2) Remind both Allied and Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers that, in any case, we believe there should be concrete improvements in the situation in and around Berlin, including improved procedures on access, before we move to multilateral talks on a conference or series of conferences on European security and cooperation. Note that the German- Soviet Treaty is an encouraging factor but that its ultimate success is linked to a Berlin agreement.

B. Troop Support.

Thank our NATO allies, especially the UK and FRG (not France which is not involved), for their efforts to help ease the financial burden of keeping U.S. forces in Europe. Say that you hope they can develop more precise suggestions on this as soon as possible because it will affect our military budget planning. If asked how much we are hoping for, say we have no figure but that the costs incurred locally by our forces in Europe are about $1 billion a year.

C. European Community.

(1) Reaffirm to West European Foreign Ministers that the U.S. continues to support the strengthening and enlargement of the Community, because of its long range values.

(2) Emphasize to Foreign Ministers of the European Community and the four applicants (UK, Ireland, Denmark and Norway) that we, nevertheless, expect them during the enlargement process to take fully into account the trading interests and GATT rights of the U.S.

(3) Stress that the United States opposes in principle the Community’s preference arrangements that are not in accord with GATT provisions. They are strengthening protectionist sentiments in the U.S. and, in some cases, are adversely affecting American exports.

(4) State that Community high support prices for agriculture are harmful to the interest of the U.S. and other third countries and feed protectionist pressures in the U.S. We are concerned about resultant adverse trade effects if these high prices were extended to the new members.

III. Africa.

A. Morocco and Tunisia.

Assure Morocco and Tunisia that although reductions are to be expected in military and economic assistance for FY 1971 because of appropriations difficulties, our concern with their economic development and security remains undiminished and we still expect to contribute to them.

B. Algeria.

Note your satisfaction over some improvement in our contacts since your talk last year and reiterate our willingness to resume formal diplomatic relations without preconditions when they are ready to do so, noting lack of such relations will restrain American businessmen in the economic relations Algeria is seeking.

C. Somalia.

State that we would like to see our relations restored to the more friendly level of last year when they are ready to do so.

IV. East Asia.

A. General.

Take every opportunity to make clear that the Nixon Doctrine must be taken seriously in terms of seeking to have the countries of the region assume more responsibility for their own defense and development, but that it does not mean abrogation of U.S. defense commitments or a lessening U.S. interest in the region. On the contrary, it seeks to provide a sounder basis upon which the United States can maintain a presence, defend its interests and fulfill its commitments.

B. Communist China.

You should explain, if questioned, that we continue to seek a lessening of tensions in our relationships with Communist China. There is, however, no change in our position with respect to Communist China’s membership in the UN, nor in our support for the membership of the GRC.

V. Latin America.

(1) Assure Latin American Foreign Ministers that recent appearances of protectionist sentiments in the U.S. will not divert us from the policies announced by the President in his October 1969 policy speech of support for generalized tariff preferences.

(2) Specifically, assure them that notwithstanding the Mills Bill, we will continue to assist them in developing U.S. as well as other developed country markets for their exports. (Asian countries may also need assurance that we are not headed toward protectionism.)


A. Seabeds.

(1) Seabed arms control item.

Encourage maximum international support for the revised draft treaty barring weapons of mass destruction on the seabeds, which received strong backing from the Geneva Conference of the Committee on Disarmament. Urge that the treaty be endorsed by the current General Assembly with little or no change so it can be opened for signature early next year.

(2) Seabed exploitation regime.

Indicate to key LDC’s (e.g. India) that our Draft Seabeds Convention deserves careful consideration as it opens up the prospect of a major, independent source of revenue for development. (Individual country papers will indicate where efforts are needed.)

B. Representation Questions.

(1) Chinese Representation. We will probably want you to speak to a few wavering countries (Jordan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, perhaps others) to assure their continued support for the "important question" resolution on Chinese representation, and their "no" votes on the Albanian Resolution which would seat Communist China in the place of Nationalist China.

(2) Cambodia. You should speak to the Indonesian, Malaysian and Japanese Foreign Ministers about taking the lead in supporting the credentials of the Government of Cambodia if this should arise in the Assembly.

C. Periodic Security Council Meeting.

We do not expect that a closed meeting of the Security Council at Foreign Minister level as proposed by the Finns and approved by the Security Council this summer will take place in September because Foreign Minister Gromyko apparently will only come in October. When the meeting is held you should use the occasion to urge more rapid progress on agreed peacekeeping procedures and more frequent and effective use of available procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes. We should seek to keep any communiqué from the meeting nominal in character.

D. General Assembly Speech.

(1) Proceeding from the President’s peace theme of last year, the speech should outline the foreign policy changes the Administration has made–emphasis on negotiations, the Nixon Doctrine, new emphasis on economic foreign policy, and international efforts to improve the "quality of life."

(2) Within this framework the speech should also set out ideas toward future UN contributions in:

(a) Peacekeeping (ground rules, standby forces, financing), and peacemaking;

(b) Development of international law;

(c) The Second United Nations Development Decade–stressing multilateral aid following the lines of the Peterson report; generalized preferences; and the reform of UNDP;

(d) Our support for self-determination in Southern Africa;

(e) UN efforts toward improving the quality of life, specifically on population, narcotics, the environment, and the sea.

(3) The speech should conclude with a Middle East section opening on hijacking and stressing the necessity of getting past the current problems on the cease-fire and on to the negotiations.

Likely Objectives of Others

I. UN.

You may come under pressure from a number of developing countries to support the Development Decade aid target of 1% of GNP. Your answer should be that we want to reverse recent declines in U.S. governmental aid and realize ours is proportionately lower than a number of others. However, the bulk of all aid under the 1% figure is from non-governmental resources. These are unpredictable. Our governmental aid is also now under major review by the Congress and we will have to await the outcome.

II. Europe.

A. Western Europe Foreign Ministers of the smaller NATO powers may try to convince you that the FRG/USSR Treaty and progress on SALT are sufficient so that we should now agree to multilateral consultations between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries to bring about an early conference on European security. Western Foreign Ministers may also express concern over the Mills Bill and growing protectionism in the U.S.

B. Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers may urge you to agree to an early conference on European Security without preconditions.

C. Harmel (Belgium) may seek your advice about his "two China" resolution. You should reiterate that we see no need for one as the vote seems likely to hold this year.

III. Africa.

A. On Southern Africa, some Foreign Ministers (Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia) may ask for reassurance that we will stick to the South African and Portuguese arms embargoes and on sanctions against Southern Rhodesia. They may try to put you under pressure to agree to the further sanctions on South Africa adopted by the Security Council and to persuade the UK not to resume arms sales of any type. You should reply that we have carried out the sanctions resolutions more strictly than most major powers and that we will continue to observe the sanctions. On broadened sanctions you should note that the failure of Africans to insist that all countries obey the existing sanctions equally was already causing us trouble. Rather than broadening sanctions we think the focus should be on securing better compliance with those measures on which there has been general agreement.

B. Mauritania may press for appointment of a resident U.S. Ambassador instead of an Ambassador also accredited to Senegal. You should say that you will look into the question again.

IV. East Asia.

A. China will seek maximum U.S. support for its position on the representation issue, including a U.S. "no" vote and active opposition to the Belgian two-China proposal if it is submitted. You should say that we have urged the Belgians not to submit it. If they do it is clear that it will not get the necessary votes. We now doubt it will go in, but if it does our delegations will be in immediate touch on how to handle the situation. Observe that it is in fact surprising that such a proposal has never been put before the Assembly.

B. Korea, in addition to seeking maximum U.S. support for its position on the Korean representation issue, will probably try to get assurances that we will not further reduce our forces in Korea until ROK forces’ modernization is completed. They may also seek assurances of U.S. support, going beyond our Defense Treaty, in the case of attack against them.

You should assure them of full support on the GA item. On the bilateral relationship you should say there is no possibility of us expanding on the Treaty, that we have proven our attitude by fighting in their defense, and that raising the issue will only cause North Korea to assume there may be a doubt–to the detriment of us both. On force reductions say we believe reductions and modernization should both proceed but have made no decisions on reduction beyond the 20,000 we have told them about.

V. Latin America.

A. Some Latin American Foreign Ministers may seek reassurance that we regard our Latin American relationship as "special" and that the President’s promises for "action for progress" will result in positive U.S. policies in trade, economic assistance and technology transfer.

B. More specifically with respect to trade, they–as well as other LDC’s–will express concern with protectionist trends in the U.S. and press for broad and prompt implementation of our pledges to provide greater access for their exports. You can assure them we intend to press ahead toward this goal.

93. Airgram From the Department of State to All Posts/1/


Washington, December 30, 1970, 2:06 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use. Drafted by the IO/OES Staff and approved by Joel M. Fisher. Also sent to USUN, Montreal for ICAO, Paris for UNESCO and OECD, Rome for FODAG, Vienna for IAEA and UNIDO, and Geneva.

25th UN General Assembly–Agenda Items in the Economic, Social, and Human Rights Fields

CA–4583, August 29, 1970/2/

/2/ This airgram identified for the posts the most significant economic, social, and human rights items on the provisional agenda of the 25th General Assembly. (Ibid.)

This airgram, sent to the field for informational purposes only, identifies each economic, social and human rights item which appeared on the agenda of the 25th session of the UN General Assembly (A/8000, July 17, 1970) and briefly describes what action was taken either in Committee II (economic and financial); Committee III (social, humanitarian and cultural); or at the Plenary session of the General Assembly.

UN Volunteers (Item 12)

With only the Sovbloc, Mali and Madagascar (the latter because it thought the issue not sufficiently clear) abstaining, the GA adopted 91(US)–0–12 the resolution establishing the United Nations Volunteers. The new organization becomes effective January 1, 1971.

The first year holds several major problems for the UNV, among them the recruiting, training and utilization of volunteers from around the world.

Financially the organization’s non-administrative costs must be met by voluntary contributions. The US will probably make a modest contribution. Current plans call for less than 200 volunteers by the end of 1971. UNV’s will be used in conjunction with UNDP development projects around the world with the approval of the host countries involved. The US Peace Corps hopes to direct qualified American volunteers into this newest UN organization.

a. Fifteen Members Elected to Industrial Development Board of UNIDO (Item 18)

The 25th General Assembly elected 15 members to the IDB, the principal organ of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, for a three year term beginning January 1, 1971. In accordance with GA Resolution 2152 (XXI) which established UNIDO, candidate-countries were elected from the four geographic groups. The following countries were elected to serve on the 45-member Board:

Group A–Africa and Asia: Algeria, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and UAR

Group B–Developed Countries: Austria, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland

Group C–Latin America: Argentina and Costa Rica

Group D–Eastern Europe: Bulgaria and USSR.

b. UNIDO Pledging Conference

Sixty governments pledged the equivalent of $1.8 million, largely in non-convertible currencies, to UNIDO at its third annual pledging conference during the 25th General Assembly. This represents an increase of ten in the number of countries pledging and an increase of approximately $300,000 in the amount pledged over 1969 participation and pledges. As in previous years, a U.S. representative attended the Conference in order to demonstrate our support for UNIDO, but we did not pledge. Our representative made a statement noting that the U.S. pledge for industrial sector development as well as other sectors of economic development is through the UNDP. Funds pledged at this Conference are used to finance a part of UNIDO’s program activities while administrative costs are part of the regular UN assessed budget.

Report of the Trade and Development Board (Item 38)

The report of the Trade and Development Board on the third part of its Ninth Session and the first part of its Tenth Session led to consideration of three draft resolutions. The first approved UNCTAD’s work in the establishment of a system of preferences and called for the continuation of the group responsible for the system. This resolution was never tabled but the U.S. and some other developed countries would have opposed the establishment of permanent institutional machinery in the UNCTAD for this purpose. In our view the Committee on Manufactures should be responsible for further work on preferences.

Another resolution set April–May 1972 as the date for the Third Session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development but left open the site. The same resolution called for a consideration by the Conference of a structural reform of UNCTAD which would make the organization a more effective means of pressure on the developing countries. The United States and some other major donors voted against these provisions of the resolution and abstained on the resolution as a whole.

A third resolution took note of the establishment by the Tenth Session of the Trade and Development Board of an inter-governmental group on the transfer of technology. The last paragraph of this resolution is ambiguous but could be interpreted as an endorsement of an increase in the UNCTAD budget to support this group. Because the United States believes that the additional costs of this group should be met by reducing expenditures of a low priority, we abstained on the paragraph, as did the UK and Japan among others, but voted for the resolution as a whole.

Report of the Industrial Development Board of UNIDO (Item 39(a))

The GA noted the report of the fourth session of the Industrial Development Board (IDB), the policy formulating body of UNIDO. The main issue was the question of convening a special meeting of all members of UNIDO in 1971 as requested by the IDB. The General Assembly decided without extensive debate to convene a "Special Inter-national Conference of UNIDO at the highest possible level of governmental representation, to be held in Vienna . . . from June 1–8, 1971 . . ." Although the U.S. has reservations as to the necessity of such a Conference, we voted in favor of it. The Conference will provide the first opportunity in UNIDO’s four year existence for its entire membership to meet. (All members of the UN, specialized agencies and the IAEA are members of UNIDO.) The Conference’s provisional agenda is as follows:

I. Long-range strategy and orientation of UNIDO’s activities,
II. The organizational structure of UNIDO,
III. Questions of UNIDO’s financing.

In the general debate on the report of the IDB most developing countries continued their urgings that UNIDO be granted greater autonomy and increased financial resources. In general, the U.S. opposes greater autonomy, such as specialized agency status for UNIDO, and we question the need for greater financial and manpower resources until such time as the Organization consolidates its program after a period of rapid growth during the past three years.

Confirmation of the Appointment of the Executive Director of UNIDO (Item 39(b))

The UN Secretary General reappointed Mr. Abdel-Rahman (UAR) as Executive Director of UNIDO for a term of two years ending December 31, 1972. The normal term of office for this position is four years and in shortening this term the Secretary General noted that he "had in mind the consideration that his own term is due to expire December 31, 1971," and he did not wish to commit his successor for a long period of time. Abdel-Rahman’s appointment was confirmed by the General Assembly, with the U.S. voting in favor.

Operational Activities for Development (Item 40)

Upon the recommendation of the Second Committee, the General Assembly approved without objection two resolutions concerning the United Nations Development Program. The first, a resolution recommended by the Economic and Social Council, provides for implementation, commencing January 1, 1971, of the provisions of the consensus statement drawn up by the UNDP Governing Council at its 10th Session in June 1970. In the second resolution the Assembly noted with appreciation the reports of the Governing Council on its 9th and 10th sessions.

Also under Item 40, the Secretary-General announced extension for one year, beginning January 1, 1971, of the term of office of the UNDP Administrator, Paul G. Hoffman.

The consensus statement comprises UNDP reforms which include: the adoption of a United Nations Development Cooperation Cycle, a process which features country programming in order to fully coordinate UNDP assistance with the recipient countries’ own development plans; a new financial system designed to provide improved financial control and budget planning as well as fuller utilization of resources; reorganization of the UNDP at both headquarters and field levels, with greater delegation of authority to the UNDP Administrator and to the Resident Representatives in order to expedite the decision-making process; assignment to the Administrator of responsibility for all aspects of the implementation of UNDP-funded projects; and recognition of the central coordinating role of the Resident Representatives with respect to all other development assistance programs undertaken by agencies in the UN system.

