269. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations 1
We recognize SYG may find it necessary realign functions of Under-Secretaries in conformity present political realities. Obviously, Soviets and PRC will press him to avoid assigning peacekeeping functions to American Under-Secretary. We may not be able obtain assurance incumbent of that position will have specific responsibility exercised by Bunche in peacekeeping field, but we would like retain both general advisory role and as much substantive political responsibility as possible.
If SYG finds it impossible retain title of Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, we would be willing consider job now described as [Page 475] Under-Secretary for GA affairs, but would want Bunche’s responsibilities for Middle East made part of that job. We could not accept view that ME responsibilities are not suitable for American. On contrary, US in unique position vis-à-vis Egypt, Jordan and Israelis. GA job has consistently involved other substantive responsibilities. Cordier, who held GA assignment, was also in fact Chef de Cabinet, as was Narasimhan.
To accommodate ME responsibilities job might be described as Under-Secretary for Political and General Assembly Affairs. This will parallel Kutakov’s title: Political and Security Council Affairs. We think it important retain “political” in title. If we are offered that position we would want assurance that technical peacekeeping responsibilities would be assigned to national of suitable country (e.g., Canada) and not to USSR, PRC or country susceptible to Soviet or Chinese pressure. We feel this justified by UN’s heavy dependence on US political, financial and logistics support for peacekeeping operations. As part of either above arrangements, we could envisage someone like Guyer as Chef de Cabinet. We also would expect the Bunche job to be abolished and that there be no increase in total number of Under-Secretaries.
In conveying above to SYG, you should express our understanding for pressure he will undoubtedly face on this matter, which is nothing new. However, we think it vital that American retain political role in UN analogous to that Bunche had, however described, including specific political responsibilities which would assure him effective base of operations. He must be located on 38th floor and we hope he would be one of close associates who participates with SYG in key political decisions.
American Under-Secretary for Special Political Affairs has been necessary balance to Soviet Under-Secretary for Political and Security Council Affairs. We shall now also need post at this level of responsibility to balance PRC Under-Secretary. You should stress that retention of effective high level job comparable to that held by Bunche is critical to restoration US confidence in organization, a factor we hope he fully appreciates. It is important that Waldheim not even seem to downgrade responsibilities of senior American official.
You should also point out we have always observed Charter obligation and treated Americans in Secretariat as international civil servants. We shall continue to do so. At the same time we assume Waldheim appreciates importance of having strong American Under-Secretary in position to provide him sound insight into US attitudes, policies and decision-making process.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Assistant Secretary De Palma, cleared by Sisco and Eliot, and approved by Secretary Rogers.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 267.↩
- Document 264.↩
- Dated January 9. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN)↩