215. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Successor to U Thant

Attached is a cable reporting George Bush’s discussion with U Thant to which I referred in my memo to you of yesterday.2

This is as flat a disclaimer from U Thant as we can possibly want, and it was reinforced by an equally unequivocal and public statement to the NGO group yesterday.3 There is, therefore, no need whatever for us further to probe the sincerity of his non-candidacy.

State has, therefore, put before Secretary Rogers the opening steps of an action campaign by us looking toward the selection of a new Secretary General. It involves primarily consultation with the British and French (including discussions as to how and when to approach the Russians on this issue), and an active examination of the merits of the various possible candidates.

As I assume you are aware, there is very strong sentiment in State in favor of Jakobson. There has, however, been no commitment to him. Moreover, it is agreed by all that open support for his candidacy at this point would hurt rather than help his candidacy.

I am told that Secretary Rogers may raise this matter with the President tomorrow.4 I have also had a call from Cabot Lodge in which he expressed the conviction that the time has come for us to get vigorously into the business [of] selecting a successor. Without pushing the point hard, Lodge expressed the view that Jakobson not only would be a good candidate but, Lodge thought, a feasible one. Lodge asked [Page 387]me to pass on to you his feelings on this matter, and he hoped you would make them known to the President.

I will, inevitably, get caught up in all this. Therefore, if you have any particular views on this matter or any instructions by which you wish me to be guided, we should chat about it.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VII. Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger’s handwritten note in the margin reads: “Jakobson looks alright to me.”
  2. Telegram 1378 from USUN, May 25, is attached but not printed. In his May 25 memorandum to Kissinger, Wright noted that Bush’s report superseded a telegram of instructions that was being drafted for Bush. (Ibid.)
  3. Not found.
  4. Secretary of State Rogers met with President Nixon on May 27 between 2:42 and 4:09 p.m. No record of this meeting has been found. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)