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

4816. Subj: Reduction of US Contribution to 25 Percent.

Summary: Canada made strong statement in support US res to reduce UN contribution to 25 percent. Brazil and Czechoslovakia spoke in opposition. Brazil introduced res which would request Comite on Contributions to change elements of low per capita income allowance in scale of assessments. End summary.
Fifth Comite resumed debate on scale assessments Nov 18 after one day hiatus. Brazil (Da Mota) led off debate with strong and persuasive statement opposing US res. After acknowledging distinguished US record of financial support UN system he keyed argumentation to capacity to pay principle and effect of reduction US assessment in UN on scale of assessments specialized agencies. Capacity to pay is mainstay assessment scale and should be protected he argued. Stated ceiling, in principle, of 30 per cent and US assessment of 31.52 per cent has resulted in other member states shouldering difference between over 38 percent US should pay and actual assessment; lowering ceiling to 25 per cent will present further inequity. Believed it unfair other countries pay more per capita than US; if US proposal adopted about eight other countries should have lower assessments because of per capita ceiling, noted scale of assessments adopted with concurrence US each time since ceiling, in principle, lowered to 30 per cent in 1957. Re impact specialized agencies, he stated no secret US expects entry two Germanys to offset US reduction in UN. West Germany, already member specialized agencies in which US contribution exceeds 25 per cent, asked how offset US reduction in those agencies. Believed time inopportune lower US assessments in view financial difficulties UN. Announced will vote against res if put to vote and suggested proposal be deferred until after entry new states at which time could be reviewed in concrete manner.
Czechoslovakia in opposing US res hammered at capacity to pay principle. Cited positions Canada and UK at first GA at which Canada believed if ceiling placed on US assessment ceiling also should be placed on contributions all members who would be assessed at higher per capita rate, and UK considered it dangerous depart from capacity to pay principle at 12th GA. Quoted Neylon at same GA as [Page 366]stating countries whose assessments less than capacity to pay getting permanent rebate. Argued US has not presented any justification for ceiling figure of 25 per cent as compared some other figure. Czech didn’t believe richest country should profit most from entry new states, especially since would put burden on developing countries with lower per capita income. Rehashed financial benefits to US of location UN in New York.
Canada (Amb Rae) gave strong support US proposal and urged other delegations do likewise. Believed reduction US assessment realistic, desirable, and in best interests organization. Reduction would assure continued viability of organization in world today, he stated. Noted McGee pledge there no diminution US support of UN and provision in res that assessment rate of no state be increased because of US reduction.
Philippines took no stand on US res but reserved right speak later. Urged progressive lowering of scale for low per capita income countries. Stated disastrous floods have affected ability Philippines to contribute to UN and will inhibit economic growth. Said floods more devastating than damage during WWII.
Brazil introduced res (A/C.5/L.1092) with fourteen co-sponsors which requests Comite on Contributions to change elements of low per capita income allowances formula to adjust it to changing world economic conditions. In explanation, stated co-sponsors requesting partial restoration of situation provided for by 1946 GA when low per capita income formula established, but leaving Comite on Contributions to determine what adjustments required.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10–4. Unclassified. Repeated to Brasilia, Ottawa, Prague, and Manila.