244. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

5149. Subj: SYG—Five Power Meeting Dec 18.

Summary: Five-Power meeting on SYG Dec 18 decided recommend vote by SC on four candidates who obtained seven or more SC votes Dec 17 (Herrera, Jakobson, Jarring, Waldheim), plus five others (Djermakoye, Ortiz de Rosas, Ramphal, Terence, Valdes), plus additional candidates who may be nominated by non-perms. Five decided recommend to SYG and SC Pres (A) one-by-one votes with results revealed only after all names voted on, (B) proceed to third ballot if more than one nominee gets nine votes without veto. French del consulting with SC Pres and non-perms over weekend. Non-perms Saturday added Rahnema to list and Terence asked name be deleted. In related development, Chinese told Finns they would continue veto Waldheim until end. End summary.
Five Powers held hour and half meeting at French Mission Dec 18 to prepare for SC balloting on SYG Dec 20.
Kosciusko-Morizet opened meeting by stressing need to avoid repeating long procedural wrangle and misunderstandings of previous day’s SC meeting. Suggested voting on candidates one by one, announcing results immediately after balloting on each name. First to receive nine votes without veto would be elected. Malik and Crowe initially agreed, former on grounds this would enable more selective use of veto.
After abortive K-M suggestion that Five attempt agree on one name, Huang Hua suggested retention of seven candidates of previous day’s SC meeting with some additions.K-M agreed this had advantages but suggested first explore other possibilities. Bush recommended elimination of those obtaining only few votes at Friday’s meeting, otherwise that meeting meaningless. Suggested at least listing top four and only then perhaps others in vote-rank order. Crowe and Huang agree. Malik supported Huang’s proposal that all seven be retained at same time as agreeing with Bush that Five should recognize that some among seven hopeless. Malik urged re-introduce seven names plus others proposed either by perm members or non-perms. Malik also urged adoption of lottery system (Ortiz de Rosas suggestion) to establish voting order.
Bush again pressed for vote-rank order list to which new names would be added. Also noted advisability of listing African, perhaps Terence.
K-M said if Five listed Dec 17’s four top names (Herrera, Jakobson, Jarring and Waldheim), they should also name others (perhaps Amerasinghe, Guyer, Ortiz de Rosas, Ramphal, Terence and Valdes). This followed by discussion among Five of possibility of first voting on entirely new list (excluding Dec 17’s slate), taking those with seven or more votes, adding to Dec 17’s four and then voting on new list. Malik then endorsed Bush’s earlier suggestion that rather than just repeating vote on Dec 17’s four, vote should be on list including new names as well as four. Recommended drawing lots for vote order.
Problem of criticism by non-perms raised several times during meeting. Malik, as K-M had done earlier, stressed need to avoid vulnerability to non-perms’ criticism. During meeting, Huang also underlined need for Five to be able give satisfactory explanations to non-perms.
K-M raised possibility that non-perms would object to Five attempting impose rule that nominees must obtain seven votes to keep names alive. Huang pointed out that at SC meeting two dels had suggested that all names with less than nine votes be eliminated, but he added his agreement on four-name procedure. Malik, however, was convinced that Five could defend procedure that eliminated names that had little support. Five then agreed retain only four of seven considered by SC Dec 17, but with acknowledgement that non-perms could re-introduce others.
K-M, who shifted ground repeatedly during meeting, said he would have preferred procedure under which SC at next meeting would start with new names, and vote on these; if any obtained nine votes without veto he would be elected, if none elected, then vote would be on old list again, beginning with Waldheim. Crowe and Malik agreed this had advantages, but Malik worried Five would look bad if unable to indicate any opinion on candidates. Thus, Five must come to SC with list. Also, if basic slate not concluded now, Sov del would be without sufficient instructions and would be obliged on Mon to veto or abstain on newly-announced candidates. Five, he said, must agree on four names plus others. Non-perms will understand principle that seven votes indicates popularity. Furthermore, any SC member can propose new names. Malik recalled confusion of Friday’s SC meeting, urged (A) that K-M inform SC Pres Taylor-Kamara of Five’s conclusions; (B) that SC Pres convene or otherwise inform non-perms to give them chance obtain instructions in advance of SC vote. All foregoing, Malik said, is wholly defensible.
In summarizing Malik’s proposal, K-M said results would be announced after vote on each name. Bush strongly questioned [Page 439]procedure, stating US del favored announcing only when voting on list completed. Malik countered that Bush’s procedure would only lead to repeat of Friday’s confusion. Malik also said his own procedure would enable perm members to be more selective with veto. After Bush again argued for voting through list before announcement, Huang Hua expressed agreement. Malik and Huang then engaged in low-keyed exchange on subject, climaxed by Malik’s flat statement that Bush-Huang procedure would violate UN Charter and SC rules of procedure and some country would require Bush and Huang to defend before ICJ. K-M laid Malik allegation of illegality to rest, pointing out that SC is master of own procedures. He ended up supporting Bush and Huang. With continued negative noises from Malik, others concurred. Agreed also that if two on list obtain nine votes without veto, SC would proceed to third ballot.
Prior to above exchange, Bush, pursuant telcons with Dept and discussion with Jakobson, suggested possibility of open ballot revealing who cast vetoes (stating that non-perms might press for this). Suggestion was immediately and firmly opposed.
For names to be added to basic four, others agreed to Ramphal (Crowe’s suggestion), Valdes (K-M) and Ortiz de Rosas (K-M). After Bush repeated suggestion that African should be included, Five agreed to add Djermakoye (K-M) and Terence (Crowe). Crowe raised possibility of adding Makonnen, but others objected on grounds this would re-open all names previously dropped.
Following further discussion of means of preparing SC Pres as thoroughly as possible before meeting and of avoiding confusion from lack of time to obtain voting instructions, K-M summarized agreement that he would inform SYG and SC Pres that:
Five agreed vote Mon on list of nine (Djermakoye, Herrera, Jakobson, Jarring, Ortiz de Rosas, Ramphal, Terence, Valdes, Waldheim), plus any names added by non-perms over weekend or on Mon.2
Non-perms would be informed ASAP, inviting additional nominations.
Voting procedure: (I) One by one but with results announced only at end, (II) if more than one candidate obtained nine or more votes without veto names would be carried over to third ballot, (III) names would be listed alphabetically (although K-M noted that under circumstances order not significant).
Atmosphere of meeting. As foregoing indicates, meeting included virtually no discussion of attitudes toward individual candidates and most time spent on procedures. Although differences on procedure [Page 440]frequently expressed, there no sharp exchanges (with mild exception of Malik’s rather forced scolding of US-UK references to “small powers”) and Huang and Malik even occasionally noted that they in agreement.
Late in afternoon, French Rep telephoned us to state that some non-perms (French MISOFF said did not know which) had added name of Rahnema of Iran). In second call, French informed us that Terence, after expressing appreciation for having his name on list, asked that name be deleted.
Finns informed us also today that Chinese state that they would continue to veto Waldheim until very end.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. IX. Secret; Priority; Nodis.
  2. Later that day, Bush was instructed to vote for Jakobson, Waldheim, or de Rozas and against Herrera or Valdez. (Telegram 227770 to USUN, December 18; ibid.)