307. Memorandum From Chester Cooper of the National Security Council Staff to Samuel Belk of that Staff1

I won’t labor the obvious point, already referred to in your covering memo,2 that many aspects of the paper3 will require revision in the light of the momentous developments of last week. However, there is one point which I think the paper glosses over even if there hadn’t been a change in the regime in Moscow and which becomes all the more important to look into in the light of that change. It has to do with the “North-South”, “rich-poor” polarization that is mentioned at several points in the paper. Whether it is the rich against the poor or the north against the south, the Russians and ourselves will be on the same team. Despite the vast difference in the standard of living in the US and the Soviet Union, the USSR is regarded by much of the world as a “have” country; its aid is expected just as our aid is expected; and they get as little thanks as we do. Are we in short likely to find ourselves at this session or in a session in the not too distant future with many of the same problems and facing many of the same problems in dealing with the unaligned countries? Does this have important implications in terms of a modus vivendi in connection with some of the major structural changes that might be made in the UN? Does it imply greater cooperation when confronting some of the international problems that the UN might have to deal with?

The change of the regime in Moscow might put the USSR to an even greater test in connection with the “south” and the “poor.” It can [Page 660]hardly be expected to resign from the competition it is now waging with the Chinese in this arena, and it may feel under even greater pressures to score some important political and propaganda victories against Peiping. In short, I think the paper should reflect much more of this than it does now.

Even recognizing that the paper does not take into account the nuclear detonation in China, I have a feeling that not enough attention is paid to the Chinese representation issue. Time is getting short for any major changes in US policy (and even the slightest softening of our position on this issue will be interpreted as a major change). Some further thought should be given as to the reservoir of control and bargaining power we have in connection with keeping the Chinese out for at least another year. If, after a careful inventory, we find that we are short of either or both of these, we should take steps to avoid suffering what can be widely regarded both in the US and the world generally as a major diplomatic defeat. I recognize that it is difficult to even hint at a possible shift in US policy toward China for another two weeks but the whole matter should be looked into on the highest priority basis starting at 0800 on 4 November.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Miscellaneous Memos. No classification marking.
  2. A memorandum from Belk to Bundy, October 21, discussing strategy for the 19th UN General Assembly. (Ibid.)
  3. An undated paper prepared by Harlan Cleveland of the Department of State. (Ibid.)