14. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • 25th Anniversary of the United Nations

The following notes are responsive to Mr. Lord’s recent request for information on developments in connection with the United Nations’ 25th Anniversary. The Department is working on appropriate recommendations to the President regarding such of these matters as require his decision.


Visits of Heads of State or Government. The UN 25th Anniversary resolution (copy enclosed)2 “expresses the hope that as many Heads of State or Government as possible will be able to participate in the commemorative session” and it is likely that a considerable number will take advantage of this invitation.

This of course raised the question of the President’s participation and in due course decisions will be needed on such matters as whether and for how long he may go to New York, whether he will address the commemorative session, what contacts with or representational functions for the other Heads of State or Government he may have, and what to do about the inevitable desires of some of these personalities to combine their visits to New York with visits to Washington. We have already had one informal inquiry of this kind on behalf of Ceausescu (copy enclosed). Pending firm decisions on these matters, we have given Embassy Bucharest an interim reply (copy enclosed).


Presidential Commission for the 25th Anniversary. The UN 25th Anniversary Preparatory Committee suggested “that Governments might [Page 23]wish to consider establishment of national committees for the purpose of coordinating all national activities relating to the anniversary in their respective countries.”

We share Ambassador Yost’s belief that a Presidential Commission of perhaps a dozen leading citizens should be appointed pursuant to this suggestion. Such a Commission would be very important to the nourishment of concerned and constructive public interest in the UN and what it does for peace and progress. Membership, size and composition, organization, financial implications, details of activity, etc. would have to be worked out. Experience with a similar Presidential Commission for the observance of Human Rights Year 1968 was very favorable.

Opportunity for improving the UN image and effectiveness. Both in the President’s address to the General Assembly on September 18, 1969 and in Ambassador Yost’s statement in the debate on the 25th Anniversary resolution (copy enclosed) certain possibilities of constructive exploitation of the anniversary were raised. We are hopeful that the occasion can be utilized both to inspire the UN to greater purpose, direction and effectiveness and to improve its public image in the United States. Ambassador Yost and his Mission are planning to give priority attention to these matters as soon as the current General Assembly adjourns later this month. We in the Department are setting up special machinery for the same purpose. One of the most complicated and important of the projects to be tied in with the Anniversary is the adoption of a plan for the Second Development Decade of the seventies. Other subjects mentioned in the Anniversary Resolution include a “Disarmament Decade,” the 10th Anniversary of the “anti-colonialism declaration,” an appeal for additional accessions to multilateral instruments supported by the United Nations, etc.

World Youth Assembly. In its Anniversary Resolution the General Assembly decided to convene a World Youth Assembly (WYA), currently scheduled to be held in New York July 9–18, 1970, to which each Member Government is to send up to five youth delegates (preferably not over age 25). The 25th Anniversary Preparatory Committee recommends that “Member States may consider merely conveying the names of youth representatives selected by appropriate national bodies … on the basis of participation of all major youth organizations of the given country.” Also, “the youth delegation will attend the meeting as representatives of either their specific youth group or as delegates from their Government. They would not be under the instructions of their Government….”

There is already some American youth interest and activity in connection with the World Youth Assembly and we are taking appropriate action to ensure that US participation is representative and responsible.

Presidential UN Day Proclamation. The United Nations Association/USA and other private organizations are planning special anniversary events and activities. It would be helpful to their efforts and appropriate to the anniversary year if the President’s traditional UN Day Proclamation could be issued earlier than the usual late summer date.
Congressional Resolution. There is some Congressional interest in passing a joint congratulatory resolution early in 1970. The Department will be in appropriate consultation with Congressional leaders interested in this project.
Coordinators for 25th Anniversary. As the date draws closer, events and developments connected with the 25th Anniversary will undoubtedly involve the interests of a wide range of offices in the Department, the rest of the Executive branch, Congress and private organizations. We have therefore felt it desirable to establish a central point of coordination in International Organization Affairs for these activities and have obtained the temporary assignment of a senior officer, Ambassador James K. Penfield, to assume this responsibility. Similarly, the Second Development Decade planning will have broad ramifications and the coordinating responsibility for this aspect of the Anniversary will be the full-time responsibility of another senior officer, Mr. Jacques J. Reinstein.
Robert L. Brown 3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. A December 15 covering memorandum from Winston Lord to Kissinger cited three issues that would require early White House attention: visits of heads of state or government, the Presidential Commission for the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations, and the World Youth Assembly. The memorandum bears handwritten notes by Kissinger about two of the three. Concerning the Presidential Commission, he wrote: “Can we get terms of reference and recommendations?” Concerning the World Youth Assembly, he wrote: “Let’s write up issues and get a decision.”
  2. None of the enclosures is printed. Only Enclosure 1, the text of the resolution commemorating the 25th anniversary, was attached. Enclosures 2 and 3 are ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 30. Enclosure 4, Ambassador Yost’s October 23 address to the UN General Assembly, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, December 1, 1969, pp. 485–489.
  3. Brown signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typed signature.