Memorandum by the Acting Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs (Sandifer) to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Rusk)


Subject: Desirability of Secretary’s Attendance at April General Assembly Session


At a meeting of the UNLC1 on March 18 the view was expressed, [Page 6] and unanimously and vigorously supported, that it would be most desirable for the Secretary to be present at the opening of the Second Part of the Third Session of the General Assembly in New York, April 5, and to remain there for one or two days.

The following considerations are pertinent:

An American Secretary of State has been present at each regular session of the General Assembly, including both parts of the First Session. His presence symbolizes the importance we attach to the United Nations.
It would be useful for the Secretary to make the acquaintance of the large number of foreign ministers who will be present in New York, many of whom know him only by reputation, in this quick and easy fashion.
The Secretary has not participated in the activities of any United Nations organ and would gain a better conception of the spirit and operations of the Organization even from attendance at one or two plenary sessions.
If the Secretary visited New York on April 5, the foreign ministers who had signed the Atlantic Pact in Washington on the preceding day2 would undoubtedly also attend. Their absence in whole or in part would certainly be the cause of some unfavorable comment.
Having seen the Secretary in New York, some of the foreign ministers who would otherwise have planned to visit him in Washington might refrain from doing so. In any event, the spectacle of a succession of chiefs of delegation proceeding from New York to Washington would be less subject to adverse comment if the Secretary had previously visited the General Assembly in New York.

Since the April session is regarded as a business meeting to consider the items remaining from the Paris agenda and those added subsequently, it is hoped that there will not be a prolonged general debate at the outset. Nevertheless, there will undoubtedly be short opening ceremonies at which the Secretary, representing the host nation, might appropriately make a very brief statement of welcome.

A suggested tentative itinerary is attached as Tab A.3


That the Secretary be asked to attend the opening meeting of the April General Assembly session and to remain, if possible, for at least two days.4

  1. The United Nations Liaison Committee was a Departmental committee which had been established in 1946 to coordinate policy planning on United Nations affairs on the working level. Though in 1946–1948 its formal membership consisted of some twenty members and five alternates representing a wide range of offices and divisions of the Department, the full committee met only “very infrequently” and by early 1948 its place had been taken generally by a small group made up of the four geographic offices and the Office of the Legal Adviser (L). It met every two weeks on a fairly regular basis. (Memorandum by George N. Monsma, ARA, January 25(?), 1949, 501.BB/1–2549)
  2. For documentation on this subject, see vol. iv, pp. 1 ff.
  3. Not printed.
  4. In a memorandum to the Secretary of State on March 21 Mr. Rusk urged Mr. Acheson to accept, saying, “In years past, it has been of very great importance to our foreign policy for the Secretary of State to see a number of Foreign Ministers in connection with the Assembly. Secretary Marshall was particularly effective in this role.” (501.BB/3–1749) The Secretary of State attended the opening meeting of the reconvened session of the General Assembly on April 5.