250. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • The Problem of Paul Hoffman and the UNDP

The UNDP (United Nations Development Program) is the UN instrument for handling multilateral economic assistance to developing countries. Its health and vigor, therefore, is of great potential importance to us as we multilateralize our development assistance, although it is now much less important than the World Bank and some other international financial institutions.

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Paul Hoffman has been the head of the UNDP since it was founded. He is now 79 years old, and there has been widespread hope that Hoffman would step down gracefully and in glory when his term ends in December.

Hoffman is determined, however, to stay on until he has completed the important reorganization of UNDP now afoot and Secretary General U Thant has informed us that he will shortly reappoint Hoffman for another one-year term.

Hoffman’s reappointment will be the source of general disappointment, but nobody wants to end his long public service on a sour note. His reappointment will therefore probably be accepted without overt opposition.

However, the maneuvering to replace Hoffman is already well underway. Deputy UN Secretary General Narasimhan hungers for the job, and is moving actively and deftly to line up support. Narasimhan is a devious character, and if he succeeded Hoffman, it would be a grievous blow to US interests.

If we are going to go multilateral with our aid, it is essential that the head of the UNDP continue to be an American in order to facilitate Congressional support for the program. It is, however, by no means certain that we will succeed. The Secretary General has complete discretion to name the UNDP Chief, and there will be considerable international sentiment for naming someone other than an American.

To get our candidate appointed, we will need broad international support. To get that support, we will have to have a candidate of stature and proven administrative ability. He will not only need to be overwhelmingly qualified, but to be internationally recognized as such. A lesser-known figure, however deserving and competent, would probably not make it, and the job would go to a non-American, possibly Narasimhan.

On the other hand, if we put forward now a well qualified American candidate we should be able to obtain U Thant’s support and to discourage other candidacies. Finally, the next few months will see basic decisions taken on the reorganization of the UNDP and the filling of some key executive positions therein. It is obviously desirable that Hoffman’s replacement be identified so that he can work with Hoffman in making these decisions.

In short, there is an overwhelming need to select without delay the man we want to succeed Paul Hoffman.

I have two candidates to suggest for your consideration.

Anthony Solomon. Solomon is young (about 50), extremely vigorous, a first-class administrator, businessman, and economist. He is now President of the International Investment Corporation for Yugoslavia, a World Bank-sponsored consortium of US and European [Page 450]firms promoting private foreign investment in Yugoslavia, and was outstanding as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in the previous Administration. He is a self-made millionaire, and a tough, no-nonsense operator who earned an excellent reputation on Capitol Hill which would stand him in good stead in seeking Congressional appropriations for the UNDP. Solomon also stands very high with the US business community, both because of his own background and because he negotiated the voluntary restraint agreements on steel imports in 1968. Solomon is a nominal Democrat, but not active, nor has he engaged in activities or taken positions that would make his political affiliation a problem.2
Charles Percy . Senator Percy would certainly be a surprise candidate, and I offer his name very tentatively for your consideration. He has the right kind of image (young, vigorous, sympathetic to developing countries), and his administrative experience in business and knowledge of Capitol Hill would be relevant to two of the UNDP’s major needs. He would, in addition, have the kind of “high visibility” which is desirable in a UNDP Administrator. I have, of course, no idea whether Percy would have any interest in leaving the Senate for this job, or whether you would be interested in the legislative implications of his departure. Peter Flanigan, however, agreed that the idea should be broached to you, and will be sending you a separate memo on the subject.

Whomever you select, it is important that he be selected soon and that we proceed without delay to insure his successful candidacy. I am for Anthony Solomon.


That you authorize us to put Anthony Solomon forward as the official US candidate to replace Paul Hoffman as Administrator of the UNDP.
Prefer to sound out Percy
Give me more names3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 299, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. V. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action. A handwritten note reads: “Orig. retd to Wright—11/25.” An attached covering memorandum from Marshall Wright to Kissinger, dated November 17, recommended Graham Martin for the position, and was submitted with another memorandum from Peter Flanigan to President Nixon, dated November 20, that reported that Senator Percy might be persuaded to take the post if he were assured that another Republican from Illinois would be appointed to fill his Senate seat.
  2. An attached but not printed memorandum from C. Fred Bergsten to Kissinger, dated November 18, recommended Solomon for the post. Another attached memorandum, from Marshall Wright to Kissinger, dated November 19, expressed doubts about whether Solomon had the stature or international reputation for the post and about submitting the nomination of even a nominal Democrat to President Nixon.
  3. None of the options is checked.