236. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1
New York, December 2, 1971, 0111Z.
4688. Subject: Successor to U Thant—Bush/Malik Mtg Dec 1.
- Summary. In meeting with Soviet PermRep Malik, latter confirmed USSR opposed to Jakobson, still advocated five-power appeal to U Thant to accept interim appointment, agreed US and USSR should approach France with a view to arranging five power meeting to discuss candidates.
- As follow-up to talk USUN 46542 Malik had lunch with Bush Dec 1. Issraelyan and Newlin present. Most of meeting devoted to getting Soviets to agree to procedure for consultations among five permanent members of SC.
- Bush said he had been reflecting on Malik’s cryptic remark Nov 30 that the US horse was just as dead as the Soviet horse (i.e. Thant). Malik said, “Your white horse is dead, I don’t know about your dark horse since I don’t know who he is.” When further sparring established beyond doubt Soviets referring to Jakobson, Bush denied that Jakobson was the US candidate. There were numerous well qualified candidates and Jakobson was among them; however, it was not true that the US was pushing him.
- When Bush inquired why the Soviets were opposed to Jakobson (at one point when Jakobson’s name was mentioned Malik drew a large X in the air) Issraelyan said he was opposed by an important group in the UN. We pointed out that we were unaware that the Arabs, as a group, had taken a formal position. Malik asserted this was the case.
- Bush then suggested procedure whereby five would meet without publicity. Each could submit list of names. All five lists would then be amalgamated into a master list. Copies of master list would then be distributed to each of five and names unacceptable to any del would have line drawn through them. Host would then take marked lists and make new master list containing only names of those who were acceptable to all five. This would begin process of weeding out clearly unacceptable candidates without putting the onus on any delegation for striking off a name. After list reduced to manageable size five could go on to express preference.
- At first Malik and Issraelyan did not understand suggested procedure. They agreed five should meet. However, each of five should put forward one candidate for consideration. Malik said he would propose U Thant. (After above procedure was explained twice, Soviets gave impression they might consider it.)
- Bush made clear idea of interim appointment for U Thant was non-starter. U Thant had definitively taken himself out of the race and was ill with a bleeding ulcer. US believed time had come for a change and we took him at his word that he would retire. We would not join in any appeal that he stay on.
- Bush and Malik finally agreed that they would jointly approach Kosciusko-Morizet (France) and suggest that he seek to arrange unpublicized five power meeting for purpose of discussing candidates. Malik said Sovs had proposed bilateral meeting to PRC but had received no reply.
- Bush later reported above to Crowe (UK) who had seen Malik as well as PRC (septel). UK informed Soviets that they considered Jakobson best qualified. Malik did not go as far with Crowe as to declare Jakobson a “dead horse”; he took line it was difficult to support someone who was opposed by an important group.UK agreed with approach to French but doubted that PRC would agree to meet with the four.
- Comment: Bush will approach Kosciusko-Morizet at SC meeting Dec 2. From initial comments of PRC we doubt that they will agree to attend five power meeting. If they refuse, four could then meet quietly to seek to reach agreement while at same time setting up some procedure for bilateral talks with PRC. We understand Mwaanga as current chairman of African group will approach all of five permanent members to urge that they get on with consultations on new SYG.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. IX. Secret; Nodis; Noforn.↩
- In telegram 4654, December 1, Bush reported that Malik had met with Thant on November 30 in an effort to persuade him to continue to serve for an interim period. (Ibid.)↩