338. Paper Prepared by the Department of State1

Scope Paper on the First Phase of Global Negotiations

The Preparatory Work in the UNGA Committee of the Whole


Preparatory work on “global negotiations” formally begins in the UNGA Committee of the Whole (COW) January 14–16. This will primarily be an organizational meeting, although formal statements will probably be made. A U.S. statement is now being drafted which reflects the strategy in this paper. The first substantive work session of the COW will be March 31 to April 11. This will follow a Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 in mid to late March. This Ministerial Meeting is expected to fix the G–77 negotiating position for the preparatory phase of the COW. Further COW meetings are planned for early May and late June. We expect a contact group to work between formal sessions. The UNGA resolution designates five broad areas of concern from which issues will be selected: energy, development, trade, raw materials, and money and finance.2

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United States Objectives

Our objectives for the global negotiations are twofold: 1) to prevent them from undermining the effectiveness of the international system which in general has served the world well for the past thirty years, and 2) to strengthen the system by adapting it to the evolving needs of a larger and more interdependent global economic order.

Regarding the first point, we want to prevent:

—global negotiations from weakening existing international institutions such as the IMF, the GATT, or the multilateral development banks;

—a deterioration of the political atmosphere surrounding the preparatory phase and global negotiations which damages other U.S. multilateral, regional, and bilateral interests; and

—global negotiations from being seen as an automatic court of last resort for the resolution of difficult issues under negotiation elsewhere (this could either freeze constructive negotiations or put more pressure on the U.S. to make concessions).

Despite the difficulties apparent in the economic setting and the expected characteristics of the forum, we will try to structure the global negotiations so that they can contribute to the resolution of major economic problems facing the international community in the 1980’s:

—an increasing dependence on high priced and potentially unstable supplies of imported energy,

—a growing potential food shortage, and

—an expanding number of balance of payments problems associated with increasing import costs and declining growth in export earnings.

We are under no illusion that global negotiations can by themselves solve these problems. Moreover, we recognize that unless the major participants can agree to establish priorities or focus on a few subjects, the outcome will be less productive than CIEC or the COW. But there is a chance—and we will strive to realize it—that we can use the global negotiations to:

1. increase pressure on the oil exporting nations to follow more responsible pricing and production policies, on the consuming countries to enhance conservation efforts and accelerate the development of new energy, and on the world community to increase funding of energy development;

2. stimulate greater domestic and international efforts to increase food production, improve food distribution, and strengthen international food security;

3. increase understanding of the urgent need to reduce protectionist barriers in all countries, LDCs as well as DCs; and,

4. examine the measures necessary to sustain reasonable levels of economic growth in countries faced with balance of payments deficits, especially the very poor countries.

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Tactics Toward the Preparatory Process

To maximize the probability of achieving our objectives, the U.S. needs to do the following:

—Significantly improve coordination among industrialized countries in New York to the end of adopting common strategy for the preparatory talks and the negotiations.

—Strive to have the actual global negotiations decentralized, i.e. take place as much as possible in the appropriate UN specialized forum. Decentralization will make it more difficult to link progress on one issue to progress on another (the lesson of CIEC); it provides better expertise in the diplomatic corps and the relevant secretariat that will service the negotiation; it will minimize disruption or duplication of present negotiations; and most importantly, it reinforces the mandate of present organizations in the UN system.

—Third, the U.S. should stress the global rather than North-South nature of these negotiations, i.e. that the problems before the group should be seen as global problems involving mutual commitment and responsibilities from the global community.

—Fourth, to counter the standard G–77 practice of putting forward a long list of NIEO demands, we need to identify early a limited number of areas where we and other industrialized countries believe consensus is possible, advise the G–77 leadership of our thinking, and be prepared to insist that the final agenda is conducive to progress in these areas (we would, of course, identify general areas for work—not specific outcomes).

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Official Working Papers of S/P Director Anthony Lake, 1977–January 1981, Lot 82D298, Box 6, S/P-Lake Papers—1/1–15/80. Confidential. Sent to Vance under cover of a January 7, 1980, memorandum from Hinton, Maynes, and Lake. (Ibid.)
  2. UN General Assembly Resolution 34/138, approved on December 14, 1979, initiated “a round of global and sustained negotiations on international economic co-operation for development” that would include “major issues in the field of raw materials, energy, trade, development, money and finance.” For the text of the resolution, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1979, p. 468. Telegram 334161 to all diplomatic posts, December 30, 1979, distributed the text of both resolutions. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800003–0197)