25. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Security Problem at the UN Worsens
Things have started turning bad again with our immediate security problem in New York. On October 6 the Palestine Liberation Office was bombed and a large number of Arab Ambassadors received identical anonymous letters stating that they would be assassinated regardless of USG efforts to protect them.
Like the shepherds in the biblical field, the Arabs are “sore afraid”. The Tunisian Ambassador told one of our people that the traditional friendship of Tunisia for the U.S. prevented him from making a formal protest but that he hoped the “U.S. authorities would live up to their responsibilities.” He added that he shared the opinion of his Arab colleagues that these incidents were “intolerable”.
The Kuwaiti Ambassador (whose mission has already been bombed) has reacted to the death threat emotionally, and warned that the death or injury of any Arab official in New York would create a situation in which “there would be nothing that Arab governments could do to protect Americans in Arab lands.”
The Ivory Coast Ambassador (whose mission was bombed on September 27) complained of the “sudden, unannounced and unexplained” removal of police protection from his mission and residence. He was in no wise mollified by our assurances that the police were undoubtedly continuing the investigation and had provided fixed police protection for five days instead of the “normal 24-hour period.” The Saudi Arabian Ambassador told us that the U.S. “is in very deep trouble” over the bombings and threats.
Apparently the whole Arab group met on the morning of October 8 and decided to make an official protest to the Secretary General and to the U.S. mission. The protest will concentrate on three points:
- What, if anything, has been done to apprehend and punish the wrongdoers;
- What steps are the U.S. Government and New York City going to take henceforth to protect personnel and premises of UN missions; and
- If the U.S. Government is unable or unwilling to protect the missions, the UN should consider moving its headquarters elsewhere.
I filled John Dean in on all this. He is hard at work on his recommendations to the President and promises to have them on the President’s desk by the time of his Tuesday arrival.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 299, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. V. Secret. Sent for information. At the top of the page Kissinger wrote: “Marshall—We must move on this. HK.” Below his note is the stamped date “October 12, 1970.”↩