147. Airgram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1
- United Nations CY 1970 Budget and CY 1971 Planning Estimate
Ambassador Yost and his British and French colleagues have informed the UN Secretary-General that the three powers, concerned with the rapid increase in the UN budget in recent years, consider that the UN now requires a period of time to review and consolidate existing UN staff and organization. Convinced that budgetary increases for 1970 should be restricted to that amount necessary to maintain the UN at its 1969 level, the three powers consider that any program increases that may be required in 1969, 1970 and for the most part in 1971, should be accommodated by organizational, manpower utilization or other economies resulting from improved management and from retrenchments elsewhere.
It may be anticipated that this effort on the part of the three governments to exert a restraining influence on future UN budget increases will result in adverse reaction from some governments, particularly among the less-developed countries. Accordingly it is in the interest of the effort that its disclosure be avoided insofar and for so long as possible.
For your background information and guidance the text of the three-power memorandum follows:
Memorandum from the Representatives of France, the United
Kingdom, and the United States on
THE UNITED NATIONS BUDGET FOR 1970 AND 1971
The three members have noted with concern the growth of the budget in recent years. Moreover, the total of the original submissions plus large additions to them in the form of amendments and supplementary estimates has made review of the budget complex and nearly unmanageable.[Page 277]
The three members have the opportunity—and frequently take it— to state their views on these matters in the Fifth Committee. By that time, however, the Secretary-General has necessarily become committed to the draft budget presented to the Assembly, and even if he accepts any reductions which the ACABQ may recommend, these tend to be offset by additions made during the course of the Assembly. The three powers therefore consider it desirable to give the Secretary-General the benefit of their thinking at this formative stage on the maximum budget levels which should be provided by the General Assembly for 1970 and 1971.
The last few years have seen a rapid growth in the level of the U.N. budget. In 1969 alone, the increase was over 10%. It is the considered view of the three powers that the United Nations now requires a period of time to review and consolidate existing United Nations staff and organization. They consider that any program increases that may be required in 1969, 1970 and for the most part of 1971, should be accommodated by organizational, manpower utilization or other economies resulting from improved management and retrenchments elsewhere.
After discussion among themselves they have reached the conclusion that—without materially affecting important programs—it should be possible to contain expenditures within a total of 161 million dollars gross in 1970 and 169 million dollars gross in 1971. These figures do not include the amounts which may be required if UNCTAD III is held in 1971, and any additional amounts required for construction in Geneva and New York.
The three members also consider that after these amounts have been approved by the General Assembly they should not be increased during the course of the year by supplementary estimates.
In arriving at these figures, the three members have not sought to quantify individual sections of the budget since they wish to leave the Secretary General the maximum discretion to weigh the many and varied demands on the budget. But they have taken account of the main developments which they foresee. They have not, for example, overlooked such factors as the so-called mandatory increases, the extra cost in subsequent years of staff recruited in 1969, and the cost of expanding accommodation and training facilities. On the other hand, the three members took into account their belief that the desk-by-desk survey of staff, the need for which was agreed unanimously by the Fifth Committee, should produce sizeable economies and that it would be unwise to expand the staff of the Secretariat beyond the 1969 level, while that survey is under way.
They also believe that the recommendations of the Committee of Fourteen, and more recently of the Committee of Seven, to tighten financial control—particularly with respect to unforeseen and [Page 278]extraordinary expenses—and to achieve economies with respect to conference services and documentation, provide the Secretary General with a unique opportunity. Moreover, if the earlier representations of the major contributors about the potential for savings in the 1969 budget bear fruit, then the Secretary General will, of course, have even more room for maneuver within the figures to which the three members now subscribe.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 10. Confidential. Drafted by Edward W. Lawrence, cleared by Pierre Graham, and approved by Louis E. Frechtling. Sent to the Mission in Geneva, Addis Ababa, Santiago, Rome (FODAG), Paris (UNESCO), Montreal (ICAO), Bangkok (RED), and Vienna (IAEA/UNIDO), and repeated to USUN.↩