Although the consensus statement is a far from perfect document, we consider it a workable basis on which to reorganize and revitalise the UNDP. We are pleased, therefore, that in the General Assembly there were no objections or amendments which might have unraveled the fragile agreement reached by the Governing Council. At its 11th session in January, the Governing Council will consider the recommendations of the Administrator for implementation of the consensus statement.

UN Capital Development Fund (Item 42)

The General Assembly created the Capital Development Fund (CDF) in 1966 to make grants and soft loans to developing countries. The US Government opposed its establishment because we believe that the World Bank Group and the regional development banks suffice to provide development finance. Consistent with our opposition to the CDF, we have not participated in the Fund’s pledging conferences.

The 25th GA adopted by a large majority a resolution on the CDF opposed by the United States and almost all other developed countries. Principally, it (1) requests the Governing Council of the UNDP to consider "all possibilities for reaching the objectives of the UN Capital Development Fund, including the desirability and feasibility of providing CDF follow-up investment projects in country programmes" and (2) requests the Secretary General to invite member states to "contribute separately, but at the same pledging conference, to the UNDP and CDF."

The US strongly opposes the use of UNDP funds for capital development projects. We consider that funds contributed to UNDP should be used exclusively for technical assistance and pre-investment projects designed to open the way for capital investment. These projects could lead to investment by the private sector or by public sector organizations such as the World Bank Group or the regional development banks whose specific mandate it is to provide these funds. It is our position that a clear separation should be maintained between all aspects of the UNDP and the CDF. During the debate on this issue in the Second Committee of the UN the US Representative noted that a joint UNDP/CDF pledging conference would not improve the acceptability of the CDF, but would tend to jeopardize the support of the developed countries for the UNDP.

At its fourth pledging conference on 29 October 1970, 26 nations pledged the equivalent of $954,612, largely in non-convertible currency, to the Fund. This amount was less than the $1.3 million pledged at each of the first two pledging conferences, but approximately $180,000 greater than the amount pledged by 26 countries in 1969. As in the past, the U.S. and most other major donors did not attend this conference.

UN DD–II (Item 43)

The most significant act of the General Assembly in the economic and social field was the adoption by the General Assembly on October 24, the 25th anniversary of the United Nations, of the strategy for the Second UN Development Decade (the 1970’s). The strategy sets an overall goal of at least 6% annual average rate of growth for the Decade, outlines policy measures to achieve this goal that cover virtually all economic and social matters, and establishes a mechanism to review progress and suggests the necessary adjustments in policies and goals. The details, background and major issues involved in the strategy are explained in Current Economic Developments, issue number 6, dated December 15, 1970, page 12.

UN Conference on Problems of the Human Environment (Item 44)

Further progress was made toward defining the goals of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment scheduled to take place in Stockholm in June of that year. The GA approved a resolution calling upon the Secretary General to hold two sessions of the Preparatory Committee in 1971; one in February in Geneva and the other in September in New York. The resolution also asked the Preparatory Committee in preparing for the Conference that it consider the economic development aspects of preserving and restoring the environment particularly as it concerns developing countries.

Maurice F. Strong, former President of the Canadian International Development Agency, was designated Secretary General for the Stockholm Conference.

UN University (Item 45)

Without debate or amendment the UNGA adopted the resolution Committee II had approved on the "Question of the Establishment of an International University" by vote of 94(US)–0–11 (UK, Uganda, Sovbloc). The resolution calls for UNESCO to study the feasibility of a United Nations University and for the SYG to establish "in due course" . . . "a panel of experts" to assist him in "his further consultations" on this subject. The SYG is directed to submit his report on this subject at the 26th UNGA.

Our prime concern during the debate of this item was that the "panel of experts" and the UNESCO study not take place simultaneously and thus be duplicative in both substance and effort. We hope that the "panel of experts" will therefore be appointed after the UNESCO study is completed.

We have directed USUN to indicate to the UN that the USG will not participate as a member of the "panel of experts" in order to maintain maximum flexibility on this subject.

Creation of the Post of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Item 47)

The United States attached high importance to a full discussion of this item so that a substantive decision could be reached at the 25th GA. We, together with other supporters, worked actively in Committee and behind the scenes to assure that adequate time would be allotted to the subject. The leading opponents of the item, the USSR and its supporters, worked actively throughout the entire session to frustrate discussion of the item. An unusually large amount of time was spent on other items on the Third Committee’s agenda. When the Committee finally reached the High Commissioner item a number of procedural delaying maneuvers were carried out with the active connivance of the Committee chairman, who was from Romania. These procedural tactics together with the obvious filibustering of the opponents made possible only a token discussion of the substance of the matter. Because the time was exhausted and because many delegations did not desire to push such a farreaching proposal to its conclusion without full consideration there developed majority sentiment to put off the final decision until the next session. A motion advanced by Ceylon to adjourn the debate on the item was adopted by a vote of 54–38(US)–15. Because of the depth of feeling on the part of the opponents and taking account as well of the widespread hesitations expressed by many other delegations who were willing to explore the idea we feel that our own position must be carefully reviewed. We intend to consider not only the tactics to pursue at the next General Assembly but also possible substantive modifications of the proposal which should make it more widely attractive.

Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflicts (Item 48)

The focal point for this item was intended to be a final report issued by the Secretary-General dealing with possible means for improving application of existing humanitarian conventions relating to armed conflicts or proposals for the development of new ones. In fact the very long debate which took place focused upon a number of separate resolutions highlighting various aspects of the general subject of human rights in armed conflicts. The United States together with 11 other co-sponsors proposed a resolution calling for better application of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention and endorsing the continuing efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross to secure effective application of the Convention. Our draft resolution was strenuously opposed by the Soviet Union and its supporters who attempted to characterize our initiative as a political move designed to gain support for one side in the Vietnam conflict. A gratifyingly large majority, however, supported our initiative as one of promoting the observance of the basic human rights of prisoners of war in any conflict anywhere.

The United States sponsored resolution was adopted in the Third Committee by a vote of 60(US)–16–34. The resolution was subsequently adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 67(US)–30–20. Other resolutions adopted under the same item were (a) one initiated by the Government of France dealing with protection of journalists engaged on dangerous missions in areas of armed conflict, (b) a resolution proposed by Norway setting forth basic principles for the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts, (c) a procedural resolution initiated by the Delegation of the United Kingdom transmitting the Secretary-General’s reports to the Special Expert Conference to be convened by the ICRC in May 1971 and deciding to consider the question further at the next GA session. A final resolution was proposed by India, Sudan and the USSR condemning the actions of countries which engage in aggressive wars. The United States voted for all of the resolutions except the last. We abstained on this one because of certain paragraphs contained therein which asserted misleading interpretations of certain existing conventions dealing with the humanitarian law of armed conflicts.

Housing, Building and Planning (Item 49)

This was the fourth year that the housing item was on the GA agenda. The Third Committee reached it at the very end of the session and allotted only time enough to consider a 26-power resolution, sponsored mostly by developing countries. The US could support its substantive content which covered all aspects of housing, building and planning, including human settlements and the environment, but could not accept the invitation to developed countries . . . to provide increased technical and financial assistance to developing countries during the 1970’s and the strengthening of the Center for Housing, Building and Planning as a matter of high priority. The US co-sponsored an amendment with Australia, Japan and the UK to make this language more acceptable but it failed on all four votes by a large margin. The resolution was passed 79–0–9(US).

Question of the Elderly and the Aged (Item 53)

This item was not reached on the Third Committee agenda. It was decided to defer it to the 26th GA, at which time it would be given high priority and appropriate consideration.

Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (Item 55)

Debate under this item focused principally upon two aspects, namely the forthcoming International Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination which has been proclaimed for 1971, and measures for effectively combating racial discrimination and the policies of apartheid and segregation in Southern Africa. The debate followed traditional lines with universal support being expressed for the need to pursue with special diligence measures to combat racism and racial discrimination during the International Year. There was a renewal of discussion which has taken place at previous sessions of the GA upon the policies of apartheid being pursued by the Government of South Africa, and upon conditions in Rhodesia and the Portuguese territories, with widespread displeasure being expressed on the part of most African delegations at the slow pace of progress in improving conditions in Southern Africa. Dissatisfaction was also expressed with the allegedly insufficient amount of support being given on the part of Western countries to measures designed to bring about improvements. The Third Committee adopted three resolutions under this item. A 26 power Afro-Asian resolution encompassing the major African frustrations with the pace of progress in combating apartheid and racial discrimination in Southern Africa and containing fourteen operative paragraphs of condemnations, urgings and requests was proposed. Principally because of its extravagant criticism of the policies of the United Kingdom and its calls for complete termination of all relations with the Government of South Africa, the United States voted against this resolution. The resolution was adopted in Third Committee by a vote of 75–12(US)–22. It was subsequently adopted by the Assembly by a vote of 71–10(US)–11. The US supported the other two resolutions under this item. One, proposed by the Delegation of Finland, welcomed the establishment of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which began functioning in 1969 pursuant to the United Nations Racial Discrimination Convention. The resolution, which urged full support for the new Committee, was adopted unanimously. A third resolution presented by Brazil, Canada, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Uruguay contained a number of operative paragraphs condemning racial discrimination and encouraging efforts through the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies to combat the evil. This latter resolution was adopted in the Third Committee by a vote of 49(US)–47–16. In plenary the vote was 49(US)–33–10. The large negative vote against this resolution reflected the dissatisfaction on the part of many members with the comparatively calm reasonableness of its operative paragraphs.

Other Items

Having devoted an unusually large amount of time to the first four items on its agenda the Third Committee reached the last week of the session with little time left to deal with several remaining important items. The items on Freedom of Information and on Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance were, among a number of others, deferred to be taken up at the next session.

Youth (Item 57)

Following deliberations lasting 2 1/2 weeks Committee III adopted a resolution titled "Youth, Its Education in the Respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Its Problems and Needs, and Its Participation in National Development" 98(US)–0–4. The Item proved to be highly political.

The resolution calls for SYG to "consult with governments and specialized agencies concerned on the possibility of convening, in future, world youth assemblies." This paragraph and its implications were carefully considered by the USG, because of the problems inherent in holding a World Youth Assembly, before we voted in favor of its adoption.

Paragraphs which we opposed included operative paragraph nine calling for youth to support "in every way possible" liberation movements of certain people. Also objectionable was preambular paragraph three, introduced by Mongolia, speaking of current "armed conflicts" and "acts of aggression" which were injurious "particularly (to) young people."

We feel it undesirable that this resolution, and its wholesale incorporation of tendentious political doctrines and propaganda, should be presented to the youth of the world as the result of the UNGA’s discussion of the topic of youth. Certainly it is hoped that Western acquiescence will not be taken as encouragement to the production of similar propagandist and irrelevant resolutions in the future.

Narcotics (Item 60)

The UNGA passed two resolutions dealing with technical assistance in the field of narcotics. It endorsed (106(US)–0–8(EEs)) an ECOSOC resolution creating a UN Fund for Drug Abuse as part of an action program of multilateral activity against illicit narcotics. (President Nixon strongly endorsed the Fund in his speech before the UNGA and we have announced an initial contribution of $2 million, subject to congressional approval.) A second resolution, unanimously approved, noted the dangers resulting from the growth of narcotics addiction and called upon governments to enact adequate legislation providing severe penalties against those engaged in illicit trade and trafficking of narcotics.


94. Memorandum From the Representative to the United Nations (Yost) to President Nixon/1/

New York, January 4, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 300, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VI. Secret.

With the closing of the 25th General Assembly, the number of problems immediately facing the United Nations and the United States Mission has declined. Nevertheless in the month ahead there may be significant developments on the Middle East, Chinese representation, seabeds, peacekeeping, UNDP, ECOSOC, Second Development Decade and budgetary matters. Some stir may be created by the United States decision to withdraw from the Committee of 24 on Colonialism. The problem of the security of United Nations Missions in New York, and particularly of the Soviet establishments here, will undoubtedly become more serious in the months to come.

1. Security of UN Missions in New York

The most serious aspect of the New York security problem concerns the Soviet Mission and other establishments (Amtorg, Aeroflot, Intourist) here. The problem was aggravated during the holiday season by protests over the Leningrad trials. Almost daily violent incidents perpetrated by the militant Jewish Defense League are already becoming a serious aggravation in US–USSR relations, and there have been threats of assassinations or kidnappings which if carried out could have disastrous effects. We have been in constant contact with New York City authorities and are studying additional preventive measures that can be taken, such as a court injunction against the Jewish Defense League.

2. Middle East

With the reactivation of the Jarring talks, we may expect increased pressure from the USSR supported by France and the UK for Four Power preparation of guidelines for a settlement. Prime Minister Meir, in her December 29 speech to the Knesset, reiterated the strong Israeli opposition to increased activity by the Four as unwarranted interference in the negotiations under Jarring. In the Four Power talks on December 9 and December 21, I repeated the United States position that while the Four, collectively or individually, would be able to play a more useful role in assisting Jarring and the parties once talks were resumed, the preparation by the Four of a detailed blueprint for peace would be counterproductive. I also noted our view that the general subject of guarantees for a peaceful settlement might well be usefully discussed by the Four, after talks have resumed, although our Government has not yet taken a final decision on the question.

The Secretary General is required to report to the Security Council on the progress of the Jarring Mission by January 5. We have urged both U Thant and Jarring to avoid criticism of Israel’s delay in returning to the Jarring talks in the report. We hope that it will be possible to avoid a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the report which can be circulated as a Council document. If the Arabs insist that the Council meet, we hope the discussion can be kept pro forma in nature. We would point out that discussion of substance could endanger Jarring’s efforts.

3. Chinese Representation

There may be a move to challenge the Chinese credentials at the first Security Council meeting of 1971, predicated on the fact that the General Assembly has for the first time mustered a simple majority in favor of admission of Peking and expulsion of Taiwan. We are consulting on tactics with potential supporters on the Council.

During January, consultations on tactics concerning the Chinese representation item at the next General Assembly will intensify. Those who have supported the United States position on China in the past will be pressing us for a decision on how to proceed in 1971.

4. Peacekeeping

We continue to believe that one of the most important tasks before the United Nations is the strengthening of the organization’s capabilities in the field of peacekeeping. Six months of painstaking bilateral negotiations on this subject with the Soviet Mission appeared to have narrowed the gap substantially; in late June we gave the Soviets a Working Paper, reflecting the negotiations, which offered a practical modus operandi for the key questions of establishment and control of UN peacekeeping operations. Despite promises of a detailed and considered reply, none has been received to date. Although the General Assembly took no specific action at this session, a large number of delegations stressed the urgent need for agreement on measures to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping and the resolution adopted reflected this view; consequently, the Soviets are under pressure to move forward. We will press bilaterally for their reaction to our June proposals.

