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

4857. Subj: 25 Percent Issue and Deficit.

I had a discussion with the SYG and George Davidson (Secretariat) on above subject on Nov. 18. The SYG requested an assessment from me on the 25 percent issue, stating he would like to be of as much quiet help on this item as possible. He sees this matter as one of extreme [Page 367]importance to the UN, and, given the feeling in the US, he thinks that the US Govt must be successful if the UN is to move towards a final solution of the deficit. I filled him in on the general assessment, stating that I thought we could and would win in the 5th Comite, but that we must not have an adverse ruling regarding the “important question” aspects of the case when the matter went to plenary.

The SYG is genuinely concerned about the deficit and is struggling to find an answer. He specifically requested a ltr. from the US Govt— not to be made public—that he can use to get the USSR off dead center. He feels that a general or specific amount—letter, saying we will contribute “x” dollars if the USSR will, is all that is needed at this point to get the USSR to commit itself. He again reviewed for me his talks in Moscow, where he got the feeling that they would help, but came away without a firm commitment.

Davidson discussed the Liberian proposal, which provides for the SYG to set up a special fund. It would not be stipulated that this fund is to be used for solving the deficit, but the SYG stated that of course this is what he would use the fund for. The Secretariat plans to get behind the Liberian proposal, encouraging countries such as United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which have already stated they will contribute, to back the Liberians. Japan has also assured the SYG of their help, the SYG having asked them for $10 million.

The SYG visualizes the res originating in the 5th Comite but being acted upon in this session by the plenary. As to specific plans for solving the deficit, Davidson and the SYG feel that each perm member of the SC might give $15 million, giving credit of course to those that have made voluntary contributions before (France, for example). Davidson and the SYG both said they wld help as much as poss on the 25 percent issue, recognizing that a US defeat on this issue will complicate any chance to solve the deficit.

SYG mentioned that the Poles had been very helpful in agreeing that the SYG not have to pass out to members the $4–$6 million in savings. The USSR had been saying any such savings would have to be passed on to member states, thus making the deficit even worse.

Action requested: The deficit problem is a real one. The US Govt must help if it is going to be solved. If we contribute a total of $14 million, this will be more than offset by moneys that are owing to the US Govt at this time (estimated $15.5 million). I hope that this matter can be given top-level Dept consideration in order to comply in some form with the SYG’s requested letter. I recognize the political difficulties here, but at some point we will have to bite the bullet, and if we can make a deal where we put in no net cash and in fact will get back a small amount which is uncollectible as of today, I think we should try to close the deal.

Bush
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 10–4. Confidential; Limdis.