January 2, 1982 | Backgrounder on International Organizations
162 January 21, 1982 THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED NATIONS: A BALANCE SHEET INTRODUCTION Born from the ashes of a devastating world war; the United Nations was to many a new hope for a more peaceful world.
United States gave its blessings: on July 28, 1945, the U.S Senate ratified the U.N. Charter by a vote of 89 to
2. Were the vote to be taken today, the tally probably would be reversed Not only has the U.N. failed to fulfill the lofty hopes of its founders, but it has itself become in the eyes of growing numbers of American bbservers a major cause of global disbar mony. To some, indeed, the U.N. has become to cite the title s of two books about the organization Ita dangerous place."l And to many Americans, the U.N. has become an object of suspicion and, perhaps worse, of ridicule and derision The What has happened to the U.N. since its founding? Or, at least, what has happene d to American perception of that institu tion? Why does the U.S. find itself under almost constant siege at the U.N These are questions which American policymakers ought to be and are asking. How they are answered may well determine for the rest of this ce n tury the role of the U.S. in the U.N or even whether the U.S. chooses to stay in the U.N By almost any measure, the U.S. has been the world's most enthusiastic booster of the U.N. From the outset, American Abraham Yeselson Anthony Gaglione, A Dangerous Pl a ce as a Weapon in World Politics (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1974 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, A Dangerous Place (New York: Berkley Books The United Nations 1980). 2 I generosity exceeded that of any other nation. Until 1964, the U.S. paid almost 40 perce nt of the U.N. assessed budget, gradually reducing this to 25 percent in 1974 (still the current percentage).
By contrast, the U.S.S.R. pays less than 13 percent. From 1946 to 1980, the U.N. cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $10 billion. In 1980 alone, the U.S. p aid more than $500 million in voluntary contributions in addition to its $350 million membership assess ment. This does not include the billions of U.S. dollars for direct or indirect foreign aid, which often find their way to the U.N. and other internati o nal organizations since many developing nations are dependent on Washington for the money with which they pay their dues j Nothing has changed the nature of the U.N. as much as its exploding membership In his article "The United States in Opposition,Il fo r mer U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Daniel Patrick Moynihan traces the problem to Itthe British revolution1' of 1947 when Britain granted India independence.2 The other great empires except the Russian,.soon broke up as well, resulting in a tripling of U.N. m embership within less than four decades. From 51 members in 1945, the U.N. grew to 82 by 1958, 115 in 1964, and now stands at 157; three.states were admitted in 19
81. Few observers realized in the early years that the new nations, most of them plagued wit h internal economic and political problems, would be interested less in international stability and more in asserting "the inter national ower to which [they] feel entitled by virtue of their numbers U.N. membership did not inevitably have to expand so ra pidly.
The Charter had stipulated that membership be restricted to peace-loving states" which are both "able and willing to carry out the [Charter] obligations." This provision, however, was modified substantially in practice: in 1955, ignoring an advisory opinion by the 1nternational.Court that each application for the Soviet Union and the United States agreed to a "package deal whereby sixteen new states were admitted to membership. Such a package seemed neces sary to avoid a paralyzing stalemate al memb e rs had joined the U.N., many of them freshly emerged from membership be considered on its own merit By 1964 sixty-six addition Daniel Patrick Moynihan The United States in Oppssition Commentary March 1975 Joseph E. Johnson Helping to Build New States in F rancis
0. Wilcox and H. Field Haviland, Jr., The United States and the United Nations Baltimore, ,Maryland: Johns Hopkins Press, 1961), p 3 In 1947, the General Assembly (on Western initiative) requested the International Court to define membership criter ia more clearly in particular, to decide whether a member was juridically entitled to make its consent to admission dependent on an additional condition that other states be admitted simultaneously was not so entitled; the vote was 9-6.
United Nations and United States Security Policy (Washington, D.C Brookings Institution 1968 p. 360 In 1948, the court advised that it Cited in Ruth B. Russell The The 3 colonial dependency, not always able or willing to carry out their Charter obligation Problems were qui c k to surface. Since each member is entitled It is ridiculous to an equal voice in the General Assembly, a discrepancy between voting power and financial contribution is inevitable. As Ambas sador Edward Hambro of Norway remarked in 1970 of course, that we have a voting majority that pays only 3% of the budget.Il6 During fiscal year 1980-1981, for example, rich Saudi Arabia paid only 58 percent of the U.N. budget and Kuwait paid a mere 2 percent, compared to 4.4 percent for the relatively poor United Kingdo m 5 percent 'for Norway and 1.7 percent for Spain.7 In fact, the entire IIGroup of 77,II whose more than 120 members among them Saudi Arabia aggressively urge economic redistribution to benefit developing countries, contributes only about 8.8 percent of th e total U.N. budget endorsed by many of the smallest U.N. contributors have serious negative implications both political and economic for its largest supporter, the U.S It is no wonder, therefore, that the American public is becoming increasingly disenchan t ed with the U.N Yet the policies THE PUBLIC VIEW The American public originally had welcomed the U.N.8 Even in 1959, the Gallup Poll reported that 87 percent of Americans thought the U.N. was doing a good job. But within little over a decade, on October 2 4 , 1970, Thomas Vail, a member of the Presi dent's Commission for the Observance of the 25th Anniversary of the U.N was to report that public faith in the U.N.'s peacekeep ing ability had declined to 50 percent. The following year, the Gallup Poll reported a drop to 35 percent. On November 19, 1980 George Gallup revealed that the public's rating of the U.N performance had dropped to a 35-year low: .only three out of ten Americans felt the U.N. was doing a llgood job" in trying to solve the problems it has h a d to face, while 53 percent felt it was doing a llpoor job In his report, Gallup noted that his poll has measured the public attitudes toward the U.N. since its formation in 1945, using questionnaires appropriate to the internal The nations admitted in 19 55 were: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia Ceylon, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal Portugal, Romania, and Spain.
