Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson) to the Secretary of State

[Subject:] Your Participation in the Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly1


Now that we have been able to firm up our delegation list2 for the forthcoming General Assembly session, you may wish to consider your own part in the work of the Delegation.3 I would suggest that you might very appropriately take care of the following matters during your stay in New York as head of the United States Delegation: [Page 23]

You will of course be expected to deliver the principal United States speech in the general debate, which we hope will this year be a strong presentation of the United States position on the Korean crisis and other important aspects of our foreign policy in the United Nations.4
While you are in New York during the week before the Assembly begins, you will be meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom and France, as well as with the Foreign Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty countries. By scheduling meetings with Foreign Ministers and chief delegates from the Latin American and Middle and Far Eastern areas during the first few days of the Assembly session, you will be able not only to talk over important aspects of our individual policy problems with the countries concerned but also to minimize their feeling that we emphasize our European interests to the detriment of our interests in other parts of the world.
During the first few days of the Assembly session, we will, have to make what may be crucial decisions on the future of Korea, the Chinese representation problem, and Soviet relationships with the United Nations. This will be so because, however carefully we plan, we will not be able to foresee precisely the position the Soviets will take in the General Assembly. Your presence in New York during the first days of the General Assembly session will greatly assist the Delegation in making the necessary decisions.
During this period, I hope you will take part in as many delegation meetings as your time permits. This is the simplest way to expedite important policy decisions relating to General Assembly issues. It is also most helpful to our delegates and has a beneficial effect on American opinion generally.5
During your stay in New York certain social obligations will probably arise. For instance, it has always been our practice to have a large reception for heads of foreign delegations at the beginning of the Assembly; this has served a very useful purpose. Moreover, I should think it likely that you will be asked to attend the dinner planned by the City of New York on September 21 in honor of General Assembly officers and delegates.

I think you would need to stay in New York for a week to ten days beginning Monday, September 18, to carry out the above objectives; this would be the irreducible minimum. If your commitments permit you to remain in New York for a longer period, or if for any other [Page 24] reason you should wish to re-arrange your schedule so that you could stay on there, that would be most desirable. In any case I shall be glad to work out a more detailed schedule of plans for your stay in New York as the date of the Assembly draws closer.


That you arrange your schedule with a view to remaining in New York from Monday, September 18, to Friday, September 29; and that, if possible, you plan to extend your stay.

  1. The fifth regular session of the General Assembly was scheduled to convene at New York on September 19.
  2. See United States Delegation Working Paper of September 19 (Doc. US Del/1), infra.
  3. By statute the Secretary of State was Head of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly, when present. Otherwise, the Senior Representative on the United States Delegation was the United States Representative at the United Nations.
  4. The general debate speeches were the first order of business of the General Assembly after the Assembly completed its organization. Each head of national delegation made a speech which was considered to be a statement of his government’s United Nations policies, and accordingly the general debate phase spanned several days. Secretary of State Acheson spoke on September 20; for the official record of his statement, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifth Session, Plenary Meetings (hereafter cited as GA(V), Plenary), pp. 24 ff.
  5. The Secretary of State was in New York September 19–28 and attended and chaired certain of the meetings of the United States Delegation during this period. Minutes of the Delegation meetings are located in the master files of the Reference and Documents Section of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State.