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

Special Meetings of the Security Council

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

New York, March 3, 1970, 1913Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Helsinki, London, Moscow, Paris, and Brussels for USNATO.

317. Subj: Periodic SC Meetings.

1. Amb Jakobson (Finland) called on Amb Yost March 2 to pre-sent Finnish initiative for strengthening UN peacekeeping machinery by having SC hold periodic meetings under Article 28 of UN Charter./2/ Jakobson left Yost a paper explaining in detail what his govt has in mind (copy pouched UNP–Mrs. Hartley)/3/ and said that he hoped idea could be adopted in conjunction with twenty-fifth anniversary of UN. Crux of Finnish idea is that meetings should be regular and periodic (twice a year), at FonMin level (unless individual SC members should decide designate someone else), closed in nature with no resolutions up for consideration, and possibly with SYG leading off meetings by giving report on major world problems. In this way SC members could meet without fanfare discreetly to exchange views on major issues without intention to adopt any specific resolution. Even if highly controversial issues such as ME, Vietnam or Biafra are included in discussion, SC members could exchange views without fear of acrimonious public debate which often deters holding SC meeting under present circumstances. This would be especially valuable to non-permanent members of SC and to improving their relations with and understanding of positions of perm members, and serve to strengthen position of SYG as well as SC.

/2/ Article 28 of the UN Charter authorized periodic meetings of the Security Council in which member states could be represented by either a member of their governments or by some other specially designated representative.

/3/ Not found.

2. Jakobson said he would be consulting all SC members during next ten days. He has already seen SYG who had very favorable reaction and Malik (USSR) who, according to Jakobson, had no specific reaction. (Jakobson noted that this idea was incorporated in res on strengthening international peace and security adopted at USSR initiative by 24th UNGA. He said his govt wishes they had thought of it first but that they worked with USSR to keep it in res as finally adopted.)

3. Amb Yost said we would study very interesting Finnish proposal, consult Dept and give Jakobson reply.

4. Comment: While this procedure if adopted could hardly be expected to solve intractable international security problems, it seems to me desirable, and potentially significant step toward reviving and reenforcing UN. I recommend we encourage Finns to proceed.

Recent trend has been to keep most difficult and dangerous problems out of SC, unless and until they explode in our faces, because public debate is often counterproductive and agreement among major powers on concrete action rarely attainable. SC therefore tends to deal only with secondary problems and in eyes of world opinion seems increasingly irrelevant.

Periodic closed meetings attended by FonMins and commencing with broad-brush report by SYG would provide at least limited opportunity for discussion major security problems in UN framework, which might pave the way for subsequent concrete action in some cases. Fact meetings were closed would reduce incentive for polemics and fact they were at regular intervals would reduce exaggerated expectations.

First such meeting might take place during FonMins visits to NY for GA opening and 25th anniversary would constitute logical occasion for commencing new procedure.


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

Washington, March 5, 1970, 2158Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted by Assistant Secretary Samuel De Palma and Virginia F. Hartley, cleared by John A. Armitage and Robert L. Brown, and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Repeated to Helsinki, London, Moscow, Paris, and Brussels for USNATO.

32664. Subj: Periodic SC Meetings. Ref: USUN 317./2/

/2/ Document 110.

1. We agree we should give renewed consideration to idea of periodic SC meetings under Article 28 as proposed by Jakobson and you may so inform him.

2. You should also point out, however, that problems which have prevented implementation this idea in past must still be taken into account. Thus, while meetings at regular intervals would reduce exaggerated expectations and help assure that such meetings actually held and not just endorsed in principle, fixed dates could at times prove politically and otherwise inconvenient. Non-substantive aspect this problem might be alleviated if it generally accepted one of two annual periodic meetings might be composed of "specially designated" representatives under Article 28(2) rather than Foreign Ministers. Absence of agenda, which seems inherent in conception and could be an advantage, also introduces element of uncertainty and leaves wide initiative to SYG, which might or might not be desirable depending on international climate and SYG incumbent. Present composition of SC points up further difficulty. Meeting of present group of Foreign Ministers will inevitably put focus on Big Four, which, depending on circumstances at time each meeting, could be advantage or disadvantage. Finally, it may not be advisable to focus on "strengthening peacekeeping" as objective of periodic meetings since term "peacekeeping" has come to have rather specific connotations and its use here may lead to exaggerated expectations.


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

New York, March 27, 1970, 2300Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to London, Moscow, Paris, Helsinki, and Brussels for USNATO.

554. Subj: Periodic Meetings of SC. Ref: State 32664; USUN 511./2/

/2/ Telegram 32664 is printed as Document 111. In telegram 511 from USUN, March 25, Yost reported that although he was aware of the possible complications, he did not wish to seem too negative about a proposal envisaged by the Charter. "In general, periodic SC meetings of character Finns propose seem to me one way of moving UN back, at least marginally, onto center of world stage and thus making it more available and useful for objectives we have in mind." (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC) The Department concurred in the Finnish draft consensus statement on May 1. (Telegram 66492 to USUN; ibid.)

1. Yost told Jakobson (Finland) Mar 26 that US in principle sees constructive opportunities in Finnish suggestion for periodic meetings of SC while mentioning caveats ref Deptel. Jakobson was most appreciative. He is still awaiting replies from other perm members and has had positive response from most non-perms. He would like to have SC agree on suggested course prior to mid-June.

2. Re level of attendance, Jakobson readily agreed that "specially designated representatives" (perhaps PermReps) would probably attend spring meetings and that attendance of FonMins at fall meetings would not be problem since they would be scheduled in connection with opening of GA.

3. As to fixed dates, Jakobson argued that great merit of Finnish proposal was that it would provide for regular exchanges of views. Perhaps initial meetings would not be particularly fruitful but it highly desirable institute periodic get-togethers.

4. Jakobson well aware of problem of current unsatisfactory composition of SC. He observed that situation would probably improve if position and prestige of Council enhanced through periodic meetings.

5. Jakobson also recognized problem SYG’s report might present difficulties but thought, on the whole, this would be manageable.

6. Re "strengthening peacekeeping," Jakobson acknowledged that he did not intend for SC to take over other work currently in train.

7. Finns currently thinking, assuming other SC members go along with proposal, that best means of recording agreement on subject as well as on ground rules would be summing up by SC Pres. (For reasons of modesty Jakobson would prefer not do this while he in chair in April.) Jakobson believes strongly that meetings should be private and that they, as a rule, should not seek to adopt reses. He also opposed to attendance by non-SC members.

8. Concerning reactions of others, Jakobson reports Sovs hope to have preliminary reaction in near future. (He agreed with Yost that Sovs can hardly take any stance other than positive one since similar proposal included in Sov "strengthening international security" initiative at 24th UNGA.)

9. UK reply in preparation. French have indicated their reply may take a while.

10. Reaction from most non-perms, including Poles, has been positive so far. Tomeh (Syria) is only del to sound skeptical note.


113. Editorial Note

Ilkka Pastinen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland, presented a list of suggestions regarding the conduct of a special Security Council meeting to U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative William B. Buffum on August 11, 1970. These included holding the meeting in late September and focusing the agenda on "review of the international situation" and "strengthening of international security, with particular regard to UN’s capacity to act effectively for maintenance of international peace and security." The meeting, the Finns believed, would likely involve three or four sessions held over two days, to be followed by a final communiqué. (Telegram 1629 from USUN, August 11; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC)

The Department agreed with Buffum that the meeting should be held at the beginning of the General Assembly session so that it would not conflict with either commemoration of the UN’s 25th anniversary or visits by heads of state or government. It also warned that Secretary Rogers might not have time to attend more than two sessions. (Telegram 131940 to USUN, August 13; ibid.) The Department initially agreed to a September 22 date, but the schedules of the Soviet, French, and British Foreign Ministers led to the meeting being rescheduled to October 21. (Telegram 135110 to USUN, August 19, telegram 2363 from USUN, October 10, and telegram 108843 to USUN, October 13; all ibid.)

114. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State/1/

New York, October 22, 1970, 2157Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Bogota, Bujumbura, Freetown, Helsinki, Kathmandu, London, Lusaka, Madrid, Managua, Moscow, Paris, Taipei, Warsaw, Lisbon, Amman, Beirut, Phnom Penh, Pretoria, Saigon, Tel Aviv, Vientiane, and the Interests Section in Cairo.

Secto 53/2647. Subj: First Periodic SC Meeting Under Art 28.2.

1. Summary. "Historic" first periodic meeting under Art 28.2 held in private Oct 21. Meeting held at FonMin level with exception Burundi, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Syria. At conclusion of meeting, SC adopted communiqué (septel)./2/ Three African members reserved their position on para dealing with Africa on grounds it not strong enough. Syrian Rep attached ambiguous statement to communiqué that GOS position was reflected in statement he made during meeting. Secretary gave most substantive speech of meeting in which he covered ME, Indo-China and made specific proposals for improving work of SC in field of peaceful settlement. Most speakers endorsed periodic meetings as useful at least in principle; many speakers critical of present state SC and its resolutions. Major topics covered by most speakers: Middle East, with heavy emphasis on Res 242; Southeast Asia, with emphasis inability or difficulty of SC to solve problems of area; Southern Africa, with stress on need implement existing SC resolutions; disarmament, SALT cited as hopeful sign but several pleaded for real progress on GCD; peacekeeping, absence regular orderly procedure deplored; peacemaking, SC must head off crises rather than react to them. End summary.

/2/ UN doc. S/PV.1555; transmitted in telegram 2639 from USUN, October 22. (Ibid.)

2. US (Rogers)

A. Middle East. Stressed 242 as common ground; noted undertaking by Israel and Arabs from US initiative which must not be lost; Israeli agreement to "withdraw" and accept less than direct talks (at first); UAR and Jordan commitment to seek peaceful solution and acceptance Israel’s existence. Way must be found to correct situation which has led to obstacles in path of talks under Jarring. Palestinians are new factor in area and when/if "they speak with peace" then they should be involved in final settlement.

B. Southeast Asia. Difficult for UN to find a role to date. "As warfare draws to close" UN may find role in helping rebuild economies etc.; we are ready to stop shooting now and negotiate withdrawal of all US troops. Urged constructive response to President’s Oct 7 proposals which are not "take it or leave it offer".

C. Problems of self-determination in Africa and Germany and Berlin are also of great importance but time precludes discussion all problems.

D. SC and pacific settlement disputes. SC has not successfully averted trouble since 1950’s; endorsed Brazil’s recent suggestion for SC committee to study pacific settlement. Encouraged greater use of ICJ, perhaps at first on secondary matters to create precedent and habit.

E. SC periodic meetings. US not convinced of utility of automatic scheduling but prepared entertain views of others.

3. USSR (Gromyko)

A. Middle East. Discussed in context inability SC always to function effectively. Trouble with Res 242 was that "aggressor did not heed it."

B. Southern Africa. Discussed same context and failure of parties condemned by reses to heed SC requests.

C. Disarmament. SC has done nothing to halt "mountains and mountains of arms" which grow every day; it has done nothing because of policies of "certain states."

D. SC. USSR has "always" favored periodic meetings; SC is "highest political body" in world on issues of war and peace. It has not always been effective because it is divided between those who favor stable peace and those who do not. There is nothing wrong with Charter; problem is policy of those states who hinder SC’s effectiveness. USSR believes SC is "up to the task" of changing policy of "those states" who have prevented it from being effective.

4. SYG’s tour d’horizon. Covered ME, SEA, disarmament, peacekeeping (especially financing and debt servicing), Southern Africa and need for SC to use Art 34 investigatory and fact-finding powers.

5. UK (Douglas-Home). Sharp, biting attack (aimed rather pointedly at Africans) on tendency SC to place weight on words and form, not deed and substance. Cyprus cited as UN success (of sorts) and ME as area SC ought to be able to help. Much of UK comment on SC’s ineffectiveness parallel to USSR’s comment.

6. Zambia (Mwaanga). Statement was short, hastily drafted, well done rebuttal to UK, accepting UK challenge by calling for implementation all existing SC reses on Southern Africa and a moratorium on further debate or reses that subject.

7. Others spoke with varying degrees eloquence and brevity. Syria adopted ambiguous attitude on communiqué and quietly added last line to communiqué that its views had been presented to SC in meeting itself; following Zambia’s lead, Burundi and Sierra Leone "reserved" position on Southern African para in communiqué, stating in meeting it not strong enough.

8. Meeting lasted three-and-one-half hours. Foreign Ministers of all but three Africans and Syria present. (By end of meeting all Big Four FonMins had been replaced by PermReps.)

