36. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Your Participation in This Fall’s UN General Assembly

The 1971 General Assembly session will be upon us in another month and a half, and it is time to consider the nature of your participation therein.

My instinct is that you should not plan on making a speech to the General Assembly this fall.

In the first place, you have spoken to each General Assembly session since your inauguration, and I think we should avoid cheapening the coin of your appearances by giving them the routine and ritual character of a yearly obligation.

Secondly, Chinese representation will be the dominant issue at this fall’s session. Should you appear before the General Assembly and not make a forceful argument for retaining Taipei’s seat, it would be interpreted as a sell-out of an old ally. On the other hand, a ringing and effective defense of Taipei’s seat by you personally will hardly be helpful to our dialogue with Peking, whatever priority they actually attach to UN membership.

Finally, I would like to save your next appearance before the General Assembly until after your trip to Peking. There will, at that point, be tremendous interest in the international community, and the circumstances should be ideal for a General Assembly speech setting forth the kind of world you are working toward. Such a speech would not only have considerable potential impact on the international community, but should also have a great domestic impact in underlining your world leadership role and in wringing additional benefit from the Chinese initiative.

If you agree with this reasoning, I will convey to Secretary Rogers and George Bush your intention not to appear before the General Assembly this fall. We can, of course, arrange such an appearance on short notice if circumstances should change.

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On a related matter, there will be a number of Chiefs of State/Heads of Government coming to the UN this fall, though nothing like the large group that came for last year’s anniversary session. A number of them will undoubtedly want to see you, particularly in view of your Peking initiative. We will be making individual recommendations to you, but I think it would be a good idea, in the current atmosphere, for you to see as many as your schedule will allow. We would limit these calls to relatively brief office meetings and space them well apart.


That you authorize me to inform those concerned that you do not intend to speak to the General Assembly this fall.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VII. No classification marking. Sent for action. A covering memorandum from Marshall Wright to Kissinger, dated July 22, bears Kissinger’s handwritten note: “No memo to Pres. necessary. He will not speak at General Assembly (has said so to me). As for heads of state, you can make individual recommendations.”
  2. Neither the approve or disapprove option is checked.