Thomas A. Hoge, "The United Nations' Happy 25th Birthday," The American Legion Magazine, July 1970, p 4 See "St atement of Assessment of Member States' Contributions to the United Nations Regular Budget for 1981," ST/ADM/Ser. B/250, January 2 1981, pp. 3-9.
See Public Attitudes Toward the U.N., Hearings before the Subcommittee on International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations U.S Senate, July 27, 19
77. Also, William A. Scott and Stephen B. Withey The U.S. and The U.N Publishing Company, 1958).
The Public View 1945-1955 (New-York: Manhattan 4 situation at the time with the overall performance of the world organization been so low as it is today.ffg The trendline continues to plunge. A March 1981 Roper poll indicates that only 10 percent of th e American public believes the U.N. has been ''highly effective" in keeping world peace or in carrying out other functions. Americans it seems, are well aware that the U.N. is not fulfilling its dream and has become an increasingly dangerous place At no p o int since then has satisfaction INSTITUTIONAL BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE U.N. ACTION Many in the United States had unrealistically high hopes for the U.N. Coming back from the Yalta conference, President Franklin Roosevelt said the U.N spells the end of the sy s tem of unilateral action and exclusive alliances and spheres of influence and the balances of power, and all the other expedients which have been tried for centuries and have failed. We propose to substitute for all these a universal organi zation in whic h all peace-loving nations will finally have a chance to join.1 But the U.N. can do no more than what its Charter and its members allow. Professor Ruth Russell observes The system provided for in that Charter could come fully into being only as the Members of the United Nations fulfilled their commitments to its peaceful purposes and principles. Such a state of affairs did not obtain after the end of the war. Instead, the United States found the Soviet Union seeking to achieve atomic standing and to force w o rld politics into a mold very different from that hoped for by the United States and outlined in the Charter. Lesser powers also compli cated the picture with their own conflicts.ll Even the lofty language of the Charter was to be used against the intenti o ns of the idealistic American Founders. The provision to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples has become the banner of the underdeveloped Third World governments' attempt to grab the wealth of the developed nations.12 The provision that The Gallup Poll, released November 20, 1980, p. 3 lo Cited in Ruth B. Russell, A History of the U.N. Charter (Washington D.C The Brookings Institution, 1958), p 547 l1 Russell, The United Nations and United S t ates Security Policy, p. 3 l2 For an attempt at defining the "Third World see Alfred Reifman Develop ing Countries Definitions and Data; or Third World, Fourth World, OPEC and Other Countries Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress March 22, 1 9 76. 5 nothing contained in the Charter Itshall authorize intervene in matters which are essentially within jurisdiction of anv state" did not mevent Soviet the U.N. to the domestic tanks from ling into Czeckoslovakia in 1968 the U.N. argued at the time, " e vents in Czechoslovakia were a matter for the Czechoslovakian people and the states of the Socialist community, linked together as they were by common responsibilities, and for them alone.1113 The Security Council as a result, did nothing to help the Czec h s As the Soviet delegate to Another institutional flaw was soon reflected in the staffing problems of the U.N. Secretariat. In addition to the pathetic inefficiency for which that office is now known,l4 there' is growing evidence of Ifpolitical pressure a n d interference exerted by member governments at all levels of the Secretariat in the areas of recruitment and Major offenders are the Soviet Union and its satellites, which regard as legitimate the use of political pressure to affect personnel decisions. A ccord ing to Moynihan, moreover, Moscow has violated Article 100 of the U.N. Charter, by placing Soviet KGB agents in the Secretariat.16 Two Soviet U.N. employees arrested by the FBI in 1979 were subse quently convicted of espionage. Former U Secretary Ge n eral Kurt Waldheim even appointed a KGB officer as head of Personnel in Geneva, where the U.N. now has more employees than at its New York headquarters. In fact, according to Arkady Shevchenko, the highest ranked Soviet official at the U.N. before his def e ction in 1978, a very high percentage of Soviet delegates assigned to the U.N. Secretariat and other internationally staffed U.N organizations, as well as the Soviets' own U.N. mission, report in one way or another to the KGB. A highly respected Swiss dai l y, the Tribune de Geneve, noted in its March 12, 1980, article The KGB in Geneva that Itin terms of numbers, the Genevan capital represents the No. 1 stronghold.of the Soviet secret servicell anywhere from 25 to 60 percent according to Western 13 14 15 16 Situation in Czechoslovakia UN Monthly Chronicle, August-September 1968, p 40. For the broader legal and political context of this action see William
0. Miller, "Collective Intervention and the Law of the Charter,"
Naval War College Review, April 1970, pp. 71-100.
See Robert Rhodes James, Staffing the U.N. Secretariat (Sussex, England Institute for the Study of International Organizations, 1970 Report of the Joint Inspection Unit on Personnel Problems in the U.N., a/6454 October 5, 1971 (New York: UN, 1 971 also, Richard Gardner, ed The Future of the U.N. Secretariat (New York: UNITAR, 1977).
Seymour Maxwell Finger and Nina Hanan, "The United Nations Secretariat Revisited Orbis, Spring 1981, p. 1
98. It is noteworthy that the Under Secretary for Political and Security Council Affairs has always been a Russian appointee.
