267. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Replacement for Ralph Bunche

I thought you should be informed of the state of play surrounding a replacement for Ralph Bunche as UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs.

Waldheim had earlier assured George Bush that he knew we wanted an American replacement and would comply, but Waldheim now asks that we release him from this commitment and seek a different top-level job slot for an American (cable at Tab A),2 because he fears that naming an American to the Bunche position “will open up tremendous opposition and demands from other big powers.” Waldheim wants to give the job to Guyer, an energetic Argentinian, who is acting as Under Secretary General with some of Bunche’s responsibilities.

Bush asks that Secretary Rogers review our position.

Assistant Secretary De Palma is waiting for Rogers’ return to Washington to recommend that we stick to our guns and insist on an American.

As to whom we might put forward as the candidate, State’s thinking has not yet jelled. Dick Pedersen’s name is being bruited about, but it’s possible that Secretary Rogers might want to go outside State.

[Page 473]

I agree with the line De Palma is proposing—that we hold Waldheim to his commitment to name an American. It’s not surprising that other governments have started to crowd Waldheim, and precisely for that reason [we] ought to have our own man sitting next to the SYG as a counter-weight.

Since matters will be coming to a head rather soon on this, if you have any thoughts or guidelines you want to give me, I’ll be grateful for them.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. Telegram 36 from USUN, January 6; attached but not printed.