9. France (Schumann) made generalized appeal for greater role for SC, using its powers under Charter to recommend solutions to disputes and, if need be, take decisions. Schumann said this not popular view but alternative was probable collapse of United Nations. He referred to need for implementation of SC Res 242 but qualified it by saying he not making any categorical recommendation, but SC should "not reject any possible Charter action. . . ."


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

New York, January 29, 1971, 2313Z.

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

280. Re: Periodic SC Meetings.

During SC luncheon today SYG raised the question for general discussion of next periodic SC meeting at FonMin level. He said he assumed that there would be such a meeting in October when most FonMins are attending GA but question is whether there should also be a meeting in April or May. He was inclined to think that there should.

Belgian Amb noted that further question arises as to what should be on the agenda if the meeting is held. Sir Colin Crowe added that there would be no point in holding a meeting unless there were important subjects the Ministers wished to discuss. French Amb suggested that there is still a third point to be decided, that is, the place of the meeting./2/

/2/ On February 23 the Department concurred with the British view, but felt a review of the situation might be in order in April or May, and that any periodic Security Council meeting should be held in New York. (Telegram 30007 to USUN, February 23; ibid.)

It was agreed that the reps would raise the question with their govts and discuss it further at next monthly SC luncheon which will be held at my residence on Feb 25.


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

New York, April 14, 1971, 0030Z.

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

926. Subj: Periodic Meetings of the SC.

1. At briefing of non-perms by SC Pres April 13 (septel),/2/ Farah (Somalia) asked President to undertake consultations on date of next periodic meeting. Noting that not all FonMins had been able to stay for entire meeting last October, Farah suggested it be held either in August or September but in any case before GA opens Sept 21.

/2/ No other record of this briefing was found.

2. Kulaga (Poland) noted it might be difficult to set date without knowing what would be on the agenda. It unrealistic to expect FonMins to come to N.Y. just to listen to fourteen other speeches on general international situation. Japanese rep noted that Japan would be President of SC in September and if meeting to be held then it would be desirable to know ASAP.

3. Comment: Recommend we respond that we are willing, if other members so inclined, to consider a second periodic meeting but only in late September or early October when FonMins normally in N.Y. for general debate. Moreover, we must agree on agenda and communiqué in advance as was case of last year. It is premature to take definite decision either on a meeting or a date at this time./3/

/3/ The Department concurred that it was too early to decide whether there would be enough possible agenda items to make a periodic Security Council meeting worth holding at that time. (Telegram 65875 to USUN, April 19; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC)

4. We informed Weir (UK) of above and he recommending similar line to London.


117. Memorandum From the Representative to the United Nations (Bush) to President Nixon/1/

New York, June 7, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VII. No classification marking. "The President has seen" is stamped on the memorandum. Attached memoranda indicate that this memorandum was sent to the National Security Council on June 9, to Kissinger on June 17, and to President Nixon on June 21. Another memorandum, dated June 11, noted that Marshall Wright had said that Bush’s report was a personal opinion. Although Wright had no objection to the Security Council meeting elsewhere, there would be logistical and budgetary problems in moving General Assembly meetings. Kissinger initialed his approval of a covering memorandum to the President, June 21, recommending a favorable response to holding Security Council meetings abroad but less so for General Assembly meetings. The June 21 memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon is stamped "The President has seen," and bears a handwritten note from Nixon reading: "Good. Keep it up!"


1. The Secretary General publicly endorsed the concept of Security Council meetings abroad from time to time.

2. Friday the French Ambassador, the President of the Security Council in July, told me he would like to schedule the July meeting (to deal with Oman) in Geneva–Progress!

3. There is resistance at some layers in the UN for having General Assembly Meetings abroad, namely due to cost, old habits, inconvenience of New York-based people, etc. I’ll keep plugging away at it. If they can hold Olympics around the world, they ought to be able to hold General Assembly Meetings.

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

New York, November 17, 1971, 2353Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Addis Ababa.

4312. Subj: New GA Agenda Item Re Convening SC Meetings in Africa.

1. Thirty-six African dels circulated letter and explanatory memorandum requesting urgent conclusion of "cooperation between UN and OAU, convening of meeting of SC in an African capital" (copy misfaxed UNP). General Committee of GA scheduled take up item Nov 18 at 10 AM.

2. In event UK, France, Belgium and other friendlies on SC decide to go along with inscription, we would propose to do likewise. After the vote we propose, unless Dept sees objection, to make following brief points:

A) Rule 5 of rules of procedure envisages that a proposal may be made, and the SC decide, to meet at another place than UNHQ. We are on record, in principle, in favoring occasional meetings of UN bodies outside of New York.

B) This being said, US does not favor meetings of SC in areas of tension. SC is charged, under Charter, with maintenance of international peace and security, and its deliberations must take place in as calm an atmosphere as possible. To hold meetings of SC in capitals of countries which have active items before the Council, would, in our view, not contribute to a severe [serene?] atmosphere.

C) Obviously in considering this new item full account must be taken of its financial implications. It is no secret that UN is literally on verge of bankruptcy and at a time when the organization is having difficulties paying salaries of members of Secretariat, new expenditure must be weighed carefully.

D) Lastly, there are some operational problems. SC is supposed to be able to meet at any hour of day or night should circumstances require it. Moreover, some delegations might experience difficulties communicating rapidly and securely with their capitals depending on where it was decided to hold the meeting.

3. Understand British and Belgian dels have similar reservations. Also understand French may not oppose inscription of item, but when item discussed may raise similar objection re financial situation.

4. Strulak (Poland) informed MisOff that SC Pres Kulaga (Poland) during conversation on other matters (septel)/2/ with Bush had forgotten mention that three AF’s on SC had approached him re getting consensus from SC members on SC meeting in Africa Jan or Feb 1972. According Strulak, AF SC members wanted SC meeting to be held in Dakar and/or Lusaka during that period. Topic for discussion would be 1) apartheid, 2) Southern Rhodesia, and 3) Portuguese Territories. Namibia would be discussed subject to action taken in NY. AF’s took line that Bush had earlier proposed meetings outside of NY. AF’s also said Senegalese and Zambians were willing to defray some of costs such as paying for accommodations and transport. According Strulak, they also willing interrupt meetings on Southern Africa if other urgent business so requires.

/2/ Telegram 4316 from USUN, November 17. (Ibid., POL PORT–SENEG)

5. AF’s apparently got preliminary financial estimate from Secretariat of $500,000 if trip took place. They have asked for alternative estimates which would trim off some of fat. When asked whether démarche was in conjunction with GA item, AF’s did not make correlation.

6. Strulak said that both Sovs and British were cautious in reply to meetings in Africa. MisOff saw difficulties, particularly from financial side, but promised seek guidance. Would appreciate instructions ASAP Nov 18.


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

New York, January 4, 1972, 1819Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Limited Official Use; Priority. Repeated to Addis Ababa.

9. Subj: SC Meeting in Africa. Ref: State 225987;/2/ USUN 5242;/3/ USUN 5254./4/

/2/ Dated December 15, 1971. (Ibid.)

/3/ Dated December 29, 1971. (Ibid., POL 16 RHOD/UN)

/4/ Dated December 30, 1971. (Ibid., UN 3 SC)

1. USUN has received informal note from SC Pres Farah (Somalia) informing us that he intends to begin consultations on issue of request of OAU re holding of meetings of SC in an African capital beginning January 6 am.

2. Department will recall that Farah had raised question of SC meeting in Africa during SC debate on SR and had at one point insisted on early SC decision. No decision, however, had been taken in waning hours of 1971. In addition, Department will recall that Crowe (UK) has suggested possibility of recommending that SC create subcomite to study question in detail. Understand that once consultations begun UKUN will formally make suggestion to SC Pres.

3. Understand that Secretariat has prepared two estimates relating specifically to SC meeting in Senegal. Estimates based on fact that Secretariat has sent a team to Dakar to study situation for approximately a week. Estimates, however, will not surface unless somebody specifically requests detailed estimates. Understand that one estimate is for about $100,000, which would include absence of summary records and other services normally provided for when SC meets; and other totalling $250,000, which would take into account having verbatim or at least summary records.

4. USUN considers that UK suggestion for subcomite to study proposed trip is valid. Believe therefore we should support this move if it proposed. In addition, assume instructions contained Deptel still valid for purposes of consultations with Farah. Would appreciate any additional guidance Department may have./5/

/5/ On January 5 the Department advised Bush that proponents of a Security Council meeting in Africa should carefully study the financial and logistical problems as well as timing. The OAU headquarters in Addis Ababa seemed to be the most appropriate site for a meeting. The Mission should support formation of a subcommittee to study the meeting unless the idea would isolate the United States. (Telegram 2022 to USUN, January 5; ibid.)


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

Washington, January 11, 1972, 2217Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by David C. Halsted and H. J. Feldman; cleared by Morris Rothenberg, Peter C. Walker, Donald S. Spigler, and David D. Newsom; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Repeated to Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Conakry, Dakar, Kinshasa, London, and Paris.

5336. Subj: SC Meeting in Africa. Ref: A. USUN 42;/2/ B. USUN 63;/3/ C. USUN 83;/4/ D. USUN 84; E. USUN 85./5/

/2/ Telegram 42 from USUN, January 6, described meetings with the Belgian, Argentine, and Japanese Delegations about Ambassador Farah’s proposal for a Security Council meeting in Africa. Belgian Deputy Permanent Representative Michel Van Ussel said that Farah proposed to have the Security Council meet January 23 in Addis Ababa to discuss the Rhodesian situation, sanctions against Rhodesia, Namibia, the arms embargo against South Africa, apartheid, and the situation in the Portuguese territories. (Ibid.)

/3/ In telegram 63 from USUN, January 8, Bush reported that Farah had contacted 12 Security Council members, and only the United Kingdom had objected to a meeting in Africa. Farah intended to call a Security Council meeting on January 11, and hoped that the Council would agree in principle to the meeting and would form a subcommittee to study the details. He was less specific than before about a venue and the agenda. (Ibid.)

/4/ In telegram 83 from USUN, January 11, Bush reported on a January 10 meeting of WEO and LA members of the Security Council. Participants agreed to a British proposal that the meeting take place "as early as practicable in 1972" rather than in the "early part of 1972." Agreement in principle about the meeting would depend on whether the subcommittee could reach an agreement on the agenda, location, timing, and financial and practical arrangements. (Ibid.)

/5/ Telegram 84 from USUN, January 11, outlined Farah’s draft statement regarding the Security Council meeting in Africa. Telegram 85 from USUN, January 11, transmitted the text of Farah’s draft consensus statement. (Both ibid.)

1. At January 11 Council meeting Mission may express agreement in principle to SC meeting in Africa, subject to subcommittee agreement on arrangements, finances, location, agenda, etc. We concur with suggestion para 10, Ref B, that Council should operate by consensus in planning meeting. Mission should maintain position that host country and/or OAU defray substantial portion of meeting costs, and that all UN members (including for example Portugal and South Africa) who desire to do so be able to attend with host country agreement in advance. Regular SC rules should apply. We firmly believe meeting should not exceed five working days at outside (Council should not be away from headquarters and from Secretariat services for longer than that during current Middle East and South Asian tension). We also agree to Mission making proposal para 14 Ref C re General Debate on African questions.

2. Paragraphs which follow give Dept’s preliminary views on other aspects of meeting in Africa. We would appreciate receiving as soon as practicable Mission comment and recommendations, particularly with regard to desirable agenda and overall US stance.

3. On balance since it likely be difficult to delay meeting for more than few months, we favor it being held at reasonably early date, e.g., end of January or early February, (particularly before Rhodesian situation again comes to boiling point and before Soviet SC Presidency in March) provided of course there is agreement on modalities. While it probably would gain us little to indicate that we favor discussion of certain African issues and would prefer to avoid discussion of others, perhaps we can exert some influence over agenda by concentrating on question of duration of meeting and insisting it be kept to five working days or less. We also would like to have Africans’ reaction to proposal that meeting be devoted primarily to hearing views of UN member countries from region and other interested members on the situation in Africa, as suggested para 14 Ref C.

4. While we can understand that Farah and Africans see little point in meeting given over to enunciation of platitudes and pious hopes, by same token we can see no advantage in holding series of acrimonious debates which would simply highlight disagreements. We would prefer meeting that would enhance image of UN both in eyes of Africans and of US public and Congress. We would hope there could be agreement that energies should be focussed on undertaking serious and useful outcome. Mission should make this clear to Farah in particular.

