73. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and Deputy Secretary of State (Ingersoll)1

K: I don’t think it has fully penetrated the Department or I don’t know why it should not, that I am looking for an excuse to abstain from the Charter. I am not looking for a victory there. I am not looking for getting Rabasa’s brains bashed in.

I: I realize that.

K: I see nothing in the cables that Percy and Schwebel have any such interest.

I: I thought you said in the meeting the other morning that if two or three Europeans. . .

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K: Yes, but look Bob, it is one of those things where the Department has twisted my instructions. I would have liked to abstain but it is too late. They have now brow-beaten enough Europeans to vote with them. I suppose you are telling me that they have now got somebody.

I: I saw in the cables last night they had about six or seven.

K: That is not what I wanted but we now have to go with it. Please instruct these people or I will fire somebody today. I want Rabasa to feel that we are cooperating with him.

I: All right.

K: From Percy’s triumphant account to me of his behavior yesterday he was beating Rabasa’s brains in.

I: I see. I suppose Rabasa feels that way.

K: I have not talked to him. I know Schwebel and I know Percy. Percy does not give a damn about this limited Charter. He does not care what went before or what will follow after. I will talk to Bill about that. At a minimum I don’t want to jeopardize our relations with the Mexicans.

I: I will get that across.

K: It does not seem to have gotten across yet, after three weeks of my pointing it out. When I three times disapprove a cable it should be clear what I want.

I: I tried to get Buffum to go up there yesterday to help out.

K: Why didn’t he?

I: I don’t know. I tried to reach him last night. I was in meetings with Soames. I will try to get to him now.

K: See what you can do and let me know.

I: All right.

  1. Summary: In a conversation with Deputy Secretary of State Robert Ingersoll, Kissinger indicated his desire to find a way to abstain on Mexico’s proposal for a Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, and he expressed frustration with efforts by U.S. officials at the United Nations to undermine the initiative.

    Source: Department of State, FOIA Electronic Reading Room, Kissinger Transcripts, Telecon with Ingersoll at 7:55 a.m., 12/6/75. No classification marking. In telegram 5780 from New York, December 6, Scali reported that a “deeply agitated and emotional” Rabasa had told him that a U.S. vote against the Charter would lead to “a parting of the ways” between Mexico and the United States. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D740355–0656) According to a December 6 telephone conversation transcript, Kissinger asked Rabasa if it would be possible for him to seek a 1–2 week postponement of the vote on the Charter so that he could “take Percy out of it” and “work for an abstention.” (Department of State, FOIA Electronic Reading Room, Kissinger Transcripts, Telecon with Rabasa at 6:52 p.m., 12/6/74) According to a December 7 telephone conversation transcript, Kissinger spoke with Percy, who argued that it would be impossible to avoid voting against the Charter “without total capitulation on our part.” (Ibid., Telecon with Percy at 11:33 a.m., 12/7/74) In telegram 5947 from New York, December 13, the Mission to the United Nations reported that it had voted against the Charter, which was approved in the UNGA by a vote of 120–6, with 10 abstentions. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D740362–0582)