125. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas-Home 1

Dear Alec:

Your letter on meetings of the Security Council away from New York was waiting for me on my return from China.2

I agree that the Council meeting in Addis Ababa was essentially a repeat performance of previous meetings in New York on southern African issues. The speeches in the early part of the week were probably more extreme and critical of Western countries than usual and the resolutions posed essentially the same chronic problems. We saw some benefit in the Argentine resolution which set the stage for the Secretary-General’s visit to South Africa and possibly some utility in the [Page 240]meeting as a safety-valve for venting African emotions. We had not been aware that communications difficulties had posed substantial problems for you, and that is certainly a significant and additional negative element to be considered.

As you know, we had tended to see some merit in the principle of Council meetings outside of New York under certain conditions. But, as you point out, when additional costs are to be incurred, if communications are likely to be inadequate, and if regional tensions could be aggravated rather than eased, serious reservations regarding such meetings are in order.

We certainly would not see advantage in having an early meeting of the Council in Panama City.

We share your judgment that we may not face new proposals for other meetings away from New York for a year or so. Should others propose a meeting under unpromising conditions, we would certainly wish to consult closely with you and the French to see what we could do usefully to resist the proposals.

I will be interested to hear what reaction you get from Schumann.

With best personal regards,

Sincerely,

Bill
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted by Armitage and concurred in by Newsom, Meyer, and Hillenbrand.
  2. In his February 23 letter, Douglas-Home commented on the Security Council meeting in Africa and expressed his concern about holding more such meetings away from New York. (Ibid.)