5. Withdrawal from Committee of 24

This Committee of 24 members was established for the purpose of implementing a so-called "Declaration" on the granting of independence to colonial peoples which the General Assembly adopted in 1960. For some time now the United States has felt that the Committee of 24 has produced absolutely no positive results, multiplies points of friction between the United States and the Afro-Asian group and generally detracts from the effectiveness and credibility of the United Nations in the entire colonial area. This year the Committee again acted irresponsibly, adopting an "action program" condoning violence in order to achieve independence from colonial rule and riding roughshod over proposals and amendments offered by the United States and other Western members of the Committee. Australia and Italy have already withdrawn from the Committee; Norway resigned after two years. The United States is going to withdraw in January, and the United Kingdom may decide to follow suit.

Our move will no doubt give rise to charges that we have changed our policy towards Africa, but those familiar with the United Nations understand that the irresponsible actions of the Committee are bringing about its collapse. We shall take pains both at the United Nations and in African capitals to seek similar understanding by the Governments concerned.

6. Law of the Sea and Seabeds

In a major advance towards the objectives set by you in May, the General Assembly adopted resolutions in its waning hours setting forth principles to govern exploitation of the seabeds beyond national jurisdiction and convening a conference on Law of the Sea in 1973. Preparatory work for the conference begins in March 1971 in Geneva and January and February will be occupied with intensive consultations and planning looking towards this preparatory conference.

7. United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

The "consensus" adopted by the Governing Council of the UNDP as the basis for UNDP’s reorganization and shift to country programming, was adopted by the General Assembly last month. Now the reorganization must be carried out and this will require our continuing attention for many months. Moreover, there are a number of issues from Sir Robert Jackson’s Capacity Study related to reorganization which have not yet been discussed by governments–these will be taken up at the session of the Governing Council in January.

The most troublesome, delicate and potentially disrupting aspect of UNDP reorganization, however, continues to be the question of Mr. Paul Hoffman’s successor. The Secretary General, in the course of the General Assembly, extended Mr. Hoffman’s appointment for an additional year through December 31, 1971. In our letter to the Secretary General agreeing with his decision to extend the Hoffman appointment, we indicated that we would want his successor to be an American and that we would shortly be submitting names for consideration.

It now appears that Mr. Hoffman has construed our position as making him a "lame duck" and he does not seem willing to acknowledge that it is necessary for the United States Government to seek a successor now in order to insure that we have a first rate candidate, and to reassure those countries who increasingly fear that we are not taking the question of succession with the seriousness it deserves. Additional pressure is exerted on the issue of succession by the increasing disposition of many important contributors to conclude that meaningful reorganization of UNDP is no longer possible with the present Administrator and his senior colleagues.

8. Economic and Social Council and the Second Development Decade

The continuing and fundamental issue before the Economic and Social Council is the question of the respective roles of the Economic and Social Council and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the United Nations development system and, extended, the international development system–in other words, which of these organizations shall have the primary task of overall coordination and synthesis of development efforts within the United Nations system and, eventually, outside of the United Nations system as well.

The immediate task before us is the interest in reorganizing the Economic and Social Council to make it more generally acceptable to both developed countries and developing countries, and the development of a review and appraisal system for the Second Development Decade as a vehicle for surveillance of development progress as well as rationalizing the organization of international development efforts. Informal discussions concerning reorganization of the Economic and Social Council have already been started and we will participate in these continuing discussions with deep interest. There is a close relationship, not widely understood or appreciated, between these discussions and review and appraisal, since we feel strongly that the Economic and Social Council should have the principal responsibility for this function. Pursuant to a General Assembly resolution, the Secretary General is required to submit a report to the Economic and Social Council this summer outlining the details of a system of overall appraisal.

Decisions as to how the Secretary General will undertake this report will have to be made in the course of the next month. Many feel that the quality and substance of this report, or its lack thereof–along with the role of the Economic and Social Council–will have an irrevocable impact on multilateral assistance and the international development system, and is in a sense a watershed for the Economic and Social Council and multilateralism.

9. United Nations Administrative and Budgetary Problems

A. United Nations Deficit Problem. At my urging, the Secretary General told the General Assembly at its closing Plenary session that he would devote special and priority attention during the coming year to finding a solution to the United Nations financial deficit problem, and that he had enlisted the good offices of outgoing Assembly President Edvard Hambro (Norway) to assist in this effort.

B. United Nations Headquarters Expansion in New York. The General Assembly voted to appropriate two million dollars as the first installment of a total of twenty-five million dollars which the United Nations has decided to appropriate over a ten year period towards the eighty million dollar cost of constructing an extension to the Headquarters building complex in New York. This money cannot be spent unless and until there is favorable congressional action to appropriate twenty million dollars in the form of a Federal grant towards the construction costs. After authorization by both Houses of Congress the matter is now before the Appropriations Committee. (The balance of the construction costs are assured from New York City, the United Nations Development Program, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.) It is essential that construction is underway at an early date to ensure that the rise in the cost of labor and materials do not exceed the total authorized for construction.

C. Professional Salary Scales of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies. The General Assembly approved, over United States opposition, an 8% professional salary increase for the United Nations, effective July 1, 1971. (The United States delegation was instrumental in deferring the effective date of the increase from January 1 to July 1, with a resulting saving of 4.4 million dollars in 1971. However, we failed to obtain a majority for our proposal to limit the increase to 5%.) The Assembly also decided to establish an Expert Committee representing 11 member states, including the United States, to review the United Nations salary system, and decided additionally that there would be no further increase in base professional salary scales until the review had been completed and its results approved by the General Assembly.

D. United Nations Budget. Experience during the past few years has demonstrated that the United States must keep constant pressure on the Secretary General during the course of each year to ensure that the annual United Nations budgets are as low as possible, consistent with our policy objectives. It was primarily as a result of my approaches during the spring and summer of 1970 that the Secretary General announced in October, 1970 that he intended to reduce the anticipated budget requirements for 1971, then estimated at two-hundred million dollars, by an amount of about seven million dollars, primarily by "freezing" the Manning Table for 1971 at the 1970 level.

Charles W. Yost

95. Airgram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/


Washington, March 4, 1971, 4:13 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use. Drafted by P. T. Dunn, Thomas W. M. Smith, and J. Koehring; cleared by John W. McDonald; and approved by Ward P. Allen. Sent to USUN, Geneva, Paris for OECD, Montreal for ICAO, Rome for FODAG, Vienna for IAEA, Addis Ababa, Bangkok, London, and Santiago.

UN: Appraisal of Second Committee (Economic and Financial) at 25th General Assembly

CA–6431, December 30, 1970/2/

/2/ Document 93.

Introduction: This airgram appraises the actions of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the 25th General Assembly. It is based on the impressions and reports of the U.S. Delegation and officers in the Department who followed events daily.

The Second Committee is a committee of the whole which meets concurrently with the General Assembly from September to December, is responsible for economic and financial items on the agenda of the General Assembly, and which negotiates and adopts resolutions on those items and transmits them, for final action, to the plenary of the General Assembly. Usually, the final vote in the GA follows the pattern set by Committee II.

The schedule of Committee II varied this year from the normal because the first month of the session–mid-September to mid-October–was entirely devoted to the International Development Strategy for the Second Development Decade. This important document was adopted by the Committee on October 16 and by the twenty-fifth commemorative session of the General Assembly on October 24 (see Current Economic Developments, Issue No. 6, December 15, 1970).

Summary of Accomplishments: In drawing up a balance sheet of successes and failures for U.S. policy objectives in the Second Committee during the 25th General Assembly, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Unquestionably, the greatest achievement was the adoption of the International Development Strategy for the Second Development Decade. Although the strategy did not fully satisfy anyone, the compromise and degree of consensus achieved was far greater than could have been expected before the final negotiations during the General Assembly. A major factor explaining this successful outcome was the willingness of the moderate LDC’s, such as India, to take the leadership in conducting the negotiations on behalf of all the LDC’s.

Next in importance was the approval by the GA of the resolution containing a consensus statement on the capacity of the UN Development Program which had been carefully negotiated at the June 1970 meeting of the UNDP Governing Council. The passage of this consensus without significant amendment was in keeping with the U.S. objective of ensuring that the ground gained toward the reorganization of the UNDP along the lines recommended in the Jackson Capacity Study not be lost.

The adoption without amendment of the resolution recommended by the 49th ECOSOC establishing the United Nations Volunteers was another significant success.

Other items which we consider culminated in negotiated texts of resolutions consistent with our aims were those on UNITAR, UNIDO, the International University, multilateral food aid, edible proteins, review and appraisal of the Strategy for the Second Development Decade, unified approach to economic and social planning for development, and the World Population Year.

The two UNCTAD resolutions–on transfer of technology and on UNCTAD III–can be considered as a draw between the DC’s and the LDC’s. The improvement of the two texts from the original drafts due to intensive informal negotiations was gratifying to us, when one considers the distance between the objectives of the LDC cosponsors and our own. The Romanian resolution on the role of modern science and technology in the development of nations, while leaving much to be desired as to substance, was in the end acceptable to us.

The clearly negative resolutions were those on the Capital Development Fund, the Economic and Social Consequences of Disarmament, and the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources. We voted against these or abstained.

Principal Features of Session: The session was marked by the following significant features:

1. Increasing Confrontation between DC’s and LDC’s.

To a greater extent than in previous sessions of the Committee, debate and negotiation of issues were influenced by DC–LDC confrontations. There are a number of reasons for this, none of them sufficient in themselves, but each contributing to the overall effect.

A. There were many issues on which LDC’s and DC’s would normally have opposing interests. The most important of these, and the one that set the tone of the whole session, was the long opening debate on the Strategy.

B. Some of the most important issues before the Committee had originally been exhaustively debated in UNCTAD, where the group system tends to institutionalize LDC–DC differences. The most important of these were the trade and financial sections of the Strategy, the transfer of technology in UNCTAD, and UNCTAD III.

C. Some of the most important of the LDC’s were represented by delegations with long experience in Geneva and of UNCTAD. They tended to be able, well informed and among the leaders of the LDC’s. Among the most significant were Chile (Cubillos), Philippines (Brillantes), Brazil (Frazao and Barthel-Rosa).

D. The positions of the major DC’s on many significant economic items may have encouraged the LDC’s to take a hard line. In particular the hard, sometimes negative line the US was obliged to follow on many items made us a target and stiffened the attitude of the LDC’s.

In contrast, the more supple and less principled positions of some Western Europeans, France and Italy in particular, enabled them to create a better image while maintaining the substance of their positions. They were, however, undoubtedly helped by the generally conservative positions of the US.

E. The growing trend among delegations, both DC and LDC, to develop experts in various aspects of developmental matters and to send them around the world to UN and related conferences became more apparent during the 25th GA. This factor is particularly true in the case of the Soviets, the French, and the more active LDC’s, such as the Indians, Brazilians, Chileans. Having the same delegates debate the same issue as it runs through UNCTAD, the Regional Commissions, ECOSOC and the General Assembly, gives these delegations an extra advantage on technical issues, which the majority do not enjoy.

2. Decline of Western Caucus.

The Western European and Others (WEO) group lost by the end of the Session a great deal of the cohesion and unity it had previously, such as when Soviet opposition to FRG membership on the Preparatory Committee for the Second UN Development Decade rallied this group in 1968.

In 1970 there was an evident lack of will and of leadership among the WEO’s. The absence also of a strong US position perhaps contributed. The WEO Caucus did function, albeit not too effectively, during the early part of the Session during the DD–II negotiations.

3. Polarization of Approach to Neutral Issues.

The increasing intransigence of the LDC’s, ably led by a few outspoken members, and the weakness of the WEO’s, contributed to a polarized approach to some items in which many DC’s and LDC’s usually find themselves on the same side. The most significant of these were in the fields of population and environment. Even the debates and negotiations of resolutions of such non-controversial subjects as edible proteins, multilateral food aid, and the international university became polarized along DC/LDC lines.

In the case of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, the trend is particularly disturbing. What had been up to now a feeling of apathy on the part of most LDC’s toward the Conference and toward the subject of environment in general, is clearly evolving into hardened opposition to UN involvement in the environment, based on the premise that it is a diversion, on the part of the DC’s, from what the LDC’s consider the only valid activity of the UN in the economic and social field, namely, development assistance to the LDC’s. This line, which up to a few months ago, was limited primarily to Brazil and Chile, is rapidly gaining support. This can best be illustrated by the last-minute introduction of an amendment sponsored by Brazil and Chile to interject a controversial note in a resolution already unbalanced to reflect the concerns of the LDC’s. The ability of a few LDC’s to marshal solid support from other LDC’s on a question such as the environment on the grounds that any steps taken in the international arena to foster concern about our environment will per se result in a slowing down of the economic development of the third world is a disturbing trend, to say the least.

4. Population.

A somewhat surprising exception to the trend toward hardening of the opposition by LDC’s concerns UN population control activities. A complex mix of factors explains the LDC positions on this issue. The ECOSOC resolution declaring 1974 World Population Year was, it is true, watered down in successive versions in response to statements by Latin American and a sizeable number of African states. The LDC’s were vocal in their opposition and did account for a large share of the 31 abstentions accorded this resolution in Plenary.

However, the voting strength of the majority favoring UN involvement in population programs has been increasing since 1962, when UN assistance for population programs was first discussed. Among Asian LDC’s, notable converts include Iran, post-Sukarno Indonesia, and the Philippines; in South America–Jamaica and possibly Panama. The Latin American and African countries, which voted against technical assistance in 1962, abstained in 1970.

Among these LDC’s, changes in attitudes have been mainly due to the clearer perception of their individual demographic difficulties and some acquiescence to the mainstream of LDC opinion.

Such special factors as the influence of the Vatican were probably more important than the trend toward polarization in explaining LDC opposition to this resolution. The Roman Catholic Church, particularly with leftist support in individual countries, appears to be in position to influence some governments in Latin America on the birth control issue; especially when government’s assessment of the need and value of population control finds no overriding urgency in the present situation.

However, as the Brazilian delegate told us, one objective of the LDC’s in watering down the ECOSOC resolution was to show that actions of the ECOSOC endorsing decisions of technical bodies (i.e., Population Council) could be distorted by the combined power of the LDC’s in the General Assembly.

5. Effect of Reorganizations in the UN.

Part of the explanation for the harder line of the LDC’s may be owing to some substantial changes in the organization of the economic side of the UN that are clearly in the offing, although their outlines are not yet distinct. The three most likely changes to take place are:

A. The establishment of a mechanism to review and appraise worldwide progress under the Strategy for the Second Development Decade (which started January 1, 1971), and to make recommendations as to adjustments in policy measures or goals or both. The outline provided in the Strategy is sketchy, and leaves open the question of specific roles for each part of the UN system. While the principal responsibility is given to ECOSOC, in which DC’s have a relatively strong voice, the more militant LDC’s clearly wish UNCTAD to play the decisive role.

B. Closely linked with this were proposals to reform ECOSOC either through expansion of some of its committees or the establishment of stronger committees in order to make it a more effective instrument in its role as the principal coordinator and director of the economic and social side of the UN.

C. Changes in the UNDP designed to increase the capacity of the UN system effectively to provide more assistance to the LDC’s.

