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STATEMENT OF RICHARD SCAMMON, ELECTIONS RESEARCH
CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. SCAMMON. Mr. Chairman and Senators.
As you see, I have not prepared a formal statement for this hearing, because I would like to concentrate on just one subject, and I will move, if I may, from the very intriguing, wide-ranging thoughts of Mr. Fuller to a very specific concept within the larger compass which I believe the hearing is seeking to establish this morning when you so kindly invited those of us who are not in an institutional way involved with the United Nations, in the thought that we might be able, and I hope that we might be able, to offer some views to the committee unrelated to those who are professionally involved in international organization affairs.
THE U.N.-NOT A PARLIAMENT OF MAN BUT OF GOVERNMENTS
Briefly, under this heading of vision, what I personally would like to see in these next 5 years with respect to the United Nations would be a reinstallation of the diplomatic purpose of the United Nations as a meeting place, a forum, if you will, of governments. Unhappily, I am afraid that, as we speak in unreal terms, very unreal terms, of the United Nations as a parliament of man, we tend to forget that the majority of the states in the United Nations couldn't be called democratic, that in the majority of these states, less than freedom exists, if I may make an understatement. That basically, the General Assembly of the United Nations is set up on so undemocratic and unrepresentative a base that no state in this union and no democratic country could treat it except as that the U.N. is not a parliament of men. A parliament of men means freedom, it means democracy, it means voting, it means contest, it means discussion, it means a free press. This does not exist in many parts of the world.
But if I can suggest a word, it would be that the true value of the U.N. could better be seen in a depedestallization of the concept that we now have. I think a great deal of the withdrawal and dubiety that we find in the United States that I am sure gentlemen both of you find amongst your constituents, with respect to the U.N., comes from an unreal kind of institution we thought of it as some 30 years ago when it was first founded.
If we can view the U.N. in its most useful function as this parliament of governments without an unreal deification of its purpose, it can be most fruitful for the exercise of diplomacy and the search for world peace and world progress which we are all so concerned.
RETURNING THE U.N. TO ITS DIPLOMATIC PURPOSES
Some weeks ago, Mr. Harlan Cleveland wrote in the New York Times his views on the desirability of abandoning votes in the United Nations. Having been one of the delegates 18 months ago of our country of the General Assembly, in 1973, I know that there is a certain glamour about sitting there in this attractive hall and pushing little buttons, red for no, green for yes, amber for abstain. But button-push
ing is not really the most appropriate function of the U.N. As a matter of fact, I suppose that the bulton-pushing really gets to be like this new book about Hollywood called "The Day of the Locusts"—it is an unreal fantasy world.
Basically, Mr. Chairman, the whole idea of the U.N., the purpose of the U.N., is, I think, too valuable to be left to the showboaters and to the dogmatics, and I trust we will be able, I hope we will be able in these coming few years, to enhance what this institution really is, a place where diplomacy can play its role in negotiating, in easing, in compromising, in adjusting, so that difficult as we may find life on this world in these next 5 or 10 years, we will find it tolerable through this parliament of governments.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BRUNO V. BITKER OF MILWAUKEE, WIS.
I am delighted to be able to appear before this distinguished body during its consideration of the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. By way of identification, I am a practicing lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Although I appear in my individual capacity, I have long been active in organizations, both governmental and private, relating to the general subject matter. I have also had the honor of testifying before this Committee on previous occasions, particularly concerning ratification of human rights treaties.
Witnesses preceding me at these hearings and at other times have suggested specific steps in the form of amendments to the United Nations Charter as well as procedural changes by which the present structure could be made more effective in attaining the noble objectives of the world organization. I do not intend to discuss at length these suggestions by which the United Nations could be strengthened or the means by which the United States could make its influence felt more positively within the United Nations.
