321. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations1

1451. Subject: Proposed Human Rights Conference in 1968. Ref: urtel 2054;2 Deptel 1214.3 For Williams.

Caradon position deeply disturbing.4 It appears to Dept. drift is toward big human rights conference in 1968 with considerable risk irresponsible use conference platform for race and other propaganda issues. Quite aside from advantage in costs, which important in view many other demands on UN budget, we believe meeting along lines Deptel 1214 would be more likely provide responsible and practical discussions of how to advance human rights across the board in line Charter objectives. Decision by International Year Committee in favor conference-type meeting held during period GA and under its aegis would be important step forward; in light US-UK-Turkey-Costa Rica leadership in subcommittee discussion,UK withdrawal from GA framework position will greatly enhance prospects conference outside GA.

Believe situation justifies your talking personally with Caradon to obtain his thinking and if necessary assure UK position remains flexible until further exchange views can be arranged.5 We believe you should try out in particular variant described in last para of Deptel 1214.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SOC 14. Limited Official Use; Priority. Drafted by R. Nason (IO/OES), cleared by William J. Stibravy (OES), and approved by J. Sisco (IO).
  2. Dated December 8. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated November 18. (Ibid.)
  4. U.S. diplomats learned from their British counterparts that the British delegation was “under firm instructions not to alienate Amb. Richardson (Jamaica), who is chief proponent of conf., though UK Govt. does not at present favor conf.” Richardson had made a strong démarche to Lord Caradon and, as a result, “UK ‘running out’ on US in regard to conf.” The State Department was disturbed since USUN had reported that there were indications that Richardson had been prepared to accept the U.S. proposal for a conference during the General Assembly. (Telegram 2054 from USUN, December 8; ibid.)
  5. In a meeting on December 14, “Speaking for himself, Caradon expressed enthusiastic support for Amb. Richardson’s (Jamaica) proposal, and indicated it difficult persuade him otherwise. He said it important UN be seen ‘doing more’ in field of HR… . He thought positive action in HR field would help image of UN in UK,” USUN reported. Like Richardson, Lord Caradon believed that a conference concurrent with the General Assembly session would not get enough attention. He told the Americans that he was going to London “to seek instructions in favor of independent conf, including commitment on financing.” (Telegram 2154 from USUN, December 14; ibid.)