84. Memorandum From Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • State Department Paper on 24th UN General Assembly

Attached for your information is a State Department piece on the scope and major issues likely to arise in the United Nations General Assembly this fall.2 Roger Morris canvassed the operators before the President’s UN speech and they found no egregious errors in this paper.

I see no reason to forward this to the President or for you to read it fully. Summarized below are the unsurprising major highlights.

General. There should be no new critical issues, barring unforeseen crises. The menu consists of traditional dishes. The general atmosphere should be better, thanks to a year’s blurring of the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the President’s Vietnam initiatives and emphasis on negotiation over confrontation, and the prospects of SALT.

Soviets. Neither concessions on gut issues or major boat-rocking. A more muted East-West debate.

Smaller Powers. Deepening frustration over lack of progress on issues that concern them. They want the developed countries to share the technological fruits of the space/nuclear age, to help accelerate economic development in the third world, to be serious about disarmament. Given the UN’s peace-securing limitations, there is a growing tendency to regard it primarily as a forum to plead causes and exert pressures on the major powers.

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Membership Explosion. The Assembly is hampered by cumbersomeness, loquacity and the use of formal majorities to steamroller through unrealistic resolutions and vote programs with budgetary implications over the heads of major contributors on whom the organization must rely for effective action.

Middle East. The Security Council will undoubtedly have its share of crisis meetings and there will be traditional Arab refugee and human rights polemics. Any meaningful discussions on the Arab-Israeli problem will of course take place off stage.

Arms Control. This will be a major theme. We will attempt to maintain Assembly support of the Geneva Disarmament Committee as being a more manageable forum than the Assembly. Our task will be eased if a seabeds treaty looks likely and SALT talks begin. The Soviet (and other) initiatives on CBW could be the most troublesome for us.

Colonial-Racial Issues. We will once again find ourselves in a small minority opposing extreme Assembly resolutions calling on the Security Council to impose sanctions against South Africa and Portugal, as well as for the use of force against the Rhodesian rebels. (Comment: regardless of the merit of such resolutions or of our having influence in black Africa, I do believe that this Administration seriously underestimates the explosive impact that black-white African issues are likely to have on the American domestic scene in the 1970s. I think that once Vietnam winds down, our policy toward South Africa and company will be a major target of American blacks and youth.)

Korea. Once again on the agenda despite our efforts. With extensive lobbying we should defeat communist resolutions calling for withdrawal of UN forces and the dissolution of the UN Commission for Korea.

Chinese Representation. We are reasonably confident of defeating the annual attempt to substitute Peking for Taipei, but some of our friends might embarrass us with more subtle initiatives that seek to test the limits of this Administration’s fresh China policy.

Other Issues. The more significant problems among those touched in the paper include: some limited progress with the Soviets on UN peacekeeping concepts; general pressure on us to liberalize our trade and aid policies in light of the Second Development Decade; UN cooperation in the field of human environment (a theme of the President’s speech); the UN budget and expansion of the Headquarters in New York; and our initiative on checking the extension of full membership to microstates.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. II. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates that Kissinger saw it on September 30.
  2. Document 83.