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

4171. Subj: Reduction US Assessment.

Political Counselor and MisOff, at our request, called on Georg Hennig (Austrian) who personal assistant and confidant of SYG. We led off with brief explanation of our 25 per cent policy, emphasizing that this priority issue for USG; USUN, Dept and American Embassies making all-out effort on question; pointing out political implications within US of success and failure in this endeavor; and stressing fact that if UNGA does not act favorably on our proposal, real loser will be UN and its membership. Hennig replied he had closely followed issue and was aware of basic points in our position. Said that SYG had continuing personal interest in question but had taken every precaution to ensure that he not take any action which in any way would be detrimental to our position. Hennig added, however, that SYG under strong pressure from some members to speak out against US proposal, but he assured us that SYG would continue to take totally neutral stand. [Page 353]SYG hoped not to have to address question at all, as non-comittal or intrinsically neutral statement sure to be interpreted negatively.
Hennig asked our assessment of situation and added that, from his viewpoint, many members, particularly Africans, did not understand US proposal. On questioning by PolCouns and MisOff about what additionally we could do, Hennig offered following:
Since Africans probably held swing vote on this issue, US might consider working through OAU and especially its reps in New York.
For European members, pressure had to be brought in capitals on both Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry officials.
A concerted effort with Africans reps (including OAU reps) in New York, who often lack instructions and possess wide latitude, should bear fruit. Hennig offered that he would provide specifics of our discussion to SYG at earliest opportunity because of above-mentioned personal interest of SYG in subject.
Hennig said SYG, as well as himself, were appreciative of fact that US was attempting to reduce its assessment by working within Charter and established UN procedures. He next asked if new members (two Germanies) not admitted to UN in near future what effect this would have on achieving our assessment reduction. Hennig added, however, that this question somewhat hypothetical since in his opinion two Germanies were almost sure to apply for membership unless there is internal change within West German Government. We provided Hennig with copy our draft resolution and called particular attention to operative para. 2 which explicitly states that US assessment of 25 per cent would be reached “as soon as practicable”; however, if conditions to permit US reduction do not materialize by end of 1973, US could, having obtained prior UNGA adoption of our res, conceivably seek additional time from Congress. While we were hopeful but could not predict whether Congressional understanding would be forthcoming, we could say with some certainty that without approval for our res Congress likely to appropriate only at 25 per cent level which would result in significant dollar shortfall for UN CY 1974 budget. Hennig replied latter would be disastrous for UN and expressed strong hope that this turn of events would not become a reality. He clearly recognized, he said, separation of powers within USG, and fact that such unilateral action was neither intent nor desire of present administration.
Hennig queried us again on our assessment of voting within UNGA “if question brought to a vote today.” We replied that during past weeks, more and more member states were responding favorably to support our res but that critical factor would be African members. By excluding Africans, which for most part uncommitted, we added our belief that we could carry our res. Hennig said he was hopeful our voting assessment was correct, and next asked what steps we were taking to obtain African support.
Re latter question, we said from Amb Bush on down USUN was mobilized to explain our position to and seek support of all dels and to this end were focusing in particular on the uncommitted dels which largely LDC’s. Agreeing with Hennig that this was a political issue, we added that above anything else it was receiving priority attention from full US Del, including our working UN corridors in concerted effort on other dels. Hennig said he was glad to learn this since it demonstrated importance of issue, as well as fact that we were attempting to achieve our policy objective within existing UN institutional framework. He cautioned, however, to be alert to last minute African bloc voting on this question since at present “Africans were caucusing on practically every issue” within UN; he added that this was being led by OAU reps who could be found in every chamber and UN corridor. Hennig suggested that we consider whether USG had anything to offer OAU in return for African support on 25 per cent issue.
At conclusion, Hennig said he was deeply appreciative of our taking time to fill him in on this question and reiterated his intention to take up matter with SYG Waldheim. As we left, Hennig asked PolCouns whether “there was anything new to report from Paris.” After not being given any direct response, Hennig asked that Waldheim be informed of any new developments by Amb Bush before SYG read about them in newspaper.PolCouns said he would convey message to Bush, to which Hennig replied this would be appreciated. Discussion was concluded on that note.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10–4. Confidential.