Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of International Administration (Henderson)


Subject: Contributions to the United Nations

Participants: Mr. Christelow, British Embassy1
Miss Salt, British Embassy2
Mr. Ketain, BNA 3
Mr. Ingram, UNI 4
Mr. Henderson, UNI

At the request of the British Embassy, Mr. Hamilton,5 BNA, arranged a meeting of the above listed participants on October 17, at 10:30 A. M. in Mr. Ingram’s office.

Mr. Christelow opened the discussion by stating that his government was generally sympathetic to the desire of the United States to reach the one-third “ceiling”, set by the UN on contributions to regular expenses by any one member.6 He hoped, however, that this might be done gradually, and stated that the UK was disposed to support the recommendations of the UN Committee on Contributions on the scale of assessments for calendar year 1952.7 He wondered what the position of the U.S. would be in this respect.

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Mr. Ingram replied by explaining the necessity for consultation with the Appropriation Committees of the Congress, prior to the adoption of a firm U.S. position. He stated that it was possible that the U.S. would also be in a position to support the recommendations of the Committee on Contributions, and assured Mr. Christelow that when the consultation had been completed, he would be pleased to discuss the U.S. position further.

Mr. Christelow then stated his hope that General Assembly debate on this question could be confined to the scale of assessments for 1952. Mr. Ingram responded that it would be necessary for the U.S. spokesman to express the determination of his government to press for early achievement of the 33⅓% goal, if it did not insist upon such achievement this year. Mr. Christelow commented that he could understand the reason for this.

Mr. Christelow expressed, as a matter of secondary concern, his; hope that we would not press for immediate increase in USSR and satellite contributions in any dimensions which would prompt arrearages on their part. He hoped that the U.S. would go along with the recommendations of the Contributions Committee re these governments for the coming year. Mr. Ingram replied that, if we could accept the Contribution Committee Report, this would be no problem.

Mr. Christelow then added that although the UK was reluctant to do so, except as a matter of last resort, he had been instructed to inform the Department that his government was prepared to forego something of the reduction recommended for the UK, for next year if such action would be of assistance to the U.S. in supporting the report of the Committee. Mr. Ingram said that while this was welcome news, he could not comment further until the previously referred to consultation with the Congress had been completed.

The scale of assessments situation in the UN specialized agencies was generally discussed, with Mr. Christelow making specific inquiry as to U.S. attitude re an increase in its percentage of assessment in the case of FAO. Mr. Ingram replied that since the U.S. assessment in WHO and UNESCO had now been reduced to one-third, and since a significant reduction was anticipated in the UN, he believed that the U.S. would be prepared to see its assessment in FAO moderately increased. He stressed that it was the hope of the U.S. that a satisfactory overall scale of assessments could be negotiated at the November Conference of the FAO, which would not be subject to any modification until the following Conference two years thereafter. Mr. Christelow agreed to the desirability of this.

The meeting concluded with a brief discussion of the status of the U.S. contribution to UNKRA. Miss Salt wondered about the significance of the recent limited appropriation action by the Congress, and was assured by Mr. Henderson that apparently such action only [Page 166] reflected Congressional doubt as to the ability of UNKRA to effectively use the entire amount of the U.S. pledge at this time. It was emphasized that no serious question as to the amount of the pledge, as such, had been raised. Miss Salt went on to inquire whether the U.S. considered its contribution to cover a period of one year from the time that full payment was made, or whether it was for the U.S. fiscal year 1952. Mr. Henderson replied that the contribution was Intended to provide for the period required to carry out the initial UNKRA program, as approved by the GA, and that it was presumed that approximately one year from the time that UNKRA began full operations would be required to do this.

  1. A. Christelow, British Counselor of Embassy.
  2. B. Salt, British First Secretary of Embassy.
  3. Mr. Ketain of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs.
  4. George M. Ingram, Chief of the Division of International Administration.
  5. William L. Hamilton, Jr., of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs.
  6. Information as to Foreign Office agreement with the U.S. position outlined in the circular airgram of September 12, supra, had been cabled to the Department of State by the Embassy in its telegram 1430, September 19, 6 p. m. (320/9–1951).
  7. The Report of the Committee on Contributions (UN Doc. A/1859) is printed in United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixth Session, Supplement No. 10.