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

1499. Subj: USSR Attitude on SYG question. Ref: USUN 1480.2

Kosciusko-Morizet declined to raise with Malik question of discussing informally possible candidates for SYG, alleging lack of instructions from Paris. Therefore, UK Chargé Jamieson asked Malik after June 4 Four Power talk what Malik would think of the four discussing question informally at break during next meeting June 24. Malik rejected idea as premature. Jamieson and Phillips pointed out to Malik that there was new element which perhaps called for early examination of question. U Thant has now made it clear in several public statements and in private conversation with Bush that he does not intend serve past expiration of his present term. Malik still refused, saying that it too soon and Moscow has not yet had time to consider matter. Perhaps in August.
Phillips subsequently raised matter with Lessiovski of UN Secretariat who said that Malik could never have agreed discuss matter without authorization from Moscow. Moreover, question not that urgent since Lessiovski of opinion U Thant merely playing clever game and really desires be drafted next fall. (Comment: Urquhart of UN Sec believes U Thant genuinely does not wish to continue past present term and is presently opposed to idea of draft. Lessiovski told UK last week he thought U Thant through as candidate for draft. Therefore we do not take too seriously his statement to Phillips.)
In view of negative attitude of USSR and equivocal attitude of French we and UKUN believe it would be preferable confine to US and UK for present any detailed discussion of potential successor to U Thant. Unless such discussions very tightly held, they could leak with damaging effect to other members of UN.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VII. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to London and Paris.
  2. Document 216.