114. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State 1

Secto 53/2647. Subj: First Periodic SC Meeting Under Art 28.2.

Summary. “Historic” first periodic meeting under Art 28.2 held in private Oct 21. Meeting held at FonMin level with exception Burundi, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Syria. At conclusion of meeting, SC adopted communiqué (septel).>2 Three African members reserved their [Page 223]position on para dealing with Africa on grounds it not strong enough. Syrian Rep attached ambiguous statement to communiqué that GOS position was reflected in statement he made during meeting. Secretary gave most substantive speech of meeting in which he covered ME, Indo-China and made specific proposals for improving work of SC in field of peaceful settlement. Most speakers endorsed periodic meetings as useful at least in principle; many speakers critical of present state SC and its resolutions. Major topics covered by most speakers: Middle East, with heavy emphasis on Res 242; Southeast Asia, with emphasis inability or difficulty of SC to solve problems of area; Southern Africa, with stress on need implement existing SC resolutions; disarmament, SALT cited as hopeful sign but several pleaded for real progress on GCD; peacekeeping, absence regular orderly procedure deplored; peacemaking, SC must head off crises rather than react to them. End summary.
US (Rogers)
Middle East. Stressed 242 as common ground; noted undertaking by Israel and Arabs from US initiative which must not be lost; Israeli agreement to “withdraw” and accept less than direct talks (at first);UAR and Jordan commitment to seek peaceful solution and acceptance Israel’s existence. Way must be found to correct situation which has led to obstacles in path of talks under Jarring. Palestinians are new factor in area and when/if “they speak with peace” then they should be involved in final settlement.
Southeast Asia. Difficult for UN to find a role to date. “As warfare draws to close” UN may find role in helping rebuild economies etc.; we are ready to stop shooting now and negotiate withdrawal of all US troops. Urged constructive response to President’s Oct 7 proposals which are not “take it or leave it offer”.
Problems of self-determination in Africa and Germany and Berlin are also of great importance but time precludes discussion all problems.
SC and pacific settlement disputes.SC has not successfully averted trouble since 1950’s; endorsed Brazil’s recent suggestion for SC committee to study pacific settlement. Encouraged greater use of ICJ, perhaps at first on secondary matters to create precedent and habit.
SC periodic meetings. US not convinced of utility of automatic scheduling but prepared entertain views of others.
USSR (Gromyko)
Middle East. Discussed in context inability SC always to function effectively. Trouble with Res 242 was that “aggressor did not heed it.”
Southern Africa. Discussed same context and failure of parties condemned by reses to heed SC requests.
Disarmament. SC has done nothing to halt “mountains and mountains of arms” which grow every day; it has done nothing because of policies of “certain states.”
SC. USSR has “always” favored periodic meetings; SC is “highest political body” in world on issues of war and peace. It has not always been effective because it is divided between those who favor stable peace and those who do not. There is nothing wrong with Charter; problem is policy of those states who hinder SC’s effectiveness. USSR believes SC is “up to the task” of changing policy of “those states” who have prevented it from being effective.
SYG’s tour d’horizon. Covered ME, SEA, disarmament, peacekeeping (especially financing and debt servicing), Southern Africa and need for SC to use Art 34 investigatory and fact-finding powers.
UK (Douglas-Home). Sharp, biting attack (aimed rather pointedly at Africans) on tendency SC to place weight on words and form, not deed and substance. Cyprus cited as UN success (of sorts) and ME as area SC ought to be able to help. Much of UK comment on SC’s ineffectiveness parallel to USSR’s comment.
Zambia (Mwaanga). Statement was short, hastily drafted, well done rebuttal to UK, accepting UK challenge by calling for implementation all existing SC reses on Southern Africa and a moratorium on further debate or reses that subject.
Others spoke with varying degrees eloquence and brevity. Syria adopted ambiguous attitude on communiqué and quietly added last line to communiqué that its views had been presented to SC in meeting itself; following Zambia’s lead, Burundi and Sierra Leone “reserved” position on Southern African para in communiqué, stating in meeting it not strong enough.
Meeting lasted three-and-one-half hours. Foreign Ministers of all but three Africans and Syria present. (By end of meeting all Big Four FonMin’s had been replaced by PermReps.)
France (Schumann) made generalized appeal for greater role for SC, using its powers under Charter to recommend solutions to disputes and, if need be, take decisions. Schumann said this not popular view but alternative was probable collapse of United Nations. He referred to need for implementation of SC Res 242 but qualified it by saying he not making any categorical recommendation, but SC should “not reject any possible Charter action….”
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Bogota, Bujumbura, Freetown, Helsinki, Kathmandu, London, Lusaka, Madrid, Managua, Moscow, Paris, Taipei, Warsaw, Lisbon, Amman, Beirut, Phnom Penh, Pretoria, Saigon, Tel Aviv, Vientiane, and the Interests Section in Cairo.
  2. UN doc. S/PV.1555; transmitted in telegram 2639 from USUN, October 22. (Ibid.)