5. Action Requested: Appreciate reftels, particularly full report contained Ref C. Assuming agreement on meeting per para 1, we would appreciate specific recommendations on US posture and role, identification of which initiatives (if any) we should push on our own, advice on whether to counter with our own proposals or negotiate on their drafts if presented with obviously unacceptable resolutions, etc. We would also wish to have more information as to how African Council members aside from Farah view meeting, and would like to know whether they see meeting as opportunity to force confrontations through resolutions which they know in advance will be unacceptable to Western members. If Africans indeed do plan to force issues, we would like to know soonest and have Mission recommendations as to best countering tactics.


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

New York, January 12, 1972, 0004Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Unclassified. Repeated to Conakry, Addis Ababa, Dakar, and Lusaka.

104. Subj: SC Meeting in Africa.

1. SC met Jan 11 to discuss possible meeting in Africa. At outset of meeting Farah read what he said was majority consensus resulting from his consultations. Consensus was along lines of USUN’s 85 (NOTAL)./2/

/2/ See footnote 5, Document 120.

2. In general SC members agreed in principle to hold meeting in Africa and agreed that sub-comite of Council should be established. In summing up discussions SC Pres Farah announced general consensus that SC accedes in principle to request of OAU to hold SC meeting in Africa. Second, it was agreed that period for meeting would be between Jan 20 and Feb 20, 1972 and thirdly, SC agreed to have comite of whole entitled "SC committee on Council meetings away from headquarters", which would discuss modalities of meeting in Africa primarily but would be responsible for laying down general guidelines for possible SC meetings elsewhere. Comite will conduct its business in closed sessions, will have summary records, and will consider political, legal and financial implications of trip. First meeting of comite will be Jan 12 at 10:30 at which will be also present Secretariat representatives of conference services, legal dept, political and financial depts. Comite is to have its report ready for discussion by SC Jan 17./3/

/3/ In telegram 6642 to USUN, January 13, the Department advised USUN to "let other friendly delegations take lead in voicing conditions or qualifications." Addis Ababa remained the preferred venue, the meeting should precede an OAU Council meeting scheduled for February 14, and expenses must come from the existing budget. Telegrams 120 and 141 from USUN, January 13 and 14, described the first subcommittee meetings, which discussed procedural, logistical, and financial requirements of a special session. Telegram 142 from USUN, January 14, described a strategy meeting of WEO members concerning the agenda. (All in National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC)


122. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

Washington, January 22, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Limdis; No Distribution Outside Department. Drafted by Walker; cleared by Donald S. Spigler, Rothenberg, and Thomas G. Martin; and approved by C. Robert Moore. The time of transmission is not legible. Sent to all African posts and repeated to Lisbon, London, Moscow, Paris, USUN, Luanda, and Lourenco Marques.

12683. Reference: State 011003; State 177449; State 184606./2/ Subject: Security Council Meeting in Africa.

/2/ These three telegrams transmitted guidances to U.S. posts in Africa concerning U.S. assistance to Portugal, the extension of the Azores bases agreement, and the defeat of a Senate attempt to repeal the Byrd amendment authorizing the purchase of Rhodesian chrome. (Ibid., DEF 15–4 PORT–US, DEF 2–5 US, and INCO CHROME 17 US–RHOD, respectively)

1. Security Council decided January 19 hold session in Addis Ababa beginning January 28 and ending February 4./3/ Agenda item agreed on is "Consideration of Questions Relating to Africa with which SC is Currently Seized and Implementation of Council’s Relevant Resolutions". It was not possible for SC working group to arrive at agreed consensus statement or general resolution to be adopted at end of meeting and substantive questions have been deferred until Addis session.

/3/ The final meeting of the subcommittee on January 18 was described in telegram 191 from USUN, January 18. (Ibid., UN 3 SC)

2. In Council and fifteen-member working group meetings, Soviet Union made numerous lengthy propagandistic and anti-Western speeches, clearly signalling its intention to use meeting to flog Western members of Security Council. (We presume Soviets will also attack NATO for its support of Portugal.) China also made similar statements, though somewhat more reserved and generalized. Guinea and Sudan made clear that purpose of meetings in their view was to dramatize the lack of UN action on African issues and put the finger on Western nations for alleged non-implementation of Security Council resolutions on such matters as "Portuguese colonialism", Rhodesia and sanctions, South Africa arms embargo and SAG refusal to withdraw from Namibia. France was quite frank in expressing its reservations concerning not only financial costs but also questionable political results. French delegate pointedly referred to widespread feeling regarding alleged "UN impotence", which could be heightened by Africa meeting of SC. UK took low key approach and did not even speak at last Security Council meeting. US delegate emphasized concern over UN financial situation and reserved right to oppose future meetings away from New York, for budgetary reasons. (Also stated he was pleased that estimated cost of proposed meeting only one-third of $500 thousand amount originally mentioned in press.)

3. For your information, estimated cost of meeting to UN is about $106 thousand, much of which attributable to transportation for approximately 120 UN Secretariat staff. Ethiopian government has stated it will pay for substantial amount of local costs including hotel rooms for UN officials and local transportation, as well as providing conference facilities.

4. On substantive side, we expect that Africans as well as Soviet and Chinese delegations will concentrate on "non-implementation" issue, especially with regard to Rhodesia (no independence before majority rule), Rhodesian sanctions, Portuguese denial of self-determination, and breaches of (non-mandatory) UN embargo on arms to SA. We believe that US record is basically better than that of certain other Council members and we will be prepared to defend it. Undoubtedly there will be attacks on the Byrd amendment and on US aid to Portugal particularly in context of recent Azores Agreement.

5. Regarding latter you should be prepared to draw on State 011003, January 20 and previous messages referred to therein in discussions with host governments. Regarding Byrd amendment we will send you further guidance as necessary. In the meantime, you should continue to draw on State 177449, September 24 and State 184606, November 3. We suggest you use above guidance on both subjects if raised by host governments or if appropriate occasion arises (e.g., discussions of SC meeting in Africa).


123. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

Washington, February 9, 1972, 0052Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted by Armitage and Halsted; cleared by Spigler, Martin, John C. Griffiths, and Winthrop G. Brown; and approved by Moore. Sent to all posts in Africa and repeated to Belgrade, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Moscow, Panama City, Paris, and Tokyo.

22646. Subj: Security Council Meeting in Addis Ababa. Ref: Nairobi 641 NOTAL./2/

/2/ Telegram 641 from Nairobi, February 7, summarized the voting on the five resolutions adopted by the Security Council. (Ibid.)

1. Summary. Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa achieved relatively balanced outcome considering deadline Council working against and tense atmosphere in which regional concerns were focus of attention. More radical Africans, stimulated by intercessions of liberation group leaders and egged on by Sov and PRC dels, dominated early stages of meeting and pressed for extreme resolutions. Western representatives achieved reasonably well coordinated position opposing extreme passages and by end of session, less radical Africans regained influence and agreed to substantial modifications of five resolutions tabled. US was able to support three: two resolutions on Namibia (one of which offers some slight hope in new approach calling for SYG to contact SAG and other parties involved in Namibian issue) and resolution on Apartheid. US abstained on overly one-sided Portuguese res passed by SC 9–0–6 and on Rhodesian res which prejudged Pearce Commission findings and was vetoed by UK. US abstentions do not appear to have upset Africans overly and our overall African relations emerged from meeting in relatively good state of repair. During voting in final session PRC del stated SC should condemn US and other countries violating Rhodesian sanctions and noted that reses on Portuguese Territories and Apartheid failed condemn US and UK which support colonialist regimes. End summary.

[Omitted here are paragraphs 2–4; for text see the first 3 paragraphs of Document 124.]

5. Staging SC meeting in Africa probably served as safety valve and demonstrated to Africans that their concerns receive careful consideration in Council. However, working against deadline in atmosphere where regional concerns were focus of attention clearly generated additional pressures on us and like-minded friends.

6. Specific resolutions:

a) Namibia: There were two resolutions: (1) with our support Argentina sought and obtained priority for constructive res that offers some slight hope by new approach. It invites SYG in consultation with SC group (Argentina, Yugoslavia, Somalia) to initiate contacts with South Africa and other parties "with a view to establishing the necessary conditions" which would enable Namibians "to exercise their right to self-determination and independence." The resolution passed 14–0–0, China not voting. (2) Other resolution reiterated old formulae, terming SA presence in Namibia illegal and condemning South Africa for violation of UN resolutions. It passed 13–0–2 (UK and France). Earlier version which sought to involve the five permanent members in administration of Namibia and to move Council toward invocation of mandatory sanctions was withdrawn.

b) Rhodesia: Under Western pressure res was substantially modified but still prejudged Pearce Commission, called for it to desist from implementing its proposals, and demanded immediate convocation of constitutional conference in Rhodesia. UK almost secured sufficient abstentions to defeat this res. This would have been in return for their agreement not to veto second res which called for SYG and President of SC to visit London to present points of view voiced in SC. Unfortunately, British instructions arrived too late, and Argentina was unwilling to be swing vote after it had incurred displeasure of Soviets and Africans by its helpful efforts on Namibia. The resolution then had to be vetoed by UK; 9–1(UK)–5(US, France, Belgium, Italy and Japan). One sidelight: we came under direct attack from the People’s Republic of China for violating the SC sanctions through the Byrd amendment.

c) Portuguese Territories. The resolution was one-sided and went further than 1965 Security Council resolution but not further than several General Assembly resolutions. Provisions new to the Council but not to General Assembly recognized legitimacy of struggle of liberation movements in Portuguese territories for self-determination and independence and called on Portugal to "cease immediately its colonial wars in Africa." It narrowly escaped defeat by abstentions when Japan went along after Africans accepted a Japanese-proposed modification. The vote was 9–0–6(US, UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Argentina).

d) Apartheid: Final resolution was essentially a reiteration of previous resolutions, condemning South African policy and urging strict compliance with arms embargo against South Africa. It was adopted by vote of 14–0–1(France).

6. PRC del put forward standard PRC line on AF issues which resulted in strong statements, particularly at end of meeting, complaining about weakness of reses and obstructionist attitude of "certain big powers." PRC del stated on SR res that SC should condemn both Smith regime and UK as well as US and other countries violating sanctions. In wrap up statement PRC del said reses on Portuguese territories and Apartheid failed condemn US and UK which support colonialist regimes.


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

Washington, February 10, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X. Confidential. An attached memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon, dated February 15, summarized Secretary Rogers’ report and added: "It is also worth mentioning that there was rather widespread American press criticism of the cost of holding the meeting in Addis at a time when the UN is nearly bankrupt." The memorandum is stamped "The President has seen" and bears a marginal note reading "I agree–Don’t press for any more." On February 22 Marshall Wright of the NSC Staff sent a memo to Haig that read: "I think the President’s feeling on this subject should be conveyed to State as guidance." On February 24 Haig sent a memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State that informed him that the President had seen Secretary Rogers’ report on the Security Council meeting in Africa and had taken note of Rogers’ concerns and of public criticism of the cost of the meeting. "He therefore instructs that we attempt to avoid further such meetings." (Ibid.)

Security Council Meeting in Africa

By and large we did reasonably well in achieving a relatively balanced outcome at the eight-day Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa. In the spotlight of African popular attention, stimulated by the intercessions of numerous liberation movement leaders and egged on by the Soviet and Chinese representatives, the more radical African representatives dominated the early stages of the meeting and pressed hard for extreme resolutions. However, this movement was checked in large part as the session wore on.

The Western powers were able to agree on well-coordinated opposition to extreme formulations and by the last days of the session the radical Africans lost control of the operations. Substantial modifications were made in the resolutions and we were able to support three of them: two on Namibia and one on apartheid. In accordance with our agreement with the British, we abstained on the Rhodesian resolution (vetoed by the UK) for two main reasons: (1) it prejudged the Pearce Commission’s findings and (2) called for an immediate constitutional conference. We also abstained on the Portuguese territories resolution because it remained too one-sided even after excision of portions implying recognition of the liberation movements as representatives of the peoples concerned.

Exchanges with some African delegations were on occasion pointed and almost sharp, but we believe we emerged with our overall African relations in a reasonable state of repair. The Africans expected our abstention on the Rhodesian resolution. Although they had hoped we would go along with the modified resolution on the Portuguese territories, the Africans were not unduly upset by our abstention. The Portuguese expressed appreciation for our abstention. We stayed in close touch with the British on the Rhodesian resolution, and the UK has expressed appreciation for our support.

All in all, staging the Security Council meeting in Africa probably served as a safety valve and demonstrated to the Africans that their concerns receive careful consideration in the Council. However, working against a deadline in the atmosphere where regional concerns are the focus of attention clearly generates additional pressures on us and like-minded friends. We will want to consider carefully before we agree to further meetings in other regions. In this connection, it is noteworthy that Panama has intimated its interest in having a Council meeting there on the U.S.-Panama dispute over the Canal Zone.

