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

54. Subj: Withdrawal From the Committee of 24. Ref: State’s 209450, State’s 832.2

Pursuant instructions contained reftels and telcons with Dept, USUN informed dels of all addressee posts (except Tanzania which unable reach) plus Fiji as well as Chrmn of LA, Asian and AF groups re US decision withdraw from Comite 24, SYG informed through Under SYG Djermakoye. Reaction among WEO dels was generally congratulatory with statements that US move had been anticipated.
ASAF dels, while not expressing surprise at move, were concerned over effect US withdrawal would have on Comite and several wondered about future of Comite. Most of dels contacted wondered what UK would do in light of US withdrawal and they generally anticipated UK would soon follow. Some dels sought to get us to reconsider position but gave up when told decision already made.
LA’s (Ecuador Chargé Sefilla-Borja and Venezuela Dep PermRep Nava Carillo) expressed regret over US action but said that his efforts reorganize Comite along more constructive lines if he is elected Pres [Chairman]. He admitted not being sanguine re prospects of breaking Communist-ASAF extremists control of Comite. In fact we hear Africans may renege on “deal” by which Amb Nicol (Sierra Leone) was elected Chrmn of Comite in 1970 at expense of Amb Nava in exchange for AF support for Venezuelan in 1971.
New members, Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji, called on by LA adviser who explained in detail past US experience with Comite, earlier misgivings about continued participation, and general and specific grounds for decision withdraw. Amb Solomon of T&T reacted aggressively, charging US withdrawal would be regretted as petulant reaction to failure have their own way and as disregard of will of majority. He said it would have been nobler to remain in Comite and work from within for its improvement. He said T&T decision join Comite in no way affected by US decision and was based exclusively on T&T belief Comite’s cause was just and its work important to UN. However, he, Solomon, recognized US right act in what it considered its best [Page 108] interests whether rightly or wrongly. Specifically said he supported Program of Action’s endorsement of use of force as only way left to oppressed people of South Africa. Said US used force in SEAsia, and could hardly be critical of resort to such extreme measures by others. LA adviser refuted Solomon’s arguments and challenged premises on which these were based and interview ended amicably with an agreement to disagree.
Fiji Chargé Baker said decision join Comite would perhaps not have been made if they had known US planned withdraw. Fiji joined in hopes it could contribute to work to decolonization in smaller territories, particularly insular territories on basis their own experience of gradual progress to independence. He wondered whether US decision would influence UK do likewise and admitted Fiji mission had only consulted UKUN in general terms re desirability of joining Comite. Baker said Fiji naturally regretted US decision but, on basis explanation, understood our motives. He was told that Suva was being informed by AmConsul. He said Amb Sikivou returning Jan 9 with family and was invited to advise Amb to call Amb Finger next week if he had any additional questions.
Djermakoye (Under SYG for Trusteeship and NSGT) expressed “profound regret and grave concern” at US decision. Withdrawal would “seriously undermine” Comite’s ability carry out its task. However, it was abundantly clear above remarks pro-forma and US decision came as no surprise to him or, presumably, SYG.
USUN plans send formal ltr SYG as misfaxed from UNP Jan 11.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential. Repeated 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.
  2. Document 65 and Document 67.