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

1747. Subj: BushMakonnen Talk June 28.

Ethiopian candidate for SYG Endalkachew Makonnen called on Bush June 28. Makonnen said one did not campaign for office of SYG as in other contests and that he had made it clear he was candidate only in event U Thant not available for another term.
Bush said he was very pleased to make Makonnen’s acquaintance. As result U Thant’s confirmation that he did not intend to serve beyond his present term, Bush said he had informed SYG that US took him at his word and that we actively considering qualified replacement. We had not decided in favor of any candidate at this stage. Makonnen said this was wise since if US were to come out in favor of a particular candidate too soon this could be a liability.
Makonnen said he had been very pleased at action of OAU. President had noted Makonnen was only announced African candidate and stated he was certain this fact would be taken into account within spirit of African solidarity when time for election came. Makonnen said he did not wish to have formal OAU endorsement since he did not wish to appear to be regional candidate. On other hand, President’s statement meant that there would be no other African candidate.
In reply to question, Makonnen said some African Moslem states had certain reservations because of Ethiopia’s ties with Israel. However, he did not think this would be serious problem. Soviets were somewhat cool because of close relations between US and Ethiopia but here again Makonnen did not think this would be serious liability.
Makonnen raised possibility of meeting Secretary with whom he served on South West Africa committee. Bush explained, while he was certain Secretary would be happy to see his former colleague, such a step could be misconstrued. Makonnen readily agreed. Bush suggested he see Asst Secretaries De Palma and Newsom and Makonnen said he would be most happy to do [so] and requested appointments for July 2.2
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–3. Confidential. Repeated to Addis Ababa.
  2. A memorandum of conversation of Makonnen’s meeting with Assistant Secretary De Palma is ibid.