10. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State1
New York, May 8, 1958—1 p.m.
1282. Re Arab Union membership UN (Deptel 2446 to Amman2).
- At UKDel request we have discussed problem Arab Union representative in UN in connection with other items reported separately.3UK had received report from its Ambassador in Amman on [Page 16] conversation between Wright and Rifai (substantially similar to Amman’s 1872 to Dept4).
- UKDel thought it was unlikely objection would be raised to retention two seats by Arab Union in GA by any other member. They discounted likelihood UAR raising issue, because of traditional Arab reluctance to fight intra-Arab problems in UN. Others unlikely raise issue unless UAR does.
- If issue arose they felt it would more likely be result of SYG position on basis legal considerations stemming from Arab Union Constitution. Difficulties arose from fact constitution called for single foreign office and fact that Arab Union planning to amalgamate its foreign representation everywhere except at UN. They thought that “conscience” of UN might be stimulated especially if SYG took stand.
- They were inclined to doubt whether maintenance two seats at UN would diminish Arab Union prestige. Re situation in area, they stated belief that looser union was preferable to tighter union because it would be more acceptable as possible basis for future federation by Syria following break-off from Egypt. (Also interesting to note comments made by Jamali about fomenting revolution in Syria (Jidda 1098 to Dept),5 which we received subsequent to conversation with UK). In any case, UK questions whether we (US and UK) should be in lead in urging Jordanians and Iraqis to give up vote when issue had not yet arisen.
- We have some doubt ourselves whether Arab Union representation will be made issue in GA if Jordan and Iraq decide to maintain separate seats. Our reasons substantially same as UK Del (para 2). On other hand, even if issue not raised formally there would undoubtedly be substantial corridor comment comparing Arab Union unfavorably to UAR, and prestige Jordanian and Iraqi Ambs, and their usefulness for US policy, likely to decrease. We also presume implications failure Arab Union to amalgamate its position in UN would not go unnoticed in area.
- Our conversation is further evidence UK pursuing different policy than we are on Arab Union. We doubt whether this can be resolved here, although their tendency favor two UN seats may be overcome eventually through their own legal doubts.
Will discuss situation with SYG as soon as possible in accordance with Deptel 781.6
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 310.386/5–858. Secret.↩
- Reported in telegram 1284 from USUN, May 8. (Department of State, Central Files, 320/5–858)↩
- Telegram 1872 from Amman, May 5, reported on a meeting between Thomas K. Wright, Chargé of the Embassy in Amman, and Samir el Rifai, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, regarding Arab Union representation in the United Nations and the situation in Lebanon. (Ibid., 310.386/5–558)↩
- Telegram 1098 from Jidda, May 3, reported on comments by the Iraqi Foreign Minister on Middle East developments. (Ibid., 786.00/5–358)↩
- See footnote 3, supra. Lodge reported on the discussion with Hammarskjöld in telegram 1303, May 13. The Secretary-General stated that on May 12 he had discussed the matter with a member of the Jordanian U.N. Delegation and that he had expressed reservations about the Arab Union’s efforts to maintain two seats at the United Nations. The Secretary-General, Lodge observed, obviously felt the Arab Union should have only one vote. (Department of State, Central Files, 310.386/5–1358)↩