300. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Soviet Aide-Mémoire on Election of President of General Assembly


  • Mr. Georgi M. Kornienko, Chargé d’Affaires, Soviet Embassy
  • Governor Harriman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Mr. Richard H. Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary—EUR
  • Mr. Joseph J. Sisco, Deputy Assistant Secretary—IO
  • Mr. Sol Polansky—EUR/SOV

Mr. Kornienko stated that he wished to read from an Aide-Mémoire from his Government2 on the subject of the election of President of the General Assembly. He referred to GA Resolution No. 1990 of December 17, 1963,3 which contained an annex stating that the election of GA President should follow “just geographical representation.” In the opinion of the Soviet Government, inasmuch as a representative of the Eastern European socialist countries had never held the GA Presidency since the founding of the UN, one had the right this year to be nominated for the position.

Governor Harriman asked whom the Soviet Union was nominating. Mr. Kornienko replied that the Soviet Government had no one in particular in mind, but added that the Soviet Union was willing to support an African candidate for the coming 19th GA session since African countries had already proposed candidates before Resolution No. 1990 had been adopted. In turn, the Soviet Union would expect that an Eastern European representative will be supported for the GA Presidency at the 20th session in 1965.

Mr. Kornienko replied that the Soviet Union had observed that the French and the United Kingdom were circulating a memorandum to the effect that the GA Presidency at the 20th session should be held by a Western European. He then reviewed the geographic distribution of past GA Presidents: 6 from Western Europe, 5 from Latin America, 1 from Africa, and 6 from Asia. Mr. Kornienko concluded by pointing out that the Soviet Government believed that the U.S. Government, in accordance with Resolution No. 1990 and in the spirit of improving [Page 648] relations and mutual understanding among countries, would support the candidacy of a representative from an Eastern European socialist country at the 20th session of the General Assembly.

Governor Harriman replied that the U.S. Government would give the Soviet proposal “weighty thought and consideration.”

Mr. Sisco pointed out that more and more countries are throwing their hats into the ring earlier for chairmanships of UN committees and other elected offices.

Mr. Kornienko asked “informally” if the Soviet Union could count on U.S. support. Governor Harriman replied that we would give it consideration.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 79 D 246, United Nations. Confidential. Drafted by Polansky and approved in M on August 31. The meeting took place in Harriman’s office.
  2. Not found.
  3. For text, see GA 1990 (XVII), December 17, 1963.