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resources are increasingly accessible to advancing technology. From this concern came plans for a new UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. Through years of preparations its agenda steadily widened to include issues of territorial limits; rights of passage through straits; use and conservation of fisheries; rights of landlocked countries; international rules, machinery and fees governing economic exploitation of the seabed ; control of marine pollution; scientific research; procedures for settling disputes; etc.
For two months in 1974, the 148-nation conference held its first negotiating session in Caracas. A further (though probably not final) negotiating session is now under way in Geneva.
The conference's broad agenda and near-universal participation made for an extremely complex pattern of alignments and negotiating pressures. The Caracas session succeeded in identifying the key issues and sorting out the major proposals. The crucial bargaining stage has now arrived. At this point two main dangers threaten the conference's ultimate success.
One danger arises from conflicting national pressures. Most developing countries press for the widest and most exclusive national coastal zone, and for strict international control in the common realm. The major powers press for unrestricted military and commercial transit through straits, narrower and less exclusive coastal jurisdiction, and (in the case of the U.S. especially) the least burdensome international regulation over seabed exploitation in the common realm. On fisheries, most nations are most interested in shares of the catch than in conservation of threatened species.
The danger is that the conference, in reconciling these conflicts, will neglect the global interest and set the stage for an unregulated international free-for-all to exploit marine species and seabed wealth while they last. Such an outcome entails unacceptable threats to the marine environment and to international order.
The second danger reinforces the first. It arises from commercial and industrial pressures on Congress, some of them already embodied in pending legislation. These, if allowed to prevail, would pre-empt for U.S. fishing and mining interests various unrestricted rights of exploitation which the conference still has a chance to subject—and ought to subject—to international regulation as regards pollution, overfishing, international royalties, and the equitable distribution of benefits.
The central task for the Law of the Sea Conference is to build an international regime, sturdy and durable enough to protect mankind's common heritage of the sea and assure that the uses of this vast realm are fairly shared. This effort is an unprecedented test of how well our world of nations can function as a community. Only strong leadership can prevent the long-term interest of all from being pulled apart in an unseemly scramble to maximize the special advantage of each.
We urge our government to provide its share of that leadership at this critical point; to resist short-sighted pressures at home; and to insist upon a strong world legal order for the oceans—one that will be equitable to diverse national interests without slighting the enduring interests of all people.
10. OUTER SPACE
For nearly 15 years the UN, through the General Assembly's Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, has sought to assure that pioneering exploits of the space age would visibly benefit not only the few advanced space powers but all nations. Potential or actual benefits have appeared in such fields as communications, mapping, navigation, weather forecasting, and most recently in the development by the US of a powerful new tool, remote sensing by satellite, to gain information on natural resources and the environment.
Two broad issues have arisen over the years in this field.
First is an organizational issue: Shall the US and other space powers use multilateral channels such as the UN for their technical aid to developing countries in the field of outer space, or shall these benefits be channeled bilaterally?
We believe the US, presumably for the sake of political or strategic influence, has thus far given undue stress to its own bilateral space cooperation programs at the expense of the UN. This has been especially evident in the US attitude toward the work carried on under the Outer Space Committee. The US, in concert with other states, should call on the UN to stop starving the diminutive “space applications program” in the UN Secretariat and should move to enhance both its budget and its staff capabilities as a source of guidance and training for developing countries. In the same spirit we support the declared willingness of the US to provide remote sensing data to global or regional data distribution centers that may be established under UN auspices; and we urge that the US work energetically for the establishment of such centers. These steps could be a valuable signal that the US is moving—as recommended at the outset of this statement—to give a higher priority to its relations with the UN and to the needs of the Third World.
Second is a legal issue: Shall space technology be used to promote the free flow of information and knowledge among nations, or shall its use be restricted by traditional concepts of national sovereignty? This issue has been raised with regard both to remote sensing and to the anticipated technology of direct international TV broadcasting to home receivers.
