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

3271. Subj: Reduction of US Assessment Rate at UN: Soviet Views.

Amb Bush explained US view of 25 percent issue to Soviet PermRep Malik during exchange of views on 27th GA Sept 13. Bush hoped Soviets would understand US position and at least not work against us, if SMUN could not support US.
Malik was noncommittal regarding exact Soviet position, although he did not think US goal was easy to justify. US status as world’s most powerful economy was obvious, and most dels viewed assessment as hinging on capacity to pay. US timing was wrong, attention of UN was now focused on deficit, and US policy of seeking reduction in assessment would be interpreted as adding to deficit problem. And US argument about having too much political influence in UN because of high assessment rate was not convincing. Everyone knew US influence had diminished.
Bush explained that US initiative on assessment rate had nothing to do with deficit problem, that ability to pay was certainly one criterion but so was degree of financial, not political, dependence of UN upon one country.
Comment: Relative mildness of Malik’s comments gives some hope Soviets will be content to take low profile on 25 percent issue. In any case, despite his negative noises Malik stopped short of saying USSR would oppose or work against us on this issue.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10–4. Confidential. Repeated to Moscow.