299. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Minister of Development of The Netherlands Jan P. Pronk (Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the Special Session)
  • Mr. von Gorkom
  • Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger
  • Ambassador Daniel P. Moynihan, US Representative to the UN
  • Ambassador William B. Buffum (Notetaker), Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs


  • Seventh UN Special Session

Secretary Kissinger: I wanted to discuss the Special Session with you. I have paid a great deal of attention to the preparations for the Assembly and wanted to show my support for it by coming up here today.

We are eager to avoid a confrontational atmosphere and are willing to cooperate in a positive way. I am concerned at reports there may be some delegations who prefer a stalemate.

I wonder if we could not have an outcome with a report which states agreed policy objectives and policies, with another section covering those points on which further work needs to be done. After all, no one expected there would be full agreement here on every problem.

Pronk: It’s very clear the United States came here with a very constructive attitude. The Group of 77 realized clearly that the United States took a major lead, and this has made a very good impression. I believe most of the Group of 77 want a positive result, recognizing it will not be possible to settle everything. To achieve this, however, we need to have some policies that can be agreed on. I hope we could have a paper showing agreed points and indicating when and where any disagreed points would be negotiated. Good will must be shown on specific items and some concrete results achieved.

Secretary Kissinger: Some issues can be discussed in the producer-consumer forum, and we are open-minded as to what other forums might be used.

[Page 1025]

Pronk: I hope we can discuss proposals for an outcome on the basis of the Group of 77 draft. Do you think that is possible?

Moynihan: We certainly cannot go through on a line-by-line basis, and there are obviously a number of points in it that cannot possibly be agreed.

Secretary Kissinger: We simply will not be put in the dock with the whole world saying the developed countries owe the rest of the world something. However, we are willing to state what development goals should be, indicate specific statements of obligations in the development field in a mutually acceptable way.

Moynihan: We have of course made a large number of concrete proposals, 41 to be exact.

Secretary Kissinger: We would accept headings of the Group of 77 paper as a way of organizing the proposals and that part of the phraseology which is consistent with our own views. However, we will not endorse the New International Economic Order as articulated in the Sixth Special Session.2 We are not asking the LDCs to endorse our system and do not believe they should expect us to endorse all of their positions. We can do more for them than we can say publicly in terms of their own terminology. For example, if we put our name to the New International Economic Order, all hell breaks loose with our Congress and our bureaucracy. We just will not agree to be put in the dock. We are not asking the LDCs to give up their slogans. Some of our people wanted me to put into our speech considerable theology about the merits of the free market economy and call for support for this phraseology, but I removed it from the speech.

Pronk: I believe the Group of 77 is more interested in concrete proposals than in phraseology, but we will need to give them concrete programs.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P820123–1437. Limited Official Use; Nodis. Drafted on September 9 by Buffum and approved in S on September 19. The meeting took place on the 38th floor of the United Nations Headquarters.
  2. See Document 257.