Testimony of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York in Hearings before the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Participation in the U.N. and U.N. Reform, March 22, 1979, p. 11. 6 counterespionage. And Arnaud de Borchgrave wrote in Newsweek on May 7, 1979 Recently, the United Nations organization in Geneva and a dozen other international organizations in Gene v a have been infiltrated by a rapidly increasing number of Soviet and East European spies. According to Western intelligence sources and Swiss security officials 78 of the 300 Soviet employees serving the various organi zations are agents of the KGB or GRU , MOSCOW'S civilian and military intelligence services. They work closely with 50 intelligence operatives at the Soviet consulate and mission, with about 130 Swiss-based spies from East Europe and Cuba and with an additional 100 Third World or Swiss nation als recruited by Communist agents.
Geneva, with a population of 325,000, has more Soviet bloc spies per capita than any other city in the West and many diplomats contend that their presence is undermining the work of the United Nations.
The exact number o f KGB spies at the U.N. cannot, of course, be known in the West. Yet the FBI appears to have a fairly good idea; Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina has repeatedly request ed publication of those figures.17 Finally, allegations that Secretariat official s have been taking payoffs from individuals seeking jobs are currently being investigated by a Secretariat committee In addition to the potential espionage activities of Secre tariat staffers, there are many opportunities for spying for members of the vari o us delegations to the U.N. This may have been one of the reasons why the U.S.S.R. insisted that the U.N be located in the U.S.18 Some U.N. diplomats have also expressed concern over the inexplicably large number of staff members of other Communist mission s, notably the Cuban.lg 17 18 19 The discussion of KGB infiltration in the U.N. may be found in "Nomination of Jeane J. Kirkpatrick," Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations U.S. Senate, 97th Congress, 1st Session, especially pp. 99-106.
Trygve L ie in his book In the Cause of Peace: Seven Years with the U.N New York: The Macmillan Company, 1954) records that the American delegate Philip Noel-Baker had been against a U.S. site, while "Andrei Gromyko of the U.S.S.R. had come out flatly for the U.S. As to where in the U.S let the American Government decide, he had blandly told his colleagues.
Later the Soviet Union modified its stand to support the East Coast p. 60). See also Angie L. Magnusson Location of the United Nations Library of Congress Study , July 27, 1967, unpublished Many Western diplomats believe that Cuba's U.N. mission is, indeed, a nest of spies Westerners point out that Cuba's U.N. mission numbers 43, while countries of comparable population such as Madagascar, Belgium and Greece main t ain staffs of a dozen or under If the Cubans are not spying, what do they need all those people for?' asks one suspicious European diplomat that small U.S. News Sr World Report, September 22, 1980, p. 21 There just isn't that much paperwork for a nation 7 Though the Charter and Secretariat bear considerable respon sibility for today's disillusion with the U.N., the major culprits are the Security Council and the General Assembly and its'affili ated agencies.
DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THE SECURITY COUNCIL The Security Council might have been a powerful instrument for keeping peace. But given the ideological gulf between the Soviet Union and the other permanent members of the Security Council (the United Kingdom, Fra n ce, Nationalist China, and the U.S it could never have performed its principal function. In the first two decades alone, the Soviet Union cast over 100 vetoes. Half of them killed membership applications from countries with non-communist governments. This made it impossible to create an international organization as broad as possible (within the limits of the Charter) and certainly frustrated the desires of the U.S.
Other Soviet vetoes: five vetoes (on September 20, 1946, July 29, twice on August 19, Septe mber 15, 1947) to protect Greece's Communist neighbors during the Greek civil war of 1946-1947, by refusing to endorse Security Council resolutions to invest igate the conflicts in Northern Greece; the veto on May 24, 1948, of a U.N. probe into the Commu n ist take-over of Czechoslovakia; the veto on October 25, 1948 of U.N. efforts calling for action to resolve the Berlin blockade; vetoes of resolutions on Korea on September 6, 12, and November 30, 1950, where U.N. action against Communist aggression was o r iginally undertaken only because the Soviet Union had been absent from the Security Council on June 25 1950; the veto of a Security Council resolution on November 4 1956, calling upon the U.S.S.R. to desist from the use of force in Hungary; vetoes of U.N. actions concerning the Congo (on September 16 and December 13, 1960, and then again in 1961 two vetoes on February 20 and two on November 24 The Congo provides a good example of Soviet tactics and American response. Dissatisfied with U.N. activities in th a t area, Moscow decided not to pay its assessed $40 million share of the cost of African peace-keeping, despite a ruling by the Inter national Court of Justice that it was obliged to pay. In the face of Soviet adamancy, the U.S. backed down and chose to ig nore 8 Article 19 of the Charter, which stipulates that a two-year payment deliquency by a member state is punishable by expulsion.
Though Congress approved a $100 million bond issue in 1962 to bail out the U.N. only after obtaining a firm pledge that Wash ing- ton would not let the Soviet Union get away with nonpayment, the U.S. nevertheless decided not to press the issue two years later.
According to the latest State Department figures, the Soviet Union remains delinquent: it owes the U.N. a staggering 180,035,000 most of it for peace-keeping operations.
Equally troublesome has been U.S. readiness to endorse the Security Council double-standard. On November 20, 1965, and then again on May 29 1968, the Council voted mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia's n ew government headed by Ian Smith. Some observers questioned the wisdom of having the U.S. delegation go along with this: U.S. News World Report, for instance, saw the action as "cracking down on a country at peace" while the U.N ignored "Red aggression i n Asia.1t20 But U.S. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg countered that in Rhodesia "we have witnessed an illegal seizure of power by a small minority bent on perpetuating the subjugation of the vast majority.Iln1 Could the same not be said of the Soviet Union? Ind e ed, the sanctions against Rhodesia forced the U.S. to buy chrome, a strategic mineral, from the Soviet Union, at a greatly increased price. Senator Harry F Byrd, Jr of Virginia was thus prompted to introduce an amend- ment not approved by the Congress unt i l 1977 to permit the U.S. to import strategic materials from Rhodesia if those items were also being bought from Communist nations In the seventies, the U.S. found itself increasingly on the The Security Council seat of Nationalist China was losing side g iven to the People's Republic of China in 1971, while the U.S compromise proposal that Taiwan be allowed to retain a seat in the General Assembly was soundly defeated.
