413. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations1
Washington, March 15, 1967, 5:42 p.m.
155593. Subject: UN Peacekeeping—Committee of 33. Following summarizes our objectives and strategy re peacekeeping for Committee of 33 and Special GA as developed in March 13 discussions in Department between IO (Assistant Secretary Sisco and staff) and USUN (Ambassadors Buffum and Finger):
- We believe it would be useful for special GA to (a) adopt Canadian resolution as way of maintaining prospects for future peacekeeping and of laying groundwork for non-mandatory special scale, and (b) terminate Committee of 33. However, in view continued Soviet and French objections we recognize likelihood that GA majority will back away from showdown on peacekeeping. In any event we do not consider key elements of Canadian res involve US interests so directly as to warrant lobbying efforts on our part. Our primary objective is to maintain practical peacekeeping prospects rather than to reaffirm existing residual GA role.
- Consequently, US posture in Cmte 33 should be continued support for approach in Canadian res, recognizing however it is Canadian initiative on which they should take lead while we remain in background. Similarly, it is up to non-aligned to come up with proposals [Page 894] they believe could serve as basis for accommodation on peacekeeping. US prominence could have backlash effect by making bridging of differences more difficult. We should indicate our readiness to examine specific proposals by nonaligned but underscore that, as history Cmte 33 indicates, stumbling block has been Soviet-French intransigence and that absent constructive response from them US reserving position.
- Future of Committee of 33. We see no advantage in continuation Cmte 33. We will wish to work toward termination of Cmte 33 in special GA, irrespective of whether Canadian resolution or something like it is adopted.
- Authorization and Constitutional Elements. While we continue to adhere to principles in preambular paras of Canadian res we see no advantage in attempting formulate in more precise terms complementary GA-SC roles. Any attempt at redefinition of competence of GA could curtail peacekeeping possibilities. How far GA can go will be determined case-by-case. Also, since we have misgivings about possibility future undesirable GA action in this area we prefer leave limits ambiguous.
- Future Financing. This is one area in which Cmte 33, through finance working group, could take constructive step of examining various proposals for non-mandatory special scale, such as UNEF, R–18,2 Jamaican formula,3 etc. While we are prepared search for reliable and equitable formula, initiative should remain with others. As in past, a variety of methods will be used, depending on circumstances. We support widest possible sharing, along lines UNEF-type special scale, R–18 formula, etc. It must be clear that such presumptive apportionment is non-obligatory and that any agreement on this does not prejudice Goldberg reservation of August 1965.
- Indian proposal that Cmte 33 examine financing for SC-authorized operations (USUN 4179)4 may have possibilities if Soviets could be induced to discuss it seriously which we doubt since it leaves formal apportionment to GA. In first instance non-aligned should direct their attention to Soviets and attempt engage them in discussion of particulars. (At same time we would not want to leave impression that we could consider any scheme that impairs GA prerogative in financing, though SC could have recommendatory role.)
- We oppose suggestions that Cmte 33 focus on Article 43 talks since this province of SC. As indicated in SPC and in our support of [Page 895] Canadian res, we can acquiesce in proposals for SC to explore prospects for Article 43 agreements. However, Article 43 forces are for use in enforcement action and do not meet problem of manning consent-type peacekeeping. If there is general agreement in Cmte 33 on eliminating para 4 we could acquiesce, provided Article 43 provision also dropped.
- UN Deficit and Voluntary Financing. We oppose moves by Cuevas and others (a) to focus Cmte 33 on UN deficit by encouraging voluntary contributions or (b) to consider in context Cmte 33 method for servicing bonds or other contentious items in the regular budget. Apart from strong misgivings we have about specific suggestions made by Cuevas (USUN 4313),5 considered in next para, responsiveness by us or others to such suggestions could turn Cmte 33 into engine of pressure on US to make contribution and to make unacceptable concessions re present arrangements for bond servicing, as well as compromising special missions item in regular budget. It could also lend support to suggestions for breaking down budget into administrative and operational expenses, with special rules and scales to govern operational costs. Consequently, we should discourage Cuevas from making such proposals in Cmte 33.
- We have following specific objections to Cuevas proposal (USUN 4313):
- In principle servicing bonds through miscellaneous income is not to our disadvantage if necessary safeguards applied to ensure that bond servicing remains charge on regular budget and at regular scale rates. But it is totally unrealistic to assume that Soviets would agree to consider this proposal except on basis of concessions by us that are out of question. Effect of Cuevas move would be to spur attempt to pull bonds out of the regular budget, apply special scale, and generally compromise integrity of bond repayment. We therefore oppose any Cmte 33 action on bonds.
- While in principle we see advantages in excluding $6.4 million TA item from regular budget, we doubt this could be done without at the same time excluding contentious peacekeeping items and bond repayments from regular budget. Elimination from regular budget of peacekeeping items would erode principle of collective financing for peacekeeping, might lead to attempts to apply special scale to such small operations, and could stir up sensitivities re sharing of costs between parties concerned (for example UNTSO).
- We oppose any proposal to meet deficit out of regular budget surpluses, since this is equivalent to US contribution to tune of 31% of [Page 896] entire deficit. Our position on possible US contribution remains that set forth in State 145141.6
- In sum we should refrain from taking lead in Cmte 33, while indicating our support for Canadian resolution and readiness to discuss non-aligned proposals. We would hope by remaining in background we might establish cooling off period in differences with Soviets over peacekeeping, perhaps improving possibilities for future dialogue. However, we see no possibilities for useful US-Soviet discussions on peacekeeping at this time.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 37–4 UN. Confidential. Drafted by Pelcovits; cleared in OIA, USUN, UNP, and EUR; and approved by Sisco.↩
- Apparently the 18-power resolution approved by the General Assembly on December 19, 1966; for text, see UN doc. 2220 (XXI).↩
- For texts of two proposals made November 30, and adopted by the Special Committee on December 14, 1966, see A/SPC/L 133 and Rev. 1.↩
- Dated March 1. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–4 UN)↩
- Dated March 10. (Ibid.) Francesco Cuevos Cancino of the Mexican delegation served as chairman of the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.↩
- Dated February 23; it evaluated the domestic political impact of a special U.S. contribution to assist the United Nations. (Ibid., UN 10)↩