144. Editorial Note

The third UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD III) was held in Santiago, Chile, April 13-May 19, 1972. In preparation for this meeting, Under Secretary of State John Irwin, on October 18, 1971, sent a memorandum to Assistant Secretary Philip Trezise (Policy Analysis Study Memorandum (PASM) 3) requesting the Bureau of Economic Affairs to conduct a review of U.S. objectives and strategy for UNCTAD III. (National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 82 D 126, PADM 11) Deputy Under Secretary Samuels conducted a review of the issues on January 13, 1972, and on February 14 Irwin sent a memorandum to Julius Katz (E) and Charles Meyer (ARA) (Policy Analysis Decision Memorandum (PADM) 11), which set out the recommended approach the Department of State should take in preparation for the Conference. The State Department approach was that the United States should adopt a low profile at UNCTAD III, but support new initiatives that had merit and were consistent with U.S. political and economic interests, in the context of UNCTAD as a consultative rather than a negotiating or decisionmaking mechanism. The issues the State Department proposed to support were sufficient in number and importance to make the U.S. [Page 369] image a mildly positive one. (Ibid., S/S Files: Lot 82 D 126, Box 5195, PADM 11)

On October 19, 1971, CIEP Chairman Peter Peterson sent CIEP Study Memorandum 16 to the Chairman of the CIEP Operations Group regarding the UNCTAD III in Santiago. The Operations Group was asked to recommend by January 15, 1972, U.S. positions on the issues on the UNCTAD agenda. (Washington National Records Center, Department of the Treasury, Files of Under Secretary Volcker: FRC 56 79 A 15, CIEP Study Memoranda) For the paper prepared by the Operations Group, see Document 146.

The Latin American nations were also concerned about UNCTAD III. On January 27, 1972, the Embassy in Bogota informed the Department of State that Colombia had called for a special CECLA meeting in March in Bogota because of its unhappiness with the outcome of a G-77 meeting in October-November 1971 in Lima, where the Afro-Asian bloc was seen as taking positions contrary to Latin American interests. (Telegram 526 from Bogota; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, E 2 CECLA) See Document 145 for the Department’s guidance on the CECLA meeting.

In a March 23, 1972, memorandum, Secretary of State Rogers informed President Nixon that Under Secretary Irwin would head the U.S. delegation for the first few days of the UNCTAD conference, when many countries would be represented at the Ministerial level. Bernard Zagorin, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council, would succeed him for the full 5 weeks of the conference. The delegation would include representatives from the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and Labor. Rogers also informed the President that inter-agency discussions were progressing to work out detailed U.S. positions, but the conference would be difficult because the United States had little to offer the developing world and the venue posed a special problem because of sensitive U.S.-Chile relations. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 286, State, Volume 16)