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

4847. From Congressman Derwinski. Ref: USUN 4640, State 217350.2 Subj: UN Budgeting Policies.

Received Department’s totally unacceptable reply to reftel. It is based upon the same sort of reasoning that prompted my original message. The Departmental instructions that the USDel make a maximum effort to redistribute Part VI and move technical assistance out of the assessed budget is not only ridiculous but it is also horrible strategy. There is not the slightest chance that we can succeed in removing Part VI from the budget since this is a matter to which the LDC’s attach great political importance. As justified as it may seem to those sitting in Washington for the US to push such a step would be disastrous to our posture in the Fifth Committee and in the United Nations, and would be self-defeating. We are pushing programs that require as much support as we can muster. To turn the LDC’s against us unnecessarily by attacking the technical assistance program would weaken our position not strengthen it.
It is particularly ridiculous to launch a so-called “maximum effort” in the last two weeks of the Assembly when absolutely no ground work has been laid for such an effort by the Department in any force. It is true that in ECOSOC and in the Second Committee we have opposed any increase in Part VI and have mentioned undesirability of financial technical assistance from regular budget but we have not proposed in either of these policy bodies that Part VI be removed from the budget.
It is true that in our basic instructions for Committee Five the Department indicated that insofar as was possible “to encourage redistribution of all Part VI items which can be funded from other sources (UNDP, other sections of budget, narcotics fund, etc …).” However, the instruction went on to say that: “Mindful that various proposals now afloat might increase level of Part VI by up to $3.8 million, USDel should make vigorous effort to prevent all such increases including $1.8 million budget add-on for advisory services (perhaps by transferring costs to voluntary funds).” We have had nothing further to suggest any specific steps we should take to have programs now funded [Page 326]from Part VI financed from voluntary funds, and clearly Committee Five cannot determine what programs should be picked up by the voluntarily financed organizations such as UNDP.
In the past we have never in Committee Five objected to the inclusion of Part VI in the budget. However, such an objection has been made each year by the USSR and other Bloc countries that refuse to contribute in dollars to Part VI. The Soviet Bloc withholding is one of the causes of the UN deficit. We have felt that one of our bargaining counters in an effort to induce the USSR and the delinquent countries to make a contribution towards the deficit was the possibility of removing Part VI from the budget. If we now advocate such a removal ourselves without any compensation by the USSR, we will have removed one of the few elements we have to induce a Soviet contribution. It does not make sense to do this, particularly when any effort we might mount will surely be a losing one.
This is an issue on which we could expect support only from the Soviet Bloc. I feel certain that not a single WEO country would vote with us. This would not be a new development, however, the US and the USSR seem to be engaged in a duet in the Fifth Committee and I find myself dancing to the same tune as my Soviet colleague. In my opinion it does our image absolutely no good to be voting with the Russians on every issue and especially when it is in opposition to programs which are supported by an overwhelming majority of the Committee.
In the Fifth Committee, unlike the others, there is a possibility for a trade off, providing the US Delegate to that committee is able to negotiate. This is not possible under present circumstances and we are constantly in a minority, losing everything, when with a little flexibility we might be able to muster a majority on major items.3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10. Limited Official Use; Priority; Exdis.
  2. Documents 173 and 174.
  3. In a reply to Derwinski, Assistant Secretary De Palma wrote that he hoped to discuss the UN budget crisis with him on December 10. “Meanwhile we understand need for Del to have flexibility to negotiate for such trade offs as are possible if in Del’s judgment our preferred position is non-negotiable. I would only point out that on many budget issues, particularly major ones such as Part VI of budget, our objective has been to set stage for continuing negotiations this matter which we know is not negotiable at this session, particularly in view likely outcome Congressional action on our contribution to UNDP.” (Telegram 221450 to USUN, December 8; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10)