323. Message From the Permanent Representative to the United Nations (Kirkpatrick) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark)1

265. From Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. To: Flash for White House (NSC for Clark–Eyes Only.)

1. Evening Wednesday June 2. In the Security Council. Spain circulated a simple cease-fire resolution2 and the Council was called to meet the following morning June 3rd.

2. British announced their intention to veto and USUN received instruction to veto along with the British (State 8005).3

3. Thursday June 3rd. Amendments were introduced to Spanish text calling for implementation of Resolutions 502 and 505 simultaneously with the establishment of a cease-fire, that is, linking the cease-fire to a withdrawal of Argentine troops as called for in Res. 502, as UK desired.

4. Since the U.K. had asserted that they wanted implementation of Res. 502, there appeared to be a chance of acceptance.

5. The U.K. said they would only consider it seriously if Argentines agreed. By cutting through various levels and complications of Argentine bureaucracy to the top, we were able to get a clear cut Argentine affirmative, conditioned on U.K. acceptance.

6. There were morning and afternoon Council sessions on June 3. At approximately 6:00 p.m. that day, it was agreed that the Security Council would reconvene at 4:00 p.m., today, June 4, to vote on the revised draft resolution. The final amended text was sent to the Department in USUN cable 1558.4

7. Many of us, including me (Amb Kirkpatrick) believed that the U.K. might accept the draft resolution possibly with minor revisions.

8. At 11:30 a.m. today (June 4) I spoke with Acting Secretary Stoessel who said that the U.K. Foreign Office had sent the draft resolution to PM Thatcher along with two proposed amendments. He said he had [Page 672] sent Haig the draft resolution. Stoessel and I agree that I was instructed to vote “no” in case the British rejected the resolution.

9. At 2:00 p.m. in New York, I received word from the British that A) they would veto the resolution; B) that they would entertain no amendments on the draft resolution.

10. After confirming the British position, I called Assistant Secretary Enders who was as unhappy as I with U.K. decision. We agreed that a U.S. veto would be a catastrophe.

11. I spoke with Walt Stoessel and Tom Enders at 3:00 p.m. to inform them that Japan and Ireland would vote “yes” and that France was abstaining. I said that I wanted written instructions, and then spoke with Stoessel again to inquire if they were very sure that I was instructed to vote no. I reiterated what a disaster I thought a “no” vote would be, how unnecessary it was, how the U.K. frequently did not vote with US in the SC. Again, I said that to avoid any possible confusion, I wanted written instructions.

12. I asked if they had spoken with Sec. Haig about the draft. They said yes. Again I repeated that I thought it would be an extremely controversial vote. I said that I thought they should discuss this again with Sec. Haig.

13. At 4:00 I once again called Stoessel and Enders to say that I had received no written instructions. They said that my instructions were clear—I was to follow the British—but they could understand that I wanted written instructions. ExecSec Bremer said that they were sending written instructions since Acting Sec Stoessel had just signed them. (Now at 9:00 p.m. USUN has still not received such written instructions. State at first said they were sent. And now ExecSec is looking).

14. At 5:00 I called to report everything we knew about the line up: Japan, Ireland, Spain, USSR, Poland, Panama, Zaire would vote yes, and the U.K. would veto. I then said that the SC meeting was about to begin. They said that Sec. Haig was still out at the dinner and they had not yet heard from him.

15. Later at 6:00 they said that they had spoken to Sec. Haig, explained the situation to him, but that he (Haig) wanted to reflect. I explained that the vote was rapidly approaching. (Later it was explained Haig had wanted to consult with Pym).

16. At 6:30 I heard that the Secretary wanted to reflect further. I replied that time had run out, the SC meeting had been called for 4:00 and we had been delaying for 2 and a half hours by that point.

17. At 6:35 the vote occurred, and we voted no.5

18. An open phone line was maintained the entire time of the SC deliberations between the Security Council and the Secretary’s office. It was interrupted only after the vote.

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19. Amb. Kirkpatrick had specifically ascertained from AS Enders and Acting Sec Stoessel whether she should vote “no” or not at all if written instructions did not come in time. She was told specifically to vote “no”. They said written instructions were on the way.

20. The message to abstain came minutes after the SC vote. Since SC votes cannot be changed, Amb. Kirkpatrick was instructed to announce that we wished to record the change in any case.

21. Amb. Kirkpatrick followed these instructions and added change of intention to the explanation of vote. Since then Kirkpatrick has explained the confusion was a result of short time and long distance.

22. At 9:10 p.m. USUN received written instructions to abstain.6 At 9.35, on request from Enders to take all reasonable steps to mend relations with Argentines, Amb. Kirkpatrick, accompanied by Amb. Sorzano, had dinner with Generals Miret and Gil. End.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, William P. Clark Files, Falklands War (UN/Kirkpatrick/Haig) 06/05/1982. Secret; Flash. Sent via Privacy Channel. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room. Reagan initialed at the top of the telegram, indicating that he saw it. The telegram is unsigned.
  2. See Footnote 2, Document 319.
  3. A mistaken reference to telegram Secto 8005 from Haig in Paris, June 3. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D820288–1087)
  4. Telegram 1558 from USUN, June 3. (Reagan Library, William P. Clark Files, Falklands War (UN/Kirkpatrick/Haig) 05/13/1982–06/04/1982)
  5. In the final vote on the Spanish/Panamanian resolution, nine voted for the resolution, two against (U.S. and U.K.), and four abstained. (Telegram 1570 from USUN, June 5; ibid.) In the same telegram, Kirkpatrick transmitted the text of her statement to the Security Council explaining the U.S. vote. A summary of the June 2–4 debate in the Security Council on the resolution is in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1982, pp. 1335–1337.
  6. The Department transmitted the instructions to abstain in telegram 154071 to USUN, June 5. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D850288–0118)