UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (May. 11)
Ambassador Seymour Maxwell Finger, the highest-ranking Jew at the United States Mission, was distressed at being shunted away from Middle East matters four years ago, but that was not the reason for his resignation, announced today, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent. Finger, who has been in the Foreign Service for 25 years and at the U.S. Mission for 15, disclosed today that in September he will become a professor of government at Staten Island Community College of the City University of New York, as well as a senior advisor on policy studies for the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. Finger, 56, is currently senior advisor to UN representative George Bush. Finger explained to the JTA that he had indicated in February his intention to resign. He said his relationship with Bush was not a factor in his decision, which he said he would have held to even if Charles W. Yost had continued in the UN ambassadorship past Feb. 28. He has always had “a long-time urge to teach,” he explained at a press conference a few minutes earlier. “I have to get off the merry-go-round at some time.” Ironically, one of Finger’s new colleagues at the UNA-U.S.A. will be Yost, who was named a counselor there after losing his onvoy’s post.
At the press conference, Finger said he saw a trend at the UN toward success in peacekeeping. The UN’s role in peacekeeping, he observed, “depends on how governments use it.” The world organization has weaknesses in that area, he admitted: “It is a Fire Department that can put out only certain kinds of fires. There just don’t happen to be those kinds of fires around.” But, the stressed, he was convinced the UN “will rise to the occasion” when it becomes necessary. Finger criticized the Soviet Union for obstinacy on peacekeeping progress. “Moscow just shut the door on negotiations,” he complained. Finger, who was born in New York, was named to his present post in January, 1967. His diplomatic background includes service in Stuttgart, Paris, Budapest, Rome and Vientiane. He was instrumental in the creation of what is now the UN Development Program (UNDP). His chief current duty, as U.S. representative to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), will be taken over by Bernard Zagorin, now special assistant for international affairs at the Treasury Department, Zagorin is also Jewish.