On one front this Committee has already taken a significant step toward improving the image of the United States in the world community. I refer to its action in urging the Senate to ratify the Genocide Convention which, after many years in the deep freeze, is now on the Senate calendar awaiting a vote. I believe ratification of that treaty and others, especially the Convention Against Racial Discrimination and the two International Covenants on Human Rights, would go far to convince the rest of the world that not only do we proclaim our belief in the rights covered by these treaties but that we are willing to say so by signing on the dotted line.
The matter of strengthening the United Nations through Charter review, through Charter revision, through changed procedures, has been before this Committee for many years. As long ago as 1950, a Subcommittee under Senator Elbert D. Thomas on Revision of the United Nations Charter held extensive hearings, subsequently published, which are still of great value.
One of the series of resolutions relating to strengthening the United Nations then being considered by the Subcommittee was Senate Resolution 133, 81st Congress, 1st Session. Its sponsor was Senator John Sparkman, now the Chairman of this Committee. Much of what was said then could be repeated now with equal force. That resolution contemplated the removal of the veto power under the Charter in defined matters of aggression, the avoidance of the threat of atomic catastrophe, the reduction of the armament race, and establishing "an effective but tyranny proof international police force under a ‘workable' Security Council and World Court." (P. 171 of the Hearings.).
Despite excellent statements that have been made by our several Presidents since the formation of the United Nations in 1945, as well as by Secretaries of State and by United States Ambassadors to the United Nations, the official position of the State Department has changed very little since it voiced its opposition to Senator Sparkman's resolution of 1950. The Department then opposed his proposal as “a transformation of the United Nations into some form of world government.” (Testimony of John D. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State, Hearings, P. 458.)
As recently as December, 1974, a very mild General Assembly Resolution (3349 [XXIX]) on the creation of an ad hoc committee of 42 to consider suggestions regarding the review of the United Nations Charter, was adopted by an overwhelming vote, the United States (and the Soviet Union) voted in opposition. This is regrettable. That vote evidently prompted Congressman William L. Hungate (with the endorsement of numerous other congressmen) to introduce House Concurrent Resolution, 206 (April 8, 1975). This resolution asks the President "to direct the Department of State to formulate constructive and forward-looking United States proposals for the more effective functioning of the United Nations, through (a) changes in the Charter of the United Nations, and/or (b) procedural changes that may not require Charter amendment, in order to promote a just and lasting Peace through the development of the rule of law, including protection of individual rights and liberties as well as the field of war prevention.” A report to this Committee and the House Committee is requested before June 30, 1975. It is hoped that this Committee will give its support to House Concurrent Resolution 206.
This brings me to what I deem most important for the consideration of this Committee. There is almost unanimity of opinion that the United Nations must be strengthened. The opposition to any material change, expressed by some of the nations, including our own, can be summarized by such phrases as "it would be a world government", or "it threatens our sovereignty", or "the giant states will devour the small states", or “the haves will have more and the havenots will have less.” These are the same objections that were strenuously and sincerely advanced during the Era of the American Revolution by some of the 13 independent, sovereign states (the colonies). Yet out of that conflict evolved a great federation of states which we now know as the United States of America. What is here proposed is that the experience of the 13 colonies during the period from 1776 to 1789 be studied to determine whether the manner whereby the sharp conflicts that then existed between the sovereign states were resolved can serve as a possible pattern for resolving the problems now facing the international community.
It may be fortuitous that these Senate hearings should be conducted on the eve of the Bicentennial Observance. The report which could come out of these hearings and the study which might be prepared by scholars for this Committee could not only serve as a meaningful celebration of what happened 200 years ago, but also be a contribution to the whole world in seeking peace under justice for all mankind during the next 200 years.
Two hundred years ago this country consisted of 13 independent, sovereign states. At the time the notion that they could be unified into one nation, under one law, appeared to many to be pure fantasy. But it was done. The late Catherine Drinker Bowen entitled her dramatic documentary work about the Constitutional Convention of 1787, “Miracle at Philadelphia.” And miracle it was! The distinguished American historian, Carl Van Doren, called it “The Great Rehearsal.” Can the miracle of that time be repeated? Can the “rehearsal” become a world production?
