305. Memorandum From Samuel Belk of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • UN Matters
As you know, Governor Stevenson saw the SYG yesterday2 and took the line that, since there is no indication the USSR is prepared to negotiate on Article 19, there was no point in postponing the GA. Now, in the light of events in Moscow3 and the nearness of the British elections,4 the Secretary, Stevenson and Cleveland have decided that a postponement might not be a bad idea. Stevenson has been instructed, therefore, to go back to U Thant and say that because of recent developments on the international scene, the U.S. would not oppose a two or three week postponement. Also, behind the decision to leave the door open for postponement was the fact that U Thant himself and a growing number of Afro-Asians favored postponement.
The Secretary’s letter to Foreign Ministers on Article 19, which has been in the works for 10 days, is now being held up until about Tuesday of next week so that it will be clear that we seriously assessed the change of Soviet leadership before the letter was sent.5
I think there is no question that the nuclear explosion in Communist China6 now throws the whole Chirep problem wide open. It will be very hard indeed to convince Afro-Asians, as well as the Labor Government in Britain, that a nuclear power should not be admitted to the world body. You may recall that, as we approached the GA last year, President Kennedy approved a fall-back position on Chirep in which we would urge that the whole problem be given to a study group which would report back to the GA the following year. This plan may still have merit if we can push it through. But I doubt that we can.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Miscellaneous Memos. Confidential.
  2. This meeting was reported in telegram 1171 from New York, October 15. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, UN 10–4)
  3. Reference is to the removal of Nikita Khrushchev as Chairman of the Council of Ministers and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on October 16.
  4. On October 16 the Labour Party won a majority in parliament.
  5. It was transmitted in circular telegram 935, November 16. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Department of State Administrative History, Vol. 2, part 5)
  6. On October 16; for text of President Johnson’s statement on the detonation, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–64, Book II, pp. 1357–1358.