March 1, 1989 | Executive Memorandum on International Organizations
U.S. Goals at the U.N. Many previous U.S. ambassadors have turned into little more than U.N. cheerleaders, be coming U.N. ambassadors to Washington rather than U.S. ambassadors to the U.N. Pickering must decide which he is to be and how strongly he will push U.S. foreign policy goals at the U.N. He also will have to decide on what the U.S. expects from the U.N. U . S. and the General Assembly. In the most recent General Assembly; overall support for U.S. positions on contentious issues where the U.S. voted yes or no was a mere 16.6 percent. This is the lowest percentage in history. Pickering must decide whether this is alarming, and if so, what can be done about it. Withholding Contributions as Leverage. P.L. 100-204 withheld a portion of the U.S. contribution to the U.N. contingent on progress toward reforms. Pickering will have to decide whether the U.S. use of fin a ncial leverage has been the major catalyst for reform efforts at the U.N., and if so, whether this should be used to encourage continuation of reforms. Espionage. Espionage against the U.S. by employees at U.N. - headquarters.inNew..,York, long has been a very serious problem. Pickering will need to assess the situation in the U.N. Secretariat, where Soviet nationals have a lock on many key posts. Pickering must decide whether the U.S. should insist on rotation of key Secretariat posts- among nationals of v arious member nations. He must also determine if the U.S. W.'ill press the Secretary-GeneraI to fulfill the U.N.'s obligation to prohibit its employees from engaging in espionage. Specialized Agencies. Agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organizatio n . (FAO) and. the World Health Organization (WHO) are increasingly politicized. and continue to promote schemes that impede economic development in thenird World. Pickering must determine how the efficacy of these organizations should be measured, and in t u rn, to what extent the U.S. should support and fund them. Along with the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, the new U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. can either continue the job begun by Reagan envoys Kirkpatrick and Walters an d Assistant Secretaries Alan Keyes and Richard Williamson or he can return to the approach of some earlier administrations of not taking the U.N.'seriously and hoping that it does not damage U.S. interests. Decisions,on these important -questions must be'b ased- on the fundamental premise that the U.S. participates in the O.N. as part of its overall foreign policy agenda. The U.N. is not an end in itself, It is merely one means by which the. U.S. should advance its policy goals. Mark A. Franz Policy AnalystF or further information: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Legidmacy and Force. Volume One, Political and Moral Dimensions (New Brunswick, New Jersey. Transaction Bboks, 1988). Mark A. Franz and Robert Winters, "At the U.N., Reform Still Has A Long Way to Go," Heritag e Foundation Backgrounder No. 678, October 24, 1988.