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the Middle East in late 1973 was but one example of the many services he has rendered the organization and the international community. The United States and the United Nations
Yet with all these achievements, the future of the United Nations is clouded. Much that has transpired at the United Nations in recent years gives us pause. At the very moment when great power confrontations are waning, troubling trends have appeared in the General Assembly and some of its specialized agencies. Ideological confrontation, bloc voting, and new attempts to manipulate the Charter to achieve unilateral ends threaten to turn the UN into a weapon of political warfare rather than a healer of political conflict and a promoter of human welfare.
The UN naturally mirrors the evolution of its composition. In its first phase it reflected the ideological struggle between the West and East; during that period the UN generally followed the American lead. Time and again in those days there were some 50 votes in support of our position and only a handful of communist bloc members against.
Ten years later when membership had grown to more than 80, our dominance in the General Assembly no longer was assured. Neither East nor West was able to prevail. In the Security Council the American position was still sustained, while the Soviet Union was required to cast veto after veto in order to protect what it considered to be its vital interests.
But with the quantum leap to the present membership of 138, the past tendencies of bloc politics have become more pronounced and more serious. The new nations, for understandable reasons, turned to the General Assembly in which they predominated in a quest for power that simply does not reside there. The Assembly cannot take compulsory legal decisions. Yet numerical majorities have insisted on their will and objectives even when in population and financial contributions they were a small proportion of the membership. In the process, a forum for accommodation has been transformed into a setting for confrontation. The moral influence which the General Assembly should exercise has been jeopardized nd could be destroyed governments—particularly those who are its main financial supporters-should lose confidence in the Organization because of the imposition of a mechanical and increasingly arbitrary will.
It is an irony that at the moment the U.S. has accepted non-alignment, and the value of diversity, those nations which originally chose this stance to preserve their sovereign independence from powerful military alliances are forming a rigid grouping of their own. The most solid bloc in the world today is, paradoxically, the alignment of the non-aligned. This divides the world into categories of North and South, developing and developed, imperial and colonial, at the very moment in history when such categories have become irrelevant and misleading
Never before has the world been more in need of cooperative solutions. Never before have the industralized nations been more ready to deal with the problems of development in a constructive spirit. Yet lopsided, loaded voting, biased results and arbitrary tactics threatened to destroy these possibilities. The utility of the General Assembly both as a safety valve and as an instrument of international cooperation is being undermined. Tragically, the principal victims will be the countries who seek to extort what substantially could be theirs if they proceeded cooperatively.
An equally deplorable development is the trend in the Specialized Agencies to focus on political issues and thereby deflects the significant work of these agencies. UNESCO, designed for cultural matters, and the International Labor Organization have been heavily politicized. An egregious recent case came in the World Food Council in Rome where the very nations who desperately need, and would most benefit from food assistance, threatened to abort its work by disruptive tactics unworthy of an international organization. This Council grew out of the American initiatives at the World Food Conference last year.
It reflects our deepest humanitarian concerns; it represents a serious effort on our part to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. Abuse by those whom we are trying to help, attacks on our motives by the beneficiaries of our efforts threaten to undermine the very fabric of cooperation in a field of crucial long-range importance to mankind.
We realize that those of us who wish to surmount the current crisis must show some understanding of its origins. The major powers have hardly always set a consistent example of altruistic or benevolent behavior. The nations which
would seek to coerce the industrialized countries have themselves been coerced in the past. History haunts us all. But it is precisely to transcend that history that the United Nations was founded. And it is precisely to arrest such trends that the United States is calling attention to them today.
The process is surely self-defeating. According to the rules of the General Assembly, the coerced are under no compulsion to submit. To the contrary, they are given all too many incentives simply to depart the scene, to have done with the pretense. Such incentives are ominously enhanced when the General Assembly and Specialized Agencies expel member nations which for one reason or another do not meet with their approval.
