The Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin)

Dear Austin: I have been giving considerable thought to the specific tasks which each member of our General Assembly Delegation should undertake in order to produce the most effective over-all result. The development of the general international situation will determine how long I shall be able to remain with the Delegation. I am particularly anxious not to leave the impression at the beginning of the Assembly that I shall remain for only a short time. Nevertheless, our planning must be on the basis that I might have to leave the Delegation. With that in mind, I am asking you to serve as Deputy Chairman of the Delegation and assume the Chairmanship if it becomes necessary for me to leave.1

As for other tasks during the Assembly, the present state of the Indonesian, Palestine, Kashmir and other questions suggests that the Security Council will play a more active role than during last year’s Assembly. That factor necessarily influences your availability for detailed work in the Assembly. However, you are assigned responsibility for the General Committee, for the Report of the Security Council, and for atomic energy, regulation of armaments and Article 43 forces. In connection with the last three items, our intelligence estimates lead us to believe that the Soviet Delegation will stage a major propaganda offensive in this field. The demand on you will be a very heavy one, but your previous experience and personal interest in these subjects are such that I believe you should carry this important part of our debate.

If a serious move develops in the General Assembly to move the headquarters of the United Nations away from New York, it may be necessary for you to intervene on that subject in Committee 5. We hope that this will not become necessary.

Our experience in the General Assembly last year convinces me that the Delegates and Alternate Delegates themselves should accept even more responsibility for establishing direct contacts with the senior representatives in other delegations. There will be political liaison [Page 17] officers included in the staff of the Delegation but these officers can only supplement and not substitute for the direct relationships established by our Delegates. Ambassador Ray Atherton is being asked to pay particular attention to this aspect of our work and will be available to assist you in any way you desire.

I shall wish to discuss with you my opening statement to the General Assembly immediately upon our arrival in Paris. Its general tone will be affected considerably by the course of the discussions on Berlin and will therefore have to be reviewed very carefully immediately prior to delivery.2

Faithfully yours,

[G. C. Marshall]
  1. The Secretary of State was with the U.S. Delegation to the General Assembly at Paris from the opening of the session on September 21 until November 21 when he returned to Washington at the request of President Truman, except for short absences on two successive week-ends in October on the occasion of a consultation with the President in Washington (October 9–11; see Department of State Bulletin, October 17, 1948, p. 483) and a visit to Athens (October 16–18; see ibid., October 31, 1948, p. 561). Special serial designations were established for handling cable traffic pertaining to Secretary Marshall personally while he was at Paris: “Telmar” for Washington cables and “Martel” for cables from Paris. Occasionally matters pertaining to the U.S. Delegation spilled over into this series.
  2. For Secretary Marshall’s “general debate” address to the General Assembly on September 23, 1948, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Third Session, Part I, Plenary Meetings, pp. 36 ff. (hereafter cited as GA(III/1), Plenary); or Department of State Bulletin, October 3, 1948, pp. 432 ff.