182. Intelligence Note Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research1 2



General endorsement for the urgent establishment of a UN Fund for Drug Control seems assured at next months meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This special voluntary fund was proposed initially by the US and approved during a recent meeting of ECOSOC’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). For the time being, the fund will be under the administration of the Secretary General, who has also been charged with developing a comprehensive long-range plan of action against drug abuse.

An endorsement by ECOSOC will represent an important advance in US efforts to stimulate concerted UN action against drug abuse. While obtaining broad UN support for its action, the US is still seeking to overcome the fears and reservations of a number of its NATO allies, particularly the British, who balk at the establishment of another UN fund at a time when many countries, including the US, have argued that there already are too many.

US Proposals. At the instigation of the US, the CND meeting in late September 1970 approved overwhelmingly a resolution calling for the establishment by the UN of a large-scale plan of coordinated action to [Page 2] attack the problem of drug abuse, specifically the abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (e.g., LSD, amphetamines, tranquilizers). The intent of the plan is to attack the problem at its most critical points: supply, demand, and illicit traffic. Recognizing that the proposed approach would call for financial resources in addition to those now available within the UN system, the US plan seeks to impress upon the Secretary General the urgent need for establishing as a first step a UN Fund for Drug Control. Money for such a fund is to come from voluntary contributions by both government and non-government sources. US pledges have already attained $2 million and those by the Federal Republic of Germany, $275,000.

The Fund’s primary objective will be: (a) to expand research and information facilities in the UN as an aid to member governments and to the public, (b) to provide technical assistance and to help improve national drug control administration and enforcement machinery, and (c) to improve the capabilities. and to enlarge the operations of the staffs of the UN organs engaged in drug control by providing additional manpower.

The CND also gave the Secretary General a year’s time for coming up with a long-term plan of action against drug abuse. The US also succeeded in laying the groundwork for strengthening the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs by putting the CND on notice that within 90 days this country intended to offer specific measures for more effective control of opium and its derivatives.

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Parallel Action in UNESCO. While these efforts moved along in ECOSOC, the US also took the initiative in placing the narcotics problem before UNESCO. The Director General of UNESCO is being asked to develop a six-year program of study and action, given the availability of funds, at both national and international levels aimed at solving the drug-abuse problem.

Simple ECOSOC Resolution Planned. No specific General Assembly action is required for the proposed fund, but Assembly endorsement would doubtless prove a fillip to it. On the other hand, ECOSOC’s endorsement of the CND resolution is necessary for the fund to become operative. At this date, the US expects to obtain at least 20 of the 27 ECOSOC votes for a simple resolution approving the basic plan. This would obviate the procedural wrangling which took place at the special CND meeting. In the CND eighteen of the twenty-three members voted for the US proposal, but the French and the UK delegates (particularly the latter), took the position that any new fund should be established as part of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in order to avoid a proliferation of such funds, a practice which all countries, including the US, have generally opposed.

No Support from CCMS. The US sought to take advantage of the October 19-20 meeting of the NATO Committee on Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) in Order to obtain the complete support of its Western allies at the ECOSOC meeting in November-an effort which backfired.

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The French, Danes, Norwegians, and Turks disapproved of CCMS involvement not only because they felt that CCMS was too closely tied to NATO but also because the drug problem was a world, not an area problem. In particular, the Danes feared that any association of the drug problem with CCMS would only help to stir up Denmark’s activist youth to engage in anti-NATO activities, with possibly unfavorable repercussions in the Danish legislature. Many delegations were also apprehensive that publicity about CCMS consideration of narcotics might damage ongoing national and UN efforts in finding solutions to these problems.

Finally, the Turks apparently are still suspicious that CCMS might seek to pressure Turkey, to the exclusion of other opium-producing countries, into eliminating poppy-growing. In this context, Ankara expressed concern that continued discussion of narcotics in CCMS would result in a revival of strong domestic pressures on the Turkish Government and “might affect relations between the US and Turkey.” Also, the Turks as well as the French expressed unhappiness with US working papers, the former claiming that these papers were misleading because they did not contain a study on psychotropic drugs and the latter that no account was taken of tightened French national controls over drug processing and traffic.

UK Still Undecided. Perhaps the most important holdout in the CCMS was the UK. Notwithstanding their agreement that NATO’s limited role in drug control has thus far been helpful in stimulating UN action, [Page 5] Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials continued to argue that the narcotics problem should not be further pursued in the CCMS framework. As a result, FCO officials have reserved their position regarding the establishment of a UN Fund for Drug Control and have questioned why the UNDP and existing budgets could not be satisfactorily used for this kind of activity. On the other hand, the British have given limited approval to the US initiative in UNESCO because no new fund is contemplated. If British reservations to the UN fund are not resolved before November 11, they may well be raised at the forthcoming ECOSOC meeting. The likely ensuing lengthy debate in ECOSOC could reduce the margin of favorable votes the US expects to obtain.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 11-5. Confidential. Drafted by Donovan.
  2. An Intelligence Note entitled “United Nations: U.S. Initiatives on Narcotics Front Progressing Despite Minor Obstacles.”