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The Establishment of the Functioning Organization
President of the General Assembly
The first General Assembly was brought into session on the afternoon of January 10, 1946, by the Chairman of the second session of the Preparatory Commission, Dr. Eduardo Zuleta Angel, of Colombia. The primary organizational step was the election of the President of the Assembly. To this post of responsibility, Mr. Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, was elected. Of the 51 votes cast, Mr. Spaak received 28, the remaining votes, including the vote of the United States, being received by Mr. Trygve Lie, Foreign Minister of Norway, who was later appointed SecretaryGeneral.
The General Assembly
Following its first plenary session, the General Assembly proceeded to complete its own organization.
It authorized the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission, Mr. H. M. Gladwyn Jebb, together with his staff, to constitute a provisional secretariat of the United Nations. It also adopted the provisional rules of procedure recommended to it by the Preparatory Commission.
Seven vice presidents were elected in the persons of the Chief Delegates of China, France, the Union of South Africa, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela.
Six main committees were established as the Assembly's principal instrumentalities. These, made up of representatives of all Members of the United Nations, were: (1) Political and Security Committee, (2) Economic and Financial Committee, (3) Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, (4) Trusteeship Committee, (5) Administrative and Budgetary Committee and (6) Legal Committee. These committees speedily organized themselves, each electing a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Rapporteur, who, in all committees, were chosen by acclamation or unanimous vote. The list is contained in the appendices of this Report.
In addition, the Assembly established two procedural committees. The General Committee was constituted of the President of the General Assembly, the seven Vice Presidents and the Chairmen of the six tee had wholly administrative and procedural responsibilities, particularly in connection with the matters to be placed upon the Agenda and their order of appearance on the Agenda, substantive consideration of subjects being reserved to the Assembly and its six main committees. The Credentials Committee was small and most of its work was finished in the early days of the Assembly's work.
The organization of the General Assembly was subsequently completed, through various decisions taken from time to time during its total of thirty-three plenary sessions, by adoption of revised provisional rules of procedure and by the establishment of standing and ad hoc committees. To the standing Committee on Contributions, which is composed of ten experts selected by the United Nations, Mr. Paul H. Appleby of the United States has been named. It will assist in determining the scale for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations among the Members. Another standing committee, the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions, was approved, but its constitution was left for the Second Part of the First Session of the General Assembly in September. The two ad hoc committees, on the League of Nations and on the Headquarters of the United Nations respectively, were entrusted with temporary though highly important functions, as described later in this Report.
In accordance with the information policy adopted by the General Assembly, all its meetings and those of its committees were open to the press and the public. This was true also of the Economic and Social Council, and of the Security Council except for two meetings. The Security Council
The first major responsibility of the General Assembly, following its own organization to the extent immediately necessary, was the election of six Members of the United Nations to non-permanent seats on the Security Council; these, together with the five Members having permanent seats, constitute the Council. The selection of the non-permanent Members, three to serve for two years and thrce for one, had to be made, in accordance with Article 23, with "due regard being specially paid, in the first instance, to the contribution of Members to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution.”
Voting, which occurred January 12, resulted in the election by two-thirds vote of Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Netherlands and Poland. A close contest which had developed between Australia and Canada was ended by the selection of Australia following the withdrawal of Canada. By subsequent ballot Australia, Brazil and Poland were chosen for two-year terms. The United States Delega
Canada for membership in place of Australia, and the Netherlands for a two-year term in place of Poland.
A question later arose as to whether, in the meaning of the Charter, the states having one-year terms should serve for a term of twelve calendar months, or until their successors were elected which could be either eight months, if the next election was held in the meeting of the General Assembly in September this year, or twenty months, if the next election was held at the second regular session in September 1947. The complication was solely due to the fact that the first elections had taken place in January rather than at the time when the General Assembly will regularly convene, which is the first Tuesday after September 2 of each year. The Assembly finally decided that the states holding one-year terms on the Security Council should continue in office for twelve months—-until January 1947. The United States took an active part in evolving the solution to this relatively minor but difficult problom.
Following the election of the non-permanent Members, the Security Council held its first meeting on January 17, 1946, with the Hon. Norman J. O. Makin, of Australia, as its first President for the period of one month. It held 23 meetings in London ending February 16. These will be reported upon later by the United States representative on the Council, the Hon. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.
Upon direction of the Security Council, the Military Staff Committee met February 4 and proceeded to consider its own rules of procedure and organization. It is scheduled to meet again at the temporary site in the United States the same day as the Security Council, which is expected to be about March 21.