These impending changes may appear to some LDC’s as opportunities to increase the influence of organizations in which they are dominant, and to demonstrate the desirability of clearly defining the problems with which these organizations deal in a way that makes the LDC interest clear. At the twenty-fifth GA the LDC’s may have been motivated, in part, by the desire to create a basis for influencing the future of these changes.

Outlook for the Future: It seems likely that the trends outlined above will continue to be important in future sessions of Committee II. It is also true that the US, as the principal economic power in the world with responsibilities that touch on every facet of international relations, will not make substantial changes in its fundamental policies solely in order to improve its image in the UN. We might however be able to improve the way in which US policies are presented, and to rally more support for some of them by:

1. Paying closer attention to the effect of all US policies in the UN.

2. Strengthening the US Delegation, in part, by seconding officers from Washington either for the whole session or for specific items.

3. Seeking to strengthen the WEO group and get it to play a more responsible role.

4. Carefully preparing ahead of time joint DC/LDC positions on some items of mutual interest in order to break the appearance of uniform DC/LDC divisions.

5. Seeking ways to support and work with the least developed and in particular by supporting their demands for assistance from the other LDC’s.

6. Making more use of bilateral diplomatic channels to explain our views on items in the UN well in advance of consideration of the item in question, and explore the views of LDC’s.

We would welcome comments or suggestions by addressees.


96. Airgram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/


Washington, August 12, 1971, 11:10 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential. Drafted by the IO/UNP staff, John W. McDonald, and Richard V. Hennes; cleared by Armitage, McDonald, Ernest L. Kerley, William A. Helseth, Monsma, Oliver S. Crosby, Goott, Walker, McNutt, and W. Beverly Carter; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Sent to all posts except the following to which it was repeated: Bern, Bonn, Bucharest, Budapest, Khartoum, Moscow, Prague, Saigon, Seoul, Sofia, Warsaw, USUN, USOECD Paris, USNATO Brussels, Geneva, and USEC Brussels.

26th United Nations General Assembly–Agenda Items in the Political, Economic-Social, and Administrative Fields

(a) CA 4584 dtd August 29, 1970/2/

/2/ Not printed.

(b) CA 6368 dtd December 23, 1970/3/

/3/ This airgram was an appraisal of the 25th UN General Assembly. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 30)

This airgram provides the basis for exchanges of views on key issues with foreign ministry officials prior to the departure of host government delegations for the 26th UN General Assembly, which opens on September 21. Contrary to the procedure suggested last year, the information is to be used for oral presentation and the Department is not requesting that written papers be passed to host governments. These discussions should be used, as appropriate, to enlist support for US positions and to determine the positions and likely initiatives of others. Information on host government attitudes should be reported telegraphically to the Department, with USUN included in all cases as an info addressee.

Background information on developments during last year’s General Assembly (25th Session) will be found in the Department’s airgram assessing the 25th GA (Ref (b)). The roll-call voting record of the host government is contained in a Department of State (IO) Document "Roll Call Votes at the 25th Session of the General Assembly," which was transmitted separately.

[Omitted here is a table of contents.]

General Assessment

The 26th UNGA could well be a turbulent one. Activity and debate on the Chinese Representation issue will be even more intense than usual as the moment of decision is seen to be approaching. This issue and the problem of selecting a new Secretary-General could well dominate the session. Also, if no progress on the Arab-Israeli dispute seems perceptible and/or tensions in the area rise markedly, a major debate on the Middle East could ensue and surcharge the parliamentary scene. The situations in Cyprus and India/Pakistan, fraught with danger of conflict, could also lead to heated debates. Perennial cold war themes should be somewhat muted although we can expect the Soviets to attack propaganda targets of opportunity, making common cause as usual with the African-Asian majority on colonial issues.

On the positive side there seems a good possibility that the UNGA will support a fundamental reform in the organization and procedures of ECOSOC and a completed draft convention on liability for falling space objects. Also, an agreed draft convention prohibiting bacteriological warfare agents may be presented for Assembly approval.

Little headway has been made on the effort launched at last year’s 25th Anniversary GA to overhaul and streamline the GA’s procedures. The study committee will report only modest progress. Another discouraging report will be made by the Committee studying ways to improve peacekeeping procedures, there having been no change in the obstructive Soviet position.

1. Secretary-General’s Succession

We accept U Thant’s repeated statements that he is not available for reappointment and believe it is time for all UN members to come to grips with the problem of choosing his successor.

U Thant’s term as UN Secretary-General ends December 31, 1971. A successor must be appointed by the 26th GA, acting on the recommendation of the Security Council. Obviously, not only to gain appointment but also to be able to function effectively, any Secretary-General must be acceptable to UN members generally, as well as to the five permanent members of the Security Council.

We have taken no firm position on any individual to succeed U Thant and have little indication of the views of other UN members on this problem. We place great emphasis on the need to find someone having not only outstanding qualifications as a statesman but
also the managerial talent required to weld the Secretariat into an effective organization and to attack the UN’s serious financial problems. In our view, a candidate’s character, integrity and ability far outweigh any regional considerations. We hope the host government’s delegation shares our views on the qualifications required of an SYG and will be prepared to help gain a consensus in favor of a candidate best meeting them. It is a disservice to the UN to persist in the hope that U Thant may be persuaded to stay on for a certain period. Failure to choose a new Secretary General this year will only weaken the UN.

There are at present three announced candidates: Jakobson, Finland’s UN Representative; Amerasinghe, Ceylon’s UN Representative; and Endalkatchew Makkonen, former Ethiopian UN Representative. Former Austrian Foreign Minister Waldheim, now Austria’s UN Representative, has also let it be known that he is available. Others, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadruddin Aga Khan, have also been discussed as possible candidates, and "dark horses" may yet emerge.

2. Chinese Representation

Our objective is to see the People’s Republic of China seated under conditions which do not involve denial of representation to the Republic of China. The legal argumentation on both sides promises to be conflicting, but we regard the issue as primarily political and pragmatic. Seating of the PRC is necessary and desirable. Ejection of the ROC would be a grave matter, something that would be very difficult to undo. That is why we regard any such move as an "Important Question" requiring a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly. As we see it both the PRC and the ROC are realities. The UN should deal with realities, not try to impose the views of one party on the other. The conflicting claims of the PRC and ROC would not be prejudiced by the seating of the PRC under the terms of the kind of resolution we have in mind.

We can expect a certain amount of acrimony during the maneuvering and debate, but do not intend to contribute to it–although we will work hard to win acceptance for our proposed solution. The important thing is that for the first time it isn’t necessary for any country to accept the either/or approach of the Albanian resolution. The UN will not make progress toward the ideal of universality if it now deprives of representation a government that effectively governs some 14 million people. Countries that find they cannot support us on this issue could still make a valuable contribution by not pressing contrary views.

3. Middle East

Three agenda items on the Middle East ("the Middle East", UNRWA, and alleged Israeli practices in the occupied territories) will provide potential platforms for debate on Arab-Israeli issues. Pressures for an all-out debate, its tone and the nature of comments about US policies in the Middle East will depend largely on whether discernible progress has been made on an interim settlement or other aspects of Arab-Israeli negotiations. There may be pressures for resolutions going beyond those of last year calling for extension of the standstill/ cease-fire, for unconditional resumption of peace talks under Jarring, and condemnation of alleged Israeli practices in the occupied territories. We would prefer as little Assembly discussion as possible; if a resolution related to Security Council Resolution 242 and the Jarring Mission is proposed, we will want to have it worded in a way which does not undermine our efforts to promote a settlement acceptable to the parties.

The UNRWA debate will ostensibly focus on the plight of refugees, the precarious financial situation of the Agency, and the renewal of UNRWA’s three year mandate (which expires June 20, 1972). We expect no problem with respect to GA endorsement of UNRWA’s on-going activities, but believe that mounting UNRWA deficits will require some cutbacks in its program unless other countries increase their contributions.

4. African Items/4/

/4/ Telegram 150235 to all African posts, August 17, sent a summary of "selected points of interest" to those posts. (Ibid., UN 3 GA)

a. Namibia (South West Africa)

An OAU delegation will present the African view on Namibia early in the General Assembly and plans to call for a special meeting of the Security Council. We fully appreciate the importance of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice upholding the UN’s termination of South Africa’s mandate on Namibia and are examining possible constructive responses to it; we hope others will do likewise and avoid the temptation to see the opinion as an invitation to press for extreme, unworkable measures.

The Court decided that General Assembly Resolution 2145 (XXI), October 28, 1966, had validly terminated South Africa’s mandate in Namibia. The Court determined that South Africa is obligated to withdraw and that UN Member States are under an obligation to recognize the illegality of South Africa’s continued presence and to refrain from giving any support to South Africa relating to its occupation of Namibia. Subject to further definition by the Security Council, the Court considered that Member States have an obligation to abstain from entering into treaty, diplomatic, or economic relations with South Africa which would imply recognition of the legality of South Africa’s presence in Namibia.

We are studying what actions the opinion may require as well as other policy initiatives. We can already state, however, that the Court has not called for–and we cannot support–such drastic actions as mandatory sanctions against South Africa or the expulsion of South Africa from the UN. We hope the Africans understand that concentration on such extreme measures will not contribute to a resolution of the Namibia problem and will dissipate the opportunity provided by the Court’s opinion to seek more constructive and practical actions from the world community. (See also Item 9 on the International Court of Justice.)

b. Portuguese Territory Issue in the ECA

We will strongly oppose a proposal that the General Assembly approve the official designation of "liberation movement" leaders as the representatives of Portugal’s African territories on the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

FYI. The ECA has been maneuvering for several years to have "liberation movement" leaders fill the seats of Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea at its meetings. These territories have been associate members of the ECA since 1963, and in 1969 the ECA decided to ask the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to determine who should represent them. The OAU nominated the "liberation movement" leaders in 1970 and the ECA passed their names to ECOSOC for referral to the General Assembly. At its July 1971 session, ECOSOC agreed to transmit the names of these nominees to the General Assembly for possible approval at its 26th Session. End FYI. Our position will be that acceptance of the nominations would be contrary to the Charter and the practice of the United Nations. It would in fact create a most dangerous precedent which could be exploited by dissidents in other parts of the world.

The United States recognizes that Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea are associate members of the ECA. We hold, however, that the designation of their representatives must be left to the administering power–Portugal. We are guided by an unchallenged legal opinion of August 5, 1964, from the Office of the Legal Counsel of the UN which states that under international law the external representation of dependent territories is the responsibility of the state administering the territories and responsible for their international relations.

Although we abstained (instead of opposing) in ECOSOC when the ECA representation issue was considered, we and others viewed the question not as one of approving the nominations, but only of transmitting them to the General Assembly. We did, moreover, express our opposition to the ECA nominations in statements both in committee and the plenary. FYI. Our abstention was also based on a consideration of other issues being considered in ECOSOC. End FYI.

In opposing approval of the OAU nominees, we will need to enlist considerably more support than has been shown. We believe that a meaningful approach can be made to almost every country on this issue on the grounds of the dangerous precedent the Assembly would set if it (1) overruled a still valid UN legal opinion and (2) endorsed the legality of any dissident group’s effort to become the official representatives of a territory. FYI. To gain the needed votes on purely legal grounds will probably prove difficult; our chances to carry this issue would be much improved if Portugal could see fit to designate representatives from these territories. End FYI.

c. Political Issues in UN Specialized Agencies

We will be taking a hard look at the terms of any General Assembly resolution which dumps political issues in the laps of the UN specialized agencies, and hope others can be persuaded to join us in preventing further politicizing of these bodies. Political activity undermines the work of the agencies and possibly the support of states for them.

The meetings of many UN specialized agencies in 1971 were marked by a high degree of political activity, particularly on African issues. This followed resolutions in the last two General Assembly sessions (2555 (XXIV) and 2704 (XXV)) calling on the specialized agencies to implement the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. Among the more objectionable things the specialized agencies have been asked to consider are discontinuing "collaboration" with Portugal and South Africa; examining the possibility of inviting "liberation movement" leaders in African colonial territories to participate in the agencies’ meetings (cf. preceding item); and giving assistance to people "struggling for their liberation from colonial rule". The issue is on the General Assembly agenda this year and may result in even more extreme proposals.

Pressing such proposals in the Specialized Agencies can only interfere with the implementation of their responsibilities for exchange of information, setting standards and providing assistance to developing countries.

5. Effectiveness of the Security Council

We strongly believe that all UN members should be concerned that the Security Council conduct its business in a deliberate and serious manner commensurate with its responsibilities. By the terms of the Charter the Security Council has been given a most important role to play in maintaining international peace and security. All members, particularly the less powerful members, should be able to turn to the Security Council if and when they consider their territorial integrity or independence threatened and expect that the Security Council will consider their case seriously and take appropriate action. This in turn places a duty on all UN members not to take lightly a decision to appeal to the Security Council, to cooperate so that the Security Council can determine its own actions in full consciousness of its responsibilities, and especially to cooperate fully with the Security Council in its efforts to investigate thoroughly and to arrive at independent assessment of the situation before it acts.

In some cases there have been grounds to believe that appeals to the Security Council may have been made in large measure for domestic political purposes and that some members were not prepared to cooperate with Security Council missions investigating the situation. In our view it is not in the interest of any UN member for the Security Council to permit its prestige and authority to be degraded in this manner.

We have also become increasingly concerned over the disposition of regions, FYI particularly Africa and Asia End FYI, to rotate their SC seats among the members of the region without regard to the influence of these members both within and outside the region or to the competence and stature of their likely representatives on the Council. We believe that in proposing candidacies for the Security Council greater attention must be given to Article 23(1) of the UN Charter which states that due regard should be specially paid to the contribution of members to the maintenance of international peace and security.

We recognize that we cannot expect any region consistently to ignore the desires of their weaker, less influential members for that recognition considered inherent in election to the Council. However, we hope the regions will come to recognize their own stake in the calibre of the Council and the prestige accruing to the region itself when it has outstanding representation on the Council. For example, Asian prestige is almost certain to be enhanced next year with Japan and India in the two Asian SC seats, and the Latin Americans have sought from the beginning in their own regional self-interest to have one of their two SC seats always occupied by one of their middle-sized or larger members.

We have not ourselves reached any conclusions about how regions might best be encouraged to recognize their own interest in the stature of the Council and in the calibre of regional representation thereon. We are, however, giving this problem our active attention and would therefore be most interested in the thinking of other member states in this regard.

6. Measures to Strengthen the Economic and Social Council

The most widely discussed item at the last ECOSOC session concerned measures to strengthen the Council itself. At the close of the session the Council approved a 15-nation (US) resolution (17–7–3) calling for ECOSOC enlargement and the establishment of two new standing committees for science and technology and review and appraisal of the Second Development Decade. The most far-reaching of these recommendations calls for enlargement of the Council from 27 to 54 members. ECOSOC was enlarged from 18 to 27 members in 1965 but was still considered too small by many developing countries. Although the US took the initiative as a co-sponsor of the resolution, we sought to ensure that prior to any such enlargement ECOSOC would take immediate steps to retain jurisdiction over vital economic and social issues which are clearly within its competence. We also emphasized that such enlargement is envisaged only in order to strengthen the work of the Council and is not in any way designed to encourage the enlargement of other UN bodies, particularly the Security Council. The resolution will now come before the General Assembly. Creation and enlargement of ECOSOC committees can be accomplished by decision of ECOSOC without GA approval. Council enlargement, however, requires not only approval of two-thirds of the General Assembly but also ratification by two-thirds of the UN membership, including all five permanent members of the Security Council.

