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25. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Maynes) and the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Lake) to Secretary of State Vance 1


  • President’s Speech at the UN General Assembly

As you requested, we have prepared an outline of a speech which the President could deliver at the UN General Assembly in late March.2

We see the speech as a major opportunity for the US to take the high ground in its relations with the new countries—to demonstrate that the US seeks a new era of sympathetic and mutually beneficial relationships—to give new impetus to cooperative and productive work in international organizations.

The overall theme we have in mind is this: the time has come to address global problems in a manner which serves the interests of all peoples. That must be the purpose of all of our efforts. But we can act effectively only by acting together to meet common problems and to realize common benefits.

In suggesting this theme we have in mind that the President could capitalize on his worldwide reputation as a leader genuinely interested in improving life for the poor and the disadvantaged.

A possible title for the speech might be: “The Quality of Peace”.

The basic structure would be as follows:

—First, a section on the global challenge and the opportunity that we and all other nations are facing.

—Second, a section on what the United States will stand for in the Carter Administration, setting forth broad principles and purposes.

—Third, what we intend to do regarding selected major problems, including the role of the UN itself.

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—Fourth, a final section on what we are asking of others—the other industrial countries, the developing nations, the Soviets, etc. The last section would drive home the fundamental theme of the speech.

This structure should permit us considerable flexibility. Various ideas, and possible initiatives, can be considered for inclusion under the different major headings. In addition, this kind of structure could help us to keep things within manageable length since it would be clear from the presentation that the President is not attempting under any one item to provide an exhaustive statement of the problem or of US policies.

A danger to which we must be sensitive in drafting is the possibility of implying more than we can deliver.

If you think we are on the right track in the attached outline,3 we obviously need to move quickly to flesh out details. We will need immediate help from many of the bureaus. We would solicit on an urgent basis their suggestions for specific items to be included, especially under Part III.

In any event, it would be quite helpful for us to have a meeting as soon as possible with you in order to get your reactions and further guidance.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Policy and Planning Staff—Office of the Director, Records of Anthony Lake, 1977–1981: Lot 82D298, Box 2, TL 3/1–15/77. No classification marking. Drafted by Neidle and concurred in by Janeway. Neidle initialed for Janeway. A notation in an unknown hand reads: “Tony, I signed off for you.” There is no indication that Vance saw the memorandum.
  2. The President delivered a speech at the United Nations on March 17; see Documents 28 and 29.
  3. Not printed. The 9-page, undated draft outline, entitled “The Quality of Peace,” is divided into four parts: “The Challenge,” “What the United States Stands For,” “What the United States Will Do,” and “What We Are Asking of Others.”