Now finding itself, as Moynihan puts it, "in opposition,'I the U.S. turned reluctantly t o the weapon it had abjured for a quarter century: the veto. Washington cast its first Security Council nay on March 17, 1970, joining the United Kingdom in blocking a resolution which would have condemned Britain's refusal to use force against the Ian Sm i th regime in Southern Rhodesia and would have severed all diplomatic, consular economic, mili tary, and other relations with that country. Then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Charles W. Yost said that it was a tlmost seriousIt decision for the U.S. to veto a resolution of the Security Council but that the U.S could not support a move implicitly calling on Britain to use force to overthrow the Smith regime, nor could it agree to measures that cut off the means by which Americans might leave Rhodesia 2o "Double Standard for U.N Action on Rhodesia and Vietnam U.S. News World Report, April 25, 1966, p. 50.
U.S. Department of State Press Release 304, December 29, 1966, p. 6. 21 9 Two years later, on September 10, 1972, the U.S. stood alone in its veto of a resoluti on that called for an immediate halt to military operations in the Middle East but failed to mention the terrorist acts the Israeli Olympic team murders that led to Israeli strikes against Syria and Lebanon. U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers said t hat the U.S. intended to use the veto again; too often in the past, he told reporters, other delegations had persuaded the U.S. to soften its position so that the Soviet Union or some other ermanent member of the Security Council would not use the veto p2 In 1973, the U.S. vetoed another Security Council resolution concerning the Middle East only to witness, a year later, the spectacle of the General Assembly welcoming to its podium Yassir Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a So viet-backed terrorist organization dedicated to the annihilation of Israel. This was the first time that a representative of any group lacking official U.N. status had appeared before the General Assembly.
Also in 1974, the U.S., along with Britain and Fra nce blocked a resolution to expel South Africa from the U.N. Whatever one may think of South Africa's separatist policies, they argue that country represents no great threat to international peace no greater, certainly, than the U.S.S.R and is thus entitl ed to participate in the Assembly.
Some comfort might be gained from the belief that the Security Council, if often ineffective, at least did not harm the.U.S.
But according to another point of view, ably articulated by Senator Henry Jackson of Washington , the U.N. prevented the U.S from acting more vigorously in pursuit of its own interests the very existence of the U.N. might have hampered a wiser defini tion of American national interest And DISAPPOINTMENTS IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY The principal action of the U.N. takes place in the General Assembly.
Council. Indeed, as soon as the U.S. recognized that the Security Council would be at the mercy of Soviet vetoes it turned to the General Assembly in the hope that it could appeal to the moral sense of the m ajority of its members. The U.S. took advantage of Article 10, which empowers the Assembly to discuss any questions or matter "within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charte r ." This made it possible for the U.S. to propose the Wniting for Peace Resolutionll on November 3, 1950, to deal with the Korean crisis meet in emergency session whenever there was a threat to the This is due in part to the paralysis of the Security The G e neral Assembly asserted its right to 22 M. A. Farrar U.S. to Use U.N. Veto More, Rogers Says New York Times October 15, 1972. 10 peace and the Security Council was unable to agree upon a course of action. That resolution added to the prestige, if not the p ower, of the General Assembly.23 In retrospect, however, it is questionable whether the prestige of the Assembly should have been enhanced. By the mid-l970s, the Assembly had become a center of anti-Western rhetoric and action. Some examples are: inflamma t ory rhetoric condemning the U.S. and its allies on almost every political, economic and social issue the economic resources of the industrial nations, especial ly the U.S and to control the activities of Western businessmen; measures designed to redistrib ute to the developing states measures designed to curtail the free flow of information; measures to aid terrorists.
INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC The crescendo of inflammatory rhetoric under the auspices of the General Assembly is one of the most disturbing featur es of that organization. Initially, it was the Soviet Union that delivered the anti-American speeches. After 1961, when the size of U.N. membership had more than doubled, the attacks echoed in other quarters as well. Ideology was being formed, and terms r e defined In 1961, for example, India's Krishna Menon stated that "colonialism is permanent aggression.Il The phrase was soon to assume a life of its own. Professor Ali A. Mazrui explains This became an important theme in Afro-Asian argumenta tion mainly fo l lowing India's annexation of Goa The more militant attitude toward colonialism which now characterizes the General Assembly both reflects and helps to consolidate new attitudes toward that phenome non. And even the criteria of what constitutes domestic ju r isdiction. and external intervention and interference may imperceptibly be undergoing a legal =-definition as the old principles are newly tossed around in the tussle of United Nations 23 Besides being invoked during the Korean crisis, the "Uniting for Pe ace"
Resolution has been used eight times respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and another was in September of 1981'to condemn South Africa's occupation of Namibia.
Attitudes One recent case was in 1980 to 24 Ali A. Mazrui writes in his article "The U.N. and Some African Political Krishna Menon started invoking the concept of "permanent aggression to reporters (the BBC broadcasted the doctrine) even before he 11 A few years later, in 1965 and in 1966, the General A ssembly declared the continuation of colonial rule and the practice of racial discrimination to be crimes against humanity and threats to international peace. These words later would be used by the Soviet Union and Third World delegates to attack the U.S. action in Vietnam, the policies of South Africa and the actions of Israel among others.
