234. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Succession to U Thant
Attached is a cable, initialed by Secretary Rogers, for which State is seeking clearance.2 It instructs USUN to begin a round of consultations looking toward the selection of a new Secretary General. We would first approach the Soviets for a general discussion of candidates intended primarily to do three things: (1) ascertain the Soviet attitude toward Jakobson, (2) indicate that Herrera is not acceptable to us, and (3) get Soviet agreement to intensive bilateral consultations among the five permanent members in an effort to reach agreement before the General Assembly adjourns.
If this goes reasonably well, we would then have the UK or the Norwegians convey to the Chinese delegate our general position and our readiness to discuss the SYG succession directly with the Chinese.
Simultaneously we would start informal talks with friendly nonpermanent Security Council members such as Argentina, Belgium, Italy, Japan, and Nicaragua.
The whole purpose of this approach is to get the succession matter off dead center, and to push the Jakobson candidacy to a point where the Soviets or the French (who are also luke warm, at best, on Jakobson) must either fish or cut bait. We would not, however, express direct support of Jakobson.
Despite my misgivings on Jakobson, I think we should clear this cable. We do need to settle the succession matter, and it is now languishing. If Jakobson is acceptable to the other permanent members, then he should be acceptable to us. If he is not acceptable to the other permanent members then it is high time for us and others to get on with the job of finding an alternative.
As to the PRC aspect of the consultations, this cable does not commit us to anything and you will have an opportunity to shape our approach [Page 418]to the PRC as you see fit before this scenario would bring us into the initial contact with them.
That you clear the attached cable.3