251. Letter From the Representative to the United Nations (Yost) to Secretary of State Rogers 1

Dear Bill:

I am enclosing a copy of a letter in regard to the tenure of the UNDP Administrator which the Secretary General handed me personally yesterday. This is of course a reply to my letter of December 1, a copy of which is also enclosed and which under instructions from the Department I informed him that we would be submitting the names of one or more qualified nominees to succeed Paul Hoffman.2

I believe that the Secretary General’s letter stems from the fact that Paul has been disturbed by our intention to nominate his successor in the near future. U Thant told me yesterday that it is his understanding that Paul does not intend to ask for a further extension after this year and indeed that he is still inclined to retire in August or September. On the other hand, he is disturbed that discussion of his early departure and of a successor in the near future will put him in the lame duck category and lessen his ability to carry forward over coming months the reforms which the Jackson Report and the UNDP Governing Council have recommended.

We should, I agree, take account of Paul’s sensibilities and not do anything which would jeopardize the success of his work during the next 6 or 8 months. On the other hand, I continue to believe that we should proceed rapidly in our search for a successor who would hopefully meet the criteria laid down in the second numbered paragraph of U Thant’s letter and whose availability could be discussed informally with the Secretary General at any time. We could decide later when it might be appropriate to put the nomination forward formally.


Charles W. Yost 3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 300, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VI. Confidential.
  2. Both letters are attached but not printed. The Secretary-General’s January 11 letter expressed his concern that an announcement regarding a successor to Paul Hoffman might affect his efforts to restructure the UNDP. Yost’s letter acknowledged an earlier letter of November 6, 1970, in which U Thant expressed his intention to offer Hoffman an extension of his term of office for one year, effective January 1, 1971.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.