500.CC(PC)/9–1245: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Representative on the Preparatory Commission (Stettinius)

8081. Preco 80. Reurtel paragraph 2, your 9353, Copre 77, September 12.24

Our approach to the problem of the selection of SyG and the determination of his tenure of office is based upon our strong conviction that SyG should be a national of a middle or small power.
We attach great importance to securing for the position a man of highest ability who will be wholeheartedly devoted to his service as the chief administrative official of the United Nations and the head of its international secretariat. The position of SyG should be considered one of such importance and dignity and prestige as to attract an outstanding man.
Different individuals of the type we want are likely to have different preferences as to tenure. One man might be willing to interrupt his national career for only a minimum term of office; he might be the best man available and he might be very definitely needed for such minimum term. Another man might be willing or prefer to make a life career of the job and would presumably find a longer term more attractive. We believe subcommittee should bear in mind that provisions being prepared now for submission to GA will be merely regulations of GA and as such will be subject to future amendment by the Assembly in the light of experience. We are inclined to believe that a term of 3, 4, or 5 years would best meet these opposing considerations and somewhat prefer 4-year term. Having in mind continuity of administration, we believe no limit should be placed on reelection. However, reurtel paragraph 1, 9432, Copre 95, September 14,25 we would be willing to accept the 5–year term renewable for 5 years as recommended by Committee 6 if, in your judgment, our preferred position would not be generally acceptable.
In view of our position that SyG should be a national of a middle or small power, we do not attach importance to having provision imposing disability to resume national office in his own country. With this in mind you should oppose such a provision. It is assumed that a retiring SyG would thus be free to use his own judgment concerning the propriety of assuming any particular position in his own government after the end of his term as SyG. Pension provisions should be adequate to prevent financial need from being a necessarily determining consideration in his decision. If the basic assumption concerning the nationality of SyG should subsequently be changed, the above position regarding a disability provision would have to be reconsidered since we would consider the imposition of such a disability essential if SyG were a national of a great power.
In your discretion you may in further committee discussions state the above position on this whole matter.
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