7. Disaster Relief Coordinator

The Economic and Social Council during its summer session in Geneva adopted a resolution (25–0–2) calling on the United Nations Secretary-General to appoint a Disaster Relief Coordinator to mobilize, direct and coordinate relief activities of various organizations of the UN system in response to requests for disaster assistance from stricken states. The Coordinator is to have a small permanent office in the UN which will be the focal point in the UN system for disaster relief matters. If the General Assembly approves this initiative, which we support, the coordination office could become operational by the beginning of next year. The necessity for a central UN disaster relief office has received additional impetus as a result of the large scale assistance in response to the two recent disasters in East Pakistan provided by the UN, the specialized agencies, voluntary agencies and donor countries.

8. UN Financial Problem

We expect the SYG will address a special message to the 26th GA concerning the UN deficit situation and prospects for its solution. According to Secretariat sources, the UN faces an impending liquidity crisis, possibly by early 1972, if the present situation is allowed to persist. In late May Ambassador Hambro of Norway, who had volunteered his good offices in this matter after serving as President of the 25th GA, circulated a suggested solution to all permanent missions in New York. To date there has been little official reaction by UN members. The U.S. position on this subject is well known: No over-all solution is possible until the major delinquents (U.S.S.R., other East European members and France) assert their willingness to contribute a sizable cash contribution (about $50 million). This same point was made, though in more veiled terms, by Ambassador Hambro in his memorandum. Once the delinquent members make their contributions, we are prepared to pitch in with other members toward eliminating the deficit altogether.

9. The International Court of Justice

a. Decision on Namibia

We are pleased with the conclusions in the operative paragraph of the Court’s opinion on Namibia (Item 4a). In reaching these conclusions, however, the Court adopted a wider view of the powers of the Security Council under articles 24 and 25 of the UN Charter than we have generally accepted. It has been our view that the decisions of the Security Council which are binding are those taken under Chapter VII of the Charter (Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace and Acts of Aggression), whereas the Court has reasoned that other actions taken under the Council’s responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security as defined in Article 24 may also be binding on UN members under Article 25. The Court’s reasoning gives us problems and we anticipate that in voting in the Security Council to accept the decision we will make the point that the Council is passing only on the Court’s conclusions and not on any of the specific reasoning underlying those conclusions.

b. Role of the Court

We urged last year that an extensive review of the International Court of Justice be undertaken, and as a result the Secretary-General circulated a questionnaire seeking the opinions of member-states on a variety of issues concerning the Court. We think that this year the General Assembly should appoint an ad hoc committee to study the report of the Secretary-General on the results of his questionnaire and to make further recommendations on strengthening the role of the Court. We will support, and may introduce, a resolution to that end.

10. Seabeds–Law of the Sea

We think it of the highest importance that the 26th General Assembly adhere to the 1973 date set by the 25th General Assembly and call upon the Seabed Committee (acting as a Preparatory Committee for the Conference) to proceed with all possible speed towards drafting treaty articles on outstanding oceans questions. The increasing accessibility of ocean resources, and the danger of more conflicting jurisdictional claims, point up the urgent need to avoid delay in achieving international agreement on these issues.

11. Stockholm Conference on the Environment

The UNGA will consider a report of the Secretary-General on the UN Conference on the Human Environment to be held in Stockholm in June 1972. We expect that GA consideration of the Secretary-General’s report will be pro forma and non-substantive. The sticky issue will be the question of invitations, particularly with respect to East Germany. Guidance on the invitation issue will be provided in a separate message.

12. Outer Space

On June 29, after three years of difficult negotiations, the Outer Space Legal Subcommittee adopted a draft Convention on liability for damage caused by objects launched into outer space. We support this draft, believe that it is the best obtainable under existing circumstances (e.g., the Soviet position) and that the GA should approve it despite the preference expressed by a few states for stricter provisions on the claims commission and on the extent of compensation.

The Soviets have submitted a draft Lunar Treaty for consideration during the 26th GA. While we are unsure of their motivation in proposing a treaty which adds very little to the substance of present space law, we are still reviewing it and will be interested in the views of others.

13. Human Rights

a. High Commissioner for Human Rights

The United States will oppose attempts at further delay of discussion of the proposal to establish a new post of High Commissioner for Human Rights, which was first presented in 1965. The High Commissioner would be an official at the level of an Under-Secretary who would provide advice and assistance to the Secretary-General and UN organs concerned with human rights. In addition, he would be empowered to give assistance on human rights problems to states requesting it.

The proposal has received the endorsement of the Commission on Human Rights and of ECOSOC but at each GA session since 1967 its consideration has been postponed. We are prepared to discuss clarifying amendments to the proposal which will make it more attractive to more states, so long as the essential degree of independence and objectivity for the High Commissioner is preserved.

b. Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflict

Last year, discussion of the item on respect for human rights in armed conflict occupied a major portion of the Third Committee’s time and five resolutions were adopted by the GA, including one dealing with humane treatment of prisoners of war which was co-sponsored by the U.S. Since the last UNGA, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva has begun the process of updating and supplementing the rules of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts. Since we consider that expert forum far preferable to the more political UNGA committees, we hope to limit UN action at the 26th GA to endorsement of ICRC activities, avoiding either the adoption of additional substantive resolutions, which could prejudice the work of the ICRC forum, or the institution of unnecessary and potentially damaging parallel activities in the UN. If other governments express interest in introducing such resolutions, we would discourage them from doing so.

14. Korea

If this item is again inscribed for consideration by the Assembly, we plan to work for the defeat of resolutions calling for the dissolution of the UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK) and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Korea. We hope that friendly governments will support us in the voting on the various segments of the Korean item. Information on tactical handling of this item will be sent in a separate message.

15. Strengthening International Security

A Soviet item on "Strengthening International Security" is on the agenda. Our position, expressed during last year’s debate on this issue, is that the United Nations should be concerned with taking concrete actions to strengthen international security–making better use of and improving existing procedures and machinery for peacekeeping and peaceful settlement of disputes; resolving the peacekeeping financial deficit and establishing a sound basis for future financing. We see no benefit in debate just on generalities. Thus we hope to achieve the minimum possible discussion of the item and to resist the preparation of a resolution on the matter.

16. 1973 Planning Estimate

As a means of establishing long-term planning in the UN, the Committee of 14 in 1966 proposed, and the General Assembly in resolution 2370 (XXII) provided, that the Secretary-General should each year prepare a "planning estimate for the United Nations regular budget estimates for the second succeeding budgetary period." Twice this procedure has been postponed due to fears of some Member States, especially the less developed, that it would inhibit the growth of UN activities.

The US has strongly supported the planning estimate procedure in the belief that the information would be helpful to Member States, would set the framework within which the SYG could develop the next year’s program of work, and would contribute to more rational determination of priorities among competing programs, improve selectivity–and assist in controlling the growth of the UN budget. We thus believe that there should be no further delay in instituting the planning estimate procedure. We think the General Assembly at its 26th Session should establish such an estimate for the 1973 budget.

There is a further and urgent reason for a 1973 planning estimate. We understand that UN cash liquidity position is becoming critical (Item 8). At the same time it seems probable the 1972 UN regular budget will increase substantially. We believe public opinion in the US and in other countries would find it hard to understand how the UN, at a time when it may be unable to meet its payroll, could contemplate a greatly increased budget for the next year. We thus regard the 1973 planning estimate exercise as one that should put the UN under some constraint to show that it is seriously attempting to live within its means and devote its resources to the most pressing problems facing the organization.

17. Reactivating the Committee of Fourteen

At the 25th General Assembly, the US proposed a resolution, co-sponsored by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, USSR, UAR and UK, to reactivate the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts to Examine the Finances of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies (Committee of 14) with a broad mandate to study ways of improving financial, budgetary and administrative practices of the UN system including the Specialized Agencies. Action was deferred to the 26th General Assembly.

Our feeling now is that last year’s proposal was too ambitious. At this session we will seek reactivation of the Committee to deal only with two inter-related problems in the UN itself, although the Committee should be free to make any study it believed appropriate. These problems are:

(1) means of establishing an effective planning, programming, and budgeting system, as called for in 1966 by the original Committee and subsequently by a number of other bodies such as the Committee for Program and Coordination (CPC) and the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU); and (2) means of instituting improved procedures within the UN for evaluating the Organization’s performance in implementing previously agreed activities.

We believe that if the expert and prestigious body which produced such successful results in 1966 can be gotten to take a careful look at some aspects of the present situation, it would recommend courses of action to strengthen both the internal management of the UN and control over its activities by Member States.


97. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Davies) to the Counselor of the Department of State (Pedersen)/1/

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Unclassified. Drafted by Stanley D. Schiff on September 3 and concurred in by Alfred L. Atherton and Anthony C. E. Quainton. A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: ñSpeech given and points used per Passage 1/25/72.î See footnote 2, Document 100.

Washington, September 3, 1971.

The Secretary’s Speech to the UNGA

There are four topics which we would suggest for inclusion in the Secretary’s statement, one of which–narcotics–is not peculiar to our area.

We believe the Secretary should give major emphasis to South Asia–to underline the dangers of war in the area, but especially to focus attention on the humanitarian problem in India and East Pakistan, to underline the UN role of leadership in dealing with these problems and to provide vigorous support to the Secretary-General’s appeal for contributions and support from the world community.

We think the statement should include the following points–a) the threat to peace poses dangers not only to India and Pakistan but to the world community, b) the threat of famine in East Pakistan and the problem posed by the influx of refugees into India must also concern the international community, c) the international community, and India and Pakistan, have a responsibility for ensuring the peace, for averting famine and relieving human misery, d) we look to the UN to continue asserting vigorous leadership and coordination of efforts to deal with the food situation in East Pakistan and refugee relief in India. We intend continuing our support for these efforts. e) We recognize that the political problems in Pakistan must be resolved by the Pakistanis themselves, f) we trust both India and Pakistan will avoid actions which can increase tensions and will also be alert to the opportunities for dealing with the refugee problem so as to reduce tensions.

In general, the Middle East section of the Secretary’s UNGA speech should be consistent with our present emphasis on quiet diplomacy and should avoid arousing undue expectations of early dramatic progress. While this is not the occasion for launching new public policy initiatives on the Middle East, it is an opportunity to adumbrate some of our concepts with respect to an interim Suez Canal agreement and to shift the focus to that effort and to the idea of a step-by-step approach, away from the idea of a quantum jump to an overall peace.

The speech should (a) recall what has been accomplished (with special emphasis on the ceasefire); (b) stress the importance of a Canal agreement as a practical first step toward peace; (c) register some impatience with the negativism of both sides and call for some risk-taking by the parties; and (d) urge that the UN contribute to the process of moving toward peace by avoiding both unproductive polemics and any attempts to shift the focus from negotiations by the parties themselves to new UN prescriptions on the substance of a peace settlement.

We believe it would be desirable to get some mention of narcotics into the statement–with the emphasis on the growing international nature of the problem and the need for concerted international action to deal with it. If the subject can be worked into the statement, we would like the Secretary to commend Turkey publicly for its decision to eliminate production in 1972, for this example of international good citizenship and as an example which others should emulate.

Lastly, if possible, a sentence or two welcoming new members of the UN–Bhutan, Bahrein and probably Qatar.

We would prefer to give you draft language for the South Asia and Middle East portions of the statement and will get them to you next week.

98. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, September 17, 1971, 1:23 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3–1. Confidential. Drafted by B. J. Schrage and Betty Gough; cleared by Armitage, Pelcovits, Kent, Jacques Reinstein, Kathleen Bell, Barth, and Ernest L. Kerley; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma.

171037. Subject: Pruning 26th GA Agenda. Ref: USUN 2626./2/

/2/ Telegram 2626, September 10, suggested items to be deferred or merged with other items on the agenda of the 26th General Assembly. (Ibid.)

1. Dept concurs in your suggestions for deferral or merger of agenda items (reftel) except for proposal to merge items 48 and 49. We believe these two items should remain separate both in terms of their consideration and in terms of substance. With regard to item 55, suggest this be referred directly to ECOSOC and its social commission. In addition, suggest you seek elimination of following items:

a. Item 24 (report on peaceful uses of atomic energy): We are puzzled why Secretariat decided to include agenda item on this report. In our view report should simply have been circulated to members who could then comment upon it either in General Debate or under IAEA item (15). If it is not possible to delete this item, it should be bracketed with item 15.

b. Item 29b (safeguarding of new processes of uranium enrichment): If this item cannot be deleted, it should be bracketed with item 15.

c. Item 32 (implementation of results of conference of non-nuclear weapons states): GA has discussed this item for several years and there is nothing new before it to consider.

d. Item 39 (UNSCEAR report) and item 47d (UN volunteer program): Reports should simply be circulated and agenda items deleted. Item 46 (UNITAR) is similar item. While we could support its removal from agenda, believe we should not initiate action to drop it since UNITAR Executive Director Adebo wishes use GA platform to elicit financial support and could enlist wide AF backing.

e. Item 56 (world social situation): Since neither ECOSOC nor GA requested inclusion of agenda item on this subject, report should simply be circulated.

2. Bracketing of items:

a. Item 12 (ECOSOC report): Chapter on economic and social consequences of arms race should be bracketed with item 35 to avoid two discussions on same issue.

b. Item 33 (international service for nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes): Should be bracketed with item 15.

3. Referral to committees:

a. Item 12 (ECOSOC report): Chapter on question of enlargement of Council should be referred directly to plenary. Chapter on economic and social consequences of arms race could be referred to Committee 1 or 2 if it is bracketed with item 35 but only to Committee 2 if it is not.

b. Item 28 (rationalization of GA procedures): Should be referred to Committee 6, which is logical place for changes in rules to be discussed.

c. Item 35: Could be discussed in Committee 1 or 2. (See para 3a above.)

4. We recognize that only very limited time is available to undertake consultations with other General Committee members on above but believe it would be useful to consult with as many as possible before we formally make our proposals.


99. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, September 21, 1971, 2149Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3–1. Confidential. Drafted by Schrage; cleared by Armitage, O’Connor, and Kerrigan; and approved by Herz.

173644. Subject: Pruning of 26th GA Agenda. Ref: USUN 2769./2/

/2/ Telegram 2769 from USUN, September 14, discussed items that the U.S. and Soviet delegations had proposed postponing or deleting from the agenda of the 26th General Assembly. (Ibid.)

1. Dept supports retention of agenda items 54 (freedom of information) and 64 (High Commissioner for Human Rights) but can agree to postpone item 90 (international school) per Soviet suggestion reftel.

