420. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

890. UN/Convention Privileges and Immunities.2

During meetings with members of Congress for Peace Through Law held here last Friday,3 question of accession to convention on P & I was discussed. Advice from Senator Clark (only attending Senator) and House members was (a) that Executive Branch should submit, (b) that submission “as a treaty” was desirable, and (c) that there was much better chance to get 2/3 vote in Senate than majority in each body.
Fact that convention was sent up 20 years ago as companion piece to headquarters agreement in form of joint res was not considered to be persuasive on method to be followed now and House members felt that using different method now would not provoke controversy in House. Rationale is simple, i.e. except that it was part of a package then, it would have been sent up as a treaty and this appears to be proper method now.
Sen Clark emphasized that treaties should be ratified by body where they properly belonged. House members appeared to feel this might well relieve House of “hot potatoe” in view of present mood of House outside Foreign Affairs Committee.
Strongly recommend Dept review proposed method, conduct additional soundings in Senate immediately, and, unless there persuasive evidence to contrary, that convention be forwarded soonest.
As Dept fully aware, I attach great importance to submission and accession to this convention. It appears that we have strong support now in Senate Foreign Relations Committee: during and subsequent to Senate Foreign Relations Committee visit this spring, Fulbright and others indicated support. Passage in Senate—unless soundings surprisingly negative—seems likely if we are united in our support. Subject to result of sounding, I am willing undertake further discussions with President.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 8. Confidential; Exdis.
  2. See Document 372.
  3. September 15.