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

4805. Subject: Reaction to US 25 Percent Presentation November 16.

Reaction to Senator McGee’s presentation of US position and draft res on 25 percent assessment in 5th Comite November 16 has been positive and favorable, as has been reaction to Amb Bush’s reply to Soviet intervention. Soviet statement, however, apparently did have troublesome impact.
Many delegates, including some representing countries which are still in unknown or undecided categories, volunteered that statement helped to clarify our proposal and they welcomed its public expression of the reassurances which USUN Ambassadors and MisOffs have been giving privately during their extensive consultations on the issue. The Soviet performance, on the other hand, took many by surprise, as the Soviets apparently had not been making any noticeably strong effort with other delegations against the US initiative. Several wondered why the Soviets had been so eager to jump into the fray, particularly because of their widely-perceived vulnerability on their “capacity to pay” argument. Although one or two delegates commented that the subsequent discussion was more “emotional” than the normal restrained tenor of 5th Comite exchanges, there was widespread expression of unmistakeable pleasure that Amb Bush had replied to the Soviets so forcefully and had called them tellingly on their “capacity to pay” posturing.
There is no question that the US presentation was well-received and was considered enlightening and helpful, even by those who have not yet firmed up their positions. Despite its transparency, the Soviet speech, and the subsequent lobbying effort, had obvious and possibly serious damaging effects by raising points and provoking concern along lines already present in some delegates’ minds—concern which had been fertilized to some extent at last week’s meeting of the 77. Some of the Africans especially seemed to be vulnerable some fall-out effect from the Soviet speech. For example, Rwanda subsequently seemed wobbly in its support. We learned from a Libyan delegate that the Soviets, in their efforts to increase doubts, were asking other delegations privately what they would do if, should the US proposal be adopted, the Soviets announced that they were unwilling to pay beyond 12 percent.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10–4. Limited Official Use; Priority. Repeated to Moscow.