40. Memorandum for the President’s File1


  • Your Meeting with Secretary General Kurt Waldheim of the United Nations on Monday, January 24, 1972, at 11:04–11:22 a.m.
[Page 66]


  • The President
  • Secretary General Waldheim of the United Nations
  • Secretary of State William Rogers
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
  • George Bush, U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations

[After some talk about Hungarian refugees in Austria, the conversation turned to the challenge facing the new Secretary General at the UN.]2

President: We have the same problems in the United States about support for the United Nations. It is part of the general problem we have now about American attitudes towards international affairs. My policy, as you know, is to maintain a constructive American role in the world.

Waldheim: I have always tackled jobs with energy. We must restore confidence in the UN. The recent events on the subcontinent show the need for this. Even your overture to China affects the UN. But there is no alternative to the United Nations. If the US interest in the UN flags, then China and the USSR will simply take over. American policy is helpful even on the Subcontinent. After all, your position was supported by 103 other countries.

With respect to the UN’s own problems, we have now marked out a solution of the short-term problems. Countries should pay their contribution in January rather than in July as is now the case. If that is impossible, then can you pay in one lump sum.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 87, Memoranda for the President, December 12, 1971–February 20, 1972. Secret. Drafted by Kissinger.
  2. Brackets in the source text.