377. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

3079. Subject: UN Peacekeeping and Attitude of SYG.

Yost expressed to Bunche yesterday our view that it is important that work of Comite of 33 be commenced promptly and be pushed forward vigorously. We expressed hope SYG wld cooperate in this endeavor and mentioned that Fanfani might be most effective chairman of Comite if he is available.

Bunche agreed most heartily. He went on to say that he has been attempting for some time to persuade SYG that UN peacekeeping is in state of most acute crisis that he, Bunche, has ever seen during his long tenure and that, unless it can be promptly revived, there is grave risk that it may almost entirely fade away. He added however that he has been unable to convince either SYG or Rolz-Bennett that situation is so serious.

Part of Bunche’s discouragement arises from fact that, since Fedorenko attacked SYG publicly in SC for his action in India-Pak operation,2 Thant has been unwilling to take even the most minor sort of action, in supplying either manpower or equipment to UNMOGIP and UNIPOM, without seeking prior clearance from SC and, since to do so wld probably lead to embarrassing debate, it has proved impossible to do practically anything in this respect.

Yost pointed out that Sovs had for a period of weeks endeavored to persuade Council to take action which wld bind SYG in this way but that Council had refused to do so and hence had in effect rejected any such modus operandi. Bunche agreed entirely and said that he had made this point repeatedly to SYG but without effect.

He added in strictest confidence that Thant is simply too good-natured and too “soft” to deal effectively with peacekeeping crisis which now exists. He, Bunche, has definitely decided to leave UN in Feb 1967 when his commitment to Thant expires. It was clear that his determination to do so arises from his frustration in current situation.

Yost asked whether he thought Thant expects to seek another term. Bunche replied that he believes Thant wld much prefer to retire but that, on the other hand, in view of hostile situation in Burma, it wld [Page 827] probably be impossible for him to return there, and he might therefore feel that, having no place to retire to without loss of face, he might end up by staying where he is.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 3. Confidential; Exdis.
  2. Made during the October 25–28, 1965, Security Council debate on the Kashmir issue. The Soviet delegate accused the UN of overstepping its authority.