365. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts 1

248. US Position on Article 19. Amb. Goldberg stating US position on Article 19 in Cmte of 33 on afternoon Aug. 16. In addition to speech which will be carried Wireless Bulletin,2 you should draw upon following for guidance in informing govt to which you accredited of US position.

FYI: In light consultations and proceedings Cmte 33 (Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations), we conclude that requisite majority not available support enforcement Article 19 against USSR and France when GA resumes. We believe it not in our interests any longer carry ball on Article 19. Even closest allies are changing course and number have informed us they unwilling support us any further. End FYI.
Following are main points in our statement Cmte 33:
Principle of collective financial responsibility and right of GA to assess for “expenses of the Organization” under Article 17 is clear. Art 19 clearly applies to Congo and Middle East peacekeeping assessments.
We continue adhere to Articles 17 and 19, and believe various GA decisions taken to establish and finance peacekeeping and to protect GA prerogatives were sound and remain valid.
However, responsibility for protecting GA assessment power rests on membership at large. Issue of applicability Art 19 in this situation is for GA to decide. From history of 19th GA and membership attitudes we conclude that at this state GA not disposed apply loss-of-vote sanction to present situation.
“The United States adheres to the position that Article 19 is applicable in the present circumstances. It is clear, however, that we are faced with a simple and inescapable fact of life which I have cited. Moreover, every parliamentary body must decide, in one way or another, the issues that come before it; otherwise, it will have no useful existence, and soon no life. Therefore, without prejudice to the position that Article 19 is applicable, the United States recognizes, as it must, that the General Assembly is not prepared to apply Article 19 in the present situation and that the consensus of the membership is that the Assembly should proceed normally. We will not seek to frustrate that consensus, since it is not in the world interest to have the work of the General Assembly immobilized in these troubled days. At the same time, we must make clear that if any Member can insist on making an exception to the principle of collective financial responsibility with respect to certain activities of the Organization, the United States reserves the same option to make exceptions if, in our view, strong and compelling reasons exist for doing so. There can be no double standard among the members of the Organization.”
Important this not be interpreted as retreat or capitulation by US on principles involved. We adhere to position Art 19 applicable in present circumstances and we disclaim responsibility for GA’s attitude which had developed contrary to views we still hold valid. Responsibility for decision not to enforce Art 19 rests on Membership. We prepared see principle collective financial responsibility put into practice to extent requisite majority will support. But if principle not upheld by GA there can be no double standard.
We believe UN must not be hamstrung and that its full capacities for peace, including residual GA peacekeeping powers, must be available, particularly at this time of world tensions.
No attempt should be made to elaborate or speculate on fuller meaning of our action or reservation we making re future as set forth [Page 793]in Cmte 33 statement, para 2d, above. Wording carefully designed put responsibility for applying Art 19 on shoulders GA, reserve options for future, maintain flexibility re exceptions we might make in future re payment for certain activities “if, in our view, strong and compelling reasons exist for doing so.”
On related aspects following is our position:
We oppose cancelling or reducing debts of delinquents directly or indirectly even though these debts remain uncollectable.
UN still has problem of restoring solvency. Every effort should be made to raise sufficient funds, especially from those who have not contributed to UN peacekeeping operations.
We are willing to join in helping strengthen UN and assist in future peacekeeping operations. If raised, you should say that there are no present plans for the US to make a voluntary contribution.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, Administrative Histories, Department of State During the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, Vol. 2, Part 5. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Pelcovits on August 16; cleared in AF, NEA, EUR, ARA, UNP, and L/UNA; and approved by Sisco.
  2. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, September 13, 1965, pp. 454–457.