The Economic and Social Council
In the election of the eighteen Members of the United Nations to constitute the Economic and Social Council, the scope and significance of the work of this Council and the desirability of wide participation in its work, were carefully considered. Moreover, by the Charter, there are no permanent members of this Council, and unlike retiring members of the Security Council, the retiring members of the Economic and Social Council are eligible for immediate reelection. Six of the members elected at this session serve for three-year terms, six for two-year terms, and six for one-year terms; hereafter six members will be elected annually for three-year terms.
The balloting resulted in the election for three-year terms of China, Peru, France, Chile, Canada, and Belgium; for two-year terms, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, India, Norway, Cuba, and Czechoslovakia; and for one-year terms, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Greece, Lebanon, the United States, Colombia, and Yugoslavia. Election of the latter member
The Economic and Social Council convened in its organizing session January 23, 1946, selected Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar of India as its President, and in 13 meetings, held for the most part concurrently with the Assembly, made a number of substantive decisions in addition to establishing its organization. The Hon. John G. Winant, American Ambassador in London, was designated by the President to represent the United States in these first organizational meetings. Mr. Leroy D. Stinebower of the Department of State served as alternate.
The General Assembly, in view of its close relation to the Economic and Social Council, approved and passed on to the Council for appropriate action the recommendations of the Preparatory Commission that, among other actions, the Council should establish at its first session certain conimissions and consider the desirability of establishing certain others at an early date, possibly at its first session.
The Council accordingly established a Commission on Human Rights, with a Sub-Commission on the Status of Women; an Economic and Employment Commission to have three Sub-Commissions, on Employment, Balance of Payments, and Economic Development, respectively; a Temporary Social Commission; a Statistical Commission; a Temporary Transportation and Communications Commission; and a Commission on Narcotic Drugs. It decided to establish at its
. next session a Demographic Commission, a Fiscal Commission, and a Coordination Commission.
It also established Committees on Refugees, on Specialized Agencies, on Non-Governmental Organizations, and the necessary Preparatory Committees in connection with the coming Conferences on International Trade and Employment, and on Health.
The General Assembly also approved and transmitted to the Economic and Social Council for consideration and appropriate action the observations of the Preparatory Commission concerning relationships to be established by the Council with Specialized Agencies. Agreements will be made between the Council and Specialized Agencies, subject to the approval of the General Assembly, in each case defining the terms of the relationship which a given Agency and the Organization will have.
The United States Delegation on February 16 formally requested the Secretary-General to arrange that the Commission on Human Rights should consider as promptly as possible the problems involved in assuring the widest possible exchange of news and freedom of information. As Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg indicated in the General Assembly during a brief discussion of a Philippine resolution to call an international press conference on these problems, which will be further considered in the September meeting of the Assembly, such
regarded by the United States as essential for the formation of enlightened public opinion on which, fundamentally, the success of the United Nations depends. The Trusteeship Council
Constitution of the Trusteeship Council necessarily had to be deferred until a sufficient number of trusteeship agreements have been negotiated among the states directly concerned and approved by the General Assembly in the case of non-strategic trust territories or by the Security Council in the case of strategic trust territories. The General Assembly will then elect such number of members to the Trustceship Council as may be necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Charter as to a balance between members administering trust territories and members which do not administer trust territories.
Prolonged consideration had been given by the Executive Committee and the Preparatory Commission to the means of expediting the formation of the Trusteeship Council and recommendations to this end had been placed before the General Assembly. However, even before their consideration was undertaken, each of the powers holding mandates under the League of Nations voluntarily declared its intentions with respect to its mandated territories.
The United Kingdom announced that it intended forthwith to enter into negotiations to place Tanganyika, the Cameroons, and Togoland under the trusteeship system of the United Nations. Similar declarations were made by Belgium regarding Ruanda-Urundi; by Australia regarding New Guinea and Nauru; by New Zealand regarding Western Samoa; and by France regarding the Cameroons and Togoland. The United Kingdom further declared that steps would be taken in regard to establishing Trans-Jordan as an independent state, and that any proposals concerning Palestine would await the report of the AngloAmerican Committee of Inquiry. The Union of South Africa indicated that the population of Southwest Africa would be consulted before a decision was taken as to the future status of that mandated territory.
On the basis of proposals by the Representative of the United States in the Committee on Trusteeship, Mr. John Foster Dulles, which with some changes were embodied in the resolution adopted, the General Assembly welcomed the declarations made by these states and expressed the expectation that the realization of the objectives of the chapters of the Charter dealing with non-self-governing territories, with the trusteeship system and with the Trusteeship Council, will make possible the attainment of the aspirations of non-selfgoverning peoples generally. The same resolution invited the States administering territories under mandate to undertake practical steps, in concert with the other states directly concerned, for the negotiation of trusteeship agreements.