248. Memorandum From Michael J. Deutch to the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (De Palma)1


  • UNDP
In the course of my private consulting engineering practice and various missions for the International Lending Institutions and UNDP, I had the opportunity to observe the potential and the weaknesses of UNDP. Paul Hoffman’s advanced age, the probable departure of at least one US deputy and of the talented French assistant director may result in an attempt by the Indians or Pakistanis to take over the Directorship of UNDP.
With US–AID in disarray and multilateral project development being limited to the borrowing resources of IBRD, the USG would be well advised to insist that a talented American—preferably well known to the President—promptly replace Mr. Hoffman and attempt to stream-line UNDP, reorient its priorities towards areas where US management and technology can be applied realistically and efficiently. Some of the statistical, administrative and long-term research of UNDP duplicate those of UN’s technical departments and the specialized international organizations—UNDP could shed those easily.

UNDP has its own resources and is relatively immune to the political pull and haul of the Secretariat; its rejuvenation would be acceptable at this time. From the point of view of the SG, there is much to be done to bolster the regional project planning in such fields as improving power utilization, fuel supply, exploration for natural resources, food technology, etc.

US bilateral aid will have to keep a low profile and multilateral project financing on a large scale may have to await liquidity improvement [Page 447]in the middle ‘70’s. This Administration could accomplish much in the post-Vietnam period through the channel of a revitalized UNDP if a younger and talented man from the administration’s ranks promptly took hold of UNDP and proceeded to stream-line it.

Being privy to the table of organization and the varied activities of UNDP I am convinced that it is an appropriate vehicle for the Administration’s participation in selective development planning during the next couple of years (when we may have to pull in our horns in the vast complex of international organizations, until multilateral aid is sufficiently funded by others, and still may wish to have some accomplishment in the most viable areas). Last but not least even for post-war Indochina, UNDP may be more readily useful than ADB. There are other “vital trouble spots” where a competently—and discreetly—US directed UNDP may be very useful.

If and when a decision is taken I would like to brief the new director general in technical detail.

M.J.D. 2
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 299, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. V. No classification marking. An attached memorandum of acknowledgment from De Palma is also dated October 7. In an attached memorandum dated October 24, Winston Lord of the NSC staff called on Fred Bergsten and Marshall Wright to prepare a memorandum for Kissinger about the role of the UNDP, its strengths and weaknesses, the succession question, and recommended actions.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.