320/1–352: Telegram

The Acting Chairman of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly (Roosevelt) to the Secretary of State


828. Re refugee items. Del decided at meeting today to urge Dept to authorize del to abstain rather than vote against proposed general appeal to govts NGO’s and individuals for three million dollar assistance fund to aid sick and destitute emergency refugee cases.

Del feels strongly that preliminary [parliamentary?] situation in Third Comite calls for an abstention rather than negative vote on this fund. Del recognizes weaknesses of proposed appeal for funds. However, it now appears that US is isolated in Third Comite with perhaps only one or two other dels and Sov bloc in opposition to fund. US has privately stated to number of dels its opposition to establishment of fund. UK, for example, has informed us of intent to support authorizing [Page 837] UN High Commissioner for Refugees to institute general appeal for funds since it does not feel that GA shld oppose an appeal for funds to assist emergency destitute and such cases along limited scope proposed. Commonwealth countries being influenced by this view of UK. Denmark, Neth and Belg prepared take lead in sponsoring resolution for fund. Latin Amer, Far East and Middle East countries likely in any event support fund in view its consistent opposition UN refugee functions.

Del feels that in view over-all political situation in GA, it wld be unwise weaken US position other subjects by outright opposition to appeal in third comite. It does not appear that limited scope of appeal warrants such drastic position. In abstaining, USDel wld explain there is no prospect US Govt contribution to proposed fund.

This tel supersedes Delga 814.1 Not likely that situation in third comite will permit vote by USDel limiting appeal to only individuals and NGO’s. Del recommends, however, that it be authorized to vote affirmatively in event appeal limited to individuals and NGO’s. As in case of broader appeal this appeal wld also have wide support in third comite.

In view termination IRO communication from IRO General Council of Oct 27, 1951 that current problems inherent in refugee situation “so grave in terms of human suffering that they call for urgent consideration by the United Nations” and moderate scope of proposed fund, deferment of this question found impractical at this session GA. Dept’s views needed urgently since vote scheduled Friday January 4.

  1. Dated January 2, p. 830.