The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administration of Richard M. Nixon. The subseries will present a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions of President Nixon’s administration toward the United Nations. This volume documents U.S. policy toward the United Nations during President Nixon’s’s first administration from 1969 through 1972 and is organized according to six major subject areas: Chinese representation, the U.S. [Page IV] withdrawal from the Committee of 24 on Decolonization, special Security Council meetings, changes in senior UN personnel, reducing the U.S. financial assessment, and routine issues.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1972, Volume V

The editor of the volume sought to present documentation illuminating responsibility for major foreign policy decisions of the U.S. Government, with emphasis on the President and his principal foreign policy advisers. The documents include memoranda and records of discussions, telegrams, policy papers, and other documents that set forth policy issues and options and show decisions or actions taken. The emphasis is on the development of U.S. policy and on major aspects and repercussions of its execution rather than on the details of policy execution.

While United Nations affairs were not a high priority during the Nixon administration, they were a major concern for the Department of State. While two key issues, the question of Chinese representation and the selection of a new Secretary-General to succeed U Thant, rose to the level of high interest, most UN issues fell below the purview of the upper echelons of the Nixon administration’s foreign policy leadership. Furthermore, President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger both believed that they were realists more concerned with national self-interest and major power relationships than with political, social, and economic issues of the United Nations. Both Nixon and Kissinger were skeptical of the effectiveness and value of the United Nations. They therefore devoted scant attention to a organization dominated by smaller and developing nations and replete with specialized international organizations. Nixon and Kissinger did recognize that the United Nations was the most important and visible world organization and therefore could not be totally ignored. It could even be used to provided a useful and high-profile venue to support U.S. foreign policies. For these reasons the two issues that the Nixon administration believed were vitally important—Chinese representation in the United Nations and the selection of a new Secretary-General—are given the most coverage in the volume.

The documentation on Chinese representation is primarily an account of Department of State efforts, as seen through primarily Department of State documents, to hold the line on Chinese representation while developing a formula for dual representation of Mainland China and Taiwan in the General Assembly that would be acceptable to both the Republic of China and to a majority within the UN General Assembly. When Kissinger returned from a secret trip to China and announced that President Nixon would be going to Beijing, any chances for dual representation were gone. On October 25, 1971, the [Page V] General Assembly voted to admit the PRC and to expel the Republic of China.

Although the United States opposed colonialism and favored self-determination, it had grown frustrated by the increasingly radical tone of the Committee of 24 on Decolonization. The volume documents this disillusionment and the final decision to leave the Committee. During the 1972 session of the General Assembly, the United States unsuccessfully opposed a proposal to grant observer status to representatives of liberation movements in southern Africa. A major theme in this UN volume is how the Nixon administration sought to promote U.S. interests, or at least how to minimize damage to them, in an organization with a Third World majority that was less interested in cold war concerns and passionately interested in eliminating the last vestiges of colonialism.

The issue of special meetings of the Security Council as allowed for under Article 28 of the UN Charter is another theme of the volume. One such meeting was held on October 21, 1970, but none were held thereafter. There was, however, pressure from members to hold Security Council meetings overseas, which the Nixon administration opposed as being unfavorable to orderly deliberation and an undue burden on the UN’s precarious finances.

Another theme of the volume is the possible successor to Secretary General U Thant after he announced his intention not to seek another term. The candidate preferred by the United States was Finnish Permanent Representative Max Jakobson, who was opposed by the Soviet Union and the Arab Group. The United States was active in defeating the candidacy of Felipe Herrera of Chile. In the end, Kurt Waldheim of Austria emerged as the compromise candidate. Also emphasized in the volume are successors to UN Under Secretary-General Ralph Bunche and Paul Hoffman, director of the UN Development Program.

The final major focus of the volume is the critical issue of UN budget and financing. Not only was the United Nations facing bankruptcy, but the U.S. Congress was casting an increasingly cold eye on the U.S. share of UN expenses. In 1971, the Lodge Commission recommended that the United States seek to reduce its assessment from 30 to 25 percent while maintaining its overall level of contributions. In 1972, the United States conducted a successful campaign to reduce its assessments.

Various topics involving U.S. foreign policy and the United Nations are or will be treated in other volumes of Foreign Relations of the United States in the 1969–1976 subseries. The already-published volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, covers general attitudes toward international organizations that President Nixon and [Page VI] National Security Adviser Kissinger brought with them to the White House. A similar volume scheduled for 1973–1976 will cover such attitudes during the Nixon–Ford administration. Internet-only volumes on Global Issues for 1969–1972 and 1973–1976 will cover U.S. involvement with UN initiatives concerning oceans policy, narcotics, space exploration, terrorism, and the environment. Two print volumes on China, 1969–1972 and 1973–1976, will document steps toward normalizing relations with the People’s Republic of China, a move that had a clear impact on the increasing role of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. Three print volumes covering the Arab-Israeli dispute and war, 1969–1976, also have large UN components. The printed volume on Southern Africa, 1969–1976, will cover UN initiatives to end Portuguese colonialism in southern Africa, minority rule in Southern Rhodesia, the status of Namibia, and apartheid in South Africa. The South Asia print volume documents the India–Pakistan War of 1971, including UN initiatives to defuse the conflict.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld [Page VII] for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on problems that come to its attention.

The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to [Page VIII] notify the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they are a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Information Response Branch of the Office of Information Resources Management Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review for the Department of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.

The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 2001 and was completed in 2002, resulted in the decision to withhold no documents in full and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 5 documents. The editor is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate account of U.S. policies toward the United Nations from 1969 to 1972.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland.

The editor wishes to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access.

Evan M. Duncan collected, selected, and edited the documentation for this volume under the general supervision of General Editor [Page IX] of the Foreign Relations series Edward C. Keefer. Rita M. Baker, Vicki E. Futscher, and Renée A. Goings did the copy and technical editing, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the final declassification review. Juniee Oneida prepared the index.

October 2004

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs