350. Editorial Note

In his September 9, 1980, Evening Report, Secretary of State Edmund Muskie reported to President Jimmy Carter on the status of the Global Negotiations issue at the Eleventh Special Session of the UN General Assembly, which was then underway in New York. Noting that the talks were “deadlocked” over the issue of procedure, Muskie reported that Donald McHenry, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, was “continuing to try for the key changes in the text we believe are necessary to better protect the integrity and independence of the specialized agencies, but he has found no new flexibility in the developing countries’ position. We have also contacted France, Germany, and the UK, all of whom support our position. Their views, however, are not clearly reflected in the negotiations, since the European Community Commission and Luxembourg negotiate on behalf of all EC members. The general atmosphere of the Special Session remains businesslike, but could deteriorate sharply if the deadlock persists.” Carter initialed Muskie’s memorandum. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 23, Evening Reports (State): 9/80)

In a September 11 memorandum to Muskie, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Richard Cooper relayed a report from McHenry that UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim wanted to telephone Muskie “to urge greater flexibility by the U.S. in the current negotiations over procedures to govern the Global Negotiations. Little progress has been made since I spoke to you on Monday [September 8] although a lot of discussion has taken place.” Cooper noted that the U.S. delegation was “close to being isolated in our opposition to the Chairman’s text,” which had been “modified in a few respects, especially to ensure the rule of consensus;” the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany were also “holding firm” in their opposition. Meanwhile, Cooper continued, “[t]he French are weakening and are likely to accept a slightly modified version of the Chairman’s text, although as far as we are aware they have not caved yet.” Cooper advised instructing McHenry “that our approach is governed by two principles, that those principles are not protected by the slightly modified Chairman’s text, and therefore that we should continue our oppo[Page 1101]sition to the text.” The two principles, according to a draft telegram attached to Cooper’s memorandum to Muskie, were that “the US cannot agree to negotiate all issues in the New York conference” and “that the integrity of specialized agencies must be protected; the conference in New York cannot reopen, or renegotiate agreements reached in the specialized fora.” (National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Richard Cooper, 1977–1980, Lot 81 D 134, Box 7, E—Memoranda of Conversations, Jan. 1980–June 1980) No record was found that the draft telegram was sent.

In a September 12 memorandum for the record, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski, noted that at that morning’s foreign affairs breakfast meeting, Carter indicated that he was “not prepared to permit the international financial and specialized institutions to be subordinated to the UN, and the proposed UN language does not protect our interest, and we must hold the line firmly.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 93, Foreign Affairs Breakfast: 1977–1981) Later that day, Carter spoke to Waldheim by telephone from 8:11 until 8:30 p.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) A record of their conversation notes: “The President and Waldheim discussed IMF and World Bank loans to third world countries. The President believes the IMF and World Bank should not be subjected to political pressures or UN pressures to make loans. Waldheim and Ambassador McHenry disagree with the President’s position. Ambassador McHenry will, of course, follow the President’s instructions. The President feels strongly about this. He will talk to Cooper (Treasury) about this in the morning, but the President will not change his mind.” (Paper entitled “Gist of President Carter–Secretary General Waldheim Conversation,” September 12; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 38, Memcons: President: 8–11/80) After his telephone conversation with Waldheim, Carter spoke with Cooper by telephone from 8:44 until 8:50 p.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) No memorandum of conversation of this discussion was found; nor was any record of a September 13 conversation between Carter and Cooper found.

On September 12, at Muskie’s request, Cooper prepared a memorandum on textual revisions suggested by Waldheim “to break the current deadlock” and on the implications of a collapse of the negotiations. On the latter issue, Cooper asserted that “[i]f the Special Session ‘breaks down’ over inability to reach a procedural text on global negotiations, there would be some international fallout in terms of souring the atmosphere in the UN and in other North-South fora. However, impact on [Page 1102]bilateral relations would be slight or nonexistent (and perhaps positive with a few key industrial countries). The domestic political impact would be nil, or perhaps even positive (the US refused unreasonable demands by the Third World).” (National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Richard Cooper, 1977–1980, Lot 81 D 134, Box 7, E—Memoranda of Conversations, Jan. 1980–June 1980)

In his September 16 Evening Report to Carter, Muskie wrote: “As you know, the UNGA Special Session ended yesterday with informal agreement on a new International Development Strategy, but without agreement on procedures for Global Negotiations. The Special Session will report to the upcoming General Assembly that all delegations except three (the UK, West Germany, and the US) agreed with the earlier version of the procedural text that the G–77 had accepted. It is expected the Second Committee of the UNGA will reopen discussions in early November.” Carter wrote in the margin next to this paragraph: “Hold firm.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 23, Evening Reports (State): 9/80)

Attempts over the ensuing months to devise a text acceptable to all parties came to naught. (Cooper discussed one such attempt in a November 21 memorandum to Muskie that is in the National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Richard N. Cooper, 1977–1980, Lot 81D134, Box 7, E—Memoranda of Conversations, Jan. 1980–June 1980.) In his December 16 Evening Report to Carter, Muskie wrote: “Efforts in the UNGA to launch the global negotiations were suspended today without agreement. The U.S. delegation continued to have problems with the UNGA Chairman’s latest procedural text, which we felt did not adequately protect the independence of the specialized agencies. The EC, on the other hand, could have accepted the procedural text, but was insisting on a fuller treatment of energy price issues in the agenda. As the G–77 also had serious problems with the Chairman’s draft agenda, both the industrialized countries and the G–77 appear to have agreed to end efforts to close the gaps at the current UNGA and resume the negotiations in the new year.” Carter initialed Muskie’s memorandum. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 24, Evening Reports (State): 12/80)