61. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State1

Delga 53. Re Algerian question. In finding best means disposing Algerian item we must first set record straight in Paris and insist French immediately desist baseless charges along lines reported Paris 15222 which if picked up by press could create situation in which we could not render assistance French badly need. Second, we must pin French down, in writing if possible, as to what they want. If this is unacceptable to us we should reason with them in private and only move in UN on a basis which we and they approve.

We cannot let French dictate terms on which we should assist them because this will only lead to further unjustified recriminations if we are unable carry them out.

Suggest accordingly that, after Dillon makes firm representations along lines Deptel 1287 to Paris,3 he also inform French we cannot consider course action proposed by Pinay and Alphand as reported Paris 1522 because:

We see no possibility obtaining required ⅔ majority for reversal Assembly’s decision on inscription. US could not take position reversal would not require ⅔ majority since this would be evasion of clear-cut rule of procedure and would set extremely dangerous precedent. Such effort to evade rules would be contrary position we have taken when others sought nullify ⅔ requirement.
Would be inconsistent traditional US position that discussion itself does not constitute intervention.
Would place US in untenable position with respect to Netherlands, Australia, and South Africa all of whom have pressed US on this point.
Failure bring about Assembly reversal, which we regard as almost certain, would damage US prestige with no advantage France. On contrary would create impossible situation for France in UN.
Would lead to long, bitter debate which likely inflame situation in Algeria and Morocco.

For these reasons I suggest Dillon be instructed inform French US willing take lead in persuading largest possible majority adopt procedural motion stating simply that “The General Assembly decides not to consider further the Algerian question.” We would press [Page 226] motion after briefest possible debate. Should be noted this would be preferable to Cyprus resolution of Ninth Session preamble of which implied future Assembly consideration. Once motion adopted this session, strong basis established for French seek outright defeat any future attempt raise Algerian question.4

Important we initiate necessary consultations as soon as possible to head off less desirable solutions certain be proposed here. If French agree US will seek have issue disposed of as soon as possible First Committee.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/10–555. Confidential; Priority; Limited Distribution.
  2. Supra.
  3. Dated October 4, telegram 1287 reported that Lodge had done all that he could have been expected to do in behalf of the French. It noted a general feeling among delegations in New York that the French had not campaigned effectively in their own behalf. (Department of State, Central Files, 320/10–455)
  4. Lodge later reversed himself, recommending against seeking passage of a “not to consider” resolution and proposing to let the Arabs take the initiative in moving a resolution which could not receive a two-thirds vote. He thought it premature, however, to suggest anything to the French who had not yet revealed their intentions. (Delga 58 from New York, October 6; ibid., 751S.00/10–655)