327. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts in South and Central America1

2550. Subject: 15th Assembly of International Civil Aviation Organization. Anticipate African initiative in ICAO Assembly beginning Montreal 23 June to expel or suspend South Africa and possibly Portugal, or otherwise restrict rights of membership in ICAO. Given importance this UN technical agency to international air system standards and recommended practices and necessity insuring technical agency focuses on technical program, Embassy should as appropriate indicate US will oppose any such political action which is both improper and unconstitutional, as well as which pre-empts functions UNGA and SC, and expresses hope LA Dels will be doing likewise.

Would hope negative vote be cast both on any res or motion attempting unconstitutionally expel or suspend member or otherwise restrict [Page 574] rights of membership and on any amendment to Convention which would have this effect.2 Since amendment to Convention would require two-thirds majority of members present and voting, excluding abstentions, Latin American negative votes, rather than abstentions, likely determine outcome of issue.3

Repeat telegrams reporting reactions to Montreal.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, AV 3 ICAO. Confidential. Drafted by Robert H. Edwards (IO); cleared by Wagner (AF), Robert L. Funseth, Buffum, George N. Monsma (ARA), John L. Hargrove (L/UNA), Jack R. Johnstone (OES), and Gravatt (OA/AL); and approved by Sisco. Sent to Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Panama, San Jose, La Paz, Quito, Guatemala, San Salvador, Mexico, Managua, Santiago, Lima, and Caracas, and repeated to Montreal.
  2. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay all voted negatively or abstained in roll-call votes on South Africa. Venezuela “consistently” voted for expulsion, and Costa Rica changed its vote to one of support for the resolution after an appeal from Guinea. The United States and its allies were unable to prevent the motion to expel from the agenda. (Report of the U.S. delegation to the 15th session of the ICAO Assembly, June 22–July 16; ibid.)
  3. When it became apparent that expulsion would be on the agenda, the U.S. delegation suggested that the Department again approach the South American states that had abstained. (Telegram 3857 from Montreal, July 6; ibid.) The Department declined. “In accord with US desire not get out in front this question, US not inclined make further approaches to capitals.” (Telegram 3199 to Montreal, July 7; ibid.) The Assembly rejected the amendment, which would have suspended or expelled any state practicing a policy of apartheid, by a vote of 39 in favor, 1 against (South Africa), and 40 abstentions. (Report of the U.S. delegation to the 15th session of the ICAO Asssembly, June 22–July 16; ibid.)