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

  • Subject:
  • Successor to Secretary General Trygve Lie
  • Participants:
  • Mr. Charles Malik, Lebanese Minister
  • Mr. John D. Hickerson, UNA
  • Mr. James Ludlow, UNP

Charles Malik called on me this afternoon at his request to inform me that he had been instructed by his government to raise the following two questions:

Was the likelihood of Mr. Lie’s resignation serious or could he be prevailed upon to remain; and
If a successor had to be named, what was the attitude of the US toward his—Malik’s—candidacy?

He pointed out that, with regard to the first question, he sincerely hoped that Lie could be persuaded to remain for the rest of his term. With regard to the second, he said that the same inquiry was presently being made to the other four permanent members of the Security Council. He said that his candidacy, in the event Lie’s resignation was accepted, would be put forward only if it had the approval of the Arab League members.

In reply I informed him that, with regard to the first question, we just did not know whether Lie could be persuaded to continue as Secretary General for the remainder of his term. I said that his resignation could not have come at a worse time in the history of the United Nations and we hoped that the problem of a selection of a new Secretary General now could be avoided. With regard to the second question, I said that we would give most earnest consideration to his candidacy just as we would to the other known candidacies and, should the occasion arise, he would hear from us on this matter.

John D. Hickerson
  1. Drafted by James M. Ludlow, Office of UN Political and Security Affairs.