Our concern has nothing to do with our attitude towards the practices or policies of the particular governments against which action is being taken. Our position is constitutional. If the UN begins to depart from its Charter, where suspension and expulsion are clearly specified prerogatives of the Security Council, we fear for the integrity and the survival of the General Assembly itself, and no less for that of the Specialized Agencies. Those who seek to manipulate UN membership by procedural abuse may well inherit an empty shell.
We are determined to oppose tendencies which in our view will undermine irreparably the effectiveness of the United Nations. It is the smaller members of the Organization who would lose the most. They are more in need of the UN than the larger powers such as the United States which can prosper within or outside the institution.
Ways must be found for power and responsibility in the Assembly and in the Specialized Agencies to be more accurately reflective of the realities of the world. The United States has been by far the largest financial supporter of the United Nations; but the support of the American people, which has been the lifeblood of the organization, will be profoundly alienated unless fair play predominates and the numerical majority respects the views of the minority. The American people are understandably tired of the inflammatory rhetoric against us, the all-or-nothing stance accompanied by demands for our sacrifice which too frequently dominate the meeting halls of the UN.
The United States despite these trends intends to do everything in our power to support and strengthen the United Nations in its positive endeavors. With all its limitations and imperfections the world body remains an urgent necessity. We are eager to cooperate, but we are also determined to insist on orderly procedures and adherence to the Charter. The UN was never intended as an organization of like-minded states, but rather an arena to accommodate and respect different policies and different interests. The world needs cooperative, not arbitrary action; joint efforts, not imposed solutions. In this spirit the United States will do what it can to make the United Nations a vital hope for a better future. The agenda before us
This then is the promise and the problem of the United Nations. We must ensure that the promise prevails because the agenda we face makes the institution more necessary than ever before.
The United Nations, first, faces continuing and increasing responsibilities in its mission, in the famous words of the UN Charter, "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."
One of the central issues of our time is the Middle East conflict, and the UN Security Council continues to play a vital role in the quest for a solution. Resolution 338 of 1973 launched a negotiating process which has borne fruit and proved durable. Security-General Waldheim convened and addressed the first session of the Geneva Conference. Resolution 242 of 1967 stated general principles for a comprehensive peace. The stationing of United Nations forces was an indispensable element of the recent disengagement agreements between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Syria in 1974.
But despite these and other real achievements, the global perils of local conflict continue to loom large. The world has dealt with them as if it were possible to contain conflict perpetually. But such tolerance tempts conflagration. That is how the first two world wars began. We must not have a third, with modern weapons there would not be a fourth. It is not enough to contain the crises that occur; we must eradicate their causes. President Ford is therefore determined to help bring about a negotiated solution in the Middle East, in Cyprus, and in other areas of dispute. And peacekeeping and peacemaking must be a top priority on the United Nations agenda.
Another problem of peace which the world community must urgently address is the spread of nuclear weapons.
Their awesomeness has chained these weapons for almost three decades; their sophistication and expense have long helped limit the number of nations which could possess them. But now political inhibitions are crumbling. Nuclear catastrophe—whether by plan or mistake, accident, theft or blackmail-is no longer implausible.
It is imperative to contain-and reverse—the nuclear arms race among the major powers. We are now engaged in translating the principles agreed to in Vladivostok between President Ford and General Secretary Brezhnev into a new accord between the United States and the Soviet Union that will for the first time place a long-term ceiling on the strategic weapons of both sides.
As we strive to slow the spiral of nuclear arms, we must work as well to halt their spread. This requires both political and technical measures. In these areas the work of the United Nations has been important and could be crucial.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 was an important beginning. The recent Conference held under UX auspices to review the treaty and the adherence of additional countries to its provisions, have been valuable further steps.
The priority now is to strengthen the safeguards on the export of nuclear materials for peaceful uses. The oil crisis adds fresh urgency to this task. because it has made the development of nuclear energy essential for an increasing number of nations. This means wider availability of materials, such as plutonium, and of equipment which might be used to develop nuclear explosives.
