288. Letter From the Acting Secretary of the Interior (Train) to Under Secretary of State (Richardson)1 2

Dear Elliot:

I am concerned about our Government’s attitude and response toward the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment.

Signals have come to me from several sources that the United States is not particularly enthusiastic about the Conference, particularly as reflected in our attitude toward the Conference budget.

I know that a conference of the projected size and complexity of the 1972 meeting involves many considerations, not the least of which is financing. However, I think it would be most unfortunate if our concern over the budget should result in the United States being caste in an essentially negative role in a field where we should be exercising positive international leadership. Quality of the environment is attracting world-wide interest and attention. The opportunity is ripe for U.S. initiatives.

At the very least, the United States should develop a positive attitude toward the 1972 Conference and do everything possible to contribute to its eventual success.

Sincerely yours

Russell Train
Acting Secretary of the Interior
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SCI 61-3. No classification marking.
  2. Train expressed his concern that the Department of State was not enthusiastic about the UN Conference on the Human Environment. The American concern over the conference budget, he predicted, would have a negative effect on world opinion. He suggested that U.S. leadership adopt a “positive attitude” toward the Conference.