225. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts in the American Republics 1

198753. Subject: SYG—Candidacy of Herrera. For the Ambassador.

FYI. From a number of recent indications we have strong impression that candidacy of Felipe Herrera (Chile) has picked up momentum recently, with number of apparently firm commitments from LA countries including Argentina, and with few if any LA’s ready to demur or dissent. We believe there exists a real possibility that a LA consensus or near-consensus could be achieved during meeting of Latin Americans in New York next week. LA’s may also pick up support of Afro-Asians at current Lima Conference.
We have been ostensibly neutral on Herrera candidacy while it appeared doubtful that he could obtain broad LA support, but it now [Page 403]becomes necessary that we show our hand carefully but somewhat more clearly. Fact is that we regard Herrera as generally unappealing candidate for number of reasons including his erratic and self-serving performance in the IDB and the implications of a Chilean acceding to post of SYG at this particular juncture. End FYI.
For action posts in LA. You should seek early opportunity to see FonMin and tell him that we have been watching Herrera candidacy and wonder if Latin America does not have others to propose who would have greater stature as leaders and statesmen. While we recognize that Herrera has many fine qualities, they do not appear to measure up to those of the best that Latin America could offer, and we would find it difficult to support him for SYG. You may add, likewise in deep confidence, that another factor is that for obvious reasons which FonMin will understand we would find it difficult at this time to support a candidate sponsored by the Chilean Government. You may note that we have the definite impression that the GOC purpose in advancing the candidacy is to enhance its prestige and respectability.
For USUN: As opportunities arise in discussions with trusted LA delegates in New York, you should express view that it would be helpful if there were an outstanding Latin American candidate. If reference is made by others to Herrera, you should ask whether in their view he measures up to the best LA has to offer. We do not wish to say outright that we would oppose Herrera, but you should not discourage any impression that we are unenthusiastic about him.
USUN should also tell UK what we are doing, and that we think it desirable to take action prior to the Latin American caucus which may take place sometime during week of November 1. British also have assets in Latin America and may wish to reinforce what we are doing. You should also explain to Jakobson how we see the situation and encourage him to use whatever influence Scandinavians can exert among the Latins to try to counter the Herrera boom.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–3. Secret; Exdis; Priority. Drafted by Herz; cleared by Crimmins, Flanigan, and Miller; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Sent to Asuncion, Bogota, Brasilia, Caracas, La Paz, Managua, San Jose, Tegucigalpa, and USUN.