17. Memorandum From Winston Lord and Peter Rodman of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Presidential Commission for the United Nations2

Here is the latest dismal status report on this subject, on which we call Flemming’s office every few days.

Chairman. This apparently will be Henry Cabot Lodge, who we are told has accepted. We do not know if Flemming is aware of Lodge’s upcoming Vatican assignment and did not mention it because of its sensitivity. Obviously Lodge thinks he can handle both jobs, although [Page 30]we do not know how the UN Commission has been presented to him in terms of work load. As matters now stand, he would have to be in Rome just about the time the Commission would be getting underway.

Clearance Process. Flemming’s office says that “they hope to complete this sometime next week”. There are apparently a couple of slots still to fill. When reminded of the need to work through Timmons to line up the eight Congressional members, they admitted they had not started to do this yet and said they would begin now. They still show little sense of urgency. (The clearance process usually takes three weeks—next week will make it five weeks since they received the revised compromise list of Rogers which you endorsed. Time lost during the month of April was due to the fact that Flemming’s office had erased 90% of the original State list and a compromise was clearly needed.)

Forwarding to the President. Flemming’s office will forward the eventual list to the President but has promised that we will get a copy so that we can forward your memorandum concerning the proposed scenario for announcement, executive order, etc. at the same time.

There are two main problems. First, because of the many lost weeks, very little time remains for the Commission to fulfill its first function, that of submitting an interim report to the President for him to draw upon for U.S. initiatives at the September General Assembly. The executive order calls for this report by July 30—this will have to be slipped to August 15, which still will give the Commission less than two months to do this job. (State has been preparing proposals and studies for the Commission to draw upon.) Second, the Commission membership will not be distinguished. Even the Rogers compromise was a comedown; we do not know what further slippage has occurred the past few weeks.

These two problems prompted Ambassador Yost to make a request through State to have a quick look at the final list before it goes to the President in order to see whether the whole project might better be scrapped. (Attached is an earlier memo to you on this subject which I don’t believe you have seen.3 This memo also points out that Pete Vaky has had similar problems with the Flemming operation.) We are probably too far along to drop the Commission idea at this point, but the idea is not an unreasonable one.

[Page 31]

Recommendation:

A call to Flemming by you or General Haig might save a few days, clarify Mr. Lodge’s responsibilities, and reinsure that we see the final Commission list before it goes to the President.4

HAK to call

Haig to call

Other

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 298, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. IV. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. President Nixon announced the establishment of the President’s Commission for the Observance of the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations on July 9. Executive Order 11546 establishing the Commission and a list of members are printed in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, July 13, 1970, pp. 922–923.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. None of the options is checked or initialed.