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NEED TO SPEAK OUT
Mr. Ambassador, I came today notwithstanding other problems, which Senator Percy has referred to, because I was very interested in your speech of December 6. We had quite a discussion with a professor from Princeton on that subject. The question was, do we refrain from voicing the strong view which you voiced about the Third World's action and its sense of responsibility, as reflected by these votes, some of which you even called illegal at the U.N., while not in any way threatening to quit and go home, resign, or withdraw? Or do we stand up and speak strongly and decidedly for what we think is very unfair language? It was suggested by the professor and supported by other witnesses, that a strong debate like that, strong protest, indignation, is what I call it, was counterproductive, that it chased the Third World away, and that it tended to isolate us more. One witness even testified that it tended to confirm in the mind of the Third World the determination of the United States to remain on the side of the status quo and the reactionary forces, the colonial forces of the world.
You are the man who did speak out and you saw the result. I think it would be very interesting to hear from you what you think about this question.
Ambassador SCALI. Thank you, Senator Javits. I think that it is necessary and desirable for the representative of the United States to speak for the right and if necessary to vote alone on matters of principle. I think, however, that these opportunities must be chosen very carefully and that we speak from conviction and on matters of principle only when we believe that we are reaching a crossroads point. If we instead do this too often, I think we not only dilute the importance of our stand, but we become tiresome. I think that we reached just such an occasion last December when South Africa was illegally expelled from the Assembly, when Yasir Arafat was invited to speak before the full General Assembly and accorded almost the reception given a head of state at a time, too, when the militants of the Third World had succeeded in pushing through a one-sided charter of Economic Rights and Duties. I thought at that time the moment had come to warn, on behalf of the United States, the Third World majority exactly where such illegal and arbitrary conduct was leading the U.N. per se, and I sought to couch it in terms of whether the actions were, (A) unprecedented, and (B) illegal, and (C) what it was doing to support within the United States both within our Congress and among our people for the institution itself.
I do not think this speech scared the Third World away, despite the large number of speeches which erupted after that. We had some 50 speakers representing 50 viewpoints but most of them, I think, agreed that the time had come for more conciliation and accommodation, and less confrontation.
In other words, I think that that single speech allowed the air to clear and that it allowed time for many governments which had not really been thinking too far ahead to take a look at what was happening to the use of the United Nations as a political weapon.
I was also very much interested in making sure that the expulsion of South Africa on the flimsy excuse that it did not have correct credentials would not be a precedent to the expulsion of any other country.
For these reasons I thought that, along with the Department of State, that the time had come to speak as we did. I think that the events since then, particularly the events behind the scenes, have indicated that there is now an increased desire on the part of the Third World countries to conciliate and to accommodate and reach compromises rather than to have continuing angry confrontations.
I am not yet sure that we have traveled far enough down the road so that I can say that this special session and the regular session which follows on September 21, will reflect this increased desire to reach a common solution, but I do know that there is increasing thought being given to it and that depending on the state of the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, the price of oil, the opportunity for discussions outside the forums of the U.N. on the problem of food and raw materials, that we can have a better attitude and more cooperation. And just to wind up, I know that the very leaders though of the Third World who lead the offensive against the United States and Western countries themselves are now the ones who are most active behind the scenes in seeking to quiet the rhetoric and to lower the voices.
Senator Javits. Good. Did you give them a bill of particulars in that speech?
Ambassador Scali. I did. I mentioned
Senator Javits. But do you think it would be desirable—and I will not ask you unless you think it would be desirable—to make as part of this record a catalog of what we consider to be actions coming within the purview of that speech? Think it over. If you think it is desirable, then go on the record; if you do not, don't.
Ambassador Scali. I would like to take that under advisement.
Senator Javits. I think when you make a charge it is always useful to give a bill of particulars. But this is diplomacy and I do not wish to
hand. A number of us here felt very strongly like you did. On the other hand very strong exception was taken to the speech. This is great; that is the way life ought to be. I was one of those who voiced support for what you
had done. It struck me that if you want to treat people as equals, you do not patronize them by giving them soft talk when you do not mean it. If they are going to be equals, then they have to be equals and take the rap just like we do.
