Thant Asks Big Four to Confer on United Nations Problems, Cites Jarring Peace Efforts

Secretary-General U Thant made public today the text of a letter he sent to the Foreign Ministers of the Big Four powers, proposing that they meet to discuss basic United Nations problems, one of which he listed as the effort toward Middle East peace undertaken by his special emissary, Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring.

A spokesman for the Secretary-General said that thus far three of the Big Four Foreign Ministers had reacted orally to the proposal and that their reactions were “not negative.” The three were Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, French Foreign Minister Michel Debre and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart. A spokesman for the United States delegation said the Thant letter was now “under consideration” by the State Department.

In his letter, Mr. Thant not only proposed that the four Foreign Ministers meet to discuss his proposal but also hinted at the possibility that such talks might result in a Big Four summit meeting to be held “sometime in 1969.” In stating the purposes of a Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Mr. Thant said they might attempt to “deal with the basic problem facing the organization, namely how can the United Nations be enabled to develop into a really effective instrument for peace and progress as envisaged in the charter.” The letter also stated “one could hope also that such a meeting might give attention to ways of more helpful collective guidance and support for Ambassador Jarring’s vital mission.”

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