2. After further consideration of item 55 (elderly and aged), Dept has decided that while we could support postponement and referral of this item to ECOSOC and its Social Commission, we do not wish to propose this ourselves. FYI: There will be a White House Conference on elderly and aged in November 1971. While we see no positive advantage for this conference in keeping item 55 on agenda, believe it would be inopportune for us to propose postponement at this time. End FYI.


100. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, October 5, 1971, 0002Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and to the Interests Section in Cairo.

3140. Subj: Reactions to Secretary’s General Debate Speech./2/

/2/ Secretary Rogers’ address to the UN General Assembly on October 4 is printed in Department of State Bulletin, October 25, 1971, pp. 437–444.

1. Summary. Reactions to Secy’s speech are highly favorable with overwhelming majority lauding it as major substantive statement on principal international issues, deserving of careful study. Soviets pleased over reference to goal of cooperation in US-Sov relations but are somewhat reserved on ME. High level Egyptian comment has been unavailable. Both India and Pakistan call speech balanced. In general, speech has been praised by Africans, LAs and Europeans. Even those who oppose US position on Chirep compliment Secy on powerful presentation of US case. A French national in the Secretariat commented that it was a good speech which should win US friends. End Summary.

2. Malik (USSR) was pleased with section on US-Sov relations while taking usual Sov line on ME that US concentrating everything on interim settlement thereby blocking efforts of Jarring and the Four. Soviets, immediately after speech, were reserved with "we’ll have to read it again" line. Later they were more forthcoming saying that it was a "peace speech." In particular Chuchukin used the line to several that it was "conciliatory" and Sovs were "pleased." Ovinnikov was particularly struck with ME point one that neither side can expect to achieve complete agreement on terms of overall settlement as part of interim agreement.

3. Ionescu (Romania) found speech positive and particularly encouraging re US-Sov relations.

4. Tekoah (Israel) was guarded but noted emphasis on interim agreement was consistent with Eban’s speech.

5. Jamieson (UK) said it was a singularly effective speech. This opinion shared by Ruggiero (Italy).

6. Waldheim (Austria) thought speech "very forceful." On Chirep, until now some members felt US trying to save face for ROC. This no longer the case and any lingering doubts as to US seriousness put to rest.

7. Mojsov (Yugo) on Chirep said speech was a very forceful presentation but it raised a false issue (expulsion). Mojsov convinced we are serious "the lines are drawn for battle."

8. Jakobson (Finland) very favorably impressed, particularly by US-Sov section. He appreciated sentence on successor to U Thant. Said speech contained so much substance on so many issues that it would require careful study.

9. Both Sen (India) and Shahi (Pakistan) commented that speech was clear and balanced. Naturally Indians would have preferred greater stress on political settlement in EP and Paks less, but in general their reactions were decidedly favorable.

10. Although both FonMin and Mohammed Riad were present for speech, neither could be reached afterwards. Kassem (Egypt) reportedly thought speech not specific enough on withdrawal. Teymour (Egypt) thought Secy’s remarks "good" and "balanced." He liked ME point on statement Canal agreement would merely be step toward complete and full implementation of Res 242.

11. Toukan (Jordan) thought speech, especially on ME "balanced."

12. Latin Americans all seem to be pleased based on very positive comments from Reps of Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay and Nicaragua.

13. Bayulken (Turkey) singled out ME portion saying it very clear and laid out current situation. On Chirep, Bayulken indicated his doubts as to possibility of US success remained unchanged.

14. Farah (Somalia) and OAU Rep very pleased over acceptance of ICJ decision on Namibia.

15. Jarring expressed great appreciation for way his mission was treated in speech. He also said he thought substance on ME was excellent.

16. Czech Rep said speech was very constructive and well balanced–only thing he regretted was skepticism shown re world disarmament conference.


101. Airgram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/


New York, December 22, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use. Drafted December 21 by Arthur M. Stillman and approved by Bernard Zagorin.

Third Committee–Evaluation


The Third Committee turned in a mixed, but essentially satisfactory performance during the 26th General Assembly. Most noteworthy accomplishments were in the areas of disaster relief; refugees; human rights in armed conflict; narcotics; UNICEF. Less than satisfactory performance was noted on agenda items concerning the world social situation; racial discrimination; self-determination; and town-twinning. The most glaring failure was inadequate attention devoted to the item on creation of a post of High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) and deferral to the 28th session of the General Assembly. The atmosphere was more restrained than last year although there were exchanges between the Arabs and Israelis; Pakistan and India; the US and USSR on politically sensitive issues; and between the US and certain African countries concerning policies in southern Africa. Seven members or alternates of the US Delegation participated in the committee at one point or another. All made major contributions to the excellent performance by the Delegation in the committee. End Summary.

The Third Committee turned in a mixed, but essentially satisfactory performance during the 26th GA. Most noteworthy accomplishments were in the areas of disaster relief; refugees; human rights in armed conflict; narcotics; UNICEF. Less than satisfactory performance was noted on agenda items concerning the world social situation; racial discrimination; self-determination; and town-twinning. The most glaring failure was inadequate attention devoted to the item on creation of a post of High Commissioner for Human Rights and deferral to the 28th session of the GA.

The committee has traditionally been noted for wide ranging and highly political debate. This continued to be the case during the 26th GA on such emotional issues as racial discrimination, self-determination, and the HCHR. On the other hand, delegates exhibited a high degree of statesmanship in the discussion of disaster relief, refugees, human rights in armed conflict, UNICEF, and narcotics.

On balance, the atmosphere in the committee was more restrained than last year largely because of prior agreement on the agenda which avoided prolonged procedural debates. The filibuster technique was employed again by the EEs and Arabs in order to avoid or to minimize discussion of the contentious item of the HCHR. This maneuver was successful and the item was not considered until the last week of the session. The proponents of the HCHR, recognizing that they had been outmaneuvered, did not seek to press it to a vote.

The Arabs and Israelis traded exchanges on several occasions but they were more restrained than in previous years. The EEs and Cuba were the only delegations to attack US Vietnam policies and racial discrimination in the US although a number of African countries were critical of US policies in southern Africa. The US delegation took a harder line this year on Soviet repression, including treatment of the Jewish minority.

The US was represented in the committee at various times by Congressman Derwinski, Mr. Moynihan, Admiral Shepard, Mr. Fletcher, Mrs. O’Donnell and Ambassadors Bennett and Zagorin. This policy of assigning delegates to specific items proved to be more effective than the former practice of assigning one delegate full time to the committee. The delegates appreciated the variety of exposure to items of particular interest and they brought fresh and imaginative approaches to the committee. The impact on other delegations was highly favorable since they were impressed by the special attention and importance given by the US delegation to each item. The Mission is convinced that its delegation made an excellent impression in the committee and that individual performances by members of the delegation were outstanding.

Comment on specific agenda items follows:

[Omitted here are comments on action on disaster relief, refugees, world social situation, racial discrimination, self-determination, human rights in armed conflict, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nazism and racial intolerance, war criminals, elderly and aged, UNICEF, Declaration on Rights of the Mentally Retarded, drug abuse control, capital punishment, town-twinning, status of the International Human Rights Convention, and items deferred.]


102. Airgram From the Department of State to All Posts/1/


Washington, January 21, 1972, 9:06 a.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use; Priority. Drafted by Pelcovits and the IO Staff; cleared by Herz, Rothenberg, Hennes, McDonald, Walker, McNutt, and Chase; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma.

26th United Nations General Assembly–An Assessment

General Appraisal

Three events held the spotlight at the 26th General Assembly (Sept. 21–Dec. 22, 1971):

–the entry of the People’s Republic of China;

–the overwhelming majority for a resolution calling for a cease-fire and withdrawal of troops in the Indo-Pakistan war when the Security Council was prevented from acting by Soviet vetoes;

–and major power agreement in the final days of the session on the election of a new Secretary General.

The achievement record was mixed. Gains were made in UN efforts to cope with world-wide economic, social and technical problems: ECOSOC machinery to coordinate economic development and scientific activity was strengthened; a new post of Disaster Relief Coordinator was established to mobilize, direct and coordinate relief activities in emergencies; agreements were endorsed on outer space liability and biological warfare; and preparations were advanced for conferences on human environment and law of the seas.

At the same time, little headway was made on improving the UN’s institutional capacity for effective action. The election of Kurt Waldheim, former Austrian Foreign Minister and long-time permanent representative to the UN, as Secretary General served to focus on the need for fundamental reforms in the UN’s structure and functioning. The financial crisis and the pressing need for administrative reform are the two primary tasks facing him. While he was not generally regarded as the strongest candidate, we expect that the new SYG will display initiative and administrative talent in coming to grips with institutional problems. His record suggests he will be a prudent activist in seeking to promote agreed solutions to political problems.

Entry of the Peoples Republic of China focussed attention on the realignments that were taking place in the UN. The presence of the PRC will in theory make it possible for the UN to deal with a number of problems heretofore considered beyond its reach. In practice, however, reaching big power accommodations may become more complex because of the acrimonious Sino-Soviet rivalry. North-South issues, both colonial and economic, continue to be major preoccupations of the UN. And, with the organization heading for near-universality, problems relating to the timing of membership of the divided states (the two Germanies in particular) and of accommodating microstates will also need more attention.

China and Shift in Political Balance

The question of Chinese representation and the arrival early in November of the PRC delegation set the dominant political tone. Although we suffered a painful defeat in the voting and deeply regret the exclusion of the Republic of China, we regard the seating of the PRC in the UN as the recognition of a political reality and an opportunity to bring this major power into international councils. Expulsion of the ROC created a possible damaging precedent, and by denying representation to 14 million people in Taiwan it ran counter to the movement for inclusiveness of all peoples.

The PRC delegation did not play an active role on many issues before the UN, apparently preferring first to become familiar with Assembly politics and procedure. From the start, however, it challenged UN "domination" by the US and USSR and imported the Sino-Soviet feud into the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC. The PRC staked out its claim to leadership of the Third World against the "superpowers" among whose numbers it said it did not want to be counted. Nevertheless, it was apparent in the debate on the World Disarmament Conference and in the Indo-Pakistan conflict that the PRC showed concern for its great power interests. The strident propaganda exchanges between the PRC and the USSR did not sit well with many third world countries some of whom feared that big power polemics might distract attention from their problems.

UNGA as a Political Forum

The annual session has become an important arena for diplomatic talks on a vast range of world and bilateral problems. The Secretary of State held an extended series of diplomatic exchanges with more than 80 Foreign Ministers and special envoys. Apart from explaining US policy on Chinese representation, the Secretary’s address to the Assembly on October 4 ranged over key world issues, notably US-Soviet relations and progress on arms control negotiations, and the conditions for peaceful settlement of the Indo-Pakistan and Middle East disputes.

With respect to institutional problems of the UN, the Secretary stressed the need to select an outstanding successor to U Thant as SYG, and to arrest the deterioration in the UN’s financial position. As the UN becomes a more universal body, he noted in his address, "it will be better able to deal with the lengthening list of global issues confronting it–in conciliating political differences, in reducing the world’s armaments, in curbing the epidemic spread of narcotics addiction, in protecting the environment, in assuring the exploitation of the oceans for the benefit of mankind."

The effectiveness and credibility of the General Assembly continued to suffer from the politics of confrontation and the tendency of members to place group solidarity above the need for realistic consensus. Sheer numbers remains a problem. UN membership rose to 132 during the 26th session with the admission of five new states–Bhutan, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. No serious consideration was given to our proposal that associate status be offered to future applicants who do not have the resources to discharge their responsibilities as voting members. The anomaly whereby an ever larger majority of members can prescribe paper solutions and vote budgets without necessarily having the support of the few on whom the UN relies for implementing action and for resources will thus continue to sap the organization’s credibility and effectiveness.

Institutional and Financial Ills

This session failed signally to move on the procedural, administrative and financial reforms which had been identified as crucial during the appraisal undertaken in conjunction with the 25th anniversary session the previous year. Despite US initiatives to promote substantial reforms in General Assembly procedures, organization, and voting, so as to speed up sessions, improve operating effectiveness and promote more responsible decision-making, very limited progress was made in the 31-member Special Committee on Rationalization of Procedures appointed by the previous session. However, implementing a recommendation of the Joint Inspection Unit and the committee, the Assembly reduced documentation by 15 percent and made a corresponding reduction in the budget.

Failure to move on revitalizing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was disappointing. Opposition of the Soviets and French and the apathy of many led the Assembly once again to postpone the action we favored to create a special committee for a full-scale review of the role of the ICJ in the international system.

UN’s Financial Plight. The financial situation deteriorated further during 1971. The Assembly failed to face up to the serious liquidity crisis which has brought the organization to the verge of bankruptcy. We made clear that we would help in finding a solution if others helped substantially as well, and that what is most needed is assurance of adequate contributions from those whose withholding of past assessments brought on the financial crisis. A long-range solution should also aim at eliminating or adjusting those budget items that are creating further arrearages. The Assembly handed the problem to a 15-member committee for study, even though the UN Controller had predicted that the UN would run out of funds no later than May or June of 1972.

The US delegation stressed that the UN must live within its means at a time when it was on the verge of bankruptcy, and that new activities should be financed out of savings derived from eliminating or postponing activities of lower priority. We worked for maximum savings in the budget and achieved a measure of success. (Our original estimate of the budget level was $218 million as compared to the $213.1 million finally voted.) This 1972 expenditure budget exceeded that for 1971 by about $21 million, an increase of 10.9%. We considered this rise unjustified particularly in the light of the UN’s financial condition and abstained in the final vote as we had the previous year.

Burden-sharing: US Assessment. On December 22, the US Delegate reiterated to the Assembly the announcement made early in December by the Department that in the interest of more equitable burden-sharing and the principle that a world organization should not be overly dependent on any one member, the US intended to seek a reduction of the US rate of assessment from its present 31.52% to 25%. We will try to achieve this reduction expeditiously and as new members are brought in with a consequent reallocation of assessment shares. This objective is being sought as a matter of principle, not in retaliation for any policy or decision taken by the UN majority which ran counter to the US position.

Peacemaking: Indo-Pakistan Conflict and Middle East

Perhaps the gravest shortcoming in 1971 was in the UN’s role as peacemaker. In the India-Pakistan crisis, however, the General Assembly showed its utility. Early attempts by U Thant to persuade the permanent members of the Security Council to address the crisis over East Pakistan had foundered mainly on Soviet objections. In December, following the outbreak of hostilities the US had brought the dispute before the Council but repeated Soviet vetoes blocked action. On December 7, the General Assembly, acting under the Uniting for Peace procedure, recommended by an overwhelming majority (104–10–11) a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops to their own territories and the creation of conditions for voluntary return of refugees. The vote showed the strong sentiment in the United Nations against the use of military force to divide a member state.

(The Security Council belatedly adopted a resolution endorsing a ceasefire and pointing toward withdrawal of troops, political accommodation, and humanitarian relief under UN auspices.)

