310/9–1160: Telegram

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

secret   priority

499. Since conversation with Lie, reported in our telegram No. 465, September 6,1 Lie has twice approached Gross on subject extension term of SYG. He gave every impression of hoping for extension his term preferably for five-year period. Although protesting that “he had had enough and wanted a few years to lead his own life,” et cetera, he made copious references to the troubled times in which we live, the need for maintaining a strong UN, and other similar statements dripping with virtue which were undoubtedly sincere but which at the same time were consistent with a manifest desire to remain available for public duty.

In the third conversation on the subject, initiated by Lie, Gross endeavored to stress importance from Lie’s own point of view as well as ours of letting US handle the matter with as much elbow room as possible. Specifically, Gross said that although we favored a five-year renewal in order to give greater stability to Secretariat, we hoped Lie would be amenable to a call for a two-year term if that seemed the most practicable solution. Lie did agree to this, after a bit of huffing and puffing. However, he emphasized that it would be extremely important to him to have this handled in a most discreet way, suggesting for example that he be given the opportunity “to refuse to serve for longer than two years”. He appeared to attach so much importance to this face-saving technique, that it is not at all certain he would be willing to accept unless it were handled in some such manner.

  1. In telegram 465, USUN had reported a tour d’horizon conversation between Lie and two officers of the Mission, regarding the forthcoming General Assembly (320/9–650).