HickersonMurphyKey files, lot 58 D 33, “Secretary Generalship of UN

Memorandum of Conversation, by William O. Hall, United States Member, United Nations Advisory Commission on Administrative and Budgetary Questions1

  • Subject:
  • Secretary General’s Election.

Mr. Price, Assistant Secretary General for Administration asked the U.S. Delegation to convey to the State Department and the President his strong recommendation that the U.S. should oppose the election of either a Latin American or Arab national as Secretary General. Price said he was not personally interested as he intended to retire at the end of 1953, and that the New Secretary General would have his resignation immediately. Price said it was no secret that he had experienced great difficulties with Mr. Lie on administrative questions. These difficulties would seem very small in comparison to those which would arise if the Secretary General were a Latin American or Middle Easterner. Price said the spoils system would be rampant and the financial system would be destroyed if Latin or Middle Eastern governmental ideas gained control. He said if the United States had any doubts on this it needed only to look at UNESCO.

Price said he thought Mr. Lie’s resignation had put the Western powers in the drivers seat vis-à-vis the Russians and that they should use their position. In his opinion the USSR would be willing to agree to almost anyone to avoid the continuation of Mr. Lie on an acting basis. He asked that we urge care and caution in selecting a candidate.

Price reported that the French are actively pushing Picot for Acting Secretary General. He said Ganem (France) had approached him to determine if he would object to serving under Picot. Price told Ganem he would have no objection and that he thought Picot was an able man.

  1. Source text indicates that this memorandum was typed Nov. 17.