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THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED NATIONS
THURSDAY, MAY 22, 1975
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in room 4221, the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the Hon. Charles Percy presiding:
Present: Senators Percy, Pell, Clark, and Javits.
Senator Percy. Today's session will complete the hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the United States and the United Nations.
This morning we are very honored to have with us Ambassador Scali, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The word “permanent” is an obvious exaggeration. In fact, Ambassador Scali is our sixth "permanent” representative since 1968—a span of 7 years, which hardly seems to me to be a permanent status. It is clear that a seventh permanent representative is about to make his debut.
Ambassador Scali is here to give the committee the official U.S. Government position on the United Nations. I hope he will give us more than that, however. The law entitles him to give his personal views upon our request, and the request is now being made of him by the Chair. As
you know, Mr. Ambassador, we have heard from a number of your distinguished predecessors and other prominent Americans, and I hope you will feel free to comment on their testimony.
We welcome you and I would like to say, as I have on many occasions before, since returning from the United Nations, that it was a great honor to serve with Ambassador Scali as a member of the U.S. Delegation. In our staff meetings, he made all of us feel that we were a part of the operation.
Ambassador Scali is also a man who forthrightly expressed his views to the State Department with candor and honesty and tremendous integrity, although he faithfully adhered to the U.S. position once it was decided. Moreover, I was deeply impressed by the high regard in which he was held by the representatives of other nationssome of whom, such as Ambassador Baroodi of Saudi Arabia are much more permanent than the American representative. So many of his colleagues up there from all over the world have the highest regard for him. They enjoyed working with him.
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I think the people of the United States can be very proud to have had Ambassador Scali as their representative at the United Nations during this period.
I first want to join with you in adding a brief personal note about our witness this morning, John Scali, who as you rightly pointed out, has served in a most difficult period, one of the most difficult periods of American diplomacy. I think it is clear that he has served with great distinction. In the process, he has gained the highest respect not only of the members of this Government, but also of those at the United States Mission, and of his colleagues from around the worldespecially the delegates from many of the third world nations. I think that is a great measurement given the problems that we have had, and I want to join with you in complimenting John Scali on serving this Nation so well in such a difficult period.
Mr. Chairman, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has done the Congress and the country a service in holding hearings to discuss the United States and the United Nations.
CONCERNS OVER THE UNITED NATIONS
On this last day of hearings, I especially want to commend Senator Percy, who first urged that they be held. Their timing couldn't have been better. Never has the United Nations come under more sustained or more significant attack in the Congress than in recent months. But, at the same time, never has there been a greater need for a vital and active United Nations than there is today.
Earlier this month, a number of the bicameral, bipartisan Members of Congress for Peace Through Law went to New York for a series of briefings by U.N. officials and U.S. diplomats, including our distinguished Ambassador, John Scali, who, by even the standards of his harshest critics, has done an outstanding job.
I came away from those meetings, as I come away from these hearings, with a very deep concern that, in its 30th year, the United Nations will be confronted with issues so potentially divisive that they could put the United Nations in danger of extinction. And if that happens if the United Nations is allowed to disintegrate—it may well be due in part to American indecision and indifference.
Everyone has heard the political adage "when you've got the votes, call the roll.” For more than 20 years since the creation of the U.N. this country had the votes. The United States emerged from World War II in a class by itself—a nuclear power. While industrial Europe lay in ruin, the United States alone accounted for more than half of the world's gross production. The U.N. quite naturally reflected that U.S. dominance; most of the original 51 members were U.S. allies and dependents. The United States had the votes, and we called the roll.
CHANGES AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Since then, the world has changed dramatically and the U.N. has changed with it. New economic powers, indeed, new economic systems, have risen to challenge American preeminence. Instead of one nuclear power,
there are six with the immediate potential for many more.
Scores of new nations have entered the world community. Membership in the General Assembly has nearly tripled in just 30 years.
As a result, when the U.N. role is called today, the United States may find itself on the short end—sometimes it may even find itself alone. As Senator McGee said last year. “We have found that the world is not going to dance to a tune just because we snap our fingers.”
It is no longer the United States and its allies, but the world's "nonalined” countries, that have the majority in the General Assembly. And this new minority position for the United States in the U.N. has led an increasing number of Congressmen and Senators to begin turning away from the United Nations. It is becoming fashionable to be against the U.N.
But it is not wise.
In some respects, this country and its policies have been taking a beating at the U.N. lately—at times with jurisdiction, at times because of the pique or parochialism of other nations. The question now is: What will our reaction be?
Are we to respond to these setbacks with a policy of increased confrontation with the nonalined bloc, as some have advocated? Will we continue to turn to the U.N. only in times of crisis and only then as a matter of form, after we already have taken unilateral action as was the case with the Mayaguez incident last week? Should C.S. reverses in the General Assembly lead us to curtail further our financial and diplomatic support for the U.N. and its many worthwhile programs?
In my judgment, to follow such a course would amount to nothing less than the wholesale abandonment of everything this Nation can and should stand for in world affairs. If this country has suffered a decline in international prestige from the withdrawal from Indochina—and I doubt that we have—the blow to our world standing from a substantial withdrawal of support from the United Nations would be immeasurably greater and more harmful to the prospects for world
TIME TO TALK OF U.N. ACHIEVEMENTS
That is why it is time for those who believe in the U.N. to talk about its accomplishments, about its promise—and yes, its problems. Numerous witnesses of vast experience have come before this committee over the past several weeks to outline the U.N.'s many achievements. Right now, U.N. forces are helping keep the peace on the Golan Heights and in the Sinai. In Cyprus, despite Secretary Kissinger's efforts, and those of the British, the only significant progress that has been made in the difficult negotiations there has come through the good offices of the U.N. Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim.