Future generations have a right to expect of us that commercial competition among the industrial exporting countries will not be so reckless and irresponsible that it accelerates the spread of nuclear weapons and thereby increases the risks of a nuclear holocaust
Therefore the United States has begun confidential discussions with other nuclear exporting countries to develop stronger and generally accepted safeguards. In this task, the role and work of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency is vital. As peaceful nuclear programs grow in size and complexity it is crucial that supplier and user nations agree on firm and clear export standards and strengthened IAEA safeguards. An effective world safeguards system will minimize nuclear risks while fostering the development of peaceful energy. The control of the nuclear weapons is one of the most critical tests of this generation. The United Nations can crucially help decide whether we will meet this test. The new agenda: The problem of interdependence
In the last few years the world economy has undergone a series of shocks and strains. -Nations have suffered both severe inflation and deep recession on a worldwide
scale. —The price of the world's most essential commodity, petroleum, has been
precipitously and arbitrarily increased, burdening the economies of all consuming nations and imposing the most serious hardships on the poorest
countries. -The world's food reserves have dwindled alarmingly in only a few short
years. Unless massive efforts are mounted, the gap between population growth
and food production could reach disastrous proportions. —The pursuit of economic growth is complicated by the fact of interde
pendence; it can no longer be pursued by national efforts but requires
coordinated, global actions. This September's Special Session of the General Assembly will focus on the new global economic concerns. It will be an early and important test: will the rich nations and poor nations identify common goals and solve problems together, or will they exacerbate their differences? Can we turn our energies from rhetorical battles to practical cooperation? Will nations strive for empty parliamentary victories or concrete progress?
The United States has made its choice. We believe strongly in a cooperative approach. We believe that the time has come to put the technological and economic genius of mankind into the service of progress for all. We will approach the Special Session with determination to make progress; we intend to make concrete and constructive proposals for action across a broad spectrum. of international economic activities such as trade and commodities, world food production and international financial measures.
The session will also consider structural changes to improve the l'V's
capabilities in the field of economic development. A group of experts appointed by Secretary General Waldheim has just completed a study of this subject. We will offer specific comments on these recommendations during the Assembly debate.
In this spirit let me speak directly to the new nations who have pressed their claims with increasing fervor. We have heard and have begun to understand your concerns. We want to be responsive. We are prepared to undertake joint efforts to alleviate your economic problems. Clearly this requires a posture of cooperation. If nations deal with each other with respect and understanding, the two sessions this fall could mark the beginning of a new era in which the realities of an interdependent world economy generate a global effort to bring about peaceful and substantial change.
At the same time we are obliged to speak plainly, to the question of what works and what does not. We believe that economic development is in the first instance an internal process. Either societies create the conditions for saving and investment, for innovation and ingenuity, for enterprise and industry which ultimately lead to self-sustaining economic growth or they do not. There is no magical short-cut and no rhetorical substitute. And to claim otherwise suggests a need for permanent dependence on others.
In this quest for development, experience must count for something and ideology is an unreliable guide. At a minimum, we know which economies have worked and which have failed; we have a record of what societies have progressed economically and which have stagnated. We know—from our own experience that investment from abroad can be an important spur to development. We know also that it is now in short supply. In the future, as in the past, there will be competition to attract capital; therefore those who do not wish investment from abroad can be confident that they will not receive it. By the same token those countries which are eager to industrialize must also be ready to create the conditions that will attract large-scale investment.
The voting records of the blocs in the General Assembly simply do not reflect economic reality. The family of less developed countries includes both producers and consumers of energy, importers and exporters of raw materials, and nations which can feed their populations as well as those which face the specter of famine. These divergent interests must be accommodated and reflected in practical measures; they cannot be resolved from the unreality of bloc positions.
