187. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

1251. SYG.

1. Stevenson met with Dean (UK), Berard (France), Nielsen (Norway), and Boland (Ireland) this morning to discuss further tactics. Conclusion of mtg was that in further conversation with Zorin Stevenson should take position we favored returning to appointment of single SYG without qualifications but that we were still willing to accept five if Sovs insisted.

It was also agreed we should stand solidly against any procedures which would have effect of tying SYG’s hands and prejudicing future elections.

It was further agreed that, as last resort, seven Under Secretaries might be contemplated if all other issues were settled satisfactorily but that this was not time to discuss such possibility outside this restricted group. Dean said UK instructions allowed him to accept this. Berard said his did not but he seemed to think he might get such instructions if necessary.

2. Stevenson saw Zorin at Zorin’s request following First Comite mtg in afternoon. Stevenson read to him from talking paper (pouched UNP) which took position agreed upon in morning mtg, laying stress on reverting to appointment of unencumbered SYG.

3. Zorin expressed regret we were going back to initial US position, stated he must think this serious development over and report results to govt. Although Zorin tried to sound threatening we got definite impression he was preparing to accept agreement with five Under Secretaries (including Western Europe), with SYG’s statement to be made after election in GA only, with no reference to any such statement in SC or GA reses, but with some kind of “consensus” statement by Pres of GA after declaration of new SYG. Estimate of Europeans that USSR was becoming extremely anxious to settle issue quickly seemed borne out.

4. Zorin asked the fol questions, “so that he could report to gov accurately”:

Did we agree to temporary SYG being appointed through SC by agreement with USSR. Stevenson replied we were anxious to reach [Page 401] agreement with USSR and had been trying to do so for month. We did not agree that SC action on interim appointment was necessary but in effort to conciliate Sovs were willing to go there first;
Did we agree that new SYG should make statement which should be coordinated among ourselves about intentions regarding his future work and that this declaration should be made after his appointment both in SC and GA; Stevenson replied that we agreed he should make declaration in GA after his election. Final wording of statement would have to be his;
Did we agree that after SYG had made his declaration Preses of SC and GA would make statements that SYG’s proposals were endorsed in some way by consensus of members? Stevenson replied we did not agree to statement in SC but only to statement in GA after his election. Idea of statement by presiding officer was new and his first reaction was that it was as objectionable as statement by SYG before his election because only reasonable interpretation was that body would have some right to endorse or reserve its position on SYG’s statement. Zorin subsequently returned to same issue in context only of action by GA. He suggested GA Pres could express greeting to SYG and state that he took it there was a general approval by GA of SYG’s statement; wording of this was something US and Sovs could agree to. Stevenson said US could not speak for what Pres of GA might do and Yost added we would be worried about any implication through such statement that GA approval was required. Zorin replied that no decision by GA was intended. Stevenson suggested that it might be all right for Pres of GA to welcome SYG and express “his” approval of SYG’s intentions. Zorin suggested he add “and takes this to be general opinion of GA”. Conversation broke off at this point by discussion of other problems and was not resumed.
Zorin said he understood we objected to six or seven but were agreeable to four to which Western Europeans objected. Stevenson replied there was no agreement to four so there was no point discussing this issue. Zorin asked why we objected to EE but did not press us to add one.
In attempt to pin down contents of declaration new SYG would make, Zorin then asked several questions about our attitude toward Sov version thereof. He asked whether we agreed to designation of “acting SYG.” Stevenson said we preferred regular appointment but would accept this. Yost added our main point on declaration was related to “spirit of mutual understanding” in contrast to “basis,” but we hardly thought it was worthwhile refining declaration until basic points of numbers of Under Secretaries and timing of declaration had been decided. We would not then have much trouble on language.
Zorin asked whether we would object to SYG mentioning who Under Secretaries would be in his declaration. Stevenson said if this was satisfactory with candidate it would be satisfactory with us. Exact language was up to him. All we could do was suggest the number and that he consult in a spirit of mutual understanding and that we should make statement after his GA election.
In summary, Stevenson repeated, we and others would prefer SYG appointment with full authority and without any specific mention of advisers. He thought both US and USSR understood U Thant intended to consult his principal Under Secretaries in a spirit of mutual understanding and that we knew his intentions. He also thought we could both trust him to carry out his understandings with us. This was therefore best course. On other hand, we could also agree to election of U Thant followed by statement in which he would indicate his intention to have selection of advisers who would come from the five principal geographical areas and with whom he would consult in a spirit of mutual understanding.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1960–63, 310/10–1861. Confidential; Priority; Limited Distribution.