These are but the most dramatic examples. It would take hours to touch on the many contributions of the U.N. in the areas of disaster relief, world health, economic development, international monetary cooperation, communications, aviation, international law, the peaceful uses of atomic energy, the exchange of educational, scientific, and cultural ideas. The list is almost endless. It is not by accident that the United Nations has become the focal point for action to combat hunger and malnutrition, overpopulation, environmental pollution, and income maldistribution. These are truly global problems, requiring global solutions. In seeking such solutions, as in the search for world
peace, the U.N. remains, as President Kennedy put it, “Our last, best hope."
But the longer the United States remains isolated and ineffective at the United Nations, the greater the danger of allowing this "last, best hope" to slip away. At the U.N., this country should be firm, decisive, and innovative-playing a role that emphasizes leadership and cooperation. This country's standing at the United Nations will not be enhanced by a U.S. Ambassador with a policy of storming into the General Assembly to "give 'em hell.” There are a number of steps Congress and the administration can take that would have far more positive impact.
STEPS CONGRESS COULD TAKE
As a beginning, everyone must realize that the United States cannot speak with any real authority or persuasiveness about violations of the U.N. Charter until we ourselves are in compliance with the Charter. That requires repeal of the Byrd amendment. The U.N. economic sanctions against Rhodesia were adopted with U.S. support. It is time that we joined in their implementation. The House International Relations Committee will soon be taking up repeal legislation. The Senate passed it overwhelmingly last year, and we must do so again.
Further, Congress should appropriate, at the very least, the full $169 million requested by the administration for U.S. voluntary contributions to the United Nations for the next fiscal year. This year, Congress cut more than $25 million from the administration's requestour contribution was actually less than it had been the year before. U.S. support for the U.N. development program alone slipped more than $12 million in 1 year.
Our contributions to the multilateral activities of the development program, the Children's Fund, the Food and Agricultural Organization, and the relief and works agency are of far more value to the recipient nations—and to U.S. foreign policy objectives—than bilateral aid. Increased financial support for these vital U.N. programs would be a modest price to pay for increased U.S. stature and effectiveness in the world community.
In addition to financial support, the administration needs the active backing of the Congress in dealing with three major issues coming before the United Nations this fall, each of which threatens to further damage the already weakened position of the United States at the United Nations.
One is the threatened expulsion of Israel from the U.N. General Assembly, a proposal which clearly is gaining momentum within the Third World bloc. The U.N. must be open to
nation under the terms of its Charter. If one country is excluded, the U.N. loses both its character as an international forum and its integrity. We are late converts to the concept of universality in the U.N., but we must assert that concept now before it is too late, for the benefit of every nation.
POSITIVE ROLE FOR THE UNITED STATES
In confronting the problems of southern Africa, the United States can play a more positive role. U.S. efforts must continue to be directed at convincing South Africa to grant independence and self-determination to the people of Namibia. Failing that, the United States must not hesitate to support and participate in vigorous sanctions against South Africa's continued violations of the U.N. Charter. If the U.S. fails to be active in the effort to change South Africa's policies, we will certainly lose what little influence we have left in Black Africa. Our position at the United Nations will have suffered still another irreparable blow.
Finally, it is time to ask for the administration to develop constructive, imaginative economic proposals to contribute at the upcoming seventh special session. In this regard, Senator McGee and I, and a number of other Senators have written Secretary Kissinger expressing our concern over the status of U.S. preparations for this session. We ought to be capable of presenting reasonable alternatives on such key issues as commodity price indexing and compensation for nationalized foreign investments, alternatives that would prevent us from having to play the essentially negative role that characterized the U.S. position during the drafting of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties. Right now, the prospects for that kind of positive role are not very encouraging. One thing is certain: If we demonstrate to the Third World nations at the U.N. a disinterest in their most serious difficulties—falling world prices for their products while the goods and services of tl industrialized nations and the oil of OPEC continue to rise, crushing burdens of debt repayment and servicing, shortfalls in food and fertilizer production—then we can expect little cooperation from same Third World nations on the pressing international, economic, political, and legal issues we confront. I think we can do a far better job of building a new consensus with the Third World than we have done in the past.
Mr. Chairman, the answers to these questions about the U.N. which have been raised at these hearings strike at the very heart of our future role in world affairs. Are we so far from our own beginningfrom our own revolution—are we such a "have” country, that we can no longer identify with the hopes and aspirations of the “have nots”? I believe this Nation can still lead the effort for such causes in the world.
And I believe the best forum for such action is the United Nations. There always has been criticism of the U.N.—perhaps that is an indication of its strength and potential—and I remember that Adlai Stevenson used to reply to U.N. critics with a story. He always cited Adam's proposal of marriage to Eve in the Garden of Eden. “She hesitated for a moment,” Stevenson would say, “whereupon Adam asked, 'Is there somebody else ???
There was no one else then. There is no one else now.
Mr. Chairman. Senator PERCY. Senator Clark, I would like to tell you how much I appreciate your attendance at these hearings and the contributions you