At the same time the industrial world must adapt its own attitudes to the new reality of scores of new nations. At bottom the challenge is political, not economic—whether the interests and weight of the less developed nations can be accommodated in the international order. Their political objectives often represent legitimate claims. Yet at the same time the new nations must not expect us to make only political decisions, with no thought for economic consequences. If they want truly to serve their peoples, there must be practical concern for effective results.
If the industrial world wants to overcome the attitude of confrontation between nations, it must offer equitable solutions for the problems of the less fortunate parts of the world. Just as we are righly concerned about the economic impact of exorbitant oil prices, so we should show understanding for the concerns of producers of other raw materials whose incomes fluctuate radically. As for the operation of our companies abroad, we consider it in our interest, as well as in the common interest, to promote an environment of mutual benefit, in which our international businesses can continue to be both profitable and beneficial to the countries in which they operate. We will address this issue more fully at the Special Session.
Above all the industrialized countries must recognize that many developing countries have had frustratingly slow rates of growth. Rather than a comfortable margin of progress, they face an abundance of obstacles and a surplus of despair. The future of international politics over the next generation—the kind of world our children will inherit—will be determined by what actions governments take now on this spectrum of economic issues.
Dag Hammerskjold once predicted that the day would come when people would see the United Nations for what it really is—not the abstract painting of some artist, but a drawing done by the peoples of the world. And so it is—not the perfect institution of the dreamers who saw it as the only true road to world harmony; and not the evil instrument of world domination that the isolationists once made it out to be.
Rather it is, like so many human institutions before it, an imperfect instrument—but one of great hope nonetheless. The United States remains dedicated to the principles upon which the United Nations was founded. We continue to believe it can be a mighty and effective vehicle for preserving the peace and bridging the gap between the world's rich and poor. We will do all we can to make it so.
The past decade—and particularly the past several years—have been a difficult time for America. We have known the agony of internal dissension and political turmoil, and the bitter costs of a lengthy war. But our nation has come through all this, and its most difficult constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with our institutions intact and our people resilient. And we have seen that the world still looks to us for leadership in preserving the peace and promoting economic advance for all mankind.
But the past decade has also surely shown that-strong and prosperous as we are we cannot remake the world alone. Others must do their part and bear their responsibility for building the better world we all seek for the generations that will come after us.
In this endeavor, the United Nations plays a central role. It is there that each nation, large or small, rich or poor, can—if it will—make its contribution to the betterment of all. It is there that nations must realize that restraint is the only principle that can save the world from chaos, and that our destinies are truly intertwined on this small planet. It is there that we will see whether men and nations have the wisdom and courage to make a reality of the ideals of the Charter, and in the end, to turn the parliament of man into a true expression of the conscience of humanity.
STATEMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
STATEMENT ON SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ADOPTED BY DELEGATES PRESENT AND V'OTING
AT THE BIENNIAL CONVENTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APRIL 17, 1975
THE UNITED NATIONS: POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE UNITED
I. Introduction: Recent UN achievements; a dangerous North-South crisis;
the need to reverse the long deterioration in US relations with the UX majority and to create a new North-South partnership for management of
major world problems II. Specific Issues :
1. The Middle East: Principles for a negotiated settlement; steps
toward their implementation including renewal of UN peacekeep
ing forces 2. The UN and Indochina : Need for constructive US relations with
all governments in the area ; UN guarantees; support for impartial
UN and private humanitarian programs 3. Cyprus: Support for UN peace efforts; US policy since July criti
cized ; military aid to Turkey linked to negotiations 4. Peacekeeping and Peacemaking : Question of peacekeeping principles
proposed for East-West summit agenda ; need for more use of peaceful settlement machinery including World Court; need for
US to press international terrorism problem in UN 5. Southern Africa: A “needlessly damaging" US posture; need for
repeal of Byrd Amendment on Rhodesian chrome; support for Security Council stand on Namibia ; consultation with leading African statesmen; US impartially opposes injustice whererer they occur