EFFECT OF DÉTENTE ON U.S.-U.S.S.R. RELATIONS AT THE U.N.
Senator PERCY. I would like to follow that question up with an issue that has arisen during the course of these hearings. Bill Buckley commented on it—the artificiality of our dialog with the Soviet Union at the United Nations where we have obvious differences of opinion on matters of human rights. We see these issues somewhat differently and yet in the spirit of détente there seems to be an artificial restraint of
criticism at the U.N. where certainly China and the Soviet Union have no restraint whatsoever pointing out the obvious differences that they have.
Would you care to comment on whether you feel that this policy of restraint is desirable even though it might appear to be an artificial relationship on occasion?
Ambassador SCALI, Senator Percy, I think I will take a back seat to no one when it comes time to defend the United States and to answer unfair accusations and/or charges. I do, however, think it is selfdefeating to stand up and seek opportunities to answer either current charges, the kind which are basically insignificant and which really fool no one and which represent little pin pricks. We have a duty to demonstrate that we are a mature country that does not need to prove its manhood by answering every tiny little charge that is made. One of the problems involved in having newcomers, with the best intentions, come into an international arena, is an understandable desire to make known their disagreement and their anger with past actions. This falls into the category of what I sometimes call selective outrage. Now, I, too, well remember what the Soviet Union did to Hungary and what it did in Czechoslovakia and I am not among those who believe that the Soviet Union is an example of democracy. I am aware of the slave labor camps and many other conditions of the kind which we in the United States do not necessarily approve of. I do not know that it advances us anywhere if even in a discussion on human rights now we have to remind the Soviet Union that it has a slave labor camp. I think that we might derive a momentary satisfaction out of this but I am not sure that it is going to move us any further on the road toward peace now, which happens to be at least an important goal. So rather than seeing these opportunities, tempting as they may be sometimes, I would recommend that we pass them up and concentrate on the important issues.
HUMAN RIGHTS CONVENTIONS
Senator PERCY. On March 5, this year, you addressed the issue of a new approach to human rights in the United Nations. You urged Senate action on the Genocide Convention and suggested that the United States might examine other human rights treaties. We have the Convention on the Political Rights of Women which has also been around a long time. Do you feel these conventions should be acted upon by the Senate? Are there many human rights treaties not yet submitted to the Senate which are in the process of preparation for submission?
Ambassador SCALI. I would most strongly advocate that the treaty on human rights for women be revived and brought before the full Senate and I am very pleased to see that the Genocide Treaty has now been cleared by this committee and is now before the Senate for possible action. I would urge this be done. I think there are several other treaties, Senator, but I cannot recall them offhand.
Senator PERCY. What additional action might be taken within the U.S. Government to strengthen our position in the United Nations with respect to human rights violations throughout the world?
Ambassador SCALI. I think that the position that we outlined at the recent Geneva meeting is one that I could feel fairly proud of. It puts
the U.S. Government on record as willing to vote yes to examine evidences of instance of human rights violations anywhere in the confines and within the borders of adversaries as well as friends when there is evidence of (A) ongoing abuse of human rights, (B) that there has been no credible effort made to relieve this condition, and (C) when there has been an appeal for corrective action on the part of some organization within the country itself. Now I think this is a very forthcoming position and I think it represents an advance over our past policies and I am very pleased that Leonard Garment has now been named by the White House to be our new representative on the Human Rights Commission because I know how strongly Leonard Garment feels about this entire field and I think he will
think he will carry out his duties with distinction and with dedication.
REAFFIRMATION OF AMERICAN COMMITMENTS
Senator PERCY. I would like to ask your judgment on the problem that we face with American commitments around the world. We are being called upon as a Nation to reaffirm our commitments, and they have been challenged. Certainly Senator Javits believes that reaffirmation of our commitment to NATO might well be in order, and I would be happy to join him in that initiative which I think is important.
