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

4349. Subj: SYG Succession—Herrera Candidacy. Ref: USUN 4319.2

Meeting with Diaz Casanueva (Chile) cited para 6 reftel 3 took plac in UN corridors before Nov 18 AM meeting of General Comite. Chilean MISOFF Carrasco was with Casanueva and LA adviser with Bush. Bush said he appreciated frank telecon with Diaz Casanueva last night and welcomed opportunity to discuss matter further. Bush recalled his personal desire expressed at Nov 5 meeting with Herrera present to do everything in his power to maintain open, cordial and frank contacts with Chilean Perm Rep in hope that through such candid dialogue the two could contribute to betterment of US-Chilean relations. Diaz Casanueva said he fully reciprocated these views and wished to assure Bush that nothing in statement of the Govt of Chile concerning proposal of Herrera for SYG was in any way meant to be personally critical of Bush.
Bush said he was happy to hear this but that such a conclusion was difficult to draw from terminology employed in statement, particularly charges in final para that “groundlessness of US position, undiplomatic behavior evidenced in this matter”, etc., justify GOC’s decision to continue lending support to Herrera proposal. Diaz Casanueva said Bush misunderstood meaning of this accusation which was not at him but at a govt (the US) which had decided to publicly embarrass a distinguished individual for whom it professed high regard by announcing a US position publicly, when nothing was said about such an announcement during an ostensibly private and privileged conversation. Diaz Casanueva contended that Chilean statement was made necessary by this breach of accepted practice which could only furthermore be interpreted as a deliberate discrimination against Herrera because of his Chilean nationality. Bush expressed his astonishment at this conclusion, saying US authorities in NY and Wash had made no announcement concerning Herrera candidacy. They had only reacted when forced to do so by press queries motivated by widespread rumors in UN corridors, and presumably elsewhere, that US had “vetoed” Herrera. Diaz Casanueva also took issue with Bush having informed Argentine, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan Ambs of US decision. Bush said he had informed them as they were members of so-called working group for Herrera candidacy and LA group Pres and SC members. This was intended only as courtesy and not to embarrass Herrera or Chilean Govt. Diaz Casanueva said this was unfortunate because one or more of them had evidently made the information public “as was to be expected.”
Going back to language of statement Diaz Casanueva said it was nothing but factual summary of developments, which, out of consideration for US side, avoided any reference to discussion of the copper problem or to Bush’s complaints about tone of Chilean UN speeches. Bush recalled that such mention would have been highly inappropriate since Bush had at the time made it clear US decision re SYG proposal was not related to US-Chilean differences over copper mines or to Chilean Del’s attitudes at the UN. Bush observed that statement also failed to mention that both Diaz Casanueva and Herrera had welcomed Bush’s frankness on Nov 5 and had thanked him for it. Bush was forced to terminate meeting on somewhat inconclusive basis when he was called into General Comite.
Diaz Casanueva asked LA adviser to remain for further discussion. Although remaining seemingly affable, Diaz Casanueva took harder tone in defending Chilean statement. He argued impropriety of US making known a decision which constituted interference in affairs of LA group. He claimed SC members should not make their position on candidatures known until SC was actually seized of question. He reiterated complaint that US had deliberately torpedoed the [Page 415] LA candidate by its announced non-support. LA adviser replied that it had been made abundantly clear US only made its position known to Chileans and those designated to work with them out of consideration for Herrera and in belief our LA friends would prefer not to be misled. Notion that SC members, and particularly permanent members, could not discuss candidacies outside of SC was manifestly untenable. Finally, US spokesman had not taken initiative to make US position public but had been compelled to respond to queries. Diaz Casanueva then recalled Herrera’s remarks on evening of Nov 5 that US decision re his candidacy would be interpreted in Chile as the US “first political reprisal against Chile for our differences in the economic field” and said this was indeed the case. LA adviser reminded Diaz Casanueva that in response to this remark of Herrera Bush had expressed hope such an unwarranted conclusion would not be arrived at and that these words had been Herrera’s and not Bush’s. USG had sought to make it clear it is anxious to pursue every avenue that could lead to better relations and that our candid explanation of our position on Chile proposal re the SYG succession was part of this effort. Both Chileans smiled and acknowledged US officials had tried to draw such a distinction but that the general public in Chile and elsewhere were not gullible. They interpreted our action as retaliation pure and simple.
Later during morning Bush saw LA group Pres Molina and told him of his conversation with Chilean Amb. Molina said that during LA group meeting Nov 17 Ortiz de Rozas (Argentina) and others had made clear that US position on Herrera was not a rejection of all LA candidates and was not consequently anti-LA. Molina added “don’t worry about this, everyone understands why you had to do what you did.”
Subsequently, Chilean Amb’s wife (who sits in Third Comite) told Bush that Chilean letter was not intended as personal attack on him and that the LA Pres, Costa Rica’s Amb Molina was to blame for making US decision public. Bush said he was surprised because first public mention we had seen was in press report from Buenos Aires. She insisted this was not the case saying with great self-assurance that it was Costa Rica who had put out the story.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 8–3. Confidential; Exdis. Repeated to Santiago, Buenos Aires, Brasilia, San Jose, and Caracas.
  2. Telegram 4319 from USUN described a meeting of Latin American representatives on November 17 in which Chilean Representative Diaz Casanueva read a statement denouncing the U.S. “preemptive veto” of Herrera’s candidacy and Bush’s undiplomatic behavior. Venezuelan Representative Andres Aguilar assured Bush that most other Latin American representatives accepted his explanation. (Ibid.)
  3. In this paragraph, Bush noted that he hoped to have a personal talk with Diaz Casanueva in order to build a “personal relationship where problems are frankly discussed.”