266. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

15. Subj: The Future of C.V. Narasimhan.

From a variety of sources we have picked up rumors that Waldheim has requested C.V. Narasimhan to stay on as Chef de Cabinet. Narasimhan himself has been exuding confidence ever since appointment of new SYG and this has tended to lend credence to the rumors.
This situation presents us with delicate problem. Senior Secretariat personnel are in general superannuated and Secretariat is badly in need of new blood. At same time Waldheim probably feels he needs to keep some experienced UN hands as he begins to grapple with some of long-neglected problems of the organization. In spite of his reputation of being no friend of US, Narasimhan is: (a) experienced; (b) relatively young; and (c) intelligent.
Our concern is two-fold. On political side, Narasimhan must have been deeply involved in advising U Thant to issue the many one-sided statements criticizing US role in Southeast Asia. On administrative and financial side, Narasimhan as one of U Thant’s closest collaborators was either unable or unwilling to get Thant to deal effectively with these problems.
We will compare notes with UK and if they share our concern we should consider parallel informal approaches to Waldheim on this matter. We could say we have heard rumors Narasimhan might be asked to stay on as Chef de Cabinet. This major decision obviously one Waldheim must make on his own. However, Narasimhan closely identified with and responsible for record of previous administration which failed spectacularly to come to grips with financial and administrative crises afflicting the UN. We strongly support Waldheim’s determination to tackle these serious problems and we cannot help but register our concern over reports that UN official who was closest advisor to U Thant on whole range of problems, might be asked to stay on in such a key post.
At same time, in order not to have our démarche appear to be a personal vendetta, we should indicate we willing see Narasimhan occupy a post commensurate with his past attainments (e.g. head of UNIDO or UNCTAD), in both of which C.V. has expressed an interest.
In his Dec 24 lunch with Phillips, Waldheim said he had made no commitment to Narasimhan and above rumors may reflect normal nervousness of Secretariat personnel in time of change. However, they are widespread throughout upper levels of UNHQ.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X. Secret; Exdis.