Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson)1

  • Participants:
  • Baron Silvercruys, Ambassador of Belgium
  • Mr. Edmund Callebaut, First Secretary, Belgian Embassy
  • Mr. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State
  • Mr. Ward P. Allen, EUR
  • Mr. Paul B. Taylor, UNP

Baron Silvercruys began by saying that our Embassy in Brussels had asked Belgium if it would support Pearson for president of the General Assembly. His Foreign Office had replied that while they [Page 422] cordially welcomed Pearson’s candidacy they thought it was time for a European president. Baron Silvercruys asked what I thought of this.

I replied that it was not only time for a European president of the General Assembly; a European president was overdue. We had done everything we could last year to bring about a European presidency—we had talked to a number of Western European governments (working mainly through the UK); and we had even for some time discouraged other candidacies including those of Latin Americans. I said that now Pearson’s candidacy was very well advanced; in fact it would do harm to oppose it at this stage. I said that we had not actually instructed our Embassy to solicit support for Pearson.

Baron Silvercruys then asked whether we would agree to support a European president for next year. I told him we could not make such a commitment, mentioning the fact that we had heard a year ago that Prince Wan (Thailand) is interested in the presidency of the Eighth Session. I said that we had not made any commitment to anyone for next year. I pointed out that the election of a European president for the session immediately following Pearson’s presidency would be particularly difficult; that, however, those who wished to work for a European presidency at the Eighth or Ninth Session would do well to begin their work at the preceding Assembly.

At no time did Baron Silvercruys make any mention of who the European candidate might be.

John D. Hickerson
  1. Drafted by the Officer in Charge, General Assembly Affairs (Taylor). Source text indicates that this memorandum was dictated on Sept. 19.