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

1355. Re-election SYG. Stevenson discussed with SYG yesterday his intentions concerning re-election.

SYG said that, despite indications Sovs might seek have him once more named Acting SYG and limit his term to two or three years, he intended make clear he would serve only as full SYG and that principle five year term must be preserved. On other hand he admitted prospect five more years after Apr 1963 unwelcome to him on personal grounds and he would accept as maximum compromise five years from Nov 1961 when he was first elected, perhaps extended two more months so that close his term would not fall in midst GA [Page 505] sessions. To Stevenson’s suggestion he might take full five year term from Apr 1963 and, if he so desired for personal reasons, resign after three years, Bunche, who was present, argued it would be impossible for SYG to resign before end his term without “walking out on the world.”

Thant also said he is being urged by many Afro-Asian friends to permit presentation his candidacy in near future and many, including even Yugos, urging he not make this dependent on Congo developments. He is therefore inclined authorize action as soon as UAR replaces Sovs in chair Nov 1.

SYG also said he has told Bunche his final decision on candidacy will be affected by whether or not latter also agrees to stay on.

Comment: We urged Thant to move forward rapidly lest developments after mid-Nov complicate UN situation. While we would prefer full five year term from Apr 1963, we consider five years from Nov 1961 acceptable in view his strong personal preferences. Unless Sovs prove unexpectedly difficult, we would expect, in light strong GA sentiment, they would accept this “compromise” and election might be carried through rapidly by mid-Nov.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1960–63, 310/10–1962. Confidential; Limit Distribution.