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

1480. Subj: Successor to U Thant—Consultation With UK and French Reps. Ref: State 093937.2

UK Chargé Jamieson, accompanied by Weston, called on Phillips June 2 for exchange of views on Secretary-Generalship. Similar discussion held June 3 with French Deputy De La Gorce. British and French concur time has come for Four to commence giving thought to question of a successor, and Jamieson and De La Gorce indicated Four Power ME talks “tea-break” would, in their view, furnish most suitable arena for initial discussion with Soviets. Phillips briefed British and French on Thant’s statement to Bush, and told them USG has concluded this must be accepted at face value and that way is now open for active consideration of acceptable successor.
Jamieson reported that Parsons (FCO) had talked with French in London on question of Secretary-Generalship. French in London vague on Quai’s position, and Parsons gave impression matter has not been given much consideration in Paris. Jamieson gave Phillips copy of a list, compiled originally in NY and revised in London by Parsons, of candidates for SYG. Listed are three declared candidates: Jakobson, Makonnen and Amerasinghe, plus large number of “other names mentioned,” classified as “possible” and “impossible.” Qualification pertains to individual’s chance of being elected rather than to his personal qualities, although in some cases these factors coincide. The “possibles” include four Asians, seven West Europeans (four Swedes and three Finns), one EE, one African and eight LA’. The “impossible” include six Asians, five West Europeans, one EE, three Africans and seven LA’. Jamieson [Page 388] Phillips said a number of the listing would obviously give us trouble, i.e., Mme. Myrdal. It was agreed that for purpose of further discussion such list would have to be pared down drastically.
Commenting on most active individual candidates, Jamieson and Weston had following to say:

Jakobson: They were afraid Soviets had some definite reason for objecting to him, perhaps related to positions taken in past by Jakobson on Soviet-Finnish relations. British think Soviets likely to pursue every possible avenue to try block Jakobson;

Makonnen: His candidacy not doing well even in Africa and UK opposes him as they would any AF candidate;

Amerasinghe: His candidacy just beginning to roll and he may prove to be dark horse in this race;

Waldheim: British oppose him, consider him lightweight and add he not only a European but does not even have support in European group.

Jamieson suggested further consultations between our missions and contacts with French, leading to a sounding out of Soviets at a future Four-Power meeting. Jamieson specifically suggested Four-Power meeting due take place in two or three weeks with Bush as host. Phillips and Jamieson agreed sound out French as first step toward this objective, meanwhile reporting to our capitals and obtaining instructions.
When De La Gorce came in June 3 to discuss other matters with Phillips, latter raised Thant’s succession. After briefing him on Bush/Thant conversation, Phillips inquired if French had given consideration to this question. De La Gorce appeared uninformed of his govt’s position. This confirms Jamieson’s report that when he spoke to De La Gorce last week about this subject, he found latter uninformed and not greatly interested. De La Gorce said Kosciusko-Morizet was thinking of asking Malik June 4, at conclusion of Four-Power meeting, if he would be prepared at some future date to begin discussion with French, UK and US of Thant’s succession question. French idea is to plant the seed at this time and permit Malik to seek instructions from Moscow. When MISOFF briefed Weston on meeting with De La Gorce, latter said UKUN had been further considering question of discussing potential candidates with Soviets as had been suggested on June 2. British fear, and we inclined to agree, that Soviets might like nothing better than to get list of names acceptable to Western Big Three which they could then methodically undermine in UN corridors during coming weeks. Would appear better, therefore, to obtain commitment from Malik of willingness to discuss this subject before we go into specifics and even then to proceed with extreme caution.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VII. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to London and Paris.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 214.