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

2267. Subj: Chirep—Credentials Committee.

Stavropoulos reported to MISOFF 13 Aug that Sov Mission has told him they expect SYG will propose constituting Credentials Committee for 26th GA on basis 4–4–1. Noting his conversation with another MISOFF 12 July, Stavropoulos said he believes increased number of countries recognizing PRC, which is basis for CC composition, now requires 4–4–1.
Stavropoulos said that tactical question is more important than increase UN numbers of countries treating in one way or another with Peking. SYG is obliged to propose composition of CC at very beginning of session and before commencement general debate. If he proposes 5–3–1, there is certain to be prolonged and heated challenge to his proposal in volatile context where reps will not be tightly instructed and with unpredictable results. On other hand, Stavropoulos believes that there would be no serious or unmanageable challenge if the SYG proposed 4–4–1.
Comment: We cannot any longer maintain that 5–3–1 is justified by the facts. These are that as of 13 Aug, 58 UN members recognize PRC (of whom 50 have diplomatic relations with PRC), while 60 UN members recognize GRC (of whom 59 have diplomatic relations with GRC), and 4 recognize neither PRC nor GRC.
Stavropoulos is correct in saying that in view of these facts, and possible furthering of bilateral trend toward Peking before 26th GA, even if we succeeded in persuading SYG to recommend a 5–3–1 CC, this would almost certainly be challenged from the floor. It would be extremely dangerous for this matter to be put to the vote unless we had gone to capitals on this issue and had sought to build a majority to overrule such a challenge. This would involve not only adding a further issue to continuing efforts to seek support for IQ and DR in Washington, here and in capitals, but the weakness of the case and consequent lack of appeal would very likely harm our search for IQ and DR support.
There is of course no guarantee that an SYG proposal for a 4–4–1 CC would not also provoke challenge. But we are confident such a challenge would be defeated—first, because the hard facts of the matter [Page 785]show a near parity of recognition and diplomatic relations as between Peking and Taipei, and second, because the membership would recognize that our agreeing that the SYG should come forward with 4–4–1 represented considerable movement and a willingness to accept facts.
On the other hand, a 5–3–1 CC, if we could get it, would insure to the greatest possible extent that Chinese representation would not be resolved in the context of credentials. If any way could be found to sustain an SYG 5–3–1 proposal without adversely affecting our basic goals, we would opt for it. Since there is none, we recommend informing Stavropoulos that although we would prefer 5–3–1 CC, we would be prepared to consider 4–4–1 and would expect that, in return, the SYG and all reasonable dels would wish to support such a recommendation as against any possible challenge. Finally, we would want to make the point that we expect the 4–4–1 will be selected in such a way as to produce a majority in the CC for South Africa’s credentials. Request reply.2
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Confidential. Repeated to Taipei, Tokyo, and Pretoria.
  2. The Department replied that an effort should still be made to seek continuation of the “traditional” 5–3–1 formula on the Credentials Committee, seeking, if necessary, support from the Secretary-General. (Telegram 151262 to USUN, August 18; ibid.)