William P. Rogers

125. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas-Home/1/

Washington, March 8, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted by Armitage and concurred in by Newsom, Meyer, and Hillenbrand.

Dear Alec:

Your letter on meetings of the Security Council away from New York was waiting for me on my return from China./2/

/2/ In his February 23 letter, Douglas-Home commented on the Security Council meeting in Africa and expressed his concern about holding more such meetings away from New York. (Ibid.)

I agree that the Council meeting in Addis Ababa was essentially a repeat performance of previous meetings in New York on southern African issues. The speeches in the early part of the week were probably more extreme and critical of Western countries than usual and the resolutions posed essentially the same chronic problems. We saw some benefit in the Argentine resolution which set the stage for the Secretary-General’s visit to South Africa and possibly some utility in the meeting as a safety-valve for venting African emotions. We had not been aware that communications difficulties had posed substantial problems for you, and that is certainly a significant and additional negative element to be considered.

As you know, we had tended to see some merit in the principle of Council meetings outside of New York under certain conditions. But, as you point out, when additional costs are to be incurred, if communications are likely to be inadequate, and if regional tensions could be aggravated rather than eased, serious reservations regarding such meetings are in order.

We certainly would not see advantage in having an early meeting of the Council in Panama City.

We share your judgment that we may not face new proposals for other meetings away from New York for a year or so. Should others propose a meeting under unpromising conditions, we would certainly wish to consult closely with you and the French to see what we could do usefully to resist the proposals.

I will be interested to hear what reaction you get from Schumann.

With best personal regards,


126. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All American Republic Posts/1/

Washington, August 10, 1972, 2331Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Routine; Exdis. Drafted by Hartley; cleared by Armitage, Hurwitch, Robert T. Burns, Karl D. Ackerman, Horwitz, George N. Monsma, and Fessenden; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Repeated to London and USUN.

145743. Subject: Possible SC Meeting in Panama.

1. At SC meeting in Addis last January, Panamanian UN Representative Boyd expressed Panama’s interest in having SC meet in "capital of Panama," and in general context of "colonialism" brought up US presence in Canal Zone. Last February British FonMin wrote the Secretary and French FonMin suggesting US, UK, and France join in opposing future SC meetings outside New York on grounds (1) such meetings tend increase tensions in area concerned, (2) nothing accomplished Addis that could not have been equally well accomplished New York, (3) additional expenditure involved was not warranted given UN’s financial straits, and (4) SC meetings outside New York apt present administrative and communications difficulties. In reply, Secretary said while we saw some merit in principle in such meetings, serious reservations are definitely in order when meeting would occur under unpromising conditions./2/ French FonMin also expressed reservations with respect SC meetings outside New York. However, permanent SC members have no veto over procedural decisions of this character.

/2/ See Document 125.

2. Recently USUN informed by UKUN of report Boyd now in Panama urging Panama invite SC meet there next year. British are considering low-key efforts through their LA missions to encourage LAs to view with great caution any initiative by Panama of this nature. UKUN thinks Panama might seek OAS support such as was given Addis meeting by OAU. Article 28(3) of UN Charter provides SC may meet at such places other than headquarters "as in its judgment will best facilitate its work."

3. Dept sees no advantage in early SC meeting in Panama. There are no agenda items of particular LA interest currently being considered by SC. However, meeting in Panama could lead to discussion of US presence in Canal Zone, a matter which Panama brought before SC in 1964 and which remains on SC agenda, as do various Cuban complaints directed against US. (Beginning with the Iranian question in 1946, almost every item the Security Council has ever considered remains on its agenda; items are seldom removed.) Dept considers SC meetings outside New York in absence clearly demonstrated advantages not only unjustified under charter criterion for such meetings but also unjustified expense in view of UN’s financial crisis.

4. Dept will inform Embassy if UK decides proceed with efforts at persuasion it is considering making with LAs. If it does, Embassy should keep in touch with British counterpart re results such efforts. In meantime Embassy should report promptly anything it may hear with respect possible Panama initiative for SC meeting there, but should not of course raise subject. If asked how US would regard such proposal, Embassy should indicate that it will seek instructions but in general US believes desirability SC meetings outside New York must be judged on case by case basis to determine whether there are such clear advantages in holding meeting outside New York as to outweigh any possible danger of increasing, rather than decreasing, tensions in area, operational and communications difficulties involved, and additional expense incurred, particularly in view UN’s present financial problems. It difficult see how SC’s work on any of problems with which it currently occupied would be facilitated by meeting in Panama.


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

New York, August 30, 1972, 2148Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X. Confidential; Exdis. Repeated to London, New Delhi, and Panama City.

3035. Subj: Possible SC Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 145743./2/

/2/ Document 126.

1. In course tour of horizon with Amb Phillips Aug 29, Sir Colin Crowe (UK) confirmed rumor that floated last week in NY to effect that India had traded promise of support for SC meeting in Panama for Panama’s support (which proved determinative) in preventing further delay in SC consideration of Bangladesh UN membership application. Sir Colin had this directly from Indian Amb Sen. Sir Colin asked if he were correct in assumption US would be opposed to such venue for SC meeting.

2. Amb Phillips confirmed US distaste for meeting in Panama. He drew on guidance contained reftel, emphasizing particular concern about out of town meetings on subjects of local or regional concern when such meetings might tend to increase rather than decrease tensions.

3. Sir Colin’s report provides clear evidence Panamanians still actively pursuing idea of SC meeting in Panama, clearly with view to pressing issue of US presence in Canal Zone. We must also assume that meeting-in-Panama has become goal of Govt of Panama and not merely hobby-horse of Panamanian PermRep Boyd. We understand that special Pakistan Ambassador who saw Panamanian FonMin afternoon of Aug 24 believed he had persuaded FonMin to vote for delay on Bangladesh issue following day. Yet Boyd told USUN source his FonMin had reaffirmed instructions to vote against delay early Aug 25.


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

Washington, September 22, 1972, 2330Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Routine. Drafted by Hartley; cleared by Monsma, Hurwitch, Walker, Chase, Armitage, Bell, Goott, McNutt, and Willis; and approved by Herz. Repeated to Panama City, Paris, and London.

17416. Subject: Possible SC Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 145743, USUN 3297, Panama 4232./2/

/2/ Telegram 145743 is Document 126. Telegram 3297 from USUN, September 15, and telegram 4232 from Panama City, September 19, are in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC and OAS 3, respectively.

1. In view evidence of increasing Panamanian interest and activity with respect possible SC meeting in Panama contained reftels, Dept believes time has come for US make clear its opposition such meeting to other SC members on selective basis. Moreover, if outcome SC elections is as expected, Panama would hold SC Presidency in March. While Rule 20 SC Provisional Rules of Procedure provides for President disqualifying himself where UN member he represents is directly concerned in question under consideration, it leaves this to his discretion. Should he decide to disqualify himself, Panamanian President could still complicate matters for US before doing so, for example, in connection with adoption of agenda, and under same rule he would be succeeded by Peru, which also unlikely be helpful US in this context.

2. USUN should therefore sound out those SC members it believes might be persuaded resist idea of SC meeting away from headquarters at this time on general grounds of a) additional expense of such meetings which, in our view, should be avoided during this period of financial crisis for UN and b) unavoidable operational and communications difficulties involved.

3. Where SC members appear responsive, USUN should then indicate with specific reference possible meeting in Panama, that we fail see how SC’s work on any of problems currently occupying it would be facilitated by meeting in Panama. There are no agenda items of particular LA interest currently being considered by SC and in our view meetings away from headquarters in absence clearly demonstrated advantages unjustified under Charter criterion for such meetings (Article 28(3)). Moreover, meeting in Panama could serve to increase, rather than decrease, tensions in area by encouraging reactivation of old items that continue on SC agenda.

4. Before approaching other SC members, USUN should seek cooperation of British and French in this endeavor in view earlier US–UK exchanges on this matter and Dept’s understanding French also have reservations re SC meetings away from headquarters.


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

Washington, September 27, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted September 25 by Hartley and Armitage and cleared by Bell, Monsma, and Herz.

Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama

The possibility of a Panamanian attempt to arrange a Security Council meeting in Panama in March 1973 has become more real. We are moving to discourage and if necessary defeat any such move, but our success is not assured.

On September 15 Panama’s Permanent UN Representative Aquilino E. Boyd publicly stated his government was giving "serious consideration" to inviting the Security Council to meet in Panama in order to focus attention on the "problem of the Panama Canal".

We heard in late July that Boyd might be pushing the idea of having a Security Council meeting in Panama, and at that time we asked our Latin American embassies to report on the subject and to discourage the idea if it was being discussed. Now, in view of the clearer indications of Panamanian intent we are moving more actively to discourage the move, and have suggested that Secretary Rogers raise this matter with Douglas-Home and Schumann in New York. We anticipate they will join us in opposing a Panama Security Council meeting. You will recall that Sir Alec wrote Secretary Rogers in February emphatically opposing future Security Council meetings away from headquarters. Schumann expressed general agreement in correspondence with the British.

We are asking our UN Mission to consult and to seek support also from other Security Council members (in addition to the UK and French) to resist any Panamanian invitation. The Mission is to point out that meetings away from New York incur unnecessary expense and entail operational and communication difficulties, and that the Council’s work on current problems would not be facilitated by a meeting in Panama. There are no current Latin American items, although there are inactive items technically on the agenda which could be reactivated at a meeting in Panama.

We would need seven negative votes or abstentions to defeat a Panamanian proposal. As Panama is likely to pursue its proposal in the "colonial" context, we probably cannot expect support in any vote from the Soviets, the eastern Europeans, the People’s Republic of China, India or the three Africans–nor, of course, from Panama. We could probably count on the support of the Belgians, Italians and hopefully the Japanese, in addition to the UK and France. Argentina, which may have the swing vote, would find it difficult not to go along with Panama.

Our situation will be still less favorable if the matter is precipitated in the Council in 1973 where the membership will undergo some changes: Peru will replace Argentina, Austria replace Italy and Indonesia replace Japan. What we must hope is that the firm opposition of three of the permanent members, supported by two or more other members of influence, will be sufficient to prevent the idea of the

Security Council meeting in Panama from coming to a vote.

RW Mueller/2/

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

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

New York, October 2, 1972, 2143Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Panama City.

3620. Dept pass ARA and SC member capitals as desired. Subj: Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama. Refs: (A) USUN 3587,/2/ (B) USUN 3598,/3/ (C) USUN 3544,/4/ (D) USUN 3525,/5/ (E) Panama 4410,/6/ (F) Panama 4450,/7/ (G) State 179271./8/

/2/ Telegram 3587 from USUN, September 29, described a luncheon meeting between Bush and Panamanian Permanent Representative Boyd the day before. Bush said the cost of any meeting had to be carefully considered, and meetings should not be held "to bring special pressure to bear on a specific issue." Boyd replied that Panama expected to be "very generous" with expenses. He also hoped that a special Security Council meeting in Panama "would favorably mould public opinion in the US on the Canal issue," but was vague about other agenda items. (Ibid.)

/3/ Telegram 3598 from USUN, September 30, described a meeting with members of the Japanese UN Mission, who had told Bush that they had not yet been approached by Boyd about the special meeting in Panama. (Ibid.)

/4/ Telegram 3544 from USUN, September 28, mentioned that Boyd had told Deputy Representative W. Tapley Bennett that French Foreign Minister Schumann had expressed full support for a Security Council meeting in Panama. (Ibid.)

/5/ In telegram 3525 from USUN, September 28, Bush mentioned that British Permanent Representative Crowe said that the Panamanian initiative had the support of 11 Security Council members. Any effort to reverse the trend "would necessarily include high-level démarches in capitals of West European SC members and at LA capitals," and was unlikely to succeed. (Ibid.)

/6/ In telegram 4410 from Panama City, September 28, Ambassador Robert M. Sayre announced Panama’s formal request for U.S. support for holding a Security Council meeting in Panama in March 1973. (Ibid.)

/7/ Telegram 4450 from Panama City, September 30, analyzed President Torrijos’ efforts to use a Security Council meeting in Panama to focus world attention on the Panama Canal situation. (Ibid., POL 33–3 CZ)

/8/ In telegram 179271, October 2, the Department concurred in Ambassador Sayre’s analysis of President Torrijos’ "game plan" and reported that efforts would be made to "slow, if not halt, its momentum." (Ibid.)

1. As USUN reporting shows Panamanian PermRep Boyd obviously believes, with some reason, he has made significant progress in garnering support for SC meeting in Panama in March 1973.

