67. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1

832. Subject: Withdrawal from UN Comite of 24 (Decolonization Comite). Ref: (A) State 167972 (notal),2 (B) State 169085 (notal),3 (C)USUN 3812 (notal).4

1.
USG has decided withdraw from membership on UN Comite of 24 and USUN plans notify GA Pres of this decision by letter on January 11. USUN has already informed UK and Australian UN Missions and will on Jan 7 & 8 notify other interested parties, including SYG, Comite Chairman Nicol (Sierra Leone), and UN reps of host govts of action addressees, i.e. non EE Comite members and others including administering powers.
2.
For Action Addressees: London and Canberra may notify appropriate officials of USG decision immediately. Other posts may either use info below to respond to questions regarding US action or take initiative to bring matter to attention of host government in manner deemed appropriate. In latter case, posts should not approach local officials prior to Jan 8.
3.
Info Addressees: Although Dept and USUN see no need notify host govt or UN reps prior public announcement, posts may, if deemed appropriate, notify appropriate officials of decision and reasons there for as of date of announcement.
4.
In discussing US withdrawal, you may draw on following reasons for our decision:
(a)
Since establishment of Comite of 24 US has participated with hope it could make valid and constructive contribution to problems decolonization. We welcomed opportunity to work on these problems with others concerned and hoped our views would be given due consideration in framing serious and workable resolutions. However, as [Page 106]time has passed and as we have stated in Committee, we have had increasingly serious reservations with regard to method of operation as well as conclusions and actions of Committee. Only after consultations with Comite members in early 1968 did USG decide defer decision to withdraw from Comite at that time and instead seek, through frank statements of US views, acceptable changes in Comite performance. We have since reiterated these reservations. We have been increasingly concerned at Comite’s apparent unwillingness to take US views into account, as in case action program on decolonization in which not single one of some twenty suggested changes submitted by US was reflected in any form in Comite drafting.
(b)
Comite has consistently refused follow course pursued in other committees of consulting on proposed actions and resolutions in order to gain support necessary to insure consensus and effective implementation.
(c)
Comite has increasingly advocated extreme and unworkable measures, condoning use of violence, which we unable support. This performance now reflected and in effect codified in unworkable program of action for 10th anniversary Colonialism Declaration which will serve as guideline for future operations of Comite.
(d)
In view all these factors, after careful consideration over a considerable period of time, after repeated warnings to Comite and in light recent developments, USG has reluctantly decided that Comite has not allowed US to play constructive role and that goal of practical progress toward decolonization cannot be served by continued US presence on Comite. We have therefore notified appropriate UN authorities of our withdrawal.
5.
Post should point out that USG will continue to meet UN Charter responsibilities regarding US territories including reporting on them and participating in Comite consideration of them, if invited. US will also continue active interest in problems of decolonization and unswerving endorsement of right of self-determination. US believes it will have ample opportunity to consider and hopefully contribute to progress on these issues through participation in GA (Fourth Comite) and SC consideration the issues.5
Johnson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Drafted by Peale, Walker, Peter C, and Frank R. Golino; cleared by Witman, Goott, McNutt, Geraldine Jenkins, Stanley D. Schiff, and Morris Rothenberg; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Sent to Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Bamako, Brussels, Canberra, Caracas, Dar es Salaam, Freetown, The Hague, Kabul, Lisbon, London, Madrid, New Delhi, Oslo, Paris, Port-of-Spain, Quito, Rome, Stockholm, Tananarive, Tehran, Tokyo, Tunis, and Wellington; and repeated to Belgrade, Moscow, Sofia, Warsaw, USUN, and all other African and Latin American posts.
  2. See footnote 6, Document 62.
  3. Not printed. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN)
  4. See footnote 3, Document 66.
  5. Further guidance was transmitted to African posts in telegram 4222, January 11. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN)