Tuesday, January 09, 2007

THE UNITED NATIONS AS A PEACE ORGANIZATION

Part 15 of the pamphlet, "OUR FOREIGN POLICY 1952":

THE UNITED NATIONS AS A PEACE ORGANIZATION

PEACE was uppermost in the minds of those who wrote the Charter of the United Nations. "To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" was stated as one of the chief purposes of the nations that met at San Francisco to establish the United Nations.

United States participation in the United Nations was one of the most popular, nonpartisan steps this country has ever taken. Both major political parties supported

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"OUR FOREIGN POLICY 1952"Illustration Page 61

it wholeheartedly, and the Sen-ate approved the United Nations Charter by the overwhelming majority of 89 to 2.

Having been so enthusiastic at the start, many Americans have expected too much of the United Nations. They forget that the United Nations was not designed actually to make peace after World War II. That job was to be handled by the victorious Great Powers through such special instruments as the Council of Foreign Ministers. The United Nations job was to maintain and organ-ize the peace after it had been made by the Great Powers. Because of Soviet obstruction, that peace has never been fully achieved.

Thus the United Nations was born into a world torn by dissension. In particular, the Soviet Union soon showed its unwillingness to help make the new organi-zation work as intended. Instead of living up to its Charter obligations, the Soviet Union abused its veto power to obstruct U.N. action. Moreover, the Soviet Union continually refused to agree on Great Power arrange-ments for placing military forces at the disposal of the Security Council.

These circumstances forced the free nations to find

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ways of making the United Nations work despite Soviet obstruction. This was reasonably easy on the nonpoliti-cal matters where the veto did not apply. The United Nations quickly proved its ability to move ahead in such important fields as international health, education, finance, communications, aviation, labor standards, food and agriculture, and the settlement of refugees.

Many of the U.N. agencies are working together to promote the technical and economic progress of under-developed areas, a program with which the U.S. Point Four is closely allied. Likewise, the United Nations has been able to promote the advancement of dependent peoples – a tenth of the world's population – toward eventual self-government.

Even in the veto-ridden political and security field, the United Nations was able to make important gains. In 1946 the Soviet Union was trying to use its troops in northern Iran as a lever to split off the province of Azerbaijan from that country. Discussion in the Security Council focused world opinion on this situation. Under this moral pressure the Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Iran.

After that, the United Nations was able to help other countries resist Soviet-directed threats to their inde-pendence. In Greece, the United Nations "watch dog" commissions threw the light of world opinion on the interference of the Soviet Balkan satellites in Greek affairs. This moral pressure helped in the suppression of communist guerrilla warfare.

The United Nations was also able to localize and

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dampen explosive situations in Indonesia, Palestine, and Kashmir which might have torn the free world apart. In each case, the United Nations got the fighting stopped and persuaded the combatants to take steps toward a peaceful settlement of their differences. Under U.N. auspices the United States of Indonesia and, more recently, Libya have attained their independence.

These and other U.N. successes have contributed much to building toward peace in an uneasy world. But all this steady progress was directly menaced by the com-munist aggression in Korea in June 1950. This was a direct challenge to the U.N. ability to maintain peace.

With the full backing of the United States, the United Nations met this challenge swiftly and courageously. Within 24 hours of communist attack, the Security Council called upon the invaders to cease hostilities and to withdraw their forces. Within 3 days, the Council recommended that the U.N. members to to the aid of the Republic of Korea. Fifty-three nations endorsed this historic decision – the first such peace-enforcement action ever taken through an international organization on behalf of the world community.

It was clear, however, that only certain accidental cir-cumstances had enabled the United Nations to act swiftly and effectively. It happened that the Soviet delegate had boycotted the Security Council and was not present to veto recommendations for action. It also happened that American forces were in Japan and could rush to Korea in time to help check the first onslaught. This lesson made it plain that the United Nations must

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have better means for coping with outright aggression.

The United States took the lead by proposing a far-reaching program to build an effective U.N. collective-security system. Our "Uniting for Peace" plan was presented to the General Assembly in September 1950 and was approved by 52 members, with only the Soviet bloc voting against it.

This plan opened the way for the United Nations to meet the new circumstances created by the obstructive tactics of the Soviets and their reliance upon armed ag-gression. It provided that, by a two-thirds majority, the General Assembly could recommend collective action against aggression, whenever the veto prevented the Security Council from doing its job. Our plan also set up a Peace Observation Commission to watch trouble-spots in order to deter aggression and to keep the United Nations informed of situations where action might become necessary.

The Uniting for Peace program also outlined ways of getting military strength ready in advance so that no potential aggressor would be tempted into aggression by thinking the U.N. members would not resist. With such preparedness, the United Nations would not have to improvise a defense in haste and would be able to distribute the burden of collective defense more fairly than was possible in Korea. All U.N. members have been asked to maintain special contingents within their own armed forces ready to be used promptly for U.N. action against future aggression. So far, 29 countries have made generally favorable responses to this request.

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Finally, the Uniting for Peace program set in motion a Collective Measures Committee to make plans by which the United Nations can be more effective in case of future disturbances to world peace. The U.N. action in Korea and its long-range collective security planning have added greatly to its strength and con-fidence. The United Nations shows a growing power to use the immense resources of the free nations for building a peaceful and secure world community.

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