343. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • UN Problems

On Friday afternoon,2 you will be meeting with Rusk, Stevenson, and Cleveland to discuss some basic UN problems. Pending receipt of what is likely to be substantial State documentation,3 you might want to scan the following brief preview.


State will recommend that you transmit to the Senate, for ratification, the first amendments to the UN Charter since 1945. The amendments, primarily of benefit to the Afro/Asians, would enlarge the Security Council from 11 to 15 Members and ECOSOC from 18 to 27 Members.

In support of the substantive case, State will probably cite such factors as the following: First, the UN has grown from 51 to 114 Members in the past 20 years and the new Members demand more adequate representation. Second, the U.S. has consistently supported enlargement since the matter was first raised in 1956. Third, if there is no enlargement, the Afro/Asians will increasingly “raid” W. European and Latin American seats in the two organizations. Fourth, the new voting alignment in the Security Council will not differ materially from the present line-up and is probably the best we can get. As for ECOSOC, while the alignment could be better, we are not really worried, especially in view of the fact that all ECOSOC can do is make recommendations.

State, in discussing the tactical side of this issue, will recommend that you send the amendments to the Senate in early spring. First, the General Assembly, which adopted the amendments in December, 1963, has set a target of September 1, 1965, for ratification by Members. Second, ratification by other countries is proceeding apace. 60 of the necessary 76 have already ratified; of the Permanent Members of the Security Council (all of whom must ratify), the Russians have reversed their previous position, primarily because of Afro/Asian pressure, and have ratified; the British are willing but, out of courtesy, are presently waiting for us; the Chinese and French, in the end, will also probably ratify. [Page 746] Third, if we fail to submit the amendments to the Senate this spring, we are likely to bear exclusive blame for delaying the coming into force of the amendments and for the Afro/Asian “raids” which are likely to ensue. Fourth, there is bound to be a debate on the Hill this year about the UN; the Charter amendments in the Senate provide a better framework for this debate than, say appropriations in the House. Fifth, recent consultations indicate that the Senate will probably ratify the amendments.

State will probably also want to brief you on the Article 19 situation. Present thinking seems to be that the best way out of the present financial crisis is to set up a voluntary fund to collect about $100 million. While this fund will not ostensibly be related to the Article 19 problem, the Article 19 problem will be avoided if the Russians come through with a sufficiently substantial contribution. Some say the chances are about 50–50 that the Russians will come through. In any event, the establishment of such a fund is probably the best way to build up pressure on the Soviets between now and the reconvening of the 19th General Assembly on September 1.

If the Soviets do not pay enough, we must then face the issue of whether or not to try and apply Article 19 when the Assembly convenes in September. Since experience in the last session showed that practically no one wants a confrontation, our wisest course in September might be simply to indicate (a) that this is a decision for the Assembly to make, (b) that we hope the Assembly will uphold its mandatory financial authority and impartially apply Article 19, and (c) that, if the sense of the Assembly is otherwise, we will draw the consequences for our own future contributions. In short, we would not invoke Article 19 and assume no one else would do so.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 1. Confidential.
  2. March 12.
  3. Not further identified.