The two situations are not the same. In the case of remote sensing, some countries such as Argentina and Brazil want to make the dissemination of such data subject to the consent of the "sensed” country. The US holds, and we agree, that such a doctrine could severely hamper the practical use of this highly important technology. The best way to assure that remote sensing information is used effectively and fairly is to make it available to all-including, of course, the “sensed" countries. Such a policy has been wisely applied by the US from the outset to the data from its first two satellites of this type, Landsat 1 and 2. The international data distribution centers mentioned above should be established on the same principle.
A quite different issue arises in connection with the international broadcasting of TV programs to home receivers, a technology which is likely to become practical within the next decade. The Soviet Union has urged in the General Assembly a highly restrictive doctrine--even more restrictive than that adopted earlier by UNESCO—under which states could act unilaterally to exclude such broadcasts. The US initially replied with a "freedom of information” position which seemed to some observers even more absolute than the very liberal broadcast licensing laws of our country. Recently, however, US spokesmen have indicated willingness to assure respect for each country's cultural integrity. We agree with this modification of the concept. We do not believe that the cause of freedom of information would be served by insisting on the right to broadcast any TV program to any receiver in the world. The great principle be better served in the international sphere by harmonizing it with the views and felt needs of other nations.
In this quest serious consideration should be given to the longer-range possibility of the UN itself operating a world television satellite broadcasting system for the dissemination of UN information and for non-political broadcasts by member states.
11. HUMAN RIGHTS
The argument that action on human rights falls within the domestic jurisdiction of member states has limited the potential of the UN for advancing the ideals of the Charter in this field. A growing majority of members do not assign a high priority to the civil and political rights of individuals so highly valued in the West; many, indeed, see in the spread of these rights a threat to their own power. Instead, the majority in the Human Rights Commission and the General Assembly have increasingly laid primary emphasis on the collective rights and grievances of whole nations, or of particular racial, ethnic or political categories. This tendency, first embodied in the Genocide Convention of 1948, has found more recent expression in the Convention on Racial Discrimination (1965), the Convention Against Apartheid (1973), and a steady stream of UN resolutions demanding the right of self-determination for peoples still in colonial or racial subjection.
By contrast, Western efforts to revive interest in conventions or declarations on traditional civil and political rights, notably freedom of information and freedom of religion, have encountered indifference from most members. Moreover, the majority has found it politically convenient to be highly selective in its attention to human rights violations—and in its interpretation of the domestic jurisdiction clause.
In this situation the United States and other Western members have persisted in advocating human rights projects or institutional reforms in keeping with Western concepts. One of these, the proposal to establish a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as an international ombudsman in the field, has failed to be endorsed by the Assembly. Another, an effort to have the Human Rights Commission deal with non-governmental complaints has had some modest procedural success but may require years to yield practical results.
Other initiatives have been more successful. Notable among these is the designation of 1975 as International Women's Year and the scheduling of a UN conference on the subject in Mexico City in June. At the last General Assembly the United States and other Western members successfully sponsored resolutions for international rules against torture, for UN study of threats to human rights from modern technology, for action on behalf of families of soldiers missing in action, and for renewed attempts to frame a declaration against religious discrimination. We commend our government for its persistence in supporting these valuable initiatives.
Despite these modest gains, the outlook for effective international action on many major human rights problems remains bleak. Viewing the UN's slow progress in this field, Americans may be tempted to react with self-righteousness and cynicism. Such a reaction would be unwarranted. Here as in so many other fields of UN endeavor, our country's chances of enlisting majority support for its views could be enhanced by greater US attention across the board to the genuine grievances of the majority. In the human rights field, nothing could more effectively demonstrate such increased attention that ratification by the United States of basic human rights conventions such as those on Genocide and on Racial Discrimination.
We particularly commend to our government the ratification of these two conventions, delayed for so many years in Washington but so full of meaning to the community of nations. They deserve a much higher priority in US policy on human rights, and could, if implemented throughout the world, encourage the principles on which our own government is based. We further urge that the US State Department upgrade and adequately staff a separate office of Human Rights, within the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
We are seriously concerned with the UN's double standard for human rights, as well as the erosion by recent majority votes of widely agreed international standards incorporated in the historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe that violations of religious freedom and freedom of emigration in many countries should be a matter of particular concern. And, as noted in our statement on Southern Africa, we unreservedly deplore violations of human rights wherever they take place.