But we are faced with this dilemma. We have a lot of treaties. Do we reaffirm all of those, and in so doing, do we mislead the governments of those countries, as we may have mislead President Thieuinto thinking that no matter what they do we are behind them 100 percent. We may have misled Thieu into thinking that we backed him in spite of repressive measures, suppression of the press, unresponsiveness of government, corruption, all of those things. We allowed him to believe we support those things and we removed the need for evolutionary change to make his government more responsive.
What would your advice be with respect to South Korea at this particular time? Do you think reaffirmation of our treaty is necessary? What role should the Congress play in this regard ?
Ambassador SCALI. Senator, I think we have to approach this on a country-by-country and case-by-case basis. In South Korea, for example, I think that it would have a beneficial effect to reaffirm our readiness to defend South Korea, in keeping with our long-standing defense commitment. I think this would reassure the South Korean Gov. ernment at a time when inevitably because at one time it had troops in Vietnam, it has been shaken by the fact that they have now been forced to withdraw. I would be inclined to subscribe to Senator Javit's desire to have a reaffirmation of our commitment to our Atlantic pact allies because that is the central alliance and I think as long as we can do this in one fell swoop so that there need be no doubt whatever in the heart of Europe it would also be a help in our overall foreign policy.
However, I am not among those who believed that what has happened in Vietnam in any way diminishes the credibility of existing American commitments and I think the sooner we stop talking about whether and how it has, the better off we are going to be. The diplomats that I have talked to in New York have no doubt whatever that the United States will be not weaker but stronger as a result of the fact
that we do not have to allocate time, energy and manpower to Southeast Asia in this particular arena at least. Indeed, I might even note that one of the distinguished leaders of the People's Republic seems to share the view that the United States now can concentrate more on what it believes are its important interests.
ACTION BY CONSENSUS RATHER THAN VOTES
Senator PERCY. Harlan Cleveland recently suggested that consensus and conciliation be adopted as a means of developing resolutions at the U.N. rather than voting on every issue there. Do you see any trend at all toward that procedure, rather than the rollcall votes which are usually resorted to
Ambassador SCALI. I have read Harlan Cleveland's very excellent article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine section on this. I think that the course which he proposes is one which is very well worth studying and pursuing further. I am constantly impressed by the number of times that we manage to reach a consensus in the Security Council. Granted there is the threat of the veto hanging overhead, if there is no consensus, but I see an increasing need to forget about numerical votes and to seek to arrive at a just compromise. I think that even within a forum of 138 countries it is possible. And one device might be to adopt the very technique that is being used at the law of sea conference, namely, to set up small committees of countries most directly concerned to go off into back rooms and talk quietly so that they are not making speeches for the home folks and see what they can do about accommodating about major interests of all the important countries involved in the problem.
Senator PERCY. Harold Stassen was our first witness, and he recommended the creation of a U.N. council of ministers with weighted voting. This council of ministers would serve as a cabinet to the Secretary-General; it would stand between the veto power of the Security Council and the one-nation one-vote principle in the General Assembly.
Do you want to respond to that recommendation? I think this is an idea worth considering.
Should you have any observations or thoughts on it subsequently, after you leave the meeting sometime within the next week, we would be happy to have it for the record.
ISSUES ON WHICH UNITED STATES VOTED WITH THE U.N. MAJORITY
Finally, our mutual friend, Joe Segel, noted that the United States actually joined with U.N. members in adopting 125 resolutions during the past General Assembly session while voting against only 17 resolutions and abstaining on 32 others. In other words, the United States voted with the majority 72 percent of the time. If a Senator from either party votes with the administration 72 percent of the time, he would be at the absolute top of the list of those who were supportive. Yet, U.S. actions opposing these 17 resolutions received most of the public attention. In order to give equal time to the positive side, can you identify some of the instances where we joined with the majority of the U.Ñ. membership, particularly with the Third World nations, in voting for resolutions passed by the Assembly in 1974?