Throughout the sixties, the U.S. was charged increasingly with enormous crimes against humanity. Among them was As early as 1964, when the U.S. joined Belgium to send a mercy mission to Stanleyville in the Congo to rescue not only whites but Asians and blacks as well who were suffering from the war in that area, eighteen black African governments protested that the mercy lift was an act of aggression, colonialism, and i mperialism ist aggressor in the halls of the General Assembly of that year, when the representative of the People's Republic of China replaced the Taiwanese delegate at the U.N a decisive turn against the U.S. had taken place. The U.S. had previously been able to marshal1 enough support to block Peking's admission to the U.N. The seating of Peking symbolized America's shrinking power in the U.N In his acceptance speech, the Chinese ambassador accused the U.S. of aggression for sending U.S. naval forces int o the Taiwan Strait, and for military intervention in Vietnam Cambodia, and Laos. George Bush, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N chastised the Chinese for 'lintemperate languagei1 and for firing llempty cannons of rhetoric I By 1971, the U.S. was routinely b eing condemned as an imperial In November Volleys were fired constantly from other Third World nations.
Consider the outrageous statement by M. S. Aulagi, representative of South Yemen, in the General Assembly on October 11, 1971 The insistence of the U.S. in continuing [its imperialist and colonialist] policies, which are in contradiction of the interests of humanity in progress and cooperation will lead that country once again into isolation and eclipse, against its own will In fact, reading through spee c hes made by representatives from Cuba, Libya, Niger, Albania, and most of the other Third World nations over the next decade reveals a disturbing rhetorical arrived at the U.N Professor W. H. Abraham of Ghana lent philoso phical backing to Menon's approac h by reaffirming that "colonialism is aggression See his Mind of Africa (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1962), p. 152.1 This idiom may have started as merely figurative use of the word "aggression But it would not be the first instance in which a figura tive use of a given term later took on a literal meaning as well.
International Organization, vol. XVIII, No. 3, Summer 1964, p. 506. battle. Yet it has taken years for the U.S. to realize its significance It is this which prompted Moynihan in 1975 to accu se the U.S. of 'Icomplacency1l which could only be due, he charged, to Ifthe failure to perceive that a distinctive ideology was at work [in the Third World and that skill and intelligence were required to deal with it successfully.~~25 condemnation, on N o vember 10, 1975, of Zionism as Ita form of racism." This move so outraged American lawmakers, who saw the resolution as an insult to language and to common sense, that many questioned whether the U.S. should continue contributing money to the U.N. The fol l owing day, the Senate unanimously called for prompt hearings to "reassess the U.S. pation in the U.N.1126 In the Senate debate, Robert Packwood of Oregon said, III can't think of anything in the last 30 years as odious. devil last night at the end of Sept e mber 1981, when ninety-three Third World nations endorsed a document accusing the U.S. of being the only threat to world peace and prosperity today. Then on October 1 Ethiopian Foreign Minister Feleke Gedle-Giorgis unleashed a tirade from the General Asse m bly podium A major victory for the proponents of that ideology was the further partici Wherever Hitler may be I am sure he drank a toast to the A more recent case of the anti-American offensive took place International imperialism, spearheaded by the Unit e d States, has intensified its futile effort to reverse national liberation and social emancipation in southern Africa We are being daily threatened by United States imperialism military bases in and around our region alone keep a constant watch on countri e s in the region which are not amenable to Washington's dictate. The now all too familiar bogey being employed is, of course, the Soviet threat. No one, except those who worship the demi-god in Washington, will be fooled by such a smoke- screen There are s o me ten United States These Gedle-Giorgis went on to claim that the U.S.'was "bent on dominat ing the people of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean 25 "The United States in Opposition p. 36 26 This was not a move to get the U.S. out of the U.N. R a ther, it was a call for a reassessment of U.S. participation in the U.N the U.S. out of the U.N. have been made in Congress ever since 1950 (H.R 5080 and H.R:5081, both asking to rescind membership of the U.S. in the U.N Many other similar bills have been introduced,(e.g H.R. 164 on January 4, 1965; H.R. 11465 on July 13, 1967; H.R. 360 and H.R. 2632 both in January 1971) but none have met with much support.
See Daniel Patrick Moynihan A Dangerous Place, Chapters 9 and 10, for a detailed description of the circumstances surrounding the vote Calls to get 27 I' 13 The next afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jeane Kirk patrick stingingly countered with a hard-hitting speech condemning the Ethiopian minister's "strident and vituperative attack on the Unite d States She accused him of the !'Big Lie The pattern is a simple one: He accuses others of committing crimes which have, in fact, been perpetrated by his own regime and by those countries with which his regime is allied He speaks, for example, of Itthe de termination of Africans In fact, it is his own regime that is guilty of the very savagery of which he speaks It is estimated that some 30,000 persons in Ethiopia were summarily executed for political reasons between 1974 and 1978 10,000 in 1977 alone.
Addi ng that Cambodia Itis occupied by 200,000 troops from Vietnam the Ambassador said "these are the 'imperialist meddlers.f11 In her closing words, she expressed U.S. commitment to international cooperation, but warned that this country "cannot sit by quietl y when the Big Lie echoes in these chambers.I' The speech expressed well the frustration of the American people when faced with such rhetoric.
It is this Big Lie that has made a mockery of General Assembly human rights discussions.
