310. Memorandum From the Director of Public Affairs of the Mission to the United Nations (Fritchey) to the Representative to the United Nations (Stevenson)1
Rightly or wrongly, I have never known the UN press corps to be so unsympathetic as they are on the U.S. approach to Article 19. The gist of their reaction comes down to this:
- The amount of money involved is insignificant, and therefore a disruptive showdown can hardly be justified on that score.
- If our justification is the “principle” of peacekeeping, how is it that we are not apparently willing to compromise this principle by partly (if not largely) accepting the long-held Soviet view? For example, the correspondents now see us coming around (to some extent at least) to a greater emphasis on the Security Council in peacekeeping matters. Also, they see us giving some heed to the Soviet position that it is not realistic or practical to try to force a major power to support peacekeeping efforts it disapproves of.
- If we are now willing to put future peacekeeping efforts on a basis that is, at least partially, along Soviet lines, why should the Soviets be required to pay arrearages for past peacekeeping tasks?
- In view of the above, is the issue so basic and clear-cut as to justify risking the destruction or serious impairment of the UN?
The upshot of all this is that the press corps, after hearing most of the arguments pro and con, feel that the U.S. has unnecessarily magnified the issue.