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


  • 20th General Assembly—Strategy Session

On Saturday, there was rather a large meeting in State to discuss strategy for the 20th General Assembly which is scheduled to start on September 21. Rusk chaired the meeting which included Ball, Goldberg (accompanied by assorted aides), Tommy Thompson, Mann, Butch Fisher,2 Rostow, a number of regional and functional Assistant Secretaries, and a healthy contingent from IO. Here are the major items of discussion.


Major U.S. Themes at the Session and the U.S. Opening Speech—The group discussed the themes we should try to sell at the General Assembly, sporadically linking this subject with the content of the U.S. opening speech—scheduled for delivery on September 23 by Goldberg, Rusk, or conceivably the President. Rostow said that we ought to get off the defensive and be as positive as we can. First, we should stress U.S. faith in self-determination and in government by the consent of the governed; in this context, we can even use the Dominican experience positively. Second, we [Page 798] should be forthcoming on disarmament—e.g., willing to share responsibility and willing to guarantee those who don’t have a nuclear capability. Third, we should take the lead in dramatizing the food part of the population explosion equation. Fourth, we should try to use the Great Society approach overseas. In this regard, it is important to note the major impact of the President’s August 17 Alliance for Progress speech in which he made a link between the Alliance and the Great Society.

Soapy Williams3 said that the theme of self-determination is an important one for Africa. He added that we may be able to do something dramatic in the area of health as well as in the area of food.

Butch Fisher described a number of disarmament proposals that could be made, many of which already had considerable interagency agreement.

Goldberg said that he likes all the general themes which have been described but added that what really makes an impact is a specific, hard proposal; it matters little whether it is big or small. One possibility is to offer something specific on food or health in our opening speech. Another possibility is to propose something in the way of linking our whole aid program to the UN—i.e., the UN, acting as a sort of clearing house, would come up with lists of projects from which the U.S. could pick and choose. To a certain extent, we are already doing this sort of thing with the Mekong. Mansfield’s proposal on Kashmir is also pertinent.

Tommy Thompson said that we can anticipate some strong Soviet attacks on “the U.S., which regards itself as the gendarme of the world.” We should get ready for these attacks.


Vietnam—The group discussed the recent article by Lin Piao. Goldberg said that the paper has caused great alarm among small countries and that we should hit it hard. Rostow said that we can focus on two points with respect to the paper. First, we can show how it is an obvious attempt to exploit small nations. Second, we can put a positive tone on our attack by making the pitch that the author is not a real revolutionary, that he is only a tactician and that we are the real revolutionaries.

Rusk said that, at the General Assembly, we must do a lot of lobbying with small nations on Vietnam. Moreover, we must give them a position which they can support—e.g., support of negotiations and the 1954 agreements.


Presidency of the General AssemblyGoldberg noted the present dilemma—in the wake of Article 19, we are anxious to keep the job away from the Eastern Europeans; our last best hope seems to be the West Europeans, but they are dancing around the issue and have not yet [Page 799] come up clearly with a candidate. Goldberg went on to describe an approach from the Yugoslavs. The Yugoslavs tell us that they want the job; they argue that they are not members of the Bloc and that they have paid their UN debts.

Rusk thought that this might not be as bad as it looks. A Yugoslav might, for a while at least, take care of East European demands for the Presidency; among East Europeans, we can hardly do better than a Yugoslav. Moreover, the rulings of the President of the Assembly are not so important with Article 19 in the ice-box. Sisco agreed, and noted that, in the past, Bloc chairmen of UN bodies have been very “correct.” Tony Solomon added that the Yugoslavs will be dependent on us for assist-ance over the next couple years.

The group decided to look more closely into the possibility of a Yugoslav in the Presidency. Among other things, we will have to check with the West Europeans, to whom we are committed if they come up with a candidate. Also, we will want to know whether a Yugoslav will or will not reduce future pressures for a “real” East European in the job.


Conference on Outer SpaceGoldberg, Sisco, and Meeker felt that we should respond affirmatively to a proposal for a Conference. This proposal has been in the works for a long time and we will be in a bad light if we don’t respond affirmatively; moreover, we have plenty to crow about in this field. Rostow and a NASA official pointed out that there are some drawbacks. Inter alia, the Conference will be proposed for 1967 and this year will probably be a good one for the Russians—it marks the 10th anniversary of Sputnik and the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Also, the rhythm of our space program as opposed to the Russian space program is such that we will probably not look our best in 1967.

The group agreed to study this one some more, keeping in mind the possibility of shifting the Conference to 1968. Rusk noted that, in this review, we should take a hard look at what such a conference will cost.


