149. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

2501. UN Budget 1970: ACABQ Action.

1. After careful item by item review of entire budget, US member ACABQ forced to conclude that budget as submitted by SYG is most complete, tightest, and best reasoned budget submitted in last 8 years. SYG has, in US member’s opinion, responded fully to USUN’s repeated formal and informal pressures for holding budget down: our representations about acceptable level of budget for 1970 were substantially carried into print; and SYG—mainly due to ingeniousness and toughness of Controller Turner—has managed to reluctantly swallow further large (considering tightness of budget)ACABQ cut. Moreover, he has promised to hold further add-ons to minimum ($0.9 million) which, frankly, will be extremely difficult level to keep within.

2. Examples of super-human toughness include actions on UNIDO, ECA and OPI. UNIDO staff additions were lapsed by some 52.5 percent (80 percent for professionals), including last minute cut of over $200,000 by SYG which Abdel Rahman loudly shouts violates pledge of SYG to him (earlier reported) to not make further reductions in “an already emasculated amount.” Of an ECA approved work program calling for additions of over $2.0 million to budget, SYG plans to submit only $43,000 as an add-on for 1970. Internal “review and appraisal” by new head of OPI (Hamid) called for an increase in personnel and operating expenses in 1970 of $0.9 million and further sums spread over next 3 years of $1.7 million for radio and television—of which $0.5 million wld have been in 1970—none of which was allowed for [in] 1970 under SYG’s tight budget policy. (Note: SYG has, moreover, agreed to conduct further “independent, but internal” review of entire OPI review and appraisal before submitting his recommendations to GA for action.)

3. Even though SYG reduced by over two-thirds requests for positions made to him, sizeable personnel increases have still been requested for 1970, summarized as follows: [Page 280]

Additional Positions Requested, 1970
Professional General Service, Local and Manual Total
Established posts 31 43 74
Provisional staffing requirements 100 134 234
Total 131 177 308
Recap: Related to 1969 Request
Section 3
Restoration of reductions in 1969 52 77 129 166
Additional requests in 1970 28 33 61 142
Total 80 110 190 308

Permanent posts requested are for situations (library, HICOM for Refugees, and Geneva conference staff) where there seemed to be little alternative to granting most of them. With respect to provisional posts, $1,335,500 credit was requested for both salaries and common staff costs. (This amount was further reduced by advisory comite by $197,000.) Moreover, SYG has requested this credit and advisory comite agreed with express understanding: that all presently authorized posts, including vacancies, will be fully utilized first; that provisional staffing requirement request is merely indication of maximum number of posts, by office, which SYG wld be prepared to allocate if he satisfies himself of need after survey; and that SYG will administer manning table on consolidated basis. (Note: It appears that by working informally with UN Controller we may have succeeded in getting SYG pledge of sounder manpower administration program, than one on which we were soundly defeated at last GA. LDC’s bound to react adversely, but probably go along in final analysis.)

Budget Summary Data

Original budget estimates as submitted by SYG for 1970 totalled $164.1 million. SYG estimates that additions before end GA will bring this total to $165.0 million. ACABQ decrease from original estimates is $1.3 million ($1,256,600), a reduction of original estimates to $162.9 million which, if SYG add-ons correct, wld bring budget appropriations for 1970 to about $163.8 million. (Note: These figures exclude any new amounts for construction at Santiago and Headquarters, but only minor amounts likely be needed in 1970 in any event.)
Income estimates for 1970, as revised by ACABQ, total $28.7 million, which assuming $163.8 million figure above is correct for finally authorized expenditures, wld result in assessment budget of $135.1 million. U.S. assessment budget wld, of course, be on basis of this figure, plus $18,928,000 for staff assessment income, or $154.0 million total. (Comment: For purpose of computing US appropriation request, amount of our bond repayment for 1970 plus our share of “surplus” wld be deducted. Total bond repayments for 1970 are estimated at $8,738.00, surplus at $700,127, of which $252,443 wld be applied to respective shares of tax equalization fund.)
Comparing 1969 appropriation ($154.9) with ACABQ allowances on 1970 original estimates ($162.9) this is increase of $8.0 million, or 5.2 percent. Of this amount, over $6.0 million (or some 4 percent) is for “unavoidable” costs, mainly for higher salaries, wages, and other costs, plus annualization of personnel increases granted for 1969. The “program increase” is remaining $2.0 million (or some 1.2 percent).
Another benchmark comparison can be made with “4-power” figure we had proposed to give to SYG, namely $162.2 million (which also excluded construction). (Note: $161.0 compromise figure to bring USSR aboard was never truly realistic or viable figure, since it wld have required program reductions.) Dept will recall $162.2 million included 1 percent program increase; however, our estimates were low on cost of “unavoidables”, or SYG’s original estimate figures wld be roughly in line. To this must be added about $0.9 million SYG expects to submit during GA.
For US appropriation purposes, there two key additional facts which affect amount to be requested from Congress. 1969 total surplus available for credit (from 1967) was $3,280,256, whereas 1970 surplus (from 1968) is only $700,127. In addition, SYG currently estimates 1969 supplementaries at $2.3 million, although he qualifies this based on past experience by saying “it wld not be unreasonable to expect a final year-end position which wld reflect a shortfall of something less.” Both of these increase our congressional request, although, taken year by year, real increase in UN budget for 1970 over 1969 wld be lesser percent than reflected in para 6.
In opinion of US member ACABQ, possibility of effecting any further reduction in 1970 budget not within realm possibility. In fact, US be extremely lucky if this budget can be held in view expected strong reaction to big-4 initiative; trouble Abdel Rahman likely stir up; anticipated concern of LDC’s to highly-lapsed, provisional post concept tied to manpower survey; and tightness of budget per se.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 10. Limited Official Use. Repeated to the Mission in Geneva.