Assembly debate on the Middle East was of relatively low intensity, being overshadowed by the concurrent Indo-Pakistan crisis. The resolution, adopted by 79–7–36(US), essentially reaffirmed the mandate of Ambassador Jarring based on Security Council resolution 242 and called on Israel to respond positively to Jarring’s memorandum of February 1971 (which, inter alia, involved a prior commitment of Israeli withdrawal to the former international border between Egypt and the British mandate of Palestine) in order to renew the negotiations under his auspices. We abstained on the grounds that the GA resolution altered the careful balance of Security Council resolution 242 and because the text could have been better designed to enhance the climate for serious negotiations. Neither the resolution nor the US abstention seems to have had an adverse effect on the prospects for participation by either side in such negotiations.

Peacekeeping. During 1971 our efforts to reach an understanding, initially with the Soviets, on reliable and effective means to conduct and finance peacekeeping proved unavailing. We had submitted certain suggestions to the Soviets early in 1970, hoping to find a basis for agreement. The long-delayed Soviet response, in mid-1971, continued to insist that Permanent Members of the Security Council must achieve unanimity at every stage of a peacekeeping operation, including direct control over operational matters. Our position continues to be that to assure flexibility and efficiency the SYG should retain executive latitude while consulting with a committee of the full Council. The General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, which had been trying to complete groundrules for the conduct of observer missions, marked time. Nor was any progress made on advance preparations for peacekeeping operations, such as earmarking and training troops and observers. The 26th session renewed the mandate of the committee and called for more frequent progress reports, but there is no sign that the impasse can be broken in 1972, expecially as the entry on the scene of the PRC introduces a new variable.

Other Political and Security Issues

On a number of political and security issues that preoccupied the session, the US found itself playing a defensive role. By and large we succeeded in containing what we considered damaging or undesirable actions.

World Disarmament Conference. The Soviet proposal for a World Disarmament Conference (WDC) was recast to conform with amendments sponsored by Mexico and Sweden intended to save face for the Soviets when the PRC opposed the Soviet formula. The Swedes feared that an open Soviet defeat might have harmful ramifications in the entire disarmament field. The resolution was amended to call only for the "consideration" of a World Disarmament Conference, a formula we could support.

Indian Ocean Peace Zone and other Arms Control Issues. We abstained on the Ceylonese resolution for virtual prohibition of arms in the Indian Ocean when the sponsors refused to amend it. On the resolution as a whole abstentions almost equalled affirmative votes (61–0–55). On the key operative paragraphs abstentions actually outnumbered affirmative votes, indicating that a more moderate approach is favored by the majority. The US also abstained on sweeping resolutions to end nuclear tests and for a moratorium on the production and stockpiling of chemical weapons. In both cases we consider more discussion and negotiation on verification to be essential before such restraints would be viable and add to international security.

Colonial and African Issues. We were often in a small minority of those opposing or abstaining on resolutions which proposed extreme and unworkable measures to combat colonial and racial policies in Southern Africa. Thus, we voted against those resolutions on Portuguese Territories, Rhodesia, and apartheid in South Africa which contained provisions for mandatory enforcement action by the Security Council or contemplated solutions by force. Because the matter was still under consideration by the US Government, we did not participate in the vote on a resolution expressing grave concern at the decision of the US Congress which would allow importation of Rhodesian chrome ore despite the mandatory provisions of Security Council sanctions resolutions. We abstained on a resolution rejecting British settlement proposals on Rhodesia on the grounds that the Assembly should not prejudge the views of the Rhodesian people on acceptability of the proposals. On the other hand, we supported recommendations for practical goals to counter apartheid in South Africa. Secretary Rogers affirmed US acceptance of the ICJ advisory opinion which recognized the illegality of South Africa’s continued presence in Namibia and urged states to discharge their responsibilities toward Namibia accordingly. He observed that the opinion was consistent with US support of practical and peaceful means to achieve self-determination and end racial discrimination.

Strengthening International Security. Western countries did not succeed in side-tracking a substantive resolution on this Soviet item. We pointed out that realistic progress in strengthening international security could only be achieved by concrete measures rather than hortatory declarations. In the end, changes in the resolution to reflect third world concerns and postponement of the vote till late in the session reduced Soviet propaganda gains.

Korea. The Korean item, which has been the occasion for East-West acrimony, was deferred to the next session, mainly because of the bilateral talks being held at Panmunjom between Red Cross representatives of North and South Korea.

Security of UN Missions. The Soviet-Arab drive for a harsh resolution on the security problem faced by certain UN missions in the United States was blunted. The resolution adopted sets up a committee on host country relations whose form and composition give some promise of dealing with the problem in a temperate manner.

Treaty Law: Outer Space and Prohibition of Biological Weapons

The 26th Assembly was noteworthy for endorsing new conventions on outer space liability and on prohibiting biological weapons. Eight years of difficult negotiation in the UN Outer Space Committee culminated in agreement on an Outer Space Liability Convention covering the liability of space powers for damage and loss caused by falling objects. Even more important was the convention for the prohibition of biological weapons which the General Assembly, by an overwhelming vote of 110–0–1(France), commended to members for signature and ratification. The PRC delegate, though seated, did not vote and was recorded as absent. A companion resolution called on the Conference of the Committee for Disarmament urgently to continue negotiations on measures for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

Reform of ECOSOC. On the economic and social side, the key accomplishment in 1971 was the strengthening of ECOSOC to assure its primacy in review and appraisal of the Second Development Decade and in the application of science and technology. This recognizes ECOSOC’s role as the intergovernmental organ for achieving coordination of economic, social and technical activities throughout the UN system. The General Assembly, by a vote of 105–2(UK, France)–15(Soviet bloc), endorsed a plan which the US had initiated at the summer session of ECOSOC, which included enlargement of the Council from 27 to 54 (so as to broaden representation) and establishment of standing committees to deal with the application of science and technology and to review and appraise progress in implementing the goals of the Second Development Decade. Enlarging ECOSOC requires an amendment to the Charter ratified by two-thirds of the membership, including all five permanent members of the Security Council. Enlargement is aimed at rekindling third world confidence in ECOSOC as the central organ to achieve UN economic and social objectives. Asians and Africans pressed hard at the 26th session for a redistribution of seats in their favor and were partially satisfied; however, this issue may be raised again.

Disaster Relief Coordinator. In response to another US initiative, the United Nations greatly strengthened its capability to respond to requests for aid from countries struck by natural or other disasters. Starting early in 1972 the newly appointed UN Disaster Relief Coordinator will have wide powers to mobilize, direct and coordinate relief activities in cases of natural disaster and other emergency situations. Several large humanitarian relief operations undertaken by UN agencies in East Pakistan and Peru demonstrated both the value of multilateral efforts and the need for their speedy mobilization and coordination.

Conferences on Environment and Oceans. The Assembly made progress in preparations for major international conferences on the preservation of the human environment (Stockholm, June 1972) and on the law of the sea (LOS), scheduled for 1973 to fix boundaries and establish rules for sharing the benefits of the seabed. A Soviet effort to postpone the environment conference unless the GDR participated with voting status was rejected, but the issue of GDR participation will continue to be troublesome. Timetables of preparatory work for both conferences were approved. An expanded Seabeds Committee will hold two sessions in 1972 in preparation for the LOS conference. We are pleased at the results so far which move us closer to the President’s goal of creating a rational new international law for oceans.

Other Assembly Actions: Narcotics, humanitarian aid, human rights

US policies were reinforced in the areas of narcotics control, humanitarian aid, and human rights in armed conflict. Resolutions were adopted urging support for the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control and requesting UN Specialized Agencies to provide assistance to developing countries to combat illicit production and traffic in narcotic drugs; calling on governments and international agencies to support humanitarian aid to Pakistan refugees in India and relief requirements in East Pakistan, programs to which the US had made the major contributions; and calling for observance of rules contained in conventions governing human rights in armed conflict.

The US pressed for observance of human rights during armed conflict in accordance with existing instruments, mainly the Geneva Conventions (to which 130 nations are parties), calling for humane treatment of prisoners of war and war victims. We underscored our unremitting concern for implementation of these rights on behalf of our POWs held by North Vietnam. We were disappointed that the Assembly again failed to act on creating a post of High Commissioner for Human Rights, deferring the matter for two years to the 28th session. The Assembly also stalled action on elimination of religious intolerance.

North-South Differences on Trade and Monetary Matters. Charges that rich nations failed to take their trade and monetary concerns into account led to a demand by the LDCs that UNCTAD negotiate on such matters. This move was successfully countered, but resolutions were adopted highly critical of world trade and monetary practices, demanding that all restrictive measures imposed as a result of the financial crisis be lifted and that "all interested countries" participate in the creation of a new international monetary system. Some of the criticism was disarmed by the Washington agreement of the Group of Ten at the end of December on a framework for exchange rate adjustments, by US lifting of the import surtax, and by the Administration’s announcement that it would introduce legislation in the next Congressional session on a generalized system of preferences for LDCs. In addition, the US supported key resolutions sponsored by the LDCs on "transfer of technology" to under-developed economies and rescheduling of debts. Unresolved differences on trade, aid and monetary matters will remain chronic problems and are bound to be pressed by developing nations at the world conference on trade and aid (UNCTAD III) to be held in April 1972.


103. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, July 11, 1972, 2200Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential. Repeated to Moscow and Bonn.

2481. Subj: Review of 27th GA Prospects With Soviet PermRep.

1. Amb Bush toured horizon with Soviet PermRep Malik over lunch July 11. On Korea, Middle East, SIS and World Disarmament Conference nothing new emerged.

2. When asked what "additional" items would arise in 27th GA, Malik emphatically responded "admission of two Germanies to UN membership." He gave no hints re strategy or tactics.

3. Ambassador Bush took occasion to seek Malik’s understanding and support on 25 percent financial contribution by US. Malik expressed no sympathy, but seemed to show comprehension of fact that effect on future of UN of eventual US contribution reduction would in part be function of way in which other major powers in UN responded to US action. He had earlier predicted that reduction in US contribution to 25 percent would be damaging body blow to world organization.

4. Malik said he going to Moscow later this week for month’s leave.


104. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, July 19, 1972, 1710Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential.

2551. Subj: Exchange of Views on 27th GA With PRC Amb Huang.

1. In casual conversation with PRC Ambassador Huang some weeks ago, I raised possibility of meeting informally with him, as I do with many other PermReps, to discuss forthcoming GA. I said I did not visualize that each side would be pressing the other for positions on each issue but rather that the exchange would be a general one, touching, however, on both issues and procedures. Huang reacted with considerable enthusiasm. I suggested I might give him a call after I returned from Geneva about mid-July. He seemed very pleased.

2. I have arranged to get together with him for a chat on July 25. I anticipate that we inevitably will be touching on such obvious issues as UN financing and that Korea and African issues, etc., also will come up. Although, as I indicated to Huang, I do not expect intensive mutual probing on issues, this session will offer an opportunity to get across to him points of particular interest to us.


105. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, August 4, 1972, 2337Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use.

2742. Subj: 27th UNGA: Pruning of Provisional Agenda. Ref: USUN 2735./2/

/2/ Telegram 2735 from USUN, August 4, discussed placement of the World Dis armament Conference on the provisional agenda of the 27th UN General Assembly. (Ibid., DEF 18–3)

1. We met informally with Western members of 27th GA’s General Committee (Belgium, Canada, France, Iceland, New Zealand, UK plus Japan) August 3 for preliminary exchange of views on pruning provisional agenda of 27th GA. We agreed USUN would approach Soviets on bilateral basis regarding agenda as was done last year. Members of group, most of whom uninstructed, expressed wish to meet again in late August or early September.

2. Highlights of discussion of specific items on provisional agenda (see A/8750 of July 15, 1972) follow:

(A) Item 21 (mechancial voting): Group agreed item should be given routine consideration in 5th Comite rather than special attention in plenary.

(B) Item 23 (colonialism): UK and Canada felt consideration of item in plenary was losing significance and attempt to allocate item to 4th Comite would unnecessarily stir up African dels in General Committee, whose support we will want for deferment of Korean items.

(C) Item 24 (World Disarmament Conference): Comments on WDC reported reftel.

(D) Item 25 (Conference of Non-Nuclear States): All agreed item should be combined with Item 15 (report of IAEA).

(E) Item 33 (Indian Ocean): Belgians understand that Ceylonese have begun lobbying effort in capitals seeking new ideas on item and that Malaysians intend to bring item up at nonaligned meeting in Georgetown; Belgians see no harm in trying for deferment but doubt co-sponsors would agree to defer item.

(F) Item 34 (strengthening international security): Group (including Japan) agreed it might be tactically useful for us to tell Soviets we favored deferment of SIS.

(G) Item 40 (effects of atomic radiation): Group saw little hope for deferment because major report is being prepared by Secretariat for presentation to 27th GA; French specifically favor retention of item.

(H) Item 49 (UN university): Japanese del is anxious to have item considered by 27th GA.

(I) Item 50 (human rights in armed conflict): USUN noted that further discussion of human rights aspect in 3rd Comite seemed unnecessary and suggested moving item to 6th Comite; others were silent.

(J) Item 41 (racial discrimination): USUN favored moving sub-item (D) on apartheid to 6th Comite; French believe draft convention on apartheid should stay in 3rd Comite.

(K) Item 53 (ideologies and practices based on terror): French were unsure of degree of Soviet support for this item; USUN understands nonaligned will support it.

(L) Item 54 (war crimes): French favor this item.

(M) Item 56 (youth): USUN felt detailed consideration of item was premature; Iceland and UK agreed. French reserved their position.

(N) Item 59 (freedom of information): French reserved their position; Canada thought attempt to defer would be met with lengthy arguments from Philippines (who originated item) and others.

(O) Item 60 (human rights and science): USUN saw possibility of deferment; French were interested in keeping item.

(P) Item 61 (religious intolerance): USUN pointed out item had been on agenda for many years and might well be deferred; others agreed.

(Q) Item 85 (UN School): Belgium and New Zealand felt item should be deferred; French and Japanese thought many dels would be interested in retaining it.

(R) Items 93 and 94 (use of "all states" formula): With US, UK and Japan leading the way, group agreed we should seek deferment.

(S) Item 95 (amendment to ICJ structure); Group agreed to seek deferment of this item.

3. Group decided to save for next meeting detailed discussion of financial items, Korean items, WDC and SIS.


106. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts/1/

Washington, August 15, 1972, 2219Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential; Routine. Drafted by the IO/UNP staff; approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma, and cleared by Chase, Goott, Monsma, Walker, McNutt, McDonald, Armitage, and Hennes. Repeated to USUN, Paris for OECD, Geneva, and Brussels for USEC and USNATO.

148408. Subject: Key Issues at 27th United Nations General Assembly.

I. General Assessment

1. 27th UNGA opening September 19 not likely to have issues as dramatic as Chirep and Indo-Pak fighting last year. Our main focus will be on our efforts to obtain agreement for reduction in our rate of assessment from 31.52 per cent to 25 per cent. We will also be seeking (1) postponement of debate on Korean question and (2) strengthening of UN machinery for economic development, population and environmental questions. Disarmament issues, particularly World Disarmament Conference (WDC), and Seabeds Conference (subject of septel next month) will probably consume considerable time. Middle East situation likely to be raised but in what form and substance not yet clear.

