The Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson) to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin)

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Dear Senator Austin: Thank you for your most thoughtful and helpful letter on the problems of the forthcoming General Assembly. I agree entirely with the thought, which you express so well, that a really positive central theme for all of our chief activities at the Assembly is needed, and it seems clear to me also that the idea of freedom is necessarily a main element in that theme.

As you know, we have given a good deal of thought to a central theme for our work in the Assembly—in fact, we began our consideration of the General Assembly program in that way. We recognize that, although it is possible to relate all our major objectives to a single idea or formula, a fully effective presentation will require considerable stress on at least several major ideas. One of these is certainly freedom; and as you say, our general program is certainly to enlarge freedom everywhere. However, we believe it is evident that much stress needs to be given also to the ideas of national security, of peace and of human welfare, particularly economic welfare. For example, we must not permit the Russians to appear to be the exponents and defenders of peace. In my mind, therefore, each of these ideas needs to receive great stress, according to circumstances, in our major activities in the Assembly.

Of course, a question arises concerning the most effective method of presentation. I agree with you that there is much that we can do in the Secretary’s speech and in all our major pronouncements to relate our activities to central themes. Moreover, these central themes can and should be used in the preparation of our statements in the non-political committees so as to relate our positions on individual points to our large objectives. Of course, I agree with you that our emphasis must be on acts, not on mere words, and I take it that the record of the United States has been and is such that we can make this kind of presentation [Page 36]without difficulty. As to the specific comments contained in your letter, I believe members of your staff are now receiving or will receive our position papers which reflect the Department’s thinking in some detail.

With respect to the economic and social themes, while we agree that we should, if possible, advance proposals of more substance than those which you have seen, it is nevertheless extremely difficult to do so in the light of the present temper of Congress.

We have, however, found your particular suggestions very useful and, in fact, it is at present contemplated that several of them will be incorporated into the instructions to the delegation.

As to the first suggestion, we are planning to make a strong speech in support of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies’ Technical Assistance program and to make several proposals to liberalize and strengthen it. We will call for general support and contributions by all countries.

It is impossible to give United States support to the proposal for the International Development Authority, owing to the present attitude of Congress. We agree that this will be a particularly difficult issue in the Second Committee. We will, however, show our interest in the development of more concrete plans for an International Finance Corporation.

We plan, in connection with our technical assistance speech, to give particular support to schemes such as the Community Development Employment plan to which you refer. We believe that such schemes: (a) are effective as techniques to channel assistance into a country; (b) reach down to the popular level and bring the organizations effectively to the attention of the “Man in the street”; and (c) throw desirable emphasis upon self help.

The Department recognizes the desirability of reconsidering its position on price stabilization. It is possible that a new line may be taken at this Assembly, if the necessary interdepartmental clearances can be obtained in time to do so.

After discussing the ECA productivity proposal briefly with the officers of ECA most familiar with the matter, it appears that the plan is so closely tied up with the industrial countries and with Europe that it would not make a particularly suitable theme of the Assembly.

The Department has noted Mr. Lubin’s1 recent cable from Geneva in which he suggested the undesirability of the United States placing too much emphasis on anti-Soviet propaganda themes and in which he suggested the desirability of examining the subject of food and famine as a possible issue on which the United States might take a positive [Page 37]position. We are giving this matter active consideration and discussing it with other interested agencies.

I am pleased to see the free and active collaboration between your staff and the staff of UNA in the interchange of ideas and in the other preparations for the Assembly. We shall be glad to receive any further papers or ideas on the individual subjects which you or your staff may have in mind.

During these final weeks of preparation, much depends upon the pre-Assembly consultations on the agenda items which your staff has started with other Delegations, particularly the United Kingdom, France, and Canada.2 I am most anxious that this program of consultations move ahead rapidly and that the consultations broaden out to include a large number of representative delegations. As you know, progress on many of the subjects depends upon securing agreement of other friendly delegations. In this way, your staff is performing a most essential function in our Assembly preparations.

I am looking forward to discussing these matters with you in more detail in person soon.

Sincerely yours,

John D. Hickerson
  1. Isador Lubin, United States Representative on the Economic and Social Council.
  2. The Department of State central indexed file 320 has a complete file of the many and multisubject telegrams from USUN to the Department on these consultations, as well as with representatives of other countries.