429. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

3845. Chirep: Plenary October 25.

Summary. Unexpected defeat of IQ by vote of 55–59–15 Oct 25 caused by massive last minute Arab defections. Shifts which occurred in previous or expected positions were: Belgium (yes to abstain); Cyprus (yes to abstain); Ireland (abstain to no); Mexico (anticipated abstention to yes); Oman (yes to absent [abstain]); Morocco (yes to abstain); Qatar (yes to abstain); Tunisia (yes to abstain); Trinidad and Tobago (anticipated abstention to no). End Summary.
Loss of IQ by four votes evening Oct 25 came as surprise when compared with conservative voting estimate of 60–57–13 early same morning. First sign of what later became long list of defections occurred before session began when we learned Belgian Cabinet had decided to shift from “yes” to “abstain.” Next sign of trouble came when Trinidad and Tobago (whom we originally had expected to abstain) decided to vote “no.”
During the meeting Lebanon tipped us off that Cyprus was going soft. Pedersen approached Kyprianou and, remarking on narrowness of vote, expressed gratification Cyprus was with us. Kyprianou indicated he would not support IQ. Pedersen said he was astonished, given two assurances of support by Makarios. Pedersen said US took this issue very seriously and GOC would damage its relations with US much more than it would improve them with PRC. Kyprianou said, as FonMin, he had to shoulder his responsibilities. Foregoing was shortly reinformed by Bush directly to FonMin who said we counting heavily on earlier assurances and that last minute defection would not be understood.
We then learned that, contrary to earlier expectations, Morocco would abstain rather than vote yes. (Although this was as unpleasant a surprise as the rest, at least Morocco moved half way toward our position since previously Morocco has voted against the IQ.)
At the opening of meeting we took last minute readings in cases of Tunisia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman. In all cases we were given assurances that they would vote yes. In the event, only Bahrain honored its word. Driss (Tunisia) after submitting three draft reses that he had no intention of pressing to vote, and after voting for Baroody’s unsuccessful motion to postpone vote to Oct 26, announced that Tunisia would abstain on IQ.
Bush early in the meeting also talked to Khampan Panya and urged Laos to reconsider its decision to abstain but latter made clear he bound by firm instructions.
Since we knew that new Gulf Arab states were under tremendous pressure from Arabs (and possibly UK too) to be absent, we together with Japanese, Chinese, Jordan and Lebanon kept a close watch on them. Oman nevertheless left the Assembly hall. When reached at his hotel he alleged he had received telegram from his ruler instructing him to be absent. Qatar, in explaining his abstention, told MISOFF that he too had received telegram permitting him to be absent but that he preferred to abstain.
Under circumstances, Luxembourg deserves credit for not following in the path of Belgium and Bahrain deserves credit for not bolting along with Oman and Qatar.
Major favorable development was yes vote of Mexico. On instructions, Pedersen called FonMin Rabasa to express Secretary’s appreciation for what had been a difficult decision that had been taken in the interest of good US-Mexican relations. Mexico’s decision all the more appreciated under the circumstances. Rabasa was touched and most appreciative.
Vote on IQ by Latin Americans generally was gratifying, including favorable votes, in addition to Mexico, from Argentina and Venezuela, who had earlier given us concern. Total vote in favor 18, against 5. There were no abstentions. The negative votes of Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru were anticipated, T&T’s final decision to oppose was made known shortly before vote by PermRep Seignoret to Japanese. Gratifyingly, Barbados followed instructions despite evident pressure from both Caribbean and Africans.
After defeat of IQ we made last-ditch effort to get separate vote on expulsion languge of AR but were defeated by 51–61–16. Under these circumstances, bandwagon psychology set in and AR adopted by 76–35–17.
Comment: Given what proved to be extreme fragility of some of our support, we doubt that a postponement until October 26 would have led to a substantially different outcome. The Soviets sat this one out. Albania did not not display any great leadership. The result was the pressures and the lobbying of the radical Arabs, Pakistan, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Zambia, the Scandinavians as a bloc, and, despite assurances to the contrary, probable behind the scenes work by the UK and France.2
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Confidential.
  2. Despite the defeat in the General Assembly, the Department sent, in circular telegram 196436, October 27, a message from Secretary Rogers to the Presidents or Foreign Ministers of the co-sponsoring nations thanking them for the “support and assistance you provided to our common cause during the debate and vote in the UN General Assembly on the issue of Chinese representation.” (Ibid.)