128. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations 1

17416. Subject: Possible SC Meeting in Panama. Ref: State 145743, USUN 3297, Panama 4232.2

In view evidence of increasing Panamanian interest and activity with respect possible SC meeting in Panama contained reftels, Dept believes time has come for US make clear its opposition such meeting to other SC members on selective basis. Moreover, if outcome SC elections is as expected, Panama would hold SC Presidency in March. While Rule 20 SC Provisional Rules of Procedure provides for President disqualifying himself where UN member he represents is directly concerned in question under consideration, it leaves this to his discretion. Should he decide to disqualify himself, Panamanian President could still complicate matters for US before doing so, for example, in connection with adoption of agenda, and under same rule he would be succeeded by Peru, which also unlikely be helpful US in this context.
USUN should therefore sound out those SC members it believes might be persuaded resist idea of SC meeting away from headquarters at this time on general grounds of a) additional expense of such meetings which, in our view, should be avoided during this period of financial crisis for UN and b) unavoidable operational and communications difficulties involved.
Where SC members appear responsive, USUN should then indicate with specific reference possible meeting in Panama, that we fail see how SC’s work on any of problems currently occupying it would be facilitated by meeting in Panama. There are no agenda items of particular LA interest currently being considered by SC and in our view meetings away from headquarters in absence clearly demonstrated advantages unjustified under Charter criterion for such meetings (Article 28(3)). Moreover, meeting in Panama could serve to increase, rather than decrease, tensions in area by encouraging reactivation of old items that continue on SC agenda.
Before approaching other SC members, USUN should seek cooperation of British and French in this endeavor in view earlier US-UK exchanges on this matter and Dept’s understanding French also have reservations re SC meetings away from headquarters.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential; Routine. Drafted by Hartley; cleared by Monsma, Hurwitch, Walker, Chase, Armitage, Bell, Goott, McNutt, and Willis; and approved by Herz. Repeated to Panama City, Paris, and London.
  2. Telegram 145743 is Document 126. Telegram 3297 from USUN, September 15, and telegram 4232 from Panama City, September 19, are in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC and OAS 3, respectively.