We also oppose in the strongest terms the illegal and clearly anti-Jewish Arab blacklist and support President Ford's unequivocal position that such discrimination "is totally contrary to the American tradition and repugnant to American principles.”
An especially disturbing action took place last November in the Paris meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A majority voted, over Western objections, to impose sanctions in the form of the cut off of all financial support to Israel and refused Israel's application for admission to the European regional group, thereby making Israel the only member of UNESCO to be refused admission to one of the regional working groups.
These actions were quickly condemned by scientists, artists and scholars in many countries. Many decided to boycott UNESCO activities. An even stronger reaction took place in the US Congress, which quickly passed the Case amendment to suspend payment of US assessed contributions to the UNESCO budget until the organization takes “concrete steps to correct its recent actions."
We unreservedly condemn the UNESCO General Conference's blatantly discriminatory actions against Israel. We also deplore the politicization of UNESCO (or any other UN specialized agency). We call on our government to exert every possible effort to obtain a reversal of these actions.
We call special attention to the work of UNICEF, one of the UN's family of agencies. Its programs, devoted to improving the health and welfare of mothers and children throughout the world, are among the most effective carried on in the UN system. We commend UNICEF for its continued excellent work and urge Americans to increase their traditional support with governmental and private contributions because of the critical needs facing the billion children in developing countries. We are particularly concerned that UNICEF aid be provided for child victims of the war in the Indochina peninsula.
14. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S YEAR AND THE STATUS OF WOMEN
The UN's designation of 1975 as International Women's Year has served to focus attention on a long-neglected issue. For years the question of women's rights was relegated to the Commission on the Status of Women and its small staff and virtually ignored by other branches of the Organization. One result is rank discrimination against women in the hiring and promotion practices of the Secretariats of the UN and the Specialized Agencies. There is need to equalize work and pay benefits, and to integrate more women into administrative and executive positions in the United Nations, and for study of employment practices to avoid discrimination in hiring. Another problem is a sexual imbalance in the targeting of UN development aid. Industrialization and vocational training programs are often designed for men only, with the unfortunate, if unplanned side effect of leaving women further behind their male counterparts than they were before the UN entered the picture. In the past few years, due partly to consciousness-raising with the approach of International Women's Year, some progress has been made toward sensitizing UN delegates to the interests of women. For example, statements about women and their status were included in the World Population Plan of Action and in the resolutions of the World Food Conference.
While the US government has as good a record as most in the field of women's rights, it, too, can do more in this area. We urge our government to increase the representation of women on US delegations to UN-sponsored conferences of all kinds, not just those that deal with “women's issues.” It should work for Senate ratification of the UN human rights conventions that focus on women and should support a strengthening of the UN Secretariat's Branch for the Promotion of Equality of Men and Women. Vigorous enforcement of the Percy amendment to the US foreign aid program, calling for support by the US of programs that advance the status of women in developing countries, is essential. And on International Women's Year specifically, the US should support a positive World Plan of Action for the advancement of women at the Mexico City conference in June, and a concrete program for its implementation.
15. FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
For many years the member nations of the United Nations have permitted its financial and administrative affairs to undergo a gradual deterioration which bodes ill for the future of the organization. All too often the UN's administrative defects have been pointed to in Washington not as a condition to be remedied, but as an argument for reducing US contributions and for a general downgrading of the organization in US policy.
Issues of finance and administration are, of course, properly subordinate to questions of basic policy. If the United Nations were really marginal to our national interests, as is too often supposed, then its financial and administrative weaknesses would be small cause for concern. But if, as we believe, world problems of the present and future absolutely demand an effective world orga. nization, then these weaknesses become a serious matter.
