346. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • UN Peacekeeping


  • UK Side
    • Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart
    • Sir Harold Caccia, Permanent Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office
    • Michael Stewart, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., British Embassy
    • R.S. Crawford, Assistant Under Secretary, Foreign Office
    • Michael Hadow, Counselor, Foreign Office
    • J.N. Henderson, Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
    • John Harris, Special Assistant to the Foreign Secretary
  • US Side
    • The Secretary
    • Ambassador Bruce
    • William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary, EUR
    • Harlan Cleveland, Assistant Secretary, IO
    • Richard I. Phillips, Deputy Assistant Secretary, P
    • J. Harold Shullaw, Director, BNA

Foreign Secretary Stewart gave his impressions of the current Soviet position on UN peacekeeping and Article 19 in the light of his conversations in London last week with Gromyko. Mr. Stewart said that Gromyko had made it quite clear that the Soviet Union is not disposed to take advice from anyone on the size of its voluntary contribution and is adamant in its insistence that there can be no peacekeeping operation against the will of a permanent member of the Security Council.

The Secretary commented that what the Soviet Union is attempting to do is to amend the Charter by interpreting the “primary” responsibility of the Security Council in peacekeeping to mean “exclusive” responsibility. He reiterated our view that the General Assembly should retain its residual peacekeeping powers. Mr. Cleveland said that there is a danger that the General Assembly may be prepared to downgrade its authority in return for a Soviet payment. The Secretary called attention to the problem which would be created if the Soviets were to make a substantial contribution but a contribution insufficient to satisfy the Article 19 requirement.

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The Secretary emphasized the importance in any discussions of peacekeeping arrangements under Article 43 of the Charter of keeping within the existing UN framework. Otherwise the discussions could be used by the Russians to strengthen their contention regarding exclusive Security Council responsibility for peacekeeping activities. Mr. Stewart repeated his view that the Soviet Union will stick to its position on the question of exclusive jurisdiction. Mr. Cleveland commented that in his opinion it is not in our interest nor in the interest of the Soviet Union to negotiate a peacekeeping compromise based on Article 43. The Uniting for Peace resolution still permits a majority of the General Assembly in a given situation to recommend peacekeeping action when the Security Council fails to do so. Mandatory assessments for peacekeeping, however, probably would not be practicable for the immediate future.

In discussing whether there should be two separate peacekeeping funds to take care of the existing situation, the Secretary and Mr. Stewart agreed that it might be helpful to the Secretary General to confuse the situation by having one rather than two funds. Mr. Stewart recalled that Gromyko had implied the Soviet Union in making its voluntary contribution would prescribe the purpose for which it was to be used. At the same time Gromyko had made a vague reference to the ability of the Secretary General to make exchanges between his right and his left pockets. It was agreed at the suggestion of the Secretary that Mr. Cleveland would talk with the British about the best means of handling the fund question. The Secretary recommended a pragmatic Anglo-American approach to the problem.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 347, CF 2482. Secret. Drafted by Shullaw and approved in S on March 31. The memorandum is Part 1 of 5. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s Conference Room.