191. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Battle) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Attached Statement by U Thant

I am attaching for your information a copy of a statement which was given to Ambassador Stevenson on a confidential basis.

It is a statement which U Thant would make after he had been appointed Acting Secretary-General by the Assembly. You will note that the statement is a very good one from our point of view since no mention is made of either five or seven Under-Secretaries and it is clear that this is a matter for the Acting Secretary-General himself to decide.

I understand that copies of the attached letter have been given by U Thant to the UK, France, and USSR. The USSR apparently has been [Page 409] pressing U Thant to make changes in it, and in particular to include reference to seven Under-Secretaries, but U Thant has indicated that it is not subject to negotiation or change.

MH Manfull2


It is my intention to invite a limited number of persons who are at present Under Secretaries, or to be appointed as Under Secretaries, to act as my principal advisers on important questions pertaining to the performance of functions entrusted to the Secretary General by the UN Charter.
In extending this invitation, I am fully conscious of the importance of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, and with due regard to the importance of as wide a geographic basis as possible, as laid down in Article 101 of the Charter. I intend to include among these advisers Dr. Ralph J. Bunche and Georgy Arkadev.
It is also my intention to work together with these parties in close cooperation and consultation in a spirit of mutual understanding. I am sure that they will seek to work with me in the same manner. Of course this whole arrangement is without prejudice to such future organizational changes as experience may reveal to be necessary.3
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Subjects Series, United Nations (General), 10/61–11/61, Box 310. Top Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Manfull signed for Battle above Battle’s typed signature.
  3. U Thant was appointed Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations on November 3 in Resolution 1640 (XVI), adopted unanimously. For text of the resolution, as well as Thant’s, Adlai Stevenson’s, and Valerian Zorin’s remarks on the appointment, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pages 82–86.