November 24, 1981, Itno aspect of United Nations affairs has been more perverted by politicization in the last decade than have its human rights activities.Il Moreover, what the U.N. has not done is no less part of the record, with all the cries of outrage it has not uttered, a l l the moral indignation it did not express. The human rights agencies of the United Nations have been silent while 3 million Cambodians died in Pol Pot's murderous Utopia the human rights agencies of the United Nations have been silent while a quarter of a million Ugandans died at the hands of Idi Amin. The human rights organizations of the United Nations have been silent about the thousands of Soviet citizens denied equal rights, equal protection of the law, denied the right to think write, publish, work f reely, or to emigrate to some place of their own choosing As Ambassador Kirkpatrick said on ECONOMIC MEASURES More serious than the rhetorical offensive, however, are the actions by the General Assembly and its related agencies which attempt to redistribu t e U.S. resources and to regulate activities of American businessmen dealing in the Third World. Although not explicitly coordinated, the regulatory programs debated and sometimes adopted at the U.N. share common principles and common methods of implementa t ion rapidly the economics of the Third World was the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Established in 1964 as a One of the earliest attempts to use the U.N. to transform I I 14 permanent body for formulating general rules on trade between rich and poor countries, UNCTAD soon began working on so-called codes of conduct designed specifically to help non-Western nations.
UNCTAD also served as midwife at the birth of the U.N. Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, adopted on December 12 1974, by a General Assembly vote of 120 to 6 (including the U.S with 10 abstentions.28 A new breed of self-styled inter national regulators cites this charter, along with The New Inter national Economic Order (NIEO to justify schemes for recasting wor l d economic relations.29 In essence, these efforts aim at creating an elaborate system of redistribution which would compel the U.S. to share its technological resources and output with developing nations.30 order is the draft treaty by the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea which has been meeting since 1973 It would create a major multilateral body called lithe Seabed Authority," authorized to allocate mining sites, conduct its own seabed,explorations control private competitors and levy its own taxes P e rhaps the most celebrated of the efforts for a new economic In March 1981, before the opening of what was to be the Law of the Sea Conference's final session, the Reagan Administration announced that it would not, as the Carter Administration had agreed, conclude the treaty by May 19
81. The reasons for the delay, explained by the Administration, are that the Law of the Sea treaty, as it stands, discriminates against private mining enterprise; inadequately protects development investments made before the t reaty's effective date; fails to make any provisions for arbitration of disputes between the mining industry and governments; and 28 29 30 The Economic Charter was adopted in GA Res. 3281 (XXIX), 29 UN GAOR Supp. (No. 31) 50, UN Doc. A/9631 (1974). The co u ntries that joined the U.S. in its vote against the Charter were Belgium, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxemburg, and the United Kingdom The Economic Charter, a consensual U.N. declaration, arguably has legal force that delineates the rights and duties of member states."
Laing, "International Economic Law and Public Order in the Age of Equality,"
Edward A Law Policy in International Business, vol. 12: 727, 1980, p. 754.
Laing's article provides useful background discussion and analysis of the history and implications of the Economic Charter.
See Richard Berryman and Richard Schifter A Global Straightjacket,"
Regulation, September/October 1981, pp. 19-
28. For a good discussion of the implications of U.N. regulatory action see Raymond J. Waldham, Regulat ing International Business Through Code of Conduct (Washington, and London: American Enterprise Institute, 1980). 15 fails to make any provisions for a rbitration of disputes between the mining industry and governments; and subjects U.S. interests to decisions made by a forum in which the U.S. would carry very little weight.
Other areas potentially rich in important natural resources are also targets of U .N.-inspired international regulation An Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies took effect in 1980; it establishes an international regime to govern exploration and extraction activi ties in outer space with a n eye to favoring the enterprises of developing nations. Lacing this agreement are theoretical implica tions hostile to the principles of free enterprise. Though Jimmy Carter eventually decided not to endorse the treaty, the issue is by no means dead.
Another scheme designed to benefit the developing nations at potentially great cost to the Western industrial societies is the Code of Restrictive Business Practices, adopted by the General Assembly in 19
80. This Code forces multinational corporations to sel l their technology and know-how more cheaply and less efficient I ly for the benefit of Third World nations.31 Liner Conferences to take effect when the European Economic Community ratifies it, as it soon is expected to do. This Code by allocating shippin g tonnage.32 If the Code goes into effect this year and it may it could bring some far-reaching changes to American shipping I An equally alarming UNCTAD action is the Code of Conduct for aims at promoting the maritime industries of developing nations I fr e ight rates would be subject to large jumps every fifteen months the U.S. could lose liner cargoes because these would be shifted to more specialized carriers American laws would have to be changed extensively, result ing in increased regulations; and 31 A useful discussion of international regulation affecting the transnational corporation may be found in Studies in Transnational Economic Law, vol. I: Legal Problems of Codes of Conduct for Multinational Enterprises edited by Norbert Horn (Deventer, the Net herlands: Kluwer Publishers 1980).
For a useful recent analysis of the Liner Code see Stefan Lopatin The UNCTAD Code of Conduct for Liner Conferences: Time for a U.S. Response 22 Harvard International Law Journal, 1981, pp. 355 ff. For a brief discussion o f the development of the liner conference system, see Depart ment of Transportation Potential Economic Impact Non-Market Cargo Allocation in U.S. Foreign Trade," Report No. DOT-TSC OST-76-31, pp 19-20 32 16 disputes would be settled by a conciliation proc ess; this reverses the longstanding U.S. practice of maintaining open liner conferences and ignores U.S. laws requiring that government and government-financed shipments be carried by U.S. flagships.
The disadvantages to signing the Code may be less onerou s, however than outright refusal to ratify, which would leave the U.S. out of important negotiations that might permit working out mutually acceptable arrangements 33 Another major target of U.N. regulatory activity is the pharmaceutical industry. During t he past six years, four different U.N. entities UNCTAD, the U.N. Center for Transnational Corpo rations, the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO and the World Health Organization WHO have begun trying to control pharmaceuticals WHO, for instan c e, has passed a code recommending regulation of breast-milk substitutes; this has serious implications for the regulation of food products in general, and drugs in particular. UNIDO is trying to redistribute the revenues of the pharmaceutical companies by limiting royalties and prices; it is also seeking ways to obtain licensing information and technology transfer for the benefit of underdeveloped coun tries. Moreover WHO is planning to regulate drug quality by establishing a body that would in effect, sup ersede the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration In his IfBackground Paper on the North/South Dialogue and the New International Economic Order prepared for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association in June 1980, Paul Belford complains: these efforts "have generally been politically motivated, poorly researched, and biased against private industry.
