382. Intelligence Information Cable1

TDCS DB–315/01304–66


  • United Nations/USSR


  • Early May 1966


  • Comment of Soviet Employee of UN Secretariat on Soviet support for U Thant’s reelection and on Soviet desires for personnel changes in the Secretariat


  • [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] (3 May 1966)

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

[3 lines of source text not declassified]

[3 lines of source text not declassified] said in early May 1966 that the USSR will support the reelection of U Thant as United Nations Secretary General. The USSR does not regard U Thant highly, he said, but it sees no alternative candidates. The USSR does not wish to cause a fight on this issue.
If U Thant stays in office [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] believes he will revamp the personnel in the United Nations Secretariat. The USSR wants the retirement of Ralph J. Bunche as Under-Secretary for Special Political Affairs and Paul Hoffman as director of the United Nations Special Fund. The USSR also wishes the removal of some other Americans and Western Europeans from the Secretary. The USSR will urge U Thant to appoint more officials from Socialist countries, but not the USSR, to the Secretariat. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] said, as an example, that not one Cuban was employed in the higher echelons of the United Nations.

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] commented that if the United Nations Chef de Cabinet C.V. Narasimhan resigns, present Under-Secretary for Special Political Affairs Jose Rolz-Bennett would be a likely candidate to replace him. If Rolz-Bennett is promoted, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] believes the present Mexican permanent representative to the United Nations, Francisco Cuevas Cancino, would be a prospective candidate for the position as Under-Secretary in [Page 834] Charge of the Office of Public Information. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] spoke highly of Cuevas Cancino.

[1 heading and 1 paragraph (3–1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

USUN 47032 dated 2 May 1966 to State reported that Daris Jhabvala, a New York Herald Tribune correspondent, told a mission officer that he has heard that C.V. Narasimhan will leave the UN Secretariat soon and that the Government of India is requesting his services.
Another source who has reported accurately in the past on contacts with the Soviets, but who also seems to reflect the Soviet “line”, said on 28 April 1966 that, according to a “report” he had heard from unnamed persons (whom he insisted were not Soviets), the Soviets recently discussed a second term with Secretary General U Thant and attached the following conditions for their support:
C.V. Narasimhan should no longer retain the dual responsibility of Under-Secretary for General Assembly Affairs and Chef de Cabinet. The Soviets feel that Narasimhan has too much influence on the Secretary General and they wish his functions split, with Narasimhan retaining the position of Chef de Cabinet and someone else taking the portfolio of Under-Secretary for General Assembly Affairs.
The Secretary General in the future should be counselled by an advisory board that could consist of Ralph Bunche, Jose Rolz-Bennett Narasimhan, and Aleksey Nestorenko. (Headquarters Comment. Bunche and Rolz-Bennett are both Under-Secretaries for Special Political Affairs and Nestorenko is Under-Secretary for Political and Security Council Affairs.) The Soviets claim that Nestorenko is never “brought upstairs” by the Secretary General for major policy discussions. The Soviets, according to this “report,” would seem to prefer cabinet type meetings giving them a chance to know what others are saying. The Soviets do not feel that they have an appropriate voice in the Secretary General’s formulation of his policy decisions. According to this same “report,” the Secretary General found the Soviet conditions unacceptable and told the Soviets that if they had a better candidate to offer for his position, they should do so. The source concluded his account of this “report” by saying that the Soviets obviously do not question the Secretary General’s sincerity and have no one else to offer as a candidate.
Field Dissem: None. Also sent USUN.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 3. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem; No Dissem Abroad, Background Use Only. Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency.
  2. This telegram reported on personnel changes in the UN Secretariat. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, UNP-3)