L/UNA Files

Memorandum by Mr. Albert F. Bender, Jr., of the United States Mission to the United Nations to Mr. Richard J. Kerry, Administrative Attorney, Division of International Administration


Subject: Recommended Revision of Procedure on Accreditation by UN of Correspondents

I would like to suggest the following with reference to the proposed revision of the accreditation procedure.

Assuming that the Department will require a full security check before commenting concerning certain accreditation applications, I believe that every effort should be made to have such security checks made on the highest priority basis. I believe that this should be done in view of the obligation assumed by the U.S. in entering into the Headquarters Agreement. A further reason is the fact that the accreditation procedure involves a most sensitive area, and experience has demonstrated that delays with respect to even a few correspondents creates ill will among practically all members of the UN Correspondents Association, even though the vast majority are not directly affected. (In this connection you are of course familiar with action taken by the UN Correspondents Association in the past.) Such a situation seriously embarrasses the best interest of the U.S. by antagonizing those on whom we must rely for a sympathetic presentation of our case in a critical period.

With respect to action by the Department of Justice in cases requiring use of the 9th Proviso, I understand that the Department is continuing its efforts to reinstate the “blanket 9th Proviso” procedure which existed formerly. Unless and until this is accomplished, I believe that representations should be made to the Department of Justice requesting that the highest priority should be given to handling 9th Proviso cases for the reasons mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

I assume of course that every effort will be made to streamline the handling of correspondent cases within the Department.

I would suggest further that, in any instructions the Department may send to USUN concerning the negotiation of a revised accreditation procedure with UN, there might be included for our use with UN officials a statement of the Department’s position concerning the responsibility that UN is expected to assume with respect to establishing the bona fides of applicants for accreditation. We have discussed this responsibility with UN from time to time, but I feel that it would be helpful for the Department to restate the criteria with which it expects UN to comply in the light of the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement. I have a feeling that the exertion of some pressure [Page 60] on UN in this respect may result in our being faced with fewer problem cases in the future.