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

149085. Subj: Joint Session Comite of 24, Comite on Apartheid and Council for Namibia. Ref: A. USUN 1868;2 B. State 51370.3

Dept still not inclined participate in proposed joint session. Mission should approach Nicol and reiterate position essentially as in ref B. Mission should also point out increasingly cumbersome nature of proposed session, financial implications, obvious duplication with work of Fourth Comite, and particularly ill timing and inappropriateness of meeting during GA. Mission should use similar points as necessary in explaining position to Sanctions Committee and Namibia Subcomite and should discuss matter with UKUN and other friendlies on all three bodies, particularly re possibility their taking similar positions.
Dept still sees no need for or likely benefit from type of joint meeting described ref A. Fact it now proposed to invite two additional bodies only compounds duplication of Fourth Comite effort. Present timing, with GA and particularly Fourth Comite about commence sessions, makes duplication of effort all more apparent.
US membership on three out of five proposed comites does pose additional problem. However, point made ref B regarding limited functions of organs other than Comite of 24 equally valid for SC Sanctions Comite and Namibia Subcomite. As member these subcomites US has particular responsibility oppose extraneous activities not within terms of reference.
Dept also notes with regard Comite of 24 that bureau acting very freely without meaningful consultations or debate. While such activity not inconsistent with normal character of Comite, Dept finds in it ample reason for not being bound by Committee decision.4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Samuel R. Peale; cleared by Norman Frisbie, Martin Jacobs, and Donald S. Spigler; and approved by Morris Rothenberg.
  2. In telegram 1868, September 10, USUN reported that, on the one hand, the proposed joint session of the Committee of 24, the Committee on Apartheid, and the Council for Namibia would only involve an exchange of views and was unlikely to produce any resolutions. On the other hand, the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Namibia, its Sanctions Committee on Southern Rhodesia, and the UN Human Rights Commission would be invited to attend. This would pose difficulties since the United States was not represented on either the Council for Namibia or the Committee on Apartheid, and had voted against Resolution 2506 (XXIV) on apartheid. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 51370 to USUN, April 8, spelled out objections to the joint session: it seemed unnecessary when the Committee of 24 was giving adequate attention to southern Africa, and the proposal exceeded the terms of reference of the other bodies. It would be difficult for the United States to participate in a joint session since it was not a member of the Council for Namibia or the Committee on Apartheid, had abstained on the resolution establishing the former and voted against the resolution establishing the latter, and had voted against Resolution 2506 (XXIV), which had called for the joint session. (Ibid.)
  4. Ambassador Finger explained to Nicol that the United States was not inclined to participate in the joint session for the reasons outlined. Nicol replied that he hoped that if one were held, the United States “might be present on a low-key basis,” or else its absence would be misunderstood. (Telegram 1944 from USUN, September 16; ibid.)