2. Boyd’s role in SC has been almost exclusively aimed at this objective since Panama joined SC in January 1972. In his first statement before SC and in most since, he has raised Canal question either directly or in reference to racial and other discrimination in Canal Zone. Specifically Boyd had openly stated that his frequent support for African initiatives on Southern Africa and decolonization resolutions is aimed at getting African support for SC meeting in Panama.

3. Our assessment of present situation is that, with present SC composition US, UK, Belgium and Italy would oppose. Should no action be taken before 1973 we would expect Australia as replacement for one we oppose. Although French Mission here and UN Director Leprette surprised at Schumann statement of support during LA dinner we assume that French position may be pretty much established. (French privately had reservations about Addis meeting but these were never expressed publicly.) We would expect all others, including Austria, in 1973, to support. Nevertheless we are not convinced that all positions, even those of LAs, are completely firm as yet. Furthermore, most supporters have not given thought to agenda and political considerations of Panama meeting.

4. USUN 3587 indicates our standing criteria for SC meetings away from headquarters. Argentine PermRep Ortiz has advised us the financial and administrative arguments against the meeting will not be very useful, presumably with LAs, but substantive reasoning could be effective.

5. Boyd has stated to us that Panama’s objective is to discuss the Canal and have favorable impact on US public opinion. He should know, however, just how little play SC meeting in Panama will probably get in US media unless there is violence–physical or oratorical–which, from Panama’s point of view, would probably have adverse effect on US public opinion.

6. Meeting in Panama is not entirely analogous to that of meeting in Addis Ababa.

7. Invitation: OAU extended invitation which endorsed by GA with recommendation to SC to act favorably. Therefore there is no precedent for response to invitation by single state although we assume OAS could be persuaded follow OAU example.

8. Agenda: In case of Addis meeting there was plethora African items on existing SC agenda but SC committee on meetings away from headquarters put together catchall agenda item called consideration of questions relating to Africa with which SC is currently seized and implementation of its relevant resolutions. Substituting LA for Africa–as Boyd has suggested–would have grave implications since only LA items falling into this category are Cuban questions (1960 and 1962), Haitian complaints about Dominican Republic and US policy in Dominican Republic 1965 (Soviet initiative). The Canal is specifically on the agenda, Item 60, as a result of letter to SC President from Panamanian PermRep of January 10, 1964 as result incidents in Panama and the Zone.

9. We believe not even Panamanians would wish to reopen Cuban or Dominican Republic items. If they to invoke only Item 60 we would have strong argument–for what it would be worth–for not holding meeting in area concerned and thus subject SC to local tensions and undesirable pressures. Therefore we suspect they likely draw up general item, not specifically including the Canal, which did not get SC into morass of past LA items which could degenerate into debate not about Canal but cold war questions. Conceivably Cuba and, possibly, Chile would attempt to have item include situations which subjects of dispute with US.

10. Our initial recommendations for opposing meetings would be:

(a) There is no item currently under discussion concerning LA before the SC.

(b) If agenda Item 60 (Panama Canal) is to be basis for meeting, Panama would be least desirable locus.

(c) We unaware of any urgent issues which require meeting away from headquarters.

(d) OAS as regional organization is forum for issues of current importance.

(e) UN finances, already badly strained, would again be subject to unusual drain without corresponding substantive benefits to UN, SC, Panama or others.

(f) SC would be lending itself to exploitation for advantage of one member which not in interest of UN. Furthermore, as seems likely, SC will again put itself in position of failing to make real contribution to resolution of political disputes.

11. Obviously it would serve to defuse Panamanian initiative if progress could be made toward settlement of the Canal question but Embassy Panama’s reporting leads us to believe that Panama’s game plan is to reinforce its bargaining position by use of SC meeting. Presumably interim progress in this regard would require significant and unacceptable USG concessions on Canal at a time when ball is in Panamanian court.

12. If our analysis is correct and if we decide make major effort on this issue we believe suitably tailored approaches will be necessary at ARA posts and most SC member capitals. Even if we unable head off SC meeting in Panama–as we suspect–our lobbying added to kinds of action Embassy Panama has suggested in reftel (F) could help keep meeting within tolerable limits and thus assure least possible damage to our position and to the image of the UN.

13. As first step suggest Embassy Paris be requested get interpretation Schumann’s remarks here as reported USUN 3544 which should be repeated to Paris.


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

Washington, October 3, 1972, 2141Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Armitage and Herz, cleared by Bell, and approved by Herz. Repeated to London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Vienna, Canberra, Moscow, New Delhi, Khartoum,
Mogadiscio, Conakry, Panama City, Buenos Aires, Lima, Nairobi, Tokyo, and Djakarta.

180523. Subject: Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama. Ref: A. USUN 3544, B. USUN 3587, C. USUN 3620./2/

/2/ See Document 130 and footnotes 2 and 4 thereto.

1. Dept appreciates thorough analysis and recommendation in USUN 3620. While it appears that Boyd has made considerable progress in eliciting acquiescence of number, perhaps a majority, of SC members to SC meeting in Panama, we doubt that he has the firm support of all of them and are determined to counter this initiative and prevent abuse of the SC to bring pressure on US. Schumann’s apparent expression of support for this idea was particularly unhelpful and is subject of separate message. In any case we doubt Panama has firm support of eleven SC members as Boyd claims.

2. Time has clearly come when our views in opposition to meeting in Panama should be made forcefully known to all other Perm Reps and known in still more emphatic terms to Panama’s representative.

3. We believe Boyd may have given us useful ammunition in his bare-faced admission that purpose of holding SC meeting in Panama would be to put pressure ("favorably mould") public opinion on bilateral issue now under negotiation between US and Panama. His difficulty in replying to Amb. Bush’s queries regarding agenda for projected meeting also provides additional grounds for inducing second thoughts among SC members concerning wisdom and appropriateness of such meeting.

4. You should make clear to PermReps of both current SC members and those who will take seats in 1973 that we are emphatically opposed to Panamanian proposal which we consider inappropriate, improper and unsupportable. We leave it to you to tailor individual approaches as you consider best, but you should center your fire on point that US and Panama are engaged in continuing negotiations on question of Canal Zone and that it is inadmissible that SC meetings should be moved to particular locality for express purpose of generating pressure on specific issue, especially one under negotiation. Every SC member should be made aware that precedent of locating SC meeting to influence bilateral negotiations or bilateral issues could plague that member, too, in the future. We believe this last point should give pause even to USSR and India.

5. As for African members, it might be pointed out to them that there is a vast difference between the Addis Ababa meeting, which was held in response to initiative by a regional organization, and proposed meeting in Panama which is the initiative of an individual country (even if others in the region feel constrained to support it). As you have suggested, would also be useful that Addis Ababa meeting constitutes no valid precedent might also be explained to others where appropriate.

6. As you have suggested, would also be useful to make following additional points:

A. SC is not currently seized with matters of particular concern to Latin American countries, hence there are no grounds for agenda appropriate to meeting in Panama. If old agenda items are brought up, your point that they suggest "cold war" debate on inactive issues as far as SC concerned should be telling.

B. OAS is active regional organization which first addresses issues of particular importance to LA’s, and OAS has not expressed need or desire for SC to treat Latin American issues at this time.

C. SC agreement to Panama meeting would derogate from its prestige and stature by thus lending itself to exploitation for advantage of one member and encouraging other countries to do the same. It would be particularly reprehensible if Panama were to use its Presidency of the Council in March 1973 to get SC to meet in its capital in order to further interests of SC President by exerting pressure on another SC member.

D. Additional strain on shaky UN finances is unwarranted by any commensurate benefit and unjustified at time when efforts are being directed to improving UN financial situation.

7. As for Boyd himself, you can now put US opposition to his proposal in stronger terms. You should leave him in no doubt that we consider his initiative an unjustifiable perversion of SC not grounded in its Charter purposes and that we regard it as inadmissible for Panama to attempt to manipulate SC procedures as propaganda exercise aimed at US public. You should repeat to him that in our view his initiative would backfire as it would be transparent to US people and be resented as pressure tactic. It appears that you found vulnerable chink when you pressed him on agenda, and additional emphasis on this point would be useful, also to let him know that we believe we have cogent argument with other SC members.

8. When we have reactions of PermReps to our approach, we will consider desirability of follow-up approaches in capitals.


132. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State/1/

London, October 5, 1972, 1715Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to Moscow, Paris, Panama City, and USUN.

9489. Subj: Possible SC Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 181194./2/

/2/ In telegram 181194, October 4, the Department called on Ambassador Annenberg to remind Foreign Secretary Douglas-Home of his agreement with Secretary Rogers to consult about ways to resist proposals for Security Council meetings away from the UN Headquarters. (Ibid.)

1. I called on Sir Alec Douglas-Home today to enlist British help in blocking the Panamanian initiative to hold an SC meeting in Panama in March 1973, and to urge him to approach Schumann to discourage French support of this initiative. Sir Alec jestingly asked in effect "Why should I help you? I didn’t get any help in blocking the SC meeting at Addis Ababa and I warned Bill Rogers that something like the Panamanian move might be the result."/3/ But he then quickly added "Of course we’ll help and do what we can." Sir Alec observed that there was no telling where this kind of thing might end„next there might even be a move to hold SC meetings in Cuba or Ireland. There was every argument against holding SC meetings in trouble spots to suit members with grievances against other members.

/3/ See Document 125 and footnote 2 thereto.

2. Sir Alec said British would lobby the French, Australians and Austrians. He also indicated British might work on the Indians who he thought should be able to see undesirable implications of Panamanian initiative. At same time he expressed some doubt that he would be able to stop the Panamanians. The best and probably only course of action in Sir Alec’s opinion was to try to beat the Panamanians by lining up the necessary votes in the Security Council against their proposal.

3. Sir Alec indicated that he was puzzled by Schumann’s stand on the meeting. The British had supposed the French had reservations about SC meetings away from headquarters. He wondered whether Schumann might not have been carried away at the Latin American dinner.


133. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/

Paris, October 5, 1972, 2014Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to USUN, London, Moscow, and Panama City.

18969. Subject: Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama. Ref State 181193./2/

/2/ In telegram 181193 to Paris, October 4, the Department advised Ambassador Watson that Rogers had intended to discuss the Panamanian initiative with Schumann in New York, and urged him to arrange a meeting to explain U.S. objections to Security Council meetings away from headquarters. "Major powers must be concerned with precedent that would be established if country having an issue with one of them were to use its fortuitous membership on the SC, and its presidency of the Council in a particular month, to move that forum to a locality from which it can bring pressure to bear on a permanent member. This a point that we also intend to make to the USSR." (Ibid.)

1. Have just returned (accompanied by Pol Couns) from talking with Schumann re possible SC meeting in Panama. Schumann had a notetaker on his side. I asked him directly how committed he was. He replied "completely." He said that at his dinner for Latin Americans, "all of them" asked him if France was prepared to support meeting in Panama, to which he replied "If all of you ask, why should France refuse?"

2. Explaining you had intended raise matter with him directly, I went on and pointed out how seriously we viewed the matter of having the SC meet in a country with which we were having active negotiations and whose Permanent Representative stated that the purpose of having this meeting in Panama was to focus public attention in the US on the Canal issue. Schumann was completely stunned, stating that he had thought that Panama and the US were on the best possible terms and he had no idea we "had any trouble" with them. He immediately said "I must disentangle myself from myself. I have been uncautious and it will take time." I also told him that if the French were having delicate negotiations with one of their former colonies such as Morocco and some country suggested that the SC meet in Rabat, they would find it as unpalatable as we find facing a possible meeting in Panama.

3. Schumann was clearly upset, stating that he had had several excellent visits with you as well as a visit with the President and Dr. Kissinger. He stated that relations between our two countries have never been better and that he was extremely sorry that he had been so "uncautious." He then stated that the Latin Americans at the dinner had cited the Addis Ababa meeting as the precedent for having the meeting in Panama. We of course pointed out to him inter alia that there had been active African matters on the SC agenda and it was the OAU that issued the invitation, not a single country. He went on to say that he had been against Addis Ababa meeting because of the precedents, and that the USG was very serious in seeking French support to prevent SC meeting in Panama.

4. I took the liberty of suggesting various means for Schumann to reverse his position, along lines reftels, and he told me he would think it over and be in touch. If I don’t hear from him soon, I will contact him again early next week, unless you suggest otherwise.

5. Comment: In all my dealings with Schumann I have never seen him so visibly shaken, concerned and apologetic.


134. Aide-Mémoire From the Embassy in France to the Government of France/1/

Paris, October 5, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. No classification marking. The text printed here is a copy transmitted to the Department as an attachment to airgram A–863, October 10, which reported that Watson delivered the aide-mémoire to Schumann on October 5.