The regulatory efforts of the U.N. and its agencies are heading full-speed ahead into 19
82. The General Assembly, for example, has instructed the Centre on Tra nsnational Corporations on December 22, 1981, to prepare a llregisterll of profits as part of an effort to regulate the economic activities of foreign interests which ostensibly impede the achievement of independence by peoples under Ilcolonial domination l l as defined in the Declara tion of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. The United States and other Western countries strongly opposed the resolution calling for this l1registerl1 on the grounds that it was ideologically motivated and complete ly failed to recognize the benefits of foreign investments in developing areas.
The economic offensive against the industrial nations shows no sign of abating. Indeed, the new Secretary General of the U.N Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru, has called on the U.N. to 33 For a fine, thorough study of the Liner Code and various options available to the U.S see the four-volume study by E. G. Frankel, Inc entitled Impact of Cargo Sharing on U.S. Liner Trade with Countries in the Far East and South East Asia," rele a sed by the Federal Maritime Commission in late December 1981. 17 continue and accelerate its efforts at redistribution speech of December 15, 1981, Cuellar noted that he was In his assuming his new post at a time when Ifthe longstanding initiative for the renewal of global negotiations between North and South is coming back within the purview of the U.N This coincides with one of the most serious world economic crises of the past few decades, the most sorely pressed victims of which are the populations of the developing countries.If By way of relief, he proposes to champion the cause of those whose "right to a better distribution of wealth and social well-being [is] in fact being infringed."
THREATS TO THE FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION Better covered by the press than efforts to regulate business activities are plans by the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization UNESCO) to censor the flow of information.
Since a 1976 Conference in Nairobi, UNESCO has been at work outlining a New World Information Order (NWIO) whose principal purpose is to alter the role of the media.34 The Third World governments want to use the press to further their national ideologies T o this end, UNESCO produced a study in 1980 entitled Many Voices One World which recommends that'journalists be fflicensedll and "protected" and calls for a code of ethics for journalists. Congressman John J. Rhodes of Arizona commented Understandably, th e U.S. and, in fact, all nations that cherish a free press and the free flow of informa tion strongly oppose implementation of the NWIO.
Questions of news content and news values do not belong on intergovernmental agendas.35 An amendment to a State Departm ent Authorization bill, which goes to conference in February 1982, would provide that none of the funds that go toward the assessed U.S. contribution to UNESCO will be paid in the event that the NWIO is implemented.
This is not the first time the U.S. has threatened to cut off funds to a U.N. agency In November 1975, for example, the U.S. withdrew from the International Labor Organization (ILO largely because of objections by American labor organizations.
The list of American grievances included the ILO's recognition in June 1974 of an observer from the PLO, as well as the double standard implicit in the ILO attacks on the human rights record of such countries as Chile and Tanzania while remaining silent on the Soviet and Eastern European dictatorships At congressional 34 An enormous amount of material has been written on the NEIO. A concise set of papers was included in The Media Institute's Issues in International Information, vol I, distributed on November 13, 1981, and vol. 11 forthcoming 35 Human Even t s, December 12, 1981, p. 17. 18 hearings on May 12, 1981, Ambassador Kirkpatrick recommended the U.S. cut off funds from the ILO and urged using that method again IrI think that we have in a way acquiesced in the perversion of a good many of the U.N. agen cies and activities," she said Itby failing to object as vigorously as we should have, or to demonstrate our unhappiness, for example, by withholding funds."
She was especially concerned that such agencies as UNESCO, the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP), and the Women's Decade Confer ence, have been transformed into platforms for anti4J.S. demago Query U.N. AID TO TERRORISTS Since November 13 1974, when Yassir Arafat appeared before the General Assembly, the PLO has enjoyed observer status at the U.N. Foo d and Agricultural Organization, joined the U.N. Economic and Social Council's Commission for Western Asia (the first time a non-nation had been granted full membership in a U.N. agency and was authorized to use U.N. funds for propaganda purposes by the U. N .-sponsored Mid-Decade Women's Conference held in Copenhagen in July 1980 As Evelyn Sommer testified before Conqress in May 1981, she was shocked by the fact that Forum 80, the-daily newspaper of the Copenhagen conference funded by the U.S carried intervi e ws with PLO members. On January 30, 1981, the U.N. Postal Administration even went so far as to issue a set of three stamps commemorating the I'Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.l# The main sponsor of the stamp project was the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People which, according to Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr of New York, "is merely a front in the U.N. for the PLO."
Another terrorist group that receives U.N. assistance is the South West African People' s Organization (SWAPO). According to a 1979 study by the London-based Foreign Affairs Research Institute The United Nations Commissioner for Namibia, his three offices in New York, Luanda and Botswana, the UN Council for Namibia, the UN fund for Namibia a n d the UN approved Institute for Namibia are all organizations which co-operate closely with SWAPO as the "sole authentic representative of the Namibian People.Il All are bodies in receipt of generous funds from the UN budget. The UN Commission for Refugee s and the Economic and Social Councills United Nation's Development Programme are other organisations providing "humanitarian aidt1 on a lavish scale for refugees and others from Namibia. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided 31,500 to S W APO for "education and training in the field of public information" during the year 1976-1977 It has also provided $151,000 in general education assistance to SWAPO within Angola.36 19 Almost as an aside, the report adds: I'During the course of raids by t he South African Army on SWAPO bases in Angola during the summer of 1979, food cartons orginating from the UN's world food programme were found in the camps."
