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

5191. Subj: SYG.

Summary. In spite of firm assurances by Finns and Norwegians that PRC would continue to veto Waldheim indefinitely, SC voted to recommend him to GA on first ballot Dec 21 by vote of 11–1–3 (US, UK). Ortiz de Rozas was runner up with 12–3 (Soviet veto)–0. Jakobson received 9–5 (Soviet veto)–1. End summary.
At Five-Power meeting early Dec 21, Bush and Crowe (UK) advocated top three candidates who received nine or more votes be resubmitted to SC. We insisted all three candidates be considered on [Page 444] equal footing and expressed preference for Jakobson. Bush also made point that we thought composition of SC did not necessarily reflect strength of Jakobson in GA. Malik advocated all candidates who received seven or more votes be re-submitted. Huang Hua favored re-submission of “LA candidates” Herrera and Valdes. Kosciusko-Morizet said he could go either way.
During lone discussion Malik observed it did not matter much which candidates submitted or which procedure followed because results would be the same as previous ballots. Group finally decided send list of six candidates who obtained seven or more votes Dec 20 (Herrera, Jakobson, Jarring, Ortiz de Rozas, Valdes, Waldheim). First ballot would be same procedure as previous meeting (secret ballot with results announced after voting completed on all six). If no one recommended, next ballot would be by candidates in order of votes received and would have votes announced after voting completed on each candidate.
After above meeting adjourned, substance of Hillenbrand telephone call from Bermuda received instructing US to take action to be certain Waldheim not elected during voting Dec 21. On return to the Mission, Bush received telephone call from Sir Colin Crowe informing us that the Secretary and Sir Alec Douglas Home had agreed in above sense. Crowe noted that, US and UK, having voted for Waldheim Dec 20 could not now cast veto without fact becoming known. However, US and UK could switch to abstain if we were reasonably certain PRC would veto. This would reduce or hold down Waldheim vote and put Ortiz de Rozas ahead. It would also ensure Ortiz would be voted on first in second round. Bush then talked directly with the Secretary who agreed we should coordinate tactics with UK and Jakobson.
We next talked to Pastinen (Finland) and Algaard (Norway) who assured us that they had held long meeting with Huang Hua after Five-Power meeting reported above. Chinese reportedly gave them unequivocal assurances that they would continue to veto both Waldheim and Jarring indefinitely. Pursuant first Bush telcon with Secretary, Bush called Jakobson who confirmed this was Chinese position. Jakobson said “there is no question about it—the Chinese will veto Waldheim all the way through.”
Bush agreed with Crowe that under these circumstances we would recommend that both of us abstain on Waldheim on first and second round. If no agreement reached at end of second ballot we would seek third round with vote by show of hands. (Suggestion was made UK ascertain PRC views directly but Crowe thought approach by him to Huang Hua would only arouse suspicion.) This position endorsed in second Bush telcon with the Secretary.
Just prior to SC meeting Bush encountered Algaard (Norway) who again stated in categoric terms that PRC would definitely continue [Page 445] to veto Waldheim. We also ascertained that Japan and Nicaragua would continue to vote for Jakobson and Bush urged Ortiz de Rozas to do likewise but latter was noncommittal.
When vote was read out we were surprised to learn that the one negative vote had not been that of a permanent member and, consequently, Waldheim had obtained the required majority. (If we and UK had maintained vote of previous day he would have obtained 13–1–1 on victory ballot.)
After the meeting Bush placed call to Waldheim but switchboard of Austrian Mission was jammed. Bush then conveyed congratulations to Mrs. Waldheim. Condolences were sent to Jakobson. Ortiz took defeat in stride and thanked Bush warmly for strong US support.
Malik circulating story that LA (Herrera, Valdes) would have been elected had it not been for intransigence of US. We are pointing out that it pity that the LA with the most votes (Ortiz who received 12 yes votes) was blocked by Soviet veto.
Miglioulo (Italy) told us after the vote that he was convinced Soviets would never have accepted Jakobson or Ortiz. If PRC had been equally adamant on Waldheim, it would have been necessary to look elsewhere (e.g. Jarring).
Comment: Italian and UK dels have been critical of Finnish campaign tactics which they consider, through design or overeagerness, to have resulted in inaccurate Finnish statements concerning positions of alleged supporters. Whatever the faults, if any, of Jakobson campaign, Finns by putting well-qualified candidate in the field early and maintaining him to the end helped ensure that Soviet first choice, U Thant, would not be re-elected.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. IX. Secret; Priority; Nodis.