289. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • U.S.-Soviet Negotiations on UN Problems

The Secretary of State has authorized Ambassador Stevenson2 to begin exploratory negotiations with the Russians on (1) future UN peacekeeping arrangements, and (2) UN financial problems. Stevenson will explore the following areas with the Russians:

Strengthening the Security Council so that peacekeeping operations first come to the Council, and go to the General Assembly only if the Council cannot act because of a vote. Also, Stevenson will propose the creation of a new finance committee, heavily weighted in favor of permanent Council members and large contributors, so that financial arrangements for peacekeeping will be controlled by those who pay the most.
Stevenson will propose a new scale of assessments for peacekeeping operations by which large contributors would pay a larger percentage than for the regular budget. We believe we could keep our share to less than 40%, which would represent a saving over the approximately 46% we have paid for the Congo and the Middle East operations.
Another financial arrangement we would be willing to consider would allow a permanent member of the Council to be excluded from any assessment for a peacekeeping operation of which it did not approve.
We plan to stick to our policy of insisting that the Soviet Union lose its vote in the General Assembly if it is still two years financially in arrears when the next General Assembly convenes.

The Secretary and Ambassador Stevenson believe that if we take this reasonable approach rather than a “Cold War” one, there is hope for resolving some parts on these problems.

The Congress is being kept fully informed. Assistant Secretary Cleveland has individually briefed Senators Aiken, Church, Hickenlooper, Sparkman and Fulbright. Ambassador Stevenson, accompanied by Cleveland and Chayes of the Department, met with [Page 623] the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 26. The meeting went satisfactorily, and the Department plans to keep the Senators informed as the negotiations progress.

On the House side, Cleveland already has briefed Representative Fascell (Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on International Organizations), who thought it would be helpful if Cleveland briefed the full House Foreign Affairs Committee next week. Cleveland plans to do so.

McGeorge Bundy 3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Article 19, Vol. 1. Confidential.
  2. Authorization was transmitted in telegram 2207 to New York, February 14. (Ibid.)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.