7. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations 1

674. Re GA Presidency. We have given arguments advanced urtel 9952 and Beirut Embtel 30673 our most careful consideration. We recognize Lebanon expects US support Malik candidacy in view our posture re his 12th GA candidacy,4 and at this stage see no reason we should not give our support at appropriate time. However we do not believe advantages set forth early public or “private” commitment Malik outweigh disadvantages in departure our normal practice at this time. Continued adherence this practice appears in overall US interest. Dept under constant pressure of type being exerted by Azkoul from other friendly states to make exception their candidacies for other offices, and it would not be politically feasible resist these pressures once exception made for Malik. For example, early public announcement support Italian SC candidacy could not be avoided and two such announcements in Dept’s view would make others inevitable before we have full knowledge of what candidacies may be advanced and reaction among our friends to these candidacies. This would not only seriously complicate election situation this year, but would set bad precedent future years. Commitments given to Munro and Japanese in June last year being cited by current candidates as precedents for this year. Reaction next year’s candidates to still earlier commitment Malik, Italians, and others this year would undoubtedly be similar. Moreover, substantial number exceptions this year would provide reasonable grounds for future contention that any US refusal give early commitment not in fact reflection of normal practice.

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Dept does not at this time see any serious threat Malik candidacy and doubts validity Azkoul contention US commitment now would have deterrent effect any possible move by Nasser. Dept further doubts commitment would have any great impact among our friends in Middle East or elsewhere since, as you point out, there general assumption US will support Malik. At same time, Dept sees certain potential risks inherent any public announcement US support Malik now when it impossible foresee how situation in Middle East may develop before next GA.

Taking all these considerations into account, I believe we should postpone any final decision on whom we shall support for presidency of 13th GA at least until mid-June, following last year’s precedent.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320/3–1958. Confidential. Drafted by Hartley on March 15; cleared by Walmsley, Monsma, Nunley, Rountree, and Bacon; and signed by Dulles. Repeated to Beirut. Sent to Dulles through S/S as an attachment to a March 18 memorandum in which Walmsley outlined the background to the situation and recommended that Dulles sign the telegram. (Ibid., 320/3–1858)
  2. Telegram 995, March 11, reported on a meeting between Lodge and Lebanese Delegation member Azkoul, and recommended that the United States give Malik its formal support in the near future. (Ibid., 320/3–1158)
  3. Telegram 3067 from Beirut, March 14, recommended that the Embassy be allowed to support privately Malik’s candidacy for President of the 13th session of the U.N. General Assembly. (Ibid., 783A.00/3–1458)
  4. Dulles’ September 17, 1957, statement regarding Malik’s withdrawal from consideration for the presidency of the 12th session of the U.N. General Assembly was transmitted in Document 18.