173. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1
New York, November 30, 1971, 1958Z.
4640. From: Congressman Edward J. Derwinski.
- I am of the opinion that there is a lack of coordination at the Departmental level on actions to be taken in various committees of the 26th General Assembly.
- For example, instructions are to push the austerity line at every opportunity in the Fifth Committee. This we have done. Yet the US is pushing hard for the creation of new posts, such as High Commissioner for Disaster Relief which, if approved, would increase annual expenditures significantly. This lack of consistency is also manifested in the situation where the US is pushing for a High Commissioner for Human Rights but not prepared to appropriate sufficient funds to support the office. A third example is in the International Court of Justice where we are pushing for an Ad Hoc Commission on the Role of the International Court of Justice, which will increase costs to begin with, then turn around and vote against an increase in salary for the Justices.
- Other examples of the lack of consistency are US efforts to increase UN activities in an effort to eliminate the illegal international traffic in narcotics, increases in program dealing with human environment, etc., which will undoubtedly result in additional expenditures.
- While we try to hold the budget to lower levels than those proposed by the Secretary General, and in some cases at the 1970 level, we propose programs which will include additional expenditures elsewhere. This is making us look ridiculous in the Fifth Committee, where we have been accused of talking “out of both sides of our mouths.” The criticism is justified. As a result we are creating a “credibility gap” in the Fifth Committee.
- It is also my considered judgment that we should discontinue trying to establish a record of opposition in the Fifth Committee and adopt a more flexible policy. I have reiterated the need for austerity to where these protestations have reached the point of diminishing returns. The record has been established and in my opinion we should stop pushing this line. We do not have to vote for a particular program if there is an unacceptable increase in expenditures but neither do we have to quibble over every item in the budget.
- I might add that there is not sufficient support in the Fifth Committee or in the General Assembly for our position to prevail. We do not have the votes and it is politically and psychologically harmful to our prestige to be on the losing side on every issue. One Chinese disaster is enough.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10. Unclassified.↩