432. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1


  • The Timing of the UN Chirep Vote

You asked for an analysis of the timing of the UN vote, why it came so much earlier than our initial estimates, and why our people at the UN did not delay the matter until the end of October or early November. The following seem to be the salient facts:

Neither we nor anyone else had control over when the Chirep debate began. It was the first item on the agenda, and thus became the order of business immediately upon the end of the general debate (the initial round of general statements by delegation heads).
The initial estimate was for a vote probably on October 28 but possibly running several days later. That was based upon an estimate of how many people would want to speak to the issue and at what length.
As soon as the debate got underway, it became clear that not as many countries were choosing to speak, and that the speeches tended to be extremely short, compared with those made in previous years. At that point it seemed clear that the vote would take place during the last week of October, possibly during the middle of the week.
Our delegation at the UN was aware of the necessity of putting off the vote, at least until Henry was out of Peking. They did, therefore, take steps to extend the debate by encouraging countries to speak that might otherwise not have done so, and by getting additional pages inserted in speech drafts.
By the end of last week, however, it was clear that the general sentiment of the Assembly, and the strategy of the opposition, were both driving toward a quick disposal of the issue. Over the weekend, Secretary Rogers passed the word to put the vote off at least until Tuesday morning.
That brings us to Monday, and you know of the tactical considerations which led to the vote Monday evening. According to Sam DePalma, the other side knew they had the votes on Monday and were [Page 860]determined to push for a vote before anything could happen to change the situation. State, on the other hand, saw no advantage to further delays (the impending Belgian announcement etc.) and, in any event, given the general atmosphere, could not press too hard for further delay without making it obvious that we did not have the horses, thus causing a further erosion of our support.

In connection with Henry’s apparent wish that the vote be delayed for at least several days after his return, I do not know what he may privately have conveyed to Secretary Rogers or George Bush. At lesser levels, however, people knew that the vote should be delayed until Henry was out of Peking but were not aware that importance was attached to any further delay.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 302, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VIII. Confidential. Sent for information. The memorandum bears a handwritten note by Kissinger reading: “Key para on 2nd page. HK.” The last paragraph of the memorandum is marked.