326. Editorial Note

During the weeks prior to the opening of the ICAO Assembly in June 1965, South Africa and Portugal sought to rally support and prevent their expulsion from the organization. On June 2, 1965, the South Africans submitted an aide-mémoire to the Department of State, in part arguing: “The expulsion of a member state from such a technical organisation in circumstances where the United Nations itself has not attempted such a step would not only be contrary to the spirit and letter of the convention of ICAO, but most certainly also to the purposes to which ICAO was established.” (South African aide-mémoire, June 2; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, AV 3 ICAO)

Portugal also asked the Department for support. On June 17 Assistant Secretary Sisco assured the Portuguese Minister that the U.S. position was “to oppose political discussions in and attempts to preempt UN political powers by UN technical organs,” and “to oppose unconstitutional resolutions seeking to exclude members or otherwise encumber their membership.” (Memorandum of conversation, June 17; ibid.)

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Before the conference, on June 9 British officials visited the Department to lay out their intended course of action and to explain that they were making similar approaches to other European states and to other members of the Commonwealth. (Memorandum of conversation, June 9; ibid.) According to the Embassy in Bonn, the Germans expressed “apprehension” over the growing political activities of the LDCs within UN specialized agencies, but “US counter-action has been muted, however, by recognition that active initiative against African exclusion maneuvers in any one agency (over Afro-Asian-Communist voting bloc of nearly two-thirds members) likely result in cumulative Afro-Asian opposition to Western interests in more crucial situation. Our experience has shown most Western states have reached same conclusion and are most reluctant to take any lead to block Afro-Asian drive against Portugal and South Africa.” (Telegram 3826 from Bonn, June 18; ibid.)