On October 2, 1978, SWAPO president Sam Nujoma told a meeting of non-aligned nations in New York that his organization shares a I common bond of militant comradery and solidarity with Rhodesia's i I terrorist Patriotic Front, the terrorist PLO, and "other gallant forces of liberation.
Moreover, there is evidence that UNICEF has been helping terrorists: for example, in 1979, UNICEF money turned up in Mozambique following a raid by troops from Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
Consequently, there are calls in Congress for both the State Department appropriations bill and the Foreign Assistance Act appropriations bill to contain a specific prohibition against the use of tax dollars by the U.N. to finance terrorism.37 Neither of these bills, however, contains any provision to prohibit tax dollars from use in programs that finance SWAPO.
SELECTED ABUSES In addition to m easures which could seriously impair the activities of American businessmen and journalists, the U.N. is plagued by other abuses which call into question the organization's usefulness. Among them Fraud. According to Business Week on July 20, 1981 The evid e nce is mounting that the U.N.'s $300 million plus economic research programmes are being manipulated to promote the "new international economic order1 Appointments to the organization's professional staff of 3,000 economists have become increasingly polit icized and, more important, numerous studies of world trade and growth many of them by outside experts have been suppressed, altered, or so stripped of detail that they have become useless as a basis for setting policy.
Professor Ingo Walter of New York University and other consultants charge that some of the most egregious instances of altered work have occurred at UNCTAD 36 Cited in Robert E. Lee, The United Nations Conspiracy, pp. 208-209.
Elsewhere, the F.A.R.1 report asserts Despite its [SWAPO's] lack of military success, incessant lobbying at the United Nations resulted in the astonishing decision [by the General Assembly] to grant it recognition as the sole legal representative of the Namibian people despite the known minority nature of its support. "
See, Congressional Record, October 5, 1981, p. E4628. 37 20 Misallocation of Resources. On November 15, 1981, CBS-TV's 60 Minutes" spotlighted the inefficiencies of UNICEF and other U.N. organizations in helping refugees, particularly in Uganda in the Sp ring of 19
80. At UNICEF, politicization is also a serious problem. The UNICEF Executive Board for example, in 1970 approved a $200,000 purchase of cloth for North Vietnamese childrenls clothing. It was purchased from the Soviet Union and supposedly was delivered to North Vietnam by the Soviet Union in 19
72. UNICEF has no way of making sure, however, that the supplies were actual ly distributed to children Indoctrination. Some U.N. activities are used to indoctri nate the participants. As Evelyn Sommer told Congress in May 1981, the Women's Decade Conference shocked her with the brutal indoctrination espoused.by many of the forum's participants she was also disturbed by the draft declara tion submitted originally by East Germany and other Commu nist and so-called no n -aligned countries, which is Ifan anti-West, hypocritical, controversial document that has no value whatsoever in achieving progress for women.ll Puerto Rico. In September of 1972, by a 12 to 0 vote with 10 abstentions, the U.N. Special Committee on Colon i al ism ordered a study of Puerto Rico as a colonial territory of the U.S. Washington objected that consideration of the island's status was totally improperi1 and interfered in the !'purely domestic affairs of the U.S On August 20, 1981, however, the Comm i ttee composed largely of Soviet bloc and Third World nations returned to the issue over the protest of the U.S. For the moment, the U.S. has prevented a General Assembly discussion of the issue should the Assembly take it up in the future, however, it wou l d undoubtedly become a real problem Representation in the Statistical Commission. For the first time in U.N. history, the U.S. in May 1981 was denied a seat on the Statistical Commission. This shocked the U.S. and its allies. Said Ambassador Kirkpatrick I f we by'not sitting on that commission are denied an opportunity to effectively or even ineffectively work hard to influence its policies.Il She suggested "that our contribution in the form, for example, of technical exper tise, ought also to be reduced com mensurate with our opportunity for input and policies."
CONCLUSION Not all U.N. activities are flawed, of.course. Ambassador Kirkpatrick has praised some of the programs of the World Health Organization, the refugee efforts, and meteorological organiza tio ns, as well as some of those agencies fighting hunger and advancing science. 21 The ultimate question, of course, is whether these rela tively few praiseworthy programs are worth the cost. while the World Health Organization distributes vaccines, for inst a nce, it is also drafting codes to control Western food and drug companies for the sake of Third World nations. The refugee programs besides helping the homeless, also aid terrorists. Even the scientific organizations are not immune to politicization. The U.N. Civil Aviation Organization (CAO for example, granted observer status to the PLO in 19
77. It was undoubtedly highly instructive to the terrorists, for the CAO then was discussing ways to prevent air piracy. Other examples abound.
For good reason, th erefore, the worth of,the U.N. is more suspect than at any time in its history It was not solely an exaggeration when James J. Kilpatrick wrote on September 22 1981, in The Baltimore Sun that "the purpose [of the U.N.] as a forum has been reduced to a nul l ity,lI and suggested that the media "should carry news of the U.N. back on the comic pages to dwell with Doonesbury and his friends There are questions too, as to whether the U.S. is benefiting from its U.N. membership given the paralysis of the Security C ouncil and the anti-American anti-Western, anti-industrial, anti-capitalist majority in the General Assembly. Is the U.S. getting much of value for all that it is spending in resources and energy on the U.N.? These are questions which the Reagan Administr ation and the U.S. public must with urgency begin addressing.
Juliana Geran Pilon, Ph.D.
United Nations Assessment Project