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

79. Subj: US Withdrawal From Comite of 24. Ref: USUN 054.2

Talk in UN corridors seems to be concentrating on US-UK withdrawals from C-24. General question has been what do these withdrawals do to the C-24. Press in general appears to have been caught off guard by announcements and SYG is reportedly not offering any comment to press re withdrawals. SYG’s reasoning is that he did not comment on withdrawals of Italy, Norway and Honduras; and, consequently, does not propose to comment on US and UK withdrawals from Comite.
Moderate AF’s are particularly concerned over US withdrawal. Tunisian, Malagasy, Senegalese, USSR, Ugandan, Ivory Coast and [Page 110]Liberian Dels have commented to MISOFF that they were very concerned over US withdrawal from Comite; and Francophone AF’s in particular have privately called us quitters (lacheurs) for not being willing to withstand attacks. Moderate Francophones in particular have expressed serious concern over fact that US withdrawal from C-24 would give EE bloc and radicals free rein in Comite and thus undercut opportunities for moderates to counter effectively extreme views. When confronted with fact that US presence did not appear to have given much support to moderate views in Comite, moderate AF’s implied that, while this may have been true, they generally felt they could count on US support for stands which went contrary to extreme views. US presence, they argued, had moral value; and, although they had frequently had to adhere to general Afro-Asian line, minority viewpoints were assured expression by US. They further argued that US should have consulted with them, rather than simply informed them of decision to withdraw from C-24. Most dels were not concerned over UK withdrawal from Comite. At same time, because of seeming simultaneity of announcement, most dels felt there had been collusion between US and UK.
Most ASAF dels expressed view that US, which had been in forefront of decolonization, was now no longer interested. USUN has sought to make it clear that US interest in decolonization has not diminished and that it will be following process of decolonization both in Fourth Comite of GA and when raised in SC. Some dels wondered whether Comite should continue in light of US-UK defections, but were of opinion that, despite these setbacks, Comite will still operate.
Interesting note, bloc countries caught completely by surprise and Niklessa (USSR) wondered if US planning to withdraw from other comites dealing with decolonization. Specifically, he referred to subcommittees of SC on Rhodesia and Namibia. MISOFF stated that, as permanent SC members, there no inclination for US withdraw from SC subcomites and expressed view Niklessa conclusion slightly farfetched.
Reactions among ASAF’s predictable. Some were caught by surprise, but did not appear to harbor any strong ill-will against US for its decision withdraw from C-24. It can be generally assumed that all have reported back to their governments re US decision. Nicol (Sierra Leone), who currently not in New York and who outgoing Chairman C-24, had instructed his del to approach USUN in order get US reconsider our decision. Having learnt, however, that US letter of withdrawal had already been transmitted to SYG, Sierra Leone Mission did not contact USUN in formal meeting, but expressed appreciation of Nicol for having been notified in advance of withdrawal.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 UN. Confidential.
  2. Document 68.