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

202225. For Amb. Bush from Secretary. Subj: SYG Candidacy of Herrera. Ref: USUN 4055.1

I agree with your observation that an anti-Herrera posture would be likely to cause us difficulty with other Latin Americans owing to his general popularity with them. At same time a directly anti-Chilean posture would cause adverse political reactions from a substantial part of [Page 408]Latin America. Our objective must be to make it clear that Chile’s candidate cannot succeed before it acquires further head of steam but at same time to minimize political repercussions in Latin America that may develop from this decision either as result of overtly anti-Chilean or an anti-Herrera position.

We thus do not want to say directly to Chileans that our opposition is based on current status of US-Chile relations; direct statement of this sort could unnecessarily be exploited by Chile among many segments of public opinion in Latin America. If others draw conclusion that this is our fundamental reason, as they undoubtedly will, that would give us considerably less difficulty.

Whatever we say in our initial reply, it is also clear that our opposition will become publicly known and a matter of contention. Easiest position to take would be that we cannot support Herrera because we favor another candidate (Jakobson). However because overt support of Jakobson would have negative impact on his chances we do not wish to do this. We do not believe on other hand that we will be able to stand for long on position before press or even other diplomats of simply being unable to support him without adducing any reasons. Fact that Chile has already received number of UN posts and other high honors is acceptable and politically uncontentious reason for not supporting Chilean candidacy. It may be that this would be enough. Additionally uncontentious reason which was designed not to be anti-Herrera but pro other candidates, however, would be that one of our considerations is desirability of direct UN experience.

Reason we suggested you speak to Argentines, Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans before you saw Chile also was to assure that word reached Chilean Del prior to your appointment so as to lessen somewhat direct confrontation aspects that might stem from response initially to them. We hope you can still do this.

I would leave it to your own discretion as to how much you wish to say to Chileans or others about reasons at this point, with the above objectives in mind. Formula of saying we “cannot support Chile’s proposal re SYG suggestion” is also satisfactory. Our assumption has been that Latin American group is half actively and half passively in support of Herrera and that we face difficult problem with Latin Americans as a whole. Our objective in talking to committee members should therefore be to seek to avoid their coming to us with a group position, to which we would have to take exception.

We anticipate we may receive press queries as our position seeps out to the press. If asked, you should limit reply to statement confirming that we have expressed our reservations regarding Chilean candidacy and decline all further comment on grounds it would not be helpful in present circumstances.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–3. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Pedersen; cleared by Assistant Secretary De Palma, Crimmins, and Eliot; and approved by Secretary Rogers.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 228.