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

491. Subj: SYG Press Remarks on UN Financial and Personnel Problems.

1.
SYG Waldheim gave optimistic reply to question about UN financial problems during press conference Feb 10.2 He indicated solution had been found for “short range” problem (i.e., financial obligations for 1972) in that number of countries had responded to his appeal for advance contributions.
2.
He expressed pleasure at understanding for this problem shown by President Nixon and Secretary Rogers during his recent visit to Washington. He noted he had no commitment from USG and that complications existed because of timing of US fiscal year. US administration had promised to give matter careful consideration.
3.
On long range financial problems he said only that he had “found understanding” during meeting Feb 9 with chairman of Comite of 15.
4.
Asked about rumored restructuring of top level of Secretariat, Waldheim said number of contracts would expire at end of March so question was under active consideration and decisions would be made soon. He planned to appoint woman to high position; did not intend to institute post of Deputy Under SYG. He said he was in contact with USG about replacement for Bunche but no decision had yet been made.
5.
FYI. In our view, Waldheim’s statement considerably overoptimistic. Although several member states have agreed to advance somewhat date of assessment payments, we see as yet no real progress toward dealing with either the cash crisis or the deficit problem of UN. In fact, Waldheim’s adviser, Bertrand, told us yesterday he believed that for this year Waldheim would have to rely on borrowing from UNDP funds to meet his financial commitments. So far as Comite of Fifteen concerned, there have been only two mtgs thus far, and Comite has not yet started to deal with substance of matter.
Phillips
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10. Confidential. Repeated to Kinshasa for Ambassador Bush who was there February 11–13 during a visit to eight African countries after a meeting of the UN Security Council in Addis Ababa.
  2. No further report on this press conference was found.