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

5687. Subj: SC Meeting in Panama.

While Amb. Boyd told us just before departing for Panama that GOP has not made final decision on whether to invite SC to Panama in March, we believe it prudent to assume for planning purposes that he will return with instructions to proceed with invitation, and will do so via letter to Council and to SYG in January.2
Our latest reading is that Panama has eleven firm votes in favor of meeting: her own plus USSR, Yugoslavia, PRC, France, India, Peru, Indonesia and three Africans, as well as probably support of Austria. While Australians earlier this year had voiced unhappiness with meeting, on basis shifts in Australian voting patterns in UN since Labor govt took office, we believe Australia will finally decide side with majority.
Amb Boyd recently told MISOFF he plans to make “non contentious” request for meeting by suggesting SC consider agenda item “strengthening of peace and security in the world with particular reference to the region” (read Latin America) and by avoiding any reference in invitation to Canal or bilateral relations with US. Boyd said he assumed US would publicly express opposition to meeting by restating arguments which have already appeared in US press—downgrading of Council’s emergency functions, SC members’ lack of communications with their capitals while in Panama, no active LA item on agenda, etc. Boyd hoped US would confine itself to public statement of reservations about meeting’s effect on SC and would not either mention bilateral problems or attempt to pressure SC members in their capitals to switch votes already committed to him. Boyd again assured MISOFF that GOP wants to work with USG to “keep meeting in hand” and expressed “personal wish” that US “accept inevitable with good grace.”
Although Boyd has told Amb. Schaufele he has spoken to Cubans and can prevent extreme Cuban rhetoric, we maintain our skepticism about GOP’s’ ability to keep lid on meeting and fully share Dept’s doubts about where it can be pointed in constructive direction. We believe we should put our reservations on the record. Nevertheless we see little to be gained by casting possibly only vote against meeting in Council (British may decide to abstain). Therefore we recommend we be authorized to abstain. Furthermore, we believe that we can cement currently excellent working relationship which now exists between USUN and Amb. Boyd by informing him in advance of our vote. We may well need his help in Panama in obtaining advance information on positions to be taken by other LAs as well as GOP.
We would have opportunity later to address various nuts-and-bolts aspects of meeting in SC comite. Meanwhile, we shall be urging SC members, including those which would vote in favor of Panamanian proposal, to put their reservations on record.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Repeated to Panama City.
  2. On January 9, 1973, the Panamanian Government invited the Security Council to meet in Panama City March 15–21, 1973. The Security Council decided to accept the invitation in principle on January 16, and to ask the Committee on Council Meetings Away From Headquarters to submit a report and recommendations about the proposed meeting. The Security Council unanimously approved the Committee’s report and recommendations in Resolution 325 (1973) on January 26.