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

  • Subject:
  • Presidency of the Eighth General Assembly
  • Participants:
  • Baron Silvercruys, Ambassador of Belgium
  • Mr. Edmund P. Oallebaut, First Secretary, Belgium Embassy
  • Mr. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State
  • Mr. Ward P. Allen, EUR
  • Mr. Paul B. Taylor, UNP

Ambassador Silvercruys came at his request to tell me that he had heard from his foreign office in response to his report of our earlier conversation on the General Assembly presidency. The Belgium Government was thoroughly in accord with the “I like Mike” slogan and would support and vote for Pearson at the coming session. However, [Page 423] Mr. Van Zeeland felt very strongly that there should be a harmonious distribution of the post among the various regions of the world from year to year and felt very strongly that Europe should have it next year. He hoped that we would support and work for that principle and keep in touch with them on the matter. He had no candidate. Mr. Van Zeeland himself would take this up with the Secretary and with other members of our delegation when he came. At this stage the Belgium Government merely wished to record its views on the principle.

I said I thought I should repeat what I had told the Ambassador at our previous meeting on the subject, first, that we had done everything humanly possible to have a president from Europe last year, and we agreed that it was long overdue; that Prince Wan has indicated interest, and that, in any candidacy of this sort, it would be desirable to work at least a year in advance. I said that, quite frankly, I did not know, this far in advance, what our attitude toward the meeting would be next year. I again mentioned two political difficulties that might arise in connection with a European candidate next year—the fact that it would be following a president from a NATO country this year, and that the colonial question might be a factor with some delegations, depending on the circumstances.

I said that it would be desirable for a specific candidate to present himself.

The Ambassador said that probably the Europeans would wish to try to establish merely the principle that a European should be elected next year, but without any particular candidate making a campaign at this stage.

  1. Drafted by the Officer in Charge, General Assembly Affairs (Taylor).