The Government of the United States hopes that the Government of France will use its influence among members of the UN Security Council to discourage the campaign to have the Security Council meet in Panama. That campaign aims at convening a meeting in Panama City next March, when the representative of Panama is scheduled to preside over the Security Council.

While asserting that the meeting would not be aimed against the United States Government, the Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations has informed us that the purpose of holding a meeting in Panama would be to focus the attention of public opinion, specifically in the United States, on the issues involved in the current negotiations between the United States and Panama concerning the Panama canal. The United States Government considers that it is inadmissable that the meetings of the Security Council should be moved to a particular locality for the express purpose of generating pressure on a specific issue especially one which is under active negotiation. The precedent of locating a Security Council meeting to influence bilateral negotiations or bilateral issues could in the future plague any and every member of the Council, whether permanent or not.

We believe that permanent members of the Security Council have special responsibility in this matter because of the influence they exercise in the Security Council and because opposition from permanent Security Council members would be given particular weight in a matter of this kind. The major powers must be concerned with the precedent that would be established if a country having an issue with one of them were to use its temporary membership on the Security Council and its presidency of the Council in a particular month, to move that forum to a locality from which it can bring pressure to bear on a permanent member.

Technically a vote on the location of a Security Council meeting is a procedural one; therefore under Article 27 of the UN Charter not subject to veto and requiring the affirmative votes of only 9 out of the 15 members. In fact, however, we believe the Security Council would hesitate to go against the serious reservations of several permanent members in matters of this importance.

It has been argued that there is a precedent for holding a Security Council meeting away from UN Headquarters. The United States Government does not believe that the Security Council’s previous meeting in Addis Ababa is analogous to the proposed meeting in Panama. In the former case, the appropriate regional organization, the Organization of African Unity, extended the invitation to meet in Addis Ababa which was endorsed by the General Assembly with a recommendation for the Security Council to act favorably; therefore there is no precedent for a response to an invitation by a single state to convene a meeting on its territory. Furthermore in the case of the meeting in Addis Ababa there were several African items on the existing active agenda of the Security Council, whereas there are no Latin American items currently scheduled to be discussed by the Council.

Under Article 28 (3) of the United Nations Charter, "The Security Council may hold meetings at such places other than the seat of the Organization as in its judgment will best facilitate its work." The United States Government trusts the Government of France will agree that there is no issue presently or prospectively before the Security Council for which a meeting in Panama will best facilitate the Council’s work.

The Governments of France and the United States have been in agreement on the importance of limiting expenditures by the United Nations to those expenses which are essential. The United Nations budget is already badly strained and we hope that the Government of France will urge other members of the Security Council to give careful consideration to the unusual financial drain which is involved in holding any United Nations meeting away from the seat of the organization.

The Governments of the United States and France have also been in agreement that the Security Council should address itself primarily to matters of urgency and matters on which the Council can be expected to contribute significantly. It is also widely agreed that the Council should be able to convene instantly with excellent communications available to all the Embassies of member states should a crisis arise. These two principles also would militate strongly against holding a meeting of the Council in Panama without any apparent corresponding advantages.

The United States Government hopes the Government of France will consider its position concerning a Security Council meeting in Panama in the light of the above points and would be willing to concert with the United States Government on the best means of discouraging this effort.

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

New York, October 6, 1972, 2200Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Panama, Canberra, London, and Tokyo.

3735. Subject: Possible S.C. Meeting in Panama.

At Iranian lunch yesterday, I had individual discussions re above subject with Nakagawa (Japan), McIntyre (Australia) and Boyd (Panama).

1. I described the US position to Nakagawa. He seemed sympathetic in spite of fact that Boyd had told me that Nakagawa made commitment to him to have mtg in Panama. Nakagawa suggested best way to avert mtg was to have some visible progress underway before spring on Panama Canal bilateral talks. Nakagawa immediately understood our reservations about trying to solve bilateral problems by bringing pressure to bear on question through démarche of SC mtg in area. I said, "Today it’s Panama; tomorrow it may be some other international dispute between two countries." He nodded vigorously and seemed anxious to help US find a way out.

2. McIntyre is totally in accord with our views, I am convinced, and will help US in any way we desire.

3. When I talked with Boyd, it was almost a re-hash of my two previous conversations with him on this subject. I told him that we now had firm instructions and that I wanted to do him the courtesy of notifying him immediately. He seemed concerned but immediately repeated that he had a great deal of support for the meeting being held in Panama.

After repeating the entire litany in support of our position, I made a personal observation, telling Boyd very forcefully and very directly that if he thought he was going to influence President Nixon or American public opinion through this device, he was simply misjudging our political process. I told him he was going about it just backwards. I offered to convey this to anyone in his govt, should he feel this would be helpful.

He made some very flattering comments about our own personal relationship in the presence of Amb McIntyre and insisted that he would always "keep the door open" and stay in close touch.

Comment: Boyd appears to be uncomfortable about all of this. I think he is really worried about the Marxists, should the Canal issue not be resolved. (He whispered and pointed once or twice at Amb. Malik (USSR) and the Cuban Ambassador, who were sitting across from us, indicating we must "avoid that kind of thing".) I will stay in close touch with Boyd and try to keep the climate right for continuing discussions.


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

Washington, October 11, 1972.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted by Armitage and cleared by Bell and Herz.

Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama

Subsequent to our memorandum of September 25/2/ a number of developments made more difficult–and urgent–our task of preventing a Security Council meeting in Panama which would unhelpfully focus on the Canal Zone. We have now made clear to Security Council members our strong opposition to such a meeting and believe we have induced some second thoughts concerning its desirability. However, to be successful we will have to persuade Panama and/or Security Council members to back away from the issue; if the matter were pressed to a vote now, it is unlikely that we could win. However, the issue may be joined only in 1973–when the composition of the Council will be still less favorable to us. Panama is scheduled to preside over the SC in March, 1973.

/2/ Presumably a reference to Document 129, which was drafted on September 25.

Panama’s hard campaigning on the "colonialism" aspects of such a meeting succeeded in making the non-European SC members wary about opposing a meeting and elicited considerable support. Two particular developments strengthened Panama’s position: Unexpectedly French Foreign Minister Schumann at a dinner for Latin American representatives September 26 gave a public endorsement to the SC meeting in Panama. And it appears that Panama may have obtained Indian assurance of support in return for Panama’s support of the Indian position on the admission of Bangladesh to the United Nations.

On October 5 Embassy Paris under instructions made a forceful approach to Schumann explaining our objections to the SC meeting in Panama and stressing the seriousness with which we regard the matter. After having said at first that he was "completely" committed to the meeting, Schumann was taken aback by our representation, stating that he had misunderstood the situation and concluding, "I must disentangle myself from myself. I have been uncautious and it will take time."/3/ We also weighed in with Douglas-Home who indicated that he would remind Schumann of their previous correspondence on the subject and urge him to oppose the SC meeting in Panama./4/

/3/ See Document 133.

/4/ See Document 132.

In New York we have had repeated conversations with Panamanian Permanent Representative Boyd, emphasizing that we regard it as inadmissible for Panama to attempt to manipulate SC procedures as a propaganda exercise aimed at the U.S. public, asserting that this initiative would backfire in the United States and underlining the pertinence of the fact that there are no Latin American issues currently being considered by the Security Council./5/ Ambassador Jova made a somewhat similar approach to Panamanian OAS Ambassador Pitty in Washington stressing that the attempt to stage an SC meeting in Panama would hinder the prospects of constructive bilateral progress on the Canal question. Ambassador Finch, as the President’s Personal Representative, is to make this point also to the Panamanians in general terms at the inaugural ceremonies October 11 if the issue is raised with him.

/5/ See Document 135.

Our Mission in New York has conveyed our opposition to the Panamanian SC meeting to present and prospective SC members–except the People’s Republic of China whom we are still trying to see. With the exception of the European SC members (and French and Austrian attitudes are still equivocal) SC members are inclined to favor the meeting in principle and indicate they would find it difficult not to go along if the issue is pressed to a vote./6/ However, our point that there are no Latin American matters currently before the Security Council together with our strong opposition seems to be striking home even with the Soviet and African delegations.

/6/ Opinions of Security Council members were summarized in telegram 3772 from USUN, October 9. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC)

We intend to concentrate on finding a "way out" that will induce wavering SC members, Argentina and other sympathetic Latin American countries to persuade Panama to withdraw its proposal. However, we do not wish to provoke Torrijos into a polemical reaction and, hence, will not initiate or encourage discussion of the substance of U.S.-Panamanian positions or differences in the Canal Zone negotiations. Nonetheless, we can and will stress that we have recently reiterated to the Panamanians (by means of a confidential letter from the President to Torrijos) our desire to resume negotiations, and that we are prepared to be forthcoming and flexible in them. We will utilize any helpful signals that Ambassador Finch may receive from General Torrijos in this regard. We will, of course, also continue our efforts to bring the French around.

We are not yet prepared to have a confrontation with Torrijos. But we are making clear the extent and rationale of our opposition to an SC meeting in Panama to Panamanian Foreign Minister Tack as we are unsure how accurately or fully Boyd has reported our position to him.

Richard W. Mueller/7/

/7/ Mueller signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typed signature.

137. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Panama/1/

Washington, October 16, 1972, 2246Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Bell; cleared by Herz, Armitage, Finn, Crimmins, Ward, and Hurwitch; and approved by Charles A. Meyer. Repeated to USUN.

188714. Subj: Proposed Security Council Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 186768./2/

/2/ Telegram 186768, October 12, advised USUN to "tailor our representations to others in manner best designed to suggest ‘way out’ which sympathetic Latin American delegations and, hopefully, other SC members can use to persuade Panama to withdraw its proposal." Points to be made were that a special meeting might hamper negotiations in progress concerning the future status of the Canal, that there were no Latin American issues currently under Security Council consideration, that reviving earlier Latin American issues would revive cold war divisions, and that current Latin American issues were better suited to consideration by the OAS. (Ibid.)

For the Ambassador.

1. We have prepared following message for you to deliver to Foreign Minister Tack, in the event you have no objection, by means of a confidential letter under your signature. By that format we seek to avoid the formality of a diplomatic note, and hope Tack will appreciate the effort to be informal on this subject. We seek also to try to preclude his rushing to the press with it, characterizing the message as an unacceptable ultimatum. Finally we seek to assure that, having a written message, Tack will feel constrained to show it to Torrijos, rather than to brief him orally–and probably inaccurately–on the substance of the message.

2. Should Tack demand a formal communication, you may say plainly that the interests of both parties indicate the need for informality and that we cannot provide such a communication.

3. "Personal and confidential. Dear Mr. Minister,

4. "I write to you privately, on instructions from my government, to supplement the personal and confidential letter from President Nixon to General Torrijos delivered recently by Ambassador Finch. I write also to supplement the letter I delivered to you recently from Ambassador Anderson.

5. "The subject, Mr. Minister, is the proposal of the Government of Panama to hold a meeting of the Security Council in Panama City next March.

6. "First let me say that my government appreciates the straightforwardness with which the Government of Panama has dealt with us on this proposal. Your Representative at the United Nations has candidly made known to us, as he has made known to the Representatives of other governments, that the Panamanian Government desires to use such a meeting, although perhaps not officially, as a forum in which to place before the world the views of Panama on the Panama Canal issues, and to engender support for its position throughout the world and particularly in the United States.

7. "Moreover, you yourself–knowing from the outset of our opposition to the proposal on a variety of grounds–were good enough to seek our views, our reconsideration of the matter, and our ultimate support.

8. "My government wishes to return this notable courtesy, Mr. Minister, by being equally straightforward.

9. "Your government has now received reiterations from the very highest level of the United States Government, in writing and in personal conversation, that we are ready at any time to pursue treaty negotiations–indeed, that we are anxious to pursue them, and that we are in a position to be flexible at the negotiating table. We wait only the presentation of a new set of negotiating positions from the Government of Panama in response to the most recent set of negotiating positions of the United States, laid before you many months ago.

10. "Your government has also received, Mr. Minister, an expression of hope at the highest level of the United States Government that a climate may be maintained in which we can quietly and constructively resolve the differences long existing as a result of the Panama Canal Treaty relationship and, more generally, in which we can quietly and constructively conduct our bilateral business. I believe I am not mistaken in my recollection from earlier conversations with you and General Torrijos that an informal understanding exists on the desirability of maintaining such a climate. I believe also that I am not mistaken in recognizing several distinct manifestations of that understanding on the part of your government in the last week or so. That recognition is a source of gratification to my government.

