321. Memorandum of Conversation1



New York, December 1964


  • Article 19


  • U.S.
    • The Secretary
    • Ambassador Stevenson
    • Ambassador Thompson
    • Mr. Akalovsky
  • U.S.S.R.
    • Foreign Minister Gromyko
    • Deputy Foreign Minister Semenov
    • Ambassador Dobrynin
    • Ambassador Fedorenko
    • Mr. Sukhodrev

Mr. Gromyko wondered how long the GA recess for the holidays should be. He asked whether it should be three or four days.

Governor Stevenson commented that if the financial situation were resolved, it had been suggested that the recess be from December 23 to January 11. As far as we were concerned, we had no particular views on this point.

Mr. Gromyko wondered why the recess could not end earlier.

Governor Stevenson said there was no particular reason except that a longer recess would give more time to the Secretary General to do his work. There would be no difficulty from us on the recess if the financial problem were resolved. However, it would be quite difficult to resume before January.

Mr. Gromyko said the Soviet Union did not like the draft resolution prepared by Quaison-Sackey and publicized in the press.2 He did not know whose initiative this was, but the Soviet Union did not like it.

The Secretary observed that the Soviet Union had suggested certain amendments to that resolution, some of which we accepted.

Mr. Gromyko asserted that no formal amendments but rather only a few suggestions had been put forward by the Soviet Delegation.

[Page 703]

Governor Stevenson said we had told Quaison-Sackey that some of the Soviet suggestions were acceptable; for our part, we had also given him some suggestions. Thus Quaison-Sackey now had both Soviet and U.S. views. He wondered whether the Soviet Delegation had been in touch with Quaison-Sackey today.

Mr. Gromyko replied in the negative. He said that in any event the Soviet Delegation did not like Quaison-Sackey’s draft and was not optimistic about it.

Governor Stevenson inquired what the problem was.

Mr. Gromyko replied that Quaison-Sackey’s draft was different from the non-aligned draft,3 which the Soviet Union accepted. If we were to work on the basis of Quaison-Sackey’s draft, the Soviet Delegation would have to keep amending it until it was brought back to the non-aligned draft. He did not see any point in following such a procedure. The Quaison-Sackey draft as a whole was not acceptable to the Soviet Union, whereas the non-aligned draft, which provided for voluntary contributions, was acceptable.

Governor Stevenson commented the Soviet Union apparently did not like the idea of a fund. We did not particularly care about this point; nor did we care about the provision regarding the future. The main point now was to avoid a confrontation.

Mr. Gromyko stated the easiest way to proceed was to accept the Pazhwak draft.

Governor Stevenson said the Pazhwak draft would make us buy a pig in a poke. He wondered whether Mr. Gromyko could explain his understanding of it.

Mr. Gromyko said that when the General Assembly started working normally, all parties would make their contributions. However, the Soviet Union could not make any commitment because this would be contrary to the concept of voluntary contributions. The Soviet Union believed it had made a step of good will by accepting the idea of voluntary contributions, and he hoped that step would be appreciated. He reiterated that Quaison-Sackey’s draft was not acceptable, even though some of its provisions seemed to be all right. For example, the Soviet Union would not object to having a report by the Secretary General, even though it was not quite clear why such a provision was necessary since the Secretary General was free to report at any time.

[Page 704]

The Secretary suggested that the Soviet Delegation discuss the matter with Quaison-Sackey, who might have some further ideas.

Ambassador Fedorenko noted the U.S. had suggested a different wording for the reference to Article 19. He wondered what the point was.

Governor Stevenson said there was a difference between saying that Article 19 would not be raised and a wording merely referring to our desire to avoid confrontation. We did not see how one could state that a provision of the Charter should be ignored.

The Secretary pointed out it would be risky business if the Assembly were to be allowed to amend the Charter by a resolution of this kind.

Mr. Gromyko said he did not attach particular importance to phraseology, but he did wish to repeat that Quaison-Sackey’s draft was unacceptable.

Governor Stevenson asked again what the Soviet Union’s difficulty was with the draft which we believed met the points made by the Soviet side.

Mr. Gromyko said that as far as the Pazhwak draft was concerned, he did not wish to create constitutional difficulties and now saw the point raised by the U.S. regarding reference to Article 19. He said he would consider the U.S. suggested wording on this point. As to a report by the Secretary General, he reiterated he did not see why such a report was needed but was not strongly opposed to it. He thought perhaps provision for such a report might be included in the Pazhwak draft. He suggested that the Pazhwak draft be adopted as the basis for proceeding further and repeated that the Quaison-Sackey draft was not acceptable.

The Secretary said his impression was that Quaison-Sackey’s draft included a great deal of what was in the Pazhwak draft. Perhaps with amendments both sides had suggested the Quaison-Sackey draft would not create difficulties.

Mr. Gromyko reiterated the Quaison-Sackey draft was not acceptable. However, he did now understand the U.S. point regarding reference to Article 19. We should take the Pazhwak draft and perhaps change the language of the reference to Article 19 if the U.S. attached importance to that point. Moreover, if the U.S. believed it was important to have a report from the Secretary General, that could be considered too. The U.S. should think this over. As far as the Soviet Union was concerned, it had understood long ago the difficulties the U.S. had and this was why it had made this step of good will.

The Secretary pointed out we had also made a step to meet the Soviet Union in moving from compulsory to voluntary contributions.

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Mr. Gromyko argued that the Soviet step was greater because the Soviet Union now agreed to make a voluntary contribution.

The discussion then turned to Europe (see separate memorandum of conversation).4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files, CF 2449. Confidential. Drafted by Akalovsky on December 21 and approved in S on December 30. The memorandum is Part V of VI. The meeting was held at a luncheon in the Secretary’s Suite at the Waldorf Towers.
  2. The General Assembly president had been circulating various informal proposals for settlement of the Article 19 controversy.
  3. Reference is to one of a series of drafts being circulated by a group of states led by Afghanistan. The Mission to the United Nations had forwarded the latest version in telegram 1722 from New York, November 18. (Department of State, Mission to the United Nations, Subject Files, Reel 141, Frames 161–163)
  4. A copy of this memorandum of conversation is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files, CF 2449.