320/9–1251: Circular airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 2


Reference paragraph 2D of Circular airgram 1:45 pm, September 5, 1951.3

Recent action of House of Representatives reduced appropriation for U.S. contributions to international organizations approximately $3,000,000 below U.S. commitments for this year. In addition it added an amendment stating that the U.S. could not pay more than 33⅓% of the expenses of these organizations, although the U.S. is at present assessed more than 33⅓% in 7 organizations. Senate has approved full appropriation asked by President, but has added provision that

“No representative of the United States Government in any international organization hereafter shall make any commitment requiring the appropriation of funds for a contribution by the United States in excess of 33⅓ per centum of the budget of any international organization for which the appropriation for the United States contribution [Page 163] is contained in this act: Provided, That in exceptional circumstances necessitating a contribution by the United States in excess of 33⅓ per centum of the budget, a commitment requiring a United States appropriation of a larger proportion may be made after consultation by United States representatives in the organization or other appropriate officials of the Department of State with the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives: Provided, however, That this section shall not apply to the United States representatives to the Inter-American organizations.”

Action indicates the general trend of temper of Congress in this connection. U.K. and Australian representatives have also indicated apprehension of their Governments re increasing budgets and Member costs for international organizations.

Past efforts of the U.S. to eliminate unnecessary expenditures, and insure defensible administrative and program policies among UN and the specialized agencies have oftentimes been handicapped by absence of representatives of other countries who were both familiar with and instructed on their government’s budgetary and financial policies.

For example and for your information, the Department is quite concerned over the fact that the Fourth Health Assembly recently voted a 1952 WHO budget which is more than 20% larger than its 1951 budget. This precipitate increase, which USDel strongly opposed, was voted primarily as a result of the efforts of uninstructed delegations, among which were representatives of countries who have urged economy when discussing specialized agency budgets in the United Nations.

Focal opportunity for intensified effort to control budgetary costs is the forthcoming sixth session of the General Assembly. In conversations with the Foreign Office, the Department requests you express U.S. concern along above lines, (1) indicating our hope that its Delegation will be instructed generally to support efforts to keep the total budget figure within reasonable proportions and to ensure that all expenditures make maximum contribution to the achievement of UN objectives; and (2) if appropriate, urging representation on the Fifth Committee along the lines indicated above. As related these discussions, note should also be made of the continuing need for similar representation at governing body meetings of specialized agencies. Department recognizes difficulty making specific suggestions re delegation representation on any one Committee and suggests it be done only if informal, personal relationships make it possible. Stress on problems of international organization’s expense and possibility of budget control through action of General Assembly delegations without specific mention of character of delegation membership may in some cases accomplish ends. Department intends [Page 164] to forward additional information on positions on administrative and financial questions as soon as documents are available.

In conversations about this matter, you should make clear that the Department’s concern over undesirable and unnecessary budget increases does not imply any diminution of its support of the principles, purposes, and activities of the many international organizations to which the U.S. belongs. Participation in these organizations is, and will continue to be, an essential and important aspect of American foreign policy. Our participation may be easily jeopardized, however, if the budgets of these organizations increase at too rapid a rate.

  1. Sent to 58 diplomatic and consular offices.

    Additional paragraph sent to Paris, London, The Hague, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Pretoria, Canberra, New Delhi, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, Rangoon, Ottawa, Taipei, Belgrade, Tel Aviv, Manila, Damascus, Bangkok, Djakarta, Ankara as follows:

    “Governments to which you are accredited have in the past sent representatives well qualified in these matters to the United Nations, and while not always supporting the U.S. have generally voted for economy and sound administrative practice. However, almost all of these governments have upon occasion sent delegations to the specialized agency meetings which were not adequately briefed on administrative and budgetary implications of their actions in these agencies.”

    For information only to: Moscow, Praha, Warsaw.

  2. Ante, p. 16.