11. "Given the longstanding readiness of the United States to pursue negotiations, and given what we take to be a mutual interest in maintaining an agreeable climate for the conduct of our affairs, it has been difficult from the outset for my government to comprehend the purpose of the Panamanian Government in proposing this meeting. I should add, Mr. Minister, that the other governments with which the United States has been routinely consulting on this proposal, simultaneously with the routine consultations of the Panamanian Government, may well have some similar difficulty. Understanding as they do from your representative at the United Nations that Panama seeks to expose its views on the Panama Canal issues and to collect support for them, those governments might well ask, "Is this not a matter of a purely bilateral problem, clearly susceptible of a peaceful resolution once the parties involved can once again pursue actively the negotiations?"

12. "Now that President Nixon has delivered to General Torrijos his personal words on our readiness to negotiate and to work with your government in maintaining an agreeable climate, my government would find it more difficult still to comprehend the purpose of the government of Panama were it to persist in its proposal for such a meeting. That is particularly so, Mr. Minister, as a result of Ambassador Finch’s feeling that he and General Torrijos agreed specifically that a mutually satisfactory treaty relationship could not be negotiated through the world press.

13. "What my government has no difficulty in comprehending, Mr. Minister, is that a Security Council meeting in Panama City could result in the creation of a climate–in your country, my own, and in the international community–so antipathetic to the goal of mutual understanding and trust that my government’s ability to negotiate outstanding treaty issues in a forthcoming and flexible way might well be restricted.

14. "To elaborate, I can predict that the American people and the American Congress would view such a meeting as an effort to generate external pressure on the United States, and would deeply resent that effort. I can also predict that they would view it as casting doubt on the good faith of Panama in the attempt to negotiate away the differences between us. The President of the United States could not ignore such sentiments.

15. "I could elaborate also on other reservations of my government to the proposal, but I am certain you have heard of them from your representative at the United Nations. You may also have heard of them, through your representative, from other members of the United Nations. They are aware, to cite only one reservation, that the Security Council is not currently considering any matters relating in particular to Latin America, so that there is no appropriate basis for an agenda suited to a meeting in Latin America. I believe it fair to state that these reservations have a persuasive quality among United Nations members, including those on the Security Council.

16. "In the spirit in which you sought my government’s reconsideration of the Panamanian proposal, my government now asks for Panama’s reconsideration. We have two thoughts. One is that a meeting in Panama City would impair, perhaps seriously, the prospects for an improved relationship between us. The other is that the Government of Panama may in the exercise of its sovereignty and wisdom choose to seize upon the reaffirmations of my President as an instrumentality helpful to the prestige of Panama in deciding to pursue, not a provocative course, but rather the peaceful and constructive one of negotiation.

17. "I close this private message to you, Mr. Minister, by putting myself at your disposal to continue our straightforward exchange on this subject should you wish to do so."


138. Telegram From the Embassy in Panama to the Department of State/1/

Panama City, October 17, 1972, 1645Z.

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

4700. Subj: Proposed Security Council Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 188714/2/ and Panama 4410./3/

/2/ Document 137.

/3/ See footnote 6, Document 130.

1) Summary: Reply to Panamanian Foreign Minister should respond in kind to his informal and oral request to me of September 28 for support of Secretary of State. If informal written communication deemed essential so message conveyed correctly to Torrijos, communication could take form of talking points which I could leave with Tack. Action requested: Approval of modification of approach and talking points.

2) Both Tack and Torrijos are thin-skinned and may react strongly and adversely to letter which contains veiled ultimatum (paragraph14) that U.S. will call off treaty negotiations if Panama presses for SC meeting in Panama.

3) I also have other problems with draft:

A) It makes no reference to Tack’s oral request to me of September 28 for response from Secretary of State.

B) Although it purports to be personal and private letter from me it is replete with "my government." Nor is it my style and both Tack and Torrijos will readily recognize that it is not.

C) It mixes overall US-Panamanian relations which are excellent with Canal Zone-Panamanian relations which are unsatisfactory. We have tried over years to keep two issues separate by naming separate team of Ambassadors to deal with treaty. Treaty issues color all our relations and in final analysis will overwhelm them unless we can resolve issues. But we should continue the effort to keep them separate and maintain best possible relations despite treaty issues.

D) Finally it tends to foreclose President’s options to make personal approach later to Panamanian President by having me say now what President will do and by inviting Panamanians to publish President’s letter (para 16).

4) I recommend that I call on Foreign Minister to present US reaction informally and as friend to his informal request for support on SC meeting. As overall reaction I could tell him quite frankly that I doubt Ambassador Boyd has thought through the damage proposal for SC meeting in Panama would do to United Nations and to US-Panamanian relations. I would make the points in the letter and leave the points in Spanish and English.


139. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/

Paris, October 18, 1972, 1652Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to USUN and Panama City.

19905. Subject: SC Meeting in Panama. Ref: Paris 19729./2/

/2/ Telegram 19729 from Paris, October 17, described an earlier meeting in which the same points were made. (Ibid.)

1. In conversation October 18 on unrelated subjects, Quai Director American Affairs told PolCouns that instructions on possible SC meeting in Panama were sent to French Embassy Washington on October 17.

2. Essence of message to French Embassy is:

A) Schumann feels he cannot reneg on his commitment to Latin Americans to support Latin American initiative to hold SC meeting in Panama. (French working level had not briefed Schumann on possible SC meeting in Panama prior to his September dinner with Latin Americans since "idea had been germinating for about eight months and US reps had not made a particular issue of it.")

B) Ever since Ambassador’s representation to Schumann on October 5 (Paris 18969),/3/ French reps in New York and elsewhere have been under strict instructions not to "proselytize" on behalf of Panamanian proposal. French will continue to maintain this "discreet" position.

/3/ Document 133.

3. PolCouns commented that while he could appreciate FonMin’s difficulty in reneging on his commitment to Latin Americans, something more than apparent neutrality of French position was needed in the circumstances. Speaking personally, PolCouns asked Quai Director whether he could consider instructing French reps, without reneging on Schumann’s promise, to attempt persuade Latin Americans of wisdom in the circumstances of not pressing issue to a vote. Without committing himself, Quai Director said he would look into this possibility.


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

New York, October 24, 1972, 1559Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Limdis. Repeated to Panama City.

4091. Subj: SC Meeting in Panama.

1. Panamanian PermRep Boyd told Amb Bush at lunch Oct 23 that since Panamanian elections he has been notified he will remain as PermRep and told to continue pressing for SC meeting in Panama. Boyd plans to return to Panama Nov 4 to work out specifics of invitation to Council to meet in Panama including drafting of agenda item and arranging for physical facilities (e.g., translation facilities). One decision to be made in Panama is whether to issue invitation to present SC membership or wait for new Council.

2. Amb Bush reiterated US opposition to meeting. Subsequently Bush had occasion to share Boyd’s comments with Italian and UK PermReps. Vinci (Italy) said he had told Boyd present Council not able to bind its successors and thus invitation to present Council would be meaningless. Crowe (UK) reiterated his strong reservations about meeting which include concern about possibility of public demonstrations during meeting.

3. Later in day, Boyd approached Amb Phillips on same subject. He showed Phillips draft "comprehensive" agenda item which referred to problems of LA area without specifying them or identifying any particular focus for SC effort. When Phillips commented on vagueness of language, Boyd asked us to help him improve it. Somewhat nervously and awkwardly, Boyd implied that meeting in Panama was inevitable and that US ought, in its own interest, to come along gracefully and help make exercise fruitful or at least painless. Phillips rejoined that Boyd was putting cart before horse in attempting to invent agenda for meeting that should only take place if appropriate pre-existing agenda items, among other circumstances, made meeting desirable. Boyd reiterated his claim that "most SC members" favored meeting and once again asserted he was doing USG a favor in pressing for meeting that would "condition US public opinion" for fruitful negotiations on Canal issue. (Boyd readily admitted that Canal issue was real point of meeting, and seemed completely nonplussed when Phillips suggested that Boyd ought to bring this intent out into open in NY.)

4. Phillips reiterated US firm opposition to meeting and emphatically told Boyd he was dead wrong in judgment meeting could have beneficial effect on US public opinion. In course of conversation, Phillips also told Boyd that latter seemed to us to be over-estimating level of enthusiasm for meeting in Panama among SC membership and prospective membership.

5. Comment: USUN has encouraged Boyd to be open and frank re possible SC meeting in Panama and has made clear its intention to continue to deal frankly with him in context of good personal and official relations between US and Panamanian Dels in NY. We shall continue efforts to induce susceptible present and prospective SC members to attempt discourage Boyd. However, Boyd may have already passed his personal "point of no return", as he has privately asserted he would "lose his credibility" with nationalist regime in Panama should he back down. (Amb Sayre may wish to have heart-to-heart talk with Boyd on latter’s return to Panama.) USUN continues to feel that meeting in Panama under present circumstances would be unfortunate from every point of view and recommends that Dept explore possibility for steps outside UN context to forestall irreversible commitment to meeting by Govt of Panama. In this connection, we have been counseled by two well-disposed LA reps here that at this point private message from "highest level of USG" to Torrijos only possible way to reverse Panamanian momentum. These same LA reps point out, moreover, that little time remains as once Panamanian initiative becomes public knowledge in LA, media pressures will force virtually all LA govts to support initiative.


141. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

Washington, November 1, 1972, 0057Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Routine. Drafted by Herz; cleared by Hurwitch, Rodger P. Davies, Fessenden, Robert W. Moore, and Claude G. Ross; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Sent to USUN, Paris, Canberra, Vienna, Tokyo, Jakarta, Brussels, Rome, Mogadiscio, Conakry, Nairobi, Belgrade, New Delhi, and Khartoum; and repeated to Buenos Aires, Caracas, Bogota, Montevideo, San José, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, Managua, Brasilia, London, Moscow, and Geneva.

198256. Subj: Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama.

1. We continue to be seriously concerned at prospect of SC meeting in Panama not only, and not even primarily, because of effect such meeting may have on our negotiations with Panama but because of damaging implications for the UN and for the hemisphere generally. We believe it is time that these implications be explained more widely to selected governments so that they can better determine where their own interests lie in this matter./2/

/2/ These points were also mentioned in telegrams 4212 and 4213 from USUN, both October 28. (Ibid.)

2. It is clear to us that if Panamanian proposal were formally made in SC today it would pass; and it is likely that in 1973, when composition of SC is still less favorable to us, it would be even more apt to pass. We have thus decided that our efforts should not be concentrated on mobilizing blocking 7 votes in SC, which is a losing proposition and one that could only antagonize Latin Americans, but that we must try to persuade others that it is in their interest to dissuade Panama. At a minimum, the cumulative effect of doubts expressed by others about the wisdom of the idea would improve the chances of our bilateral efforts to get Panama to drop it. Such doubts could be expressed even by SC members that are already pledged to support the Panamanian proposal if it is put forward, and by non-members of SC that have an interest in effective functioning of the SC.

3. For reasons having to do with current state of US-Panama relations which also involve other issues, we do not at this time wish to generate diplomatic campaign in Latin American capitals. USUN should however continue its work on LA delegations, but LA addressee posts may use contents this telegram to make points only if question of Panama SC meeting is raised with them.

4. Leaving aside the bilateral question of the Panama Canal, we think there are persuasive reasons why a meeting in Panama would be undesirable:

A. Meeting is not in interest of effective functioning of Security Council. Charter provides SC shall be organized so as to be able to function continuously in order to be immediately available in case of emergency. Of 15 SC members, only six have resident representatives in Panama. SC reps of other SC members would be seriously handicapped in communicating with their respective governments. This would not just inconvenience them and their govts but could create very serious problems in event of crisis in another area requiring immediate SC consideration and action.

B. No Latin American issues are currently under SC consideration. While an agenda could be contrived under some vague heading, there are legitimate doubts whether this would be proper. Moreover, others could use such precedent in the future to the detriment of the prestige of the SC and for mischievous purposes. If it is said that LA situation could be discussed only in general terms, the answer is that it is not feasible to confine SC discussion to generalities. In practice, specific regional issues are bound to be debated. This would amount to artificial stimulation of debate on subjects not requiring SC attention at this time.

C. There is also general question (more applicable to LA countries) whether it is wise for UN attention to be focused on LA issues in apparent circumvention of the OAS which is existing forum best qualified to discuss them, at least in initial stages. Would not precedent created by airing of LA issues in UN erode status and prestige of OAS and plague that organization at a later time in conflict situations that cannot yet be foreseen? (Note: This is not an argument to be pressed since if Panama asked for OAS endorsement it would probably receive it; but the general argument is valid and should give LA’s concern.)