Kashmir 4Goldberg said that U Thant will probably be in Delhi on Sunday, that he will probably report back during the middle of the week and that the Security Council will probably focus on the issue on Friday (September 17), at the earliest. Goldberg went on to describe the New York atmosphere with regard to the Indian position—i.e., a cease-fire and then sweep the issue under the rug with no discussion of the underlying problem. First, Adebo5 had told the Indians that they will [Page 800] never get away with this position and that, when U Thant returns to New York, the Indians better be ready for some heat. Second, with the exception of the Russians, who are not entirely clear on this matter, everyone on the Security Council will be anxious to get involved in the underlying Kashmir issue. Sisco added that the Pakistanis always have the option of bringing the issue to the General Assembly, where there would be overwhelming support in favor of getting involved in the underlying issue.

Rostow (with Mann concurring) made the point that we have to be very careful how this one comes out—in effect, whatever comes out (a) should be politically tolerable for Shastri and (b) should not make it seem as though Ayub’s aggression “has worked,” and that he can “have all this and China too.” In this regard, we should work on ways of putting Kashmir in a larger package, which will include a few costs for Pakistan.

World Disarmament ConferenceGoldberg pointed out that there is strong sentiment for this sort of a Conference in the General Assembly and that we probably can’t head it off. We should work hard in channeling this sentiment into the direction we want.

Chinese RepresentationGoldberg said that USUN is more pessimistic than Washington and thinks that our chances are no better than 50–50 that we will be able to win a simple majority. We may well have to rely on the “important question” route. And, if this happens, we better watch out—the psychological impact of losing a simple majority could change the whole Chirep equation. Goldberg went on to say that we ought to be doing some very hard thinking on this entire question.

Some members of the group noted that the present particularly bellicose attitude of the Chinese should help us on this issue. Others disagreed, noting that some General Assembly delegates feel that this is precisely why the Chinese should be in the UN.


UN FinancesGoldberg said that there is support in the Secretariat for using the miscellaneous income of the UN to pay off the bonds; assessments could be increased to make up for this transfer. Rusk noted that this is a flim-flam which the Russians will put up with only if they want to. Goldberg thought that the Soviets might be willing—in view of the facts (a) that the Secretariat is pushing the idea and (b) that it is probable that the Secretariat has already sounded out the Russians on the question.

With regard to the annual UNEF expenses, Ambassador Yost noted that we would like to cut down the annual cost from $18 million to $10 or $11 million and that we would like to arrange it so that this is an assessment, or at least an apportionment. Rusk said that this is precisely the kind of problem that should be thrown to the Secretary-General. We are not the bill-collector for the UN.


South Africa and ApartheidGoldberg said that we must do something about our posture on this issue and went on to propose that the U.S. Government announce publicly a voluntary program to curb U.S. investment in South Africa. The proposal brought forth a number of reservations. Rusk said that moving into the human rights field with sanctions poses some tough problems and wondered what we are prepared to do about, for instance, Eastern Europe, Liberia, and countries with one-party regimes. Ball said that we could not expect the British to join us in this effort, and that the South Africans would surely retaliate in one way or another; as a matter of fact, there might be actions South Africa could take in the economic field that would really hurt. Ball went on to say that a voluntary program wouldn’t work anyway. Others noted the ambiguity of the Africans themselves, some of whom still trade with South Africa.

Goldberg rebutted. It is true that we can’t solve all the human rights problems of the world, but apartheid is something special; its enormity makes it so. We simply must square our position on this issue with our efforts in this area in our own country. And remember, we are not talking about sanctions but about a voluntary program. Soapy Williams supported Goldberg, noting that such a program would make us a lot more credible with the Africans. He went on to rebut the argument that such a voluntary program wouldn’t work. Among other things, he said that banks are frequently asked by potential investors about prospects in South Africa and that the banks, at present, cannot discourage these people because “the Government has not taken a stance.” Williams went on to say that his talks with one big investor—Engelhart (phonetic)6—indicate that he probably would not have gone in to South Africa had he clearly known our views.

Rusk and the General AssemblyRusk said that he plans to be in New York for about ten days.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 2. Secret. Copies were sent to Bator, Cooper, Johnson, Keeny, and Komer.
  2. Llewellyn Thompson, Thomas Mann, and Adrian Fisher.
  3. G. Mennen Williams.
  4. The long simmering Indo-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir escalated into armed conflict on September 1 when Pakistani forces attacked Indian positions. For documentation regarding U.S. efforts to achieve a cease-fire, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XXV. After prolonged talks, the two states agreed to and implemented a cease-fire on September 22.
  5. Chief S.O. Adebo of the Nigerian delegation to the General Assembly, Chairman of the Fifth Committee’s Working Group.
  6. Presumably Charles W. Englehard, Jr.