The 13 colonies were faced with dangers from both within and from without. But no one at that time could have imagined the dangers which face mankind today. The sense of danger which impelled the 13 colonies to join together for common action is not yet deeply felt throughout the world. Yet it was this recognition of danger that enabled the Allies to win World War I and World War II. This sense of danger has produced among the Western Europeans the Common Market, which places unprecedented restrictions on national sovereignty. For the moment we may not be so fearful of World War III being started by the super powers. But we cannot be unaware of what might come out of widespread hostilities between other smaller powers, some of which may already have developed an atomic bomb. Nor can we close our eyes to the danger from famine, industrial collapse, the breakdown of international trade, pollution and other disasters resulting from world imbalances of food, of population, of energy, of money. These dangers are obviously greater than the dangers of the Era of the Revolution. They demand international solutions, as the problems of 1776 required national solutions.
It is easy to view the Revolutionary Era with the hindsight of 200 years and assert that what was accomplished then was merely the adjustment of differences between members of one family. But that simply was not true. The 13
states were not one big happy family, unified by language, by religion, by a community of interests. On the contrary, disunity prevailed throughout the war and for years afterward: harmony rarely existed.
James Madison of Virginia, a chief architect of the Constitution (and later to become the President of the United States), noted that: “Of the affairs of Georgia, I know as little as of Kamchatka.” And Pierce Butler, of South Carolina, another delegate to the Constitutional Convention, concluded that “the manner and mood of thinking” of the several states, differed “nearly as much as in the different nations of Europe.”
While there was no love lost between the colonies and the colonists, there were, of course, similarities between them. But it is interestering to recall that Dutch was the preferred language in parts of New York, especially in the commercial world. It is intriguing to note that many influential persons thought German should be Pennsylvania's official language. In certain of the colonies, French and Spanish were commonly used.
On the economic front, the rivalry between states was no different than what exists between some nations today. Customs laws were freely used by one state against another. New York took steps that produced a serious drain on Connecticut and New Jersey. Despite the provisions of the Articles of Confederation, New York entered into a separate treaty with the Indians. New Jersey viewed New York as a foreign state against which barriers must be erected to prevent its encroaching upon the Sovereign State of New Jersey.
It is said that because the colonies were physically adjacent to one another, eventual unity was easy to attain. This was a factor, of course. But it is necessary, when comparing now with then, to measure distances not only in miles but in time. The fact is that it took many more hours, in some instances even more days, to travel from one city to another, than the hours required today to move from one side of the world to the other. Indeed it takes far less time today to circle the globe than it took most delegates to reach Philadelphia from various points of departure.
It is a matter of wonder that the colonies won the War of Revolution. Cerainly it was not due to any unity between the colonies. Although designated Commander-in-Chief, George Washington was in fact the commander of thirteen allied armies and not of a unified Continental Army. Throughout the war his correspondence consisted of constant pleas for food, for clothing, for arms. During the first part of the war, there was in fact no central government. The Continental Congress conducted the national affairs—if they could so be designated—not by virtue of any charter but under a kind of gentlemen's agreement.
Examples of the insistence upon the separate sovereignty and independence of the colonies appear not only during the post Revolutionary period, but even during the war itself. For instance when Washington urged New Jersey troops to swear allegiance to the United States, they refused, proclaiming that “New Jersey is our country.” One New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress found the idea of swearing allegiance to a central government so unacceptable that he publicly criticized Washington for requesting the oath. Even John Adams later referred to Massachusetts as “our country” and to the Massachusetts representatives as “our embassy."
As time went on it became clear that achieving independence was difficult enough, but establishing a strong, central national government was even more difficult. Before the Constitutional Convention convened in 1787, Washington concluded that: “We are either a united people under one head, and for federal purposes; or we are thirteen independent sovereignties, eternally counteracting each other.” Washington was deeply disturbed by the constant bickering and confrontations between the states. Various states violated the peace treaty, particularly in respect to the honoring of prewar debts to British merchants, which the British used to justify their own refusal to evacuate frontier forts that had been surrendered to the United States. Washington was, therefore, especially fearful of the military insecurity of the United States against the British on the north, the Indians on the west and the Spanish on the south and west.