2. Our request for reduced assessment may lead some to believe US downgrading UN. This is not USG’s policy. Popular image of UN in US has been tarnished, partly as result its inability to handle important issues of peace and security and partly because of its tendency to eschew balanced effort to solve difficult problems in favor of rhetorical endorsement of positions popular with voting majorities. However, US strongly desires to see UN strengthened and its debates, documents and decisions made responsive to the need for effective international cooperation on problems of broad concern. In this connection, posts should discreetly convey our strong hope that one-sided polemics will be avoided and the Assembly’s efforts concentrated instead on restoring confidence of the world at large, including the US, that the UN can not only debate the issues but get things done.

3. Following paragraphs summarize issues of major interest to US and the outcome US hopes to attain. You should draw on these points in discussions with host govt officials and enlist their support, as well as determine their positions and likely initiatives. Please cable reports to Dept with USUN as info addressee. Background info on 26th GA session contained in airgram A–677,/2/ while voting record of host govt contained in IO document transmitted separately./3/

/2/ Document 102.

/3/ Not further identified.

II. 25 Per Cent Assessment

1. We will mount major effort at 27th GA to reduce US rate of assessment in UN from 31.52 per cent to 25 per cent, both by applying assessments of new members and by incremental additions within 1974–76 scale of assessments. We anticipate heavy resistance from other members, but in view high level of USG and public interest we must make this matter of highest priority in forthcoming GA. Posts should await separate instruction before approaching govts on this question.

III. Korea

1. Instructions re USG support for postponement sent State 137863./4/ If Korean item is not postponed, divisive and polemical debate could occur over UN (and US) role in Korea and between two Koreas which would reduce prospects of further progress in improvement of relations between South and North Korea. Best contribution UNGA can make is to avoid such debate and let both sides work out own problems together.

/4/ Not found.

IV. World Disarmament Conference

1. USG continues view WDC with skepticism. WDC would be unwieldy, propagandistic forum which could prejudice further serious bilateral efforts such as continuing SALT talks. It would certainly impair work of Committee on Disarmament (CCD) which has successfully negotiated important multilateral arms control and disarmament measures. CCD’s regional representation affords a forum for countries of all regions to have their views set forth and considered. Furthermore, WDC is wholly unnecessary since UNGA, which annually discusses disarmament matters, is virtually universal forum now and likely soon to include all nations wanting to join. US will oppose holding or setting a date for WDC as well as establishment of any preparatory machinery to arrange for conference. We could accept a resolution stating view that a WDC could play role in disarmament process at an appropriate unspecified time.

V. Middle East

1. There have been indications that Egypt may wish to raise ME question again in UNGA but it is uncertain whether issue will arise and, if so, what form resolution might take. We do not know at this point what negotiations may be in play when GA meets but, in light past experience, we strongly believe debate would exacerbate tensions and differences in area and one-sided resolution which would likely emerge would harm any prospects of movement by parties themselves on whom success of any negotiations primarily depends.

VI. Germany in UN

1. Question of FRG/GDR entry into UN is not on agenda but Sovs and other EEs could make effort to gain observer status for GDR or otherwise seek to enhance GDR standing in UN. We will join with UK, France, and FRG to oppose such moves in line with policy that UN entry for both Germanies should be preceded by satisfactory modus vivendi between FRG and GDR and by a quadripartite declaration or statement that Four Power rights and responsibilities will not be affected by UN entry. Premature consideration of FRG/GDR membership or GDR observer status would prejudice chances for success in inter-German negotiations which are important element in peace and security in Europe. GDR does not qualify for observer status as it is not a member of a UN specialized agency and is not generally recognized by UN members.

VII. Southern Rhodesia

1. African and Communist nations may seek to have US condemned for importing strategic materials from SR under Byrd Amendment. We see no valid reason to single out USG as our imports from Rhodesia constitute no more than 2 or 3 per cent of total Rhodesian exports. Passage of resolution unwarrantedly condemning US would adversely affect support of UN by US public and Congress. Those interested in upholding sanctions would be much better advised to focus attention on violations by others who are taking over 95 per cent of Rhodesian exports. (If asked to name others, you should say that official UN trade statistics available to UN Sanctions Committee indicate generally who they are.)

VIII. Protection of Diplomats

1. US strongly supports draft articles of the International Law Commission on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Diplomatic Agents and Other Internationally Protected Persons. We believe the GA should request governments to submit observations on ILC draft articles looking towards a diplomatic conference to adopt them in 1974. Separate but related item is protection of diplomats in New York City. We do not wish stimulate discussion this item, but posts may note US cooperates fully with new committee on relations with host country and that we currently seeking additional legislation (which may be passed by time GA meets) to improve ability of Federal Government to deal with problem.

IX. Human Rights in Armed Conflict

1. Item this year features report by group of "expert" consultants to SYG on napalm and other incendiary weapons and their possible use which was designed by sponsors to embarrass the US. USG opposes any moves by GA to control use of napalm and similar weapons on grounds such proposals should be taken up in disarmament forum such as CCD where it can be given more expert and less polemical attention. SYG will also report on expert conference held under ICRC auspices in May 1972 to develop additional protocols to 1949 Geneva Conventions. USG has been seeking inclusion in these protocols of more effective measures for implementation of Geneva Prisoner of War Convention. USG strongly supports these efforts and hopes GA will again endorse them without initiating competing drafting efforts.

X. Financial and Administrative Problems

1. US fully supports SYG’s program of austerity measures and his efforts to match income and expenditures. We support SYG’s policy of keeping CY 73 budget as close as possible to CY 72 levels as well as his view that new programs are not precluded, but must be accommodated within resources freed by completion of prior tasks or assignment of lower priority to continuing ones.

2. Soviets remain intransigent about efforts to find solution to larger problem of UN deficit. French contributions have removed France from annual list of defaulters (although France’s old Congo arrearages remain) but PRC may withhold at even higher current levels than did French.

XI. UN Conference on the Human Environment

1. GA will consider SYG’s report on Stockholm Conference. US will work to endorse plan of action adopted by the conference and in particular approve conference’s draft resolution recommending establishment of:

(A) A small environment unit within the UN to be headed by a director-general for the environment;

(B) A 54-member governing council for UN environment programs;

(C) An environment fund to be supported by voluntary contributions and administered by the executive director under advice of the Governing Council; and

(D) An environmental coordinating board to insure cooperation and coordination among all UN agencies involved in environment programs. US will strongly resist any proposals for amendment to the conference report.

XII. UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)

1. Created in 1967 and sustained primarily by US voluntary contributions, UNFPA finances technical assistance projects in developing countries on all aspects of population problems. SYG’s report to 27th GA should clarify administrative status of UNFPA and strengthen its central coordinating role. USG supports moves to make UNFPA the central funding, coordinating, and programming mechanism in the UN family for technical assistance in this field, to bring it into closer relationship with UNDP and place it under direction of UNDP Government Council. We expect report of SYG requested at 26th UNGA will contribute to these objectives.

XIII. UN University

1. Feasibility study completed by UNESCO and supplemented by SYG panel of experts has failed to answer what we consider are essential questions relating to role, organization, operation and financing of proposed UNU. In addition, current proposals imply compulsory rather than voluntary financial contributions. USG cannot support proposals to establish such an institution for which no clear need is demonstrated and at a time when national universities need all the financial help possible.

XIV. Economic Commission for Western Asia

1. A Lebanese proposal to establish an economic commission for Western Asia will probably come before the General Assembly when it considers the report of ECOSOC. At the July ECOSOC, Lebanon introduced a resolution to establish another regional commission with its membership limited to Arab States (Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen (San’a), Yemen (Aden), Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates). By the terms of the resolution, Israel would not become a member unless admitted by ECOSOC upon the recommendation of the new commission. Israel has objected to this provision. ECOSOC decided to postpone a decision until its meeting in October. If the matter is brought to a vote, the United States will oppose the present text because it would exclude a UN member that is a part of the region. Such a policy of excluding UN members from UN bodies and activities would cause much controversy, and hinder UN work in many fields. Pending time when an economic commission for Western Asia can be established on a non-discriminatory basis, we believe Arab States should continue to rely on existing UN Economic and Social office in Beirut.

XV. UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

1. We expect criticism of developed countries including US in connection GA consideration of report on UNCTAD III conference. UNCTAD Secretary General’s report on conference gives some support to complaints about lack of action on primary commodities and rescheduling debt of developing countries. US intends emphasize positive aspects of conference including action already taken on key resolutions including (1) implementing provision of resolution on international monetary situation by recent establishment by IMF Board of Governors of Committee of 20 including 9 developing countries to deal with international monetary reform; (2) preparations for multilateral trade negotiations in 1973 as called for in resolution on subject, within framework of GATT including coordination of activities of Secretary General of UNCTAD and Director General of GATT to assist developing countries and (3) action to assist least developed countries in line with UNCTAD resolution, including allocation of additional UNDP funds for their projects. Further action on about 50 UNCTAD resolutions will require carrying through programs in UN system and by sovereign governments, a process that will take years.


107. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, September 26, 1972, 2230Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Moscow, Brussels for USNATO, London, Paris, Rome, Bonn, Saigon, Tel Aviv, Beirut, and the Interests Section in Cairo.

3484. Subj: Gromyko speech to 27th GA.

1. Summary. Gromyko’s September 26 speech seemed designed to show Third World that basic Soviet policy vis-à-vis US had not changed despite recent encouraging developments in US-USSR relations. Gromyko hit harder at US policy in Vietnam than last year. He pointedly spoke of USSR-French relations before discussing US-USSR relations. Otherwise, he was specifically critical of Palestinian involvement in Munich tragedy/2/ and said USSR as matter of principle opposed acts of terrorism and meaningless violence. His treatment of other foreign policy themes was routine. Much of speech was devoted to new Soviet item on non-use of force, reported septel. End summary.

/2/ Reference is to the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Black September terrorists on September 5 during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

2. US-Soviet Relations. Gromyko downplayed significance of US-Soviet relations by first praising development of Soviet-French relations. He then characterized May summit as start in process of reshaping US-USSR relations and noted USSR attached great significance to its relations with US. Broadening of cooperation between two countries was "beginning to become reality" although political and ideological disagreements of principle would remain. Gromyko added that improvement in US-USSR relations would harm no other state.

3. SALT talks were discussed in later part of speech. Gromyko noted US–USSR understanding that those states possessing greatest destructive capacity had special obligation to limit arms race and promote disarmament. Agreement on strategic arms was important step; two sides agreed to continue negotiations.

4. Vietnam. Gromyko’s treatment of Vietnam was more lengthy and hard-hitting than last year. He stressed alleged gap between US words and deeds, charging that despite many declarations about pulling out of Vietnam US was expanding acts of war and their cruelty and inhumanity. In reality, US policy was aimed at eliminating provisional revolutionary government and at preserving puppet Saigon administration as sole legitimate authority in SVN. Real state of affairs was that two systems of authority and two armies as well as other political forces existed in SVN. Therefore necessary to set up provisional government in SVN on tripartite basis to deal with all matters in "transitional period" and organize general elections on truly free and democratic lines.

5. Middle East. Gromyko called for withdrawal of Israeli troops from all Arab territories, announced USSR’s support for legitimate demands of Arab countries, for Jarring Mission and for just struggle of Arab people of Palestine. He added, however, that it impossible to condone acts of terrorism committed by certain elements in Palestinian movement which led in particular to recent tragic events in Munich. Such criminal acts dealt blow to national interests of Palestinians and were used by Israeli criminals to cover their bandit-like policy against Arab peoples.

6. In addition to criticizing Munich tragedy, Gromyko stated that USSR as matter of principle opposed acts of terrorism which disrupted diplomatic activity of states and normal course of international contacts and meetings. Also opposed acts of violence which served no positive ends and caused loss of human life.

7. Other topics. Gromyko spoke briefly on CSCE as means of replacing military blocs with collective security and made brief plug for ensuring security in Asia. He gave standard pitch on importance of holding WDC, value of SIS item, Moon Treaty and DBS satellite item. He made brief reference to earliest possible admission of GDR and FRG and strongly opposed Charter review. Finally, he criticized those in UN who categorized states (i.e., USSR) according to size, population or wealth. Except for such veiled references, he did not discuss PRC.


108. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, December 20, 1972, 0143Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–3. Limited Official Use.

5635. Subj: SYG Waldheim on 27th GA.

1. In conversation with Amb Bush Dec 10, SYG Waldheim took somewhat philosophical view of 27th GA. He lamented that press in US, Europe and virtually everywhere else was taking very negative view of accomplishments of 27th GA, calling it dull. Waldheim thought this was unfair. Dullness of session was in large part a function of détente which had reduced incidence of verbal fireworks.

2. Waldheim said he was of course disappointed that his terrorism initiative had not borne more fruit. However, it was not fault of UN organization that this and other "failures" had occurred. If world community had attempted to deal with terrorism or other unresolved problems outside context of UN, same cast of characters would have been involved. Identifying Algeria, Libya, Syria and Iraq as particularly difficult to deal with on terrorism (he mentioned consulting them before announcing his terrorism initiative), he saw no reason to suppose that they would have been easier to deal with outside UN.


109. Memorandum From the Director of Regional Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Moore) to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Green)/1/

Washington, December 21, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 GA. Confidential. Drafted by McNutt. The memorandum is stamped "Mr. Green has seen."

The GA Concludes Its Session

Viewed from a narrow EA standpoint, the 27th GA was, in many ways, a success. Korea was postponed without too much difficulty; Khmer credentials did not prove to be the problem we had once anticipated and the question of Charter revision with its implications for Japanese Security Council aspirations was kept alive. Our relationships with the Chinese were surprisingly good and our two delegations established a very useful working relationship. We were, of course, on opposite sides of many of the chief issues before the Assembly, but this disagreement on substance was remarkably free of bilateral rancor. Indeed the Chinese, even when the opportunity was there, generally avoided clashing directly with us and turned instead on the Soviets.

Viewed over-all, however, the Assembly this year was not a good one for the US. While we were successful on the important matter of our assessment, and on many other less visible issues, our defeat on the terrorism question was a severe one, particularly in public relations terms. Moreover, we were increasingly on the losing side of many questions–trade issues, colonial questions, disarmament matters–and sometimes cast a lone negative vote or voted in the company of only a few others. There was, moreover, evidence of a greater cohesiveness in bloc voting on many issues with the blocs usually opposing our viewpoint.

These problems are not new–we have been losing on a number of votes for years–but the extent of our isolation was much more marked this year. Some of our difficulty may stem from a misperception of where our true interests lie. Our losing fight over the location of the headquarters of the environment organization is a case in point. There are thus a number of places where an adjustment in our own philosophy might be of immense help. But the problem is deeper than can be met with changes in our position on one or another issue. We have fundamental disagreements on many questions with the great majority of UN members and these cannot be easily adjusted. IO will be looking into this problem in the year ahead but obviously there are rough waters ahead for us in New York.

We will be commenting in more detail on the session in a later memorandum, but we do want to take this occasion to note the outstanding job done by Tom Bleha as the EA Regional Adviser with our Delegation. He put much thought and effort into his assignment and he established excellent working relationships with the EA Delegations in New York. Moreover, he must be credited with much of the success we had in bringing so many EA states to our side on the assessment issue.

Return to This Volume Home Page

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.