D. While there are no active LA issues on the SC agenda, there are dormant LA issues still formally on the agenda from meetings of past years and these could be raised by any SC member. We cannot believe that their discussion (e.g., the Cuban issue) would be fruitful at this time. If revived, they would probably lead to bitter debate involving US, USSR and PRC which would bring the cold war to Latin America and in which divisions among LA’s, too, would be emphasized. (LA countries not on SC, including Cuba and Chile, would of course be entitled to participate in debate on Latin American issues.) We fail to see how this would be to advantage of the UN, or indeed of the majority of LA countries.

E. It is not certain that Panama wishes to use meeting in its capital to focus attention on the Canal issues. While this is what Panamanian Rep in New York freely states, the Panamanian Foreign Minister has told us that purpose is only to enhance the prestige of their country and that they do not intend to press the Canal issue themselves. This raises question whether enhancement of prestige of a SC member is adequate ground for the Council to be moved from headquarters. On other hand, we do not really believe that meeting held in Panama could fail to involve the Canal issue, which is currently under bilateral negotiation, even if host govt wished to avoid discussion. Host govt could easily lose control of this matter to other govts intent on roiling the waters.

F. Whether or not Panama wishes to use the SC venue to influence bilateral negotiations, we thus have general question whether meeting should be held in a capital where bilateral negotiations are bound to be affected. Would this not establish damaging precedent? Many SC members (especially LA republics) have bilateral problems of one kind or another with neighboring countries. It is hard to tell what future SC members might use fortuitous fact that they were on the Council to generate (wittingly or unwittingly) pressure against another country.

G. In short, and leaving aside the aspect of effect of SC meeting in Panama on US-Panama relations, it seems to us that venue would not be beneficial to Panama or the UN itself. In absence of concrete LA issues to debate, discussion would degenerate into broad and general statements along lines of GA debate speeches. If attention were focused on regional issues, debate would be divisive and would produce unhelpful resolution in which outside powers would manipulate Latin American issues that do not need to be discussed. In either case result would not be conducive either to prestige or efficacy of the Security Council whose potential role in preserving world peace should not be downgraded.

5. It is along foregoing lines that we wish action addressee posts, unless they perceive objection, to talk to host govts at appropriately high level. (We can assume that NY Reps of all present and prospective UN members have already been approached by Panamanians.) It should be noted that we are not lobbying for votes. What we are hoping is that SC members, even those who feel they would have to vote for Panama venue in a showdown, will recommend to Panama that it avoid bringing the matter to a head–or that such countries would at a minimum express their misgivings to Panama. To the extent that USUN can get LA’s to weigh in in New York, this is by no means discouraged.

6. There remains of course the aspect of US-Panamanian relations and, specifically, the Canal issue. We do not wish to place any emphasis on that aspect, but when asked posts can state that in our opinion there are prospects for a negotiated solution; we are optimistic about early resumption of the negotiations; and we intend to be flexible and have so told the Panamanians. Our ability to continue flexible and forthcoming posture in negotiations could, however, be seriously jeopardized by an atmosphere of confrontation created by SC discussion of the Canal issue.

7. For New Delhi. We appreciate that India is probably not only committed to Panama meeting but unwilling even to voice misgivings to Panama, but leave it to your discretion if our views might be outlined to GOI.

8. For Mogadiscio, Conakry and Khartoum. We realize that host govts are unlikely to be helpful and leave to your discretion how far to go in pressing our points. Should the point be made, however, that Africans have already had their SC meeting and it only fair that LA’s have one too, you can point out that Addis SC meeting was in response to OAU initiative, that there were active African issues on SC agenda, and that meeting produced evidence of regional unity on those issues. All of these elements are lacking in case of Panama.


142. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State/1/

Paris, November 8, 1972, 1752Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to USUN.

21373. Subj: Possible Security Council Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 198256./2/

/2/ Document 141.

1. While meeting with Quai SecGen Alphand this afternoon on other subjects (septels), I took occasion to discuss a possible Security Council meeting in Panama. Alphand told me that GOF was in a real bind on this matter, since FonMin Schumann did in fact say "yes" when he was in New York to a request that France support such a meeting.

2. Drawing on reftel, particularly para 4 and its sub-paragraphs, I made case why a meeting in Panama would be undesirable. I explained that we were not lobbying for votes and said what we were hoping for was that France and other Security Council members would recommend that Panama avoid bringing matter to head„or as a minimum express serious misgivings to Panama.

3. During ensuing discussion Alphand wondered aloud whether USG would agree to holding an SC meeting in some other Latin American country besides Panama. He allowed that many of the points I had made would apply elsewhere in L.A. as well but, on other hand, he was seeking some solution that would be accommodating to US and still give Schumann a way out with the L.A.’s. He said he did not know whether Schumann would buy idea, but he thought it was worth exploring if we were amenable. He said France might be able to take a position of supporting such a meeting as a recognition of importance of L.A. with site being elsewhere than Panama. He indicated such a meeting would probably best be held in South American country (he mentioned only Brazil) and that if Panama were not chosen, an SC meeting in Central America, Caribbean or Mexico would probably not be ideal alternate.

4. I explained that Panama initiative was not analogous to earlier SC meeting in Africa and said I did not know whether US would be receptive to his thought about another L.A. location. I promised to sound Department out on this and let him know our reaction./3/

/3/ The next day, the Embassy reported that Schumann would not oppose a Security Council meeting elsewhere in Latin America, but felt that he could not advocate another site or reverse France’s commitment to support a meeting in Panama. (Telegram 21434 from Paris, November 9; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC)


143. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/

Washington, November 10, 1972, 0024Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Routine. Drafted by Herz and Hartley; cleared by Armitage, Fessenden, and Hurwitch; and approved by Herz. Repeated to USUN.

204953. Subject: Possible SC Meeting in Panama. Ref: Paris 21373, 21434./2/

/2/ Document 142 and footnote 3 thereto.

1. Appropriate agenda to justify SC meeting any place in LA at this time lacking, not just in case proposed Panama meeting. Therefore while meeting elsewhere in LA might be preferable from US standpoint in strictly bilateral context, from hemispheric standpoint and in UN context, it would present most of same hazards in present circumstances, and would not therefore obviate principal causes of US concern. Moreover, Dept has detected no enthusiasm among LAs generally for SC meeting in their region. While they may be prepared to go along with Panama’s desire as evidence hemispheric solidarity, from same standpoint in Dept’s view they would be most unlikely wish challenge Panama as site for meeting. Dept therefore does not believe Alphand’s suggestion offers practical "out".

2. Alphand’s question seems to have been put in desire to find some way to transfer Schumann’s commitment to LA’s to vote for Panama to some other LA location that would still fulfill the spirit of Schumann’s commitment. Please point out to him that at this time we are not so much concerned about France’s eventual vote as we are about what France says to Panama. If, without reneging on what Schumann had said to the LA’s, France could point out to Panama (not in New York but preferably in Paris or Panama) that it has doubts about the wisdom of holding SC meeting in Panama, that would be helpful action at this time./3/

/3/ Chargé Kubisch reported that he had discussed the matter, and Alphand had agreed to raise the matter with Schumann. (Telegram 21607 from Paris, November 10; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC)


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

New York, November 28, 1972, 0001Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Panama City.

5027. IO pls repeat present and prospective SC member capitals as appropriate.

Subj: SC meeting in Panama.

1. Panamanian Amb Boyd, who apparently returned unheralded over week-end,/2/ distributed to SC members Nov 27 copy of letter from Panamanian Foreign Affairs Minister Tack to SYG dated Nov 23, informing him that GOP proceeding with plans to invite SC to hold meeting in Panama March 15–21, 1973, and that Panama considering formal invitation to SC during December 1972. Text of letter follows:

/2/ Boyd had left for consultations on November 5. Before his departure, he told a U.S. Mission officer that he had the support of all Security Council members except the United States, Britain, and Australia. Although not discussing the Canal issue "would be like going to church and then not praying," Boyd said he would avoid rhetoric that might complicate negotiations about the Canal. (Telegram 4407 from USUN, November 6; ibid.)

2. "I have the honour to inform you that the Govt of Panama is proceeding with its plans to invite the SC to hold its meetings away from headquarters in Latin America. My country would be honoured if it were accepted as the venue for such meetings.

In view of the fact that the great majority of the members of the Council have responded favourably to the preliminary inquiry carried out by our Permanent Representative, we have tentatively considered that the period Wednesday 15 to Tuesday 21 March 1973 would be appropriate and we are studying the political, legal and financial implications which these meetings would have for Panama in order to reach a decision on the presentation of our formal invitation during December 1972.

The Republic of Panama attributes the greatest importance to your visit and the visit of the Security Council to our territory, because it is our hope that, through ‘preventive diplomacy’, international peace and security will be strengthened and formulas will be found for cooperation and good understanding among our peoples.

I take this opportunity of reiterating, sir, the assurances of my highest consideration."


145. Telegram From the Embassy in Panama to the Department of State/1/

Panama City, December 7, 1972, 2208Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to USUN.

5601. Subject: SC Meeting in Panama.

1. At close treaty negotiating sessions December 6, Foreign Minister took Country Director aside to say he wished "put the permanent lid" on any thought that Panama might withdraw from its position. "We will have it," he said, "and you might as well accommodate yourselves to the idea. We will not harass you, and we will not tolerate harassment of you. No matter what Boyd has said, speaking wishfully rather than authoritatively, we want only to increase our international prestige, which is poor. We hope you will come, but if you do not, well, the meeting will still be held. Please get that message across to Washington."

2. Queried on whether Minister’s position might be subject to change were United States and Panama to find themselves in midst of full, serious negotiations in late February–March, Tack replied "Not one centimeter, to repeat, we seek only to give a new luster to our image, and the Canal negotiations have nothing whatever to do with the meeting, nor will we allow them to."

3. Other GOP officials have made point in last ten days of suggesting to Country Director that USG and Panama can handle this meeting together so that both will benefit. They even suggested joint planning.


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

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Panama City.

New York, December 27, 1972, 2311Z.

5687. Subj: SC Meeting in Panama.

1. While Amb. Boyd told us just before departing for Panama that GOP has not made final decision on whether to invite SC to Panama in March, we believe it prudent to assume for planning purposes that he will return with instructions to proceed with invitation, and will do so via letter to Council and to SYG in January./2/

/2/ On January 9, 1973, the Panamanian Government invited the Security Council to meet in Panama City March 15–21, 1973. The Security Council decided to accept the invitation in principle on January 16, and to ask the Committee on Council Meetings Away From Headquarters to submit a report and recommendations about the proposed meeting. The Security Council unanimously approved the Committee’s report and recommendations in Resolution 325 (1973) on January 26.

2. Our latest reading is that Panama has eleven firm votes in favor of meeting: her own plus USSR, Yugoslavia, PRC, France, India, Peru, Indonesia and three Africans, as well as probably support of Austria. While Australians earlier this year had voiced unhappiness with meeting, on basis shifts in Australian voting patterns in UN since Labor govt took office, we believe Australia will finally decide side with majority.

3. Amb Boyd recently told MisOff he plans to make "non contentious" request for meeting by suggesting SC consider agenda item "strengthening of peace and security in the world with particular reference to the region" (read Latin America) and by avoiding any reference in invitation to Canal or bilateral relations with US. Boyd said he assumed US would publicly express opposition to meeting by restating arguments which have already appeared in US press–downgrading of Council’s emergency functions, SC members’ lack of communications with their capitals while in Panama, no active LA item on agenda, etc. Boyd hoped US would confine itself to public statement of reservations about meeting’s effect on SC and would not either mention bilateral problems or attempt to pressure SC members in their capitals to switch votes already committed to him. Boyd again assured MisOff that GOP wants to work with USG to "keep meeting in hand" and expressed "personal wish" that US "accept inevitable with good grace."

4. Although Boyd has told Amb. Schaufele he has spoken to Cubans and can prevent extreme Cuban rhetoric, we maintain our skepticism about GOP’s ability to keep lid on meeting and fully share Dept’s doubts about where it can be pointed in constructive direction. We believe we should put our reservations on the record. Nevertheless we see little to be gained by casting possibly only vote against meeting in Council (British may decide to abstain). Therefore we recommend we be authorized to abstain. Furthermore, we believe that we can cement currently excellent working relationship which now exists between USUN and Amb. Boyd by informing him in advance of our vote. We may well need his help in Panama in obtaining advance information on positions to be taken by other LAs as well as GOP.

5. We would have opportunity later to address various nuts-and-bolts aspects of meeting in SC comite. Meanwhile, we shall be urging SC members, including those which would vote in favor of Panamanian proposal, to put their reservations on record.


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