Between 1783, the end of the war, and 1789, when the Constitution came into force, citizens of all political beliefs and of no political beliefs, recognized the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation. The lack of a central national authority caused Washington to comment: "I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in an energetic manner as the authority of the state governments extends over the several states."
Problems confronting the 13 sovereign states of the Era of the Revolution loomed as large then as those which in 1976 confront sovereign nations of the world. The eminent Henry Steele Commager in his recent historical study, “Jefferson, Nationalism and the Enlightenment”, thus summarizes the comparable situations : "The problems which confronted the Revolutionary Generation were quite as complex, as importunate, and as frightening as those which confront us now.” There then existed a nation of some three millions, "divided into thirteen independent states, scattered over an immense territory without any system of roads or of communications, with no common organs of government, no common centers of economy, no common church, no common ruling class, and as yet no common loyalties. ..
After the end of the Revolutionary War, it did not take long for the ardor for independence, which had held the colonies together even though so loosely, to diminish. But the need to bring the states together into a single nation became increasingly obvious. Accordingly, in February, 1787, the Continental Congress, called a convention of the States "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation ... to render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union."
That convention, meeting in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, came to be known as the Constitutional Convention. The result of that convention was not the revision of the Articles of Confederation but the adoption of the United States Constitution. This was not the stated purpose of that convention and the objections to so drastic a step were vigorously advanced. A principle objection to any change then was expressed in the same phrase now used against considering United Nations Charter review: “Let well enough alone."
A key and decisive issue before the Convention was on voting. The same problem existed then as now: should the vote of every state be equal? The one state-one vote rule had been followed during the Revolutionary War and continued under the Articles of Confederation. The large states favored representation on the basis of population (and possibly other factors). If voting was proportional, the small states feared being engulfed by the large states. The small states demanded equal voting power regardless of size, of wealth, or of population.
The Great Compromise, one state-one vote in the Senate, proportional representation in the House, now appears so simple a way out, that it is not easy to realize that the Constitutional Convention might have fallen apart over this one state-one vote problem. In a sense, it is the same problem that faces the world organization today. Without attempting to resolve that question here, it is suggested, however, that a system of voting, certainly in the General Assembly, might retain the one nation-one vote formula in certain types of decisions, while following a form of weighted or proportional voting, based on population, wealth or other relevant factors, in other types of decisions.
On September 17, 1787, the 12 states represented at the Constitutional Convention unanimously approved the final draft of the Constitution (Rhode Island, the 13th state, had boycotted the Convention). It was thereafter submitted to separate constitutional conventions in each State for ratification by a minimum of nine states to bring it into force. It is significant that the Constitution begins, “We, the people of the United States," instead of, “We, the States.” That phrase, “We, the people” is also the opening phrase of the United Nations Charter.
While the state conventions were debating ratification, there appeared a flood of pamphlets, pro and con. The opponents identified a central government with tyranny, feared that the voting compromise was not sufficient to protect the small states against the large states, urged that the country be divided into geographical regions (the usual proposal was for separate political entities for the Southern Colonies, the Middle Colonies and the New England Colonies).
The final ratification of the Constitution was not speedily nor easily attained. It was not until June 21, 1788, that the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified. But as of that date, two key states, New York and Virginia, had not acted. Although the Constitution could have been considered in being without these two states, obviously the new nation would only limp into existence without them. It would be like having a world organization without the United States and the Soviet Union.
Fortunately, New York and Virginia ratified shortly after New Hampshire acted. It is interesting to note that ratification carried by only 3 votes in New York, by mere 10 vote margins in Virginia and New Hampshire. Rhode Island, which did not ratify until one year after the new government was established, did so by a slim 2 vote majority. The significance of these votes lies in the fact