336. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Article 19

The following reports on Article 19 events over the past few days and indicates where we now seem to be heading:

On Wednesday,2 there was a bit of a flurry in the U.S. Government when the Russians in New York seemed interested in finding solution to the Article 19 controversy. Tab 13 reflects the apparent Russian interest.4 (Stevenson saw the President alone at noon on Thursday and, reportedly, the Article 19 situation was reviewed.)5
With a break in the dispute seemingly a possibility, on Thursday evening, the Department instructed USUN to approach the Russians6 (to be followed by an approach in Moscow) to see whether, in fact, the Soviets were seriously interested in any of three possible solutions. The Department’s instruction are attached at Tab 2.
On Friday, Stevenson talked to Fedorenko and proposed the three possible solutions. The upshot of the talks was a cold shower for our side; Fedorenko knocked down immediately and forcefully all three solutions and ruled out a possible change in the Soviet position. In its report of the Stevenson/Fedorenko conversation (at Tab 3),7 USUN went on to recommend that Ambassador Kohler not take this matter up with Gromyko since such a step would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
On Saturday, Ambassador Kohler reported (Tab 4)8 his agreement with the USUN view that he should not take the matter up with Gromyko. On the same day, Kohler had second thoughts (Tab 5)9 and [Page 736] suggested that Rusk talk to Dobrynin in Washington. (As of this writing, State was still considering this possibility.)

As of noon on Saturday (before the second cable from Kohler), State’s rough guess for the future scenario was as follows:

On Monday (February 8), the Assembly will convene at 3:00 P.M. The Secretary General will recommend that the General Assembly take action, by the “no objection” procedure, on 4 or 5 items (e.g., elections to fill 6 vacancies in ECOSOC; appeals for payments towards the 1965 budget).
The Assembly will then probably recess for a few days. During this period 2 items will be thrashed out: First, the General Assembly will have to decide on how long the adjournment should be. If there must be an adjournment, we, the Latinos, and West Europeans are generally in favor of a short adjournment with a specific end in sight (May 1); we want to keep pressure on the Russians. U Thant seems to prefer to not set a date. The Africans, who once seemed to want a short adjournment, now seem to be favoring a longer adjournment; they feel that it will cost too much money to meet in May, go home, and then come back again for the fall session. The Russians probably don’t care as between May or September; their primary concern (as is ours) is to not get tagged with the blame for causing the adjournment. Second, the group will have to decide on the type of forum to be used to carry on the talks about Article 19. The Western group prefers that the Committee of 21 take on the Article 19 problem—because the membership could simply not be better from our point of view. For roughly the same reasons, the Soviets prefer to have Article 19 discussions held in a smaller group.

The General Assembly will probably meet on Friday and decide to adjourn until May or September.10

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Article 19, Vol. 2. Secret. Bundy wrote “Good work” at the top of the memorandum.
  2. February 3.
  3. None of the tabs was found attached.
  4. Reported in telegram 3059 from New York, February 3. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Article 19, Vol. 2)
  5. See footnote 3, Document 334.
  6. Telegram 1945 to New York, February 4. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Nations, Article 19, Vol. 2)
  7. See footnote 3, Document 335.
  8. See footnote 2, Document 335.
  9. Document 335.
  10. The General Assembly adjourned its work on February 18 and set September 1 for renewal of its discussions. No agreement had been reached on the Article 19 dispute.