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


  • Situation Report on the UN Financial Crisis

Harlan Cleveland spent the day with the Mission in New York yesterday drawing up plans for the period between now and January 18 when the GA is scheduled to reopen. With U Thant in the Virgin Islands and Quaison-Sackey in Palm Beach, it was agreed that we should begin this week to work hard bilaterally with the Russians in both Washington and New York. Stevenson and Plimpton have been in town today working out further details with the Department. The following views will be taken to the Secretary this afternoon:

It was agreed that we should begin immediately to destroy any hope on the part of the Afro-Asians that the Pazhwak Plan (which would set aside Article 19) will be acceptable to us.

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In addition, it was agreed that a Department Circular2 or a message from the Secretary should be sent out within the next day or so making it fully clear that there will be a confrontation when the GA reconvenes unless an adequate payment has been made. The circular also would say that if there is a confrontation and Article 19 is not upheld—i.e., if we lose—then we will be compelled to make a reassessment of our entire financial relationship to the UN; but avoid getting into details because Congress would have to be consulted.

Foy Kohler and Stevenson dined with Dobrynin last evening when the whole matter of Article 19 was discussed. According to Stevenson, the pitch he and Kohler took was to impress upon Dobrynin that the time had come, during the GA recess, to solve the problem if a confrontation was to be avoided. Dobrynin listened and said he would report their views to Moscow. (Kohler returns to Moscow later this week and hopes to see Gromyko next Tuesday.)3

There also has been some discussion of requesting the President to intervene by sending a message to Kosygin. I have discouraged this, for the time being, on two counts: (1) the Department must once again, here and in posts abroad, make our position clear to the members of the Organization; (2) January 18, when the GA is scheduled to reconvene, is on the eve of the Inauguration and this is scarcely the time to involve the President personally in a confrontation with Russians.

On the assumption that the Russians do not pay up by January 18, my prediction is that the Afro-Asians again will find a way to avoid a confrontation with the Russians. This they could do either by postponing the opening of the GA until later (March 1 already has been mentioned) or by continuing to do what business they can do on a “no objection” basis. Neither course embues the Organization with very much nobility, but short of adequate Soviet payment, this is probably what will happen.

I also should add an encouraging note from the French Delegation (the Financial Counselor) who has said that the French intend to pay up. However, whether this intention is shared by De Gaulle remains a crucial unknown.

Samuel E. Belk 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Article 19, Vol. 2. Confidential.
  2. Circular telegram 1225, January 7. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, UN 10–4)
  3. January 13; see Document 328.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.