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

173993. Subj: Succession to U Thant. Ref: Santiago 4854.2

Chilean Ambassador Letelier called on Asst Sec Meyer and Acting Asst Sec Herz (IO) Sept 21 to inform us that Chile is putting forward candidacy of Felipe Herrera Lane as candidate for SYG. He said Chile is approaching LA’s and US at this stage with purpose of establishing Herrera as Latin American rather than Chilean candidate.
Letelier said GOC had been canvassing selected LA’s quietly for some time on general question of Chile putting forward a candidate, envisaging alternatives of Herrera, Santa Cruz and Valdez. He said responses had been sufficiently encouraging with respect to Herrera that last Friday GOC decided to launch more widespread and official initiative. Specifically, GOC is asking our reaction to “idea of regional candidate, idea of a Chilean and idea of Herrera.”
Meyer said that without reference to any country or individual, his bureau would welcome the idea of a Latin American candidate. Herz broadened this by saying we welcome all nominations of qualified candidates and certainly will give candidacy of Herrera all due consideration. However, our general position is that most important is that next SYG be well qualified and that regional considerations should be secondary.
Herz asked when GOC expects to have results of its current canvass, and Letelier said he thought it would be in about one week. He agreed to let us know of LA endorsements received. Herz explained we are not in a position to encourage hopes of endorsement of any candidate at this time. As is usual with major powers, we will proceed more slowly than many other members to define our position or choice of candidate.3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–3. Confidential. Drafted by Herz, cleared in draft by Assistant Secretary Charles A. Meyer, cleared by Fisher, and approved by Herz. Repeated to Santiago and London.
  2. Dated September 20. (Ibid.)
  3. Herrera’s candidacy was formally announced at the United Nations on September 28. (Airgram A–1453, September 28; ibid.)