189. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • U.S. Efforts to Reduce our United Nations Assessment

We have been conducting a vigorous campaign since our last report on September 2 to obtain the support of other countries for our 25 percent assessment rate proposal. All UN member states have been approached in their capitals and in New York and we have made a number of selective démarches here in Washington. USUN has been pressing the Permanent Delegations for support and Ambassador Bush personally has taken a strong hand in this effort.2

The replies to date have been as favorable as could be expected, considering that this is not a proposal which other countries would be expected to welcome with much enthusiasm. The great majority of member states remain uncommitted, but our Mission in New York believes that at this juncture we might have support from about 25 countries. One disappointment is that no country has yet indicated a willingness to assume the leadership in pressing our case before the UNGA. Moreover, some usually friendly powers (e.g. the United Kingdom and Spain) have developed rather firm and reasoned negative positions which may influence others against our proposal.

Our evaluation of responses thus far indicates that many less developed countries remain convinced, despite our assurances to the contrary, that a reduction of the U.S. assessment rate will result in increased assessments for them. There also continues to be a general concern that this proposal indicates a lessening of U.S. interest in and support for the UN and foreshadows a reduction of our voluntary contributions to the organization. We have pointed out that an unfavorable UNGA response to our proposal could result in Congressional action reducing our voluntary contributions from their present generous level.

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As the General Assembly gets fully underway next week, our Delegation intends to enlist the active support of friendly delegations in an intensified effort to win the votes of the undecided.

R.H. Miller 3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X. Confidential.
  2. Telegrams 3379 and 3382 from USUN, September 21, reported on Ambassador Bush’s meetings with selected South American and African delegations to outline the U.S. position. (Both ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10–4)
  3. Miller signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typed signature.