Accordingly, in line with our belief that the United Nations must be generally upgraded in US foreign policy, we urge our government to take these steps:
1. The total of US contributions to UN voluntary programs such as the UN Development Program, UNICEF, the World Food Program, the refugee programs, the environment and population funds, etc. should be raised substantially so as to restore them to a level consistent with the public pledge given by our government in 1972. At that time, in successfully arguing for the reduction of our share of the budget to 25 percent, the US pledged that this would not result in any “diminution in the overall commitment of i'S resources to the UN system.” Our subsequent retreat from pledge may cause damage to international cooperation out of all proportion to the potential budgetary savings of, at best, a few dimes per capita.
2. We should take a strong new initiative to clear up the UN's perennial deficit, now some $90 million, inherited from the bitter controversy more than a decade ago over the financing of peacekeeping operations. By Us budgetary standards this deficit is a small matter, but to the UN it is large and debilitating. The constant hand-to-mouth financial practices it has imposed on the UN are utterly out of keeping with the great purpose and responsibilities of the organization. Some voluntary contributions to reduce the deficit have been made by, among others, France, the United Kingdom and certain Persian Gulf states. The major sticking point has been the relative size of such contributions by the Soviet Union and the United States. We urge that in resolving this matter the US should be less preoccupied with the question of who is to blame for the creation of the deficit, and more with our country's fundamental interest in a more effective United Nations.
3. It should be our settled policy to uphold in every way we can the professional competence and impartiality of the United Nations Secretariat, and to set an example by the high quality of the persons we nominate to fill key UN posts. At its best the Secretariat is beyond praise ; but too often is not at its best. Preoccupation of member states—including the US—with the number and rank of “their” nationals in the Secretariat, often on short-term rotation from national service, undermines the impartiality and coherence of the Secretariat and saps its morale. An effective system of recruitment and training of able junior career officials is badly needed. Our goal should be a Secretariat equal to that contemplated by the Charter; chosen in accordance with "the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity;" free of discrimination based on sex; insulated from influence by governments; and “responsible only to the Organization."
STATEMENT OF EDITH WYNNER OF NEW YORK
I am glad the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is holding hearings on the United Nations and I hope it will come to forthright decisions on the importance of American leadership in the coming first-stage consideration by the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on Charter Review this summer.
I find it deplorable that the United States was one of the 15 nations voting against review. What a line-up was there with us! (Bulgaria, Byelorussian SSR, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, France, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ukrainian SSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom, United States.) And what a betrayal of our own traditions of federalization to attain effective inter-state organization.
Since the end of World War II we have been increasingly addicted to the eighteenth and early nineteenth century practices of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, Prince Metternich, with his holy and unholy alliances and our seemingly never-ending regional wars in Indochina which have not only ravaged those people but also damaged our economy and our standing in the world. And yet our Metternichian Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and our President, Gerald Ford, continue to equate trigger-happy readiness to make war with internationalism and a negative attitude to raining instant devastation here, there and everywhere to isolationism. They still haven't had enough of this diet despite the 150 billion dollars worth of military clutter with which North Vietnam has now been so generously endowed by our lavish stupidity and the greed and corruption of our military, our militarized industry and of the South Vietnamese leaders.
Our panicky over-reaction and sledge-hammer reflex action to free the ship, Mayaguez, and our determination to demonstrate our virility by once again slapping an impertinent little “punk” of a nation down, terrified me. It reminded me that we were acting like the Austro-Hungarian Empire toward Serbia, with its 48 hour ultimatum in July 1914, after the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. That Empire was a declining power and was determined to prove its virility so as to convince Germany that it was still worth having as an ally. Need I remind this Committee how that demonstration of great power virility ended ? Serbia is one of three small European peoples with whom it is fatal for great powers to tangle. It helped destroy the Turkish Empire and the Austor-Hungarian Empire. Even the Soviet Empire under Stalin and his successors decided it was the better part of valor to call it a draw. With Mayaguez we too acted like a declining great power, hystericaliy determined to prove to our allies that we were still worth having as an ally. And most of our Congress cheered this act of hysteria. And that terrifies me even more. As if the Tonkin Gulf fabrication had never been.
In both individuals and nations, the process of maturation requires the experience of losing once in a while. The only profit we can reap from our harrowing experience in Indochina is an increase in national maturity. We have been act