Reference: Our Tel 2749 Dec 9.
Repeat Washington, London, Paris, NATO Paris (Information).
Repeat Cairo deferred from Ottawa.
By Bag Beirut, Tel Aviv, Athens, Rome, Madrid from London.
This morning December 10 proceedings in the plenary session were delayed while the
African-Asian group discussed the draft resolution which was described in our telegram 2749
(paragraph 3). The first reports to come out of the group meeting confirmed our impression of
last night that the Arabs were not happy about the new text. In the end, however, after the
Assembly had already begun to discuss the report of the Credentials Committee we learned that
the group as a whole had agreed to take the new text, but that they would prefer, and this the
Arabs in particular preferred, that the second and third operative paragraphs be revised to read as
Takes note of the offer of good offices made by His Majesty the King of Morocco and His
Excellency the President] of the Republic of Tunisia (that is deleting the phrase about
constructive possibilities which the Arabs interpreted as referring to the Loi Cadre);
Expresses the hope that in a spirit of effective cooperation, pourparlers will be entered into,
and other appropriate means utilized, with a view to a solution, in conformity with the purposes
and principles of the UN.
Once the African-Asian group had reached agreement about the text, the task remained to
persuade the French to accept the changes. In addition, the African-Asians, and more particularly
the Arabs, were anxious that Canada, Ireland and Norway should co-sponsor the revised text.
The Japanese also desired this. We and the other two were reluctant to do so unless the text
should prove to be acceptable to both sides. This we ascertained in consultations with
representatives of both sides. In particular Engen learned from Pineau that the changes would be
acceptable to France. In the end we agreed to co-sponsor.
Once these consultations had been completed the outcome of the Assembly consideration was
quickly reached. The President read the revised text to the Assembly and mentioned the list of
co-sponsors: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy,
Japan, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Spain and Thailand. The President then put the draft resolution to
the vote and it was adopted unanimously, 80-0-0 with South Africa absent and France not
participating in the vote.
It is a bit difficult to understand why this relatively weaker text should have proven more
acceptable to the African-Asians than the amended draft resolution which faced the Committee
last Friday. It is also curious that the French should have given in on such points as the offer of
good offices and their previous insistence that initially discussions should be concerned only
with ceasefire. We gathered that some of the Arabs consider that the new text is stronger than the
previous one but we can only assume that this arises from a misunderstanding of what the
previous text implied. As regards the French attitude, we understand that the French press gave
Pineau most of the credit for the developments of Friday last and that perhaps in the current state
of public opinion in France, Pineau was satisfied that he could take the new text, particularly
since it was to be co-sponsored by a widely representative group of UN members but without the
Arabs. Whatever the reasons, the current view here is that the Assembly has been able to dispose
of the Algerian item much more effectively than at previous sessions. There is also a sense of
relief that this outcome was accomplished well before the target date for the end of the session.