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A protracted debate took place at the autumn session of the Assembly on the IRO Constitution. Seventy-nine amendments to the Constitution were proposed, principally by the countries of origin of the refugees situated in eastern Europe. These countries consistently strove to bar political dissidents, whom they tended to regard as war criminals or fascists, from the benefits of any IRO activities except repatriation. In the main the countries of origin asserted that the new organization should be debarred from concerning itself with the resettlement of non-repatriable displaced persons. The Soviet Union also proposed that the life of the organization should be limited to one year. Such proposals and all the changes which they entailed were successfully resisted, largely under the leadership of the United States. Likewise defeated, except in a stipulation in the preamble of the Constitution without operating effect, was a provision designed to place the financial burden of the repatriation of displaced persons, to the extent practicable, upon the German and Japanese economies—a load which could not be borne without increasing the present subsidies of the occupying powers, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, to the economies of the enemy states.

The budget of the organization had been carefully prepared by the Economic and Social Council, assisted by a special financial committee which met in London in July 1946. As approved, the budget pro-, vides $4,800,000 for administration ; $151,060,000 for operations other than large-scale resettlement; and $5,000,000 for large-scale resettlement operations, this last sum to be contributed on a voluntary basis. The United States contribution to the administrative budget has been fixed at 39.89 percent of the total (equal to its share of the United Nations administrative budget). The contribution to be made by this country to the operational budget has been set at 45.75 percent. This figure was reached as a result of special consideration for countries which had suffered from enemy occupation.


The General Assembly took positive action on two projects originally proposed by the UNRRA General Council in September 1946 and subsequently endorsed by the Economic and Social Council.

The first project—the assumption by the United Nations of the more urgent advisory social welfare functions of UNRRA—was presented to the Assembly in a detailed plan prepared by the Secretariat. Under the plan, as approved by the Assembly, the United Nations is to provide funds for social welfare experts who will furnish advisory

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services; for the further training of qualified social welfare officials; and for advice and demonstrations in connection with the manufacture and use of artificial limbs and the vocational training of physically handicapped persons. The services, training, and supplies are to be furnished only to those governments which specifically request them. A budget of $670,000 has been provided. The project was fully supported by the United States.

The second project proposed by UNRRA and favorably received by the General Assembly was the proposal for an International Children's Emergency Fund, designed to provide assistance to children in war-devastated countries during the next few years.

On the initiative of the United States the scope of the Fund was expanded to include not only children in countries which had been victims of aggression-although these will enjoy priority—but also children in countries receiving UNRRA assistance and in others requiring assistance "for child health purposes generally". The Fund will be administered by an executive director to be chosen by the Secretary-General in consultation with an executive board composed of 25 countries, including the United States. The board will have final responsibility for determining programs and making allocations. Finances are to be provided by voluntary contributions from countries, organizations, and individuals. The Fund is authorized to accept any assets made available by UNRRA, and the sum of $550,000 was immediately turned over by UNRRA as a nucleus.


In another resolution the General Assembly recommended that all Members of the United Nations accept the Constitution of the new World Health Organization at the earliest possible date. The Assembly acted to facilitate the establishment of the Organization by approving a loan by the United Nations of a maximum sum of $300,000 to finance the activities of the Interim Commission of the World Health Organization in 1946, together with an additional loan of a maximum of $1,000,000 for the Interim Commission or the Organization itself in 1947.

The Economic and Social Council had proposed that the funds be made available either as a loan or as a grant. The Assembly, however, accepted the United States view that it would in the final analysis be sound to establish the principle that all specialized agencies should finance themselves. The alternative of an outright grant of funds was accordingly eliminated.


Under the League of Nations there has been built up a system of control of the traffic in narcotic drugs. The uninterrupted continuation of this system is important for the welfare of all countries. Since the League has now ceased to function, the General Assembly, acting on a recommendation of the Economic and Social Council, decided that the United Nations should assume the duties and powers formerly exercised by it. The transfer of authority is being made through a protocol amending the pre-war narcotics agreements. On December 11, 1946 the protocol was signed by representatives of 36 governments, including the United States (subject to legislative approval); and later signatures, many of them subject to subsequent approval, have brought the total to about 50.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS Besides the decisions of the General Assembly on the treatment of Indians in South Africa, the Constitution of the IRO, and the crime of genocide, which are described elsewhere in this chapter, four other resolutions—all of them supported by the United States-reflected the interest of the United Nations in human rights and fundamental freedoms. In a general resolution, the General Assembly called upon governments to take steps to put an immediate end to religious and so-called racial persecutions and discrimination in conformity with the letter and spirit of the Charter.

In a second resolution the Assembly authorized the holding of a conference on freedom of information in 1947. The conference will be convoked by the Economic and Social Council to formulate views concerning the rights, obligations, and practices which should be included in the concept of freedom of information, and the participating Delegations are to include persons actually engaged or experienced in press, radio, motion pictures, and other media for the dissemination of information. This resolution was the outgrowth of a Philippine proposal for an international press conference. Its scope was broadened with the full support of the United States Delegation.

A third resolution, submitted by the Danish Delegation and unanimously adopted, recommended that “all Member States which have not already done so, adopt measures granting to women the same political rights as men”.

Finally, in conformity with the United States views, the General Assembly referred a draft declaration on fundamental human rights and freedoms, introduced by Panama, to the Economic and Social Council “for reference to the Commission on Human Rights in its preparation of an international bill of rights”.









On October 24, 1946 the Secretary-General pointed out in his oral report to the General Assembly that “in the interest of peace it will be of decisive significance to have the principles which were employed in the Nuremberg trials

made a permanent part of the body of international law as quickly as possible”. In a letter of November 9, 1946 to Justice Biddle, United States Member of the Nuremberg Tribunal, the President stated that “the time is therefore opportune for advancing the proposal that the United Nations as a whole reaffirm the principles of the Nuremberg Charter in the context of a general codification of offenses against the peace and security of mankind”. These principles establish the responsibility and liability to punishment of individuals, as well as of nations, for the waging of aggressive warfare and for crimes against humanity.

The United States Delegation took the initiative in introducing a resolution to this effect. The resolution as passed by the General Assembly was a reaffirmation by all the United Nations of the legal principles recognized by the Nuremberg Charter and confirmed by the judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal. It also directed the committee appointed by the General Assembly on the codification of international law to treat as a matter of primary importance plans for the formulation of these principles, in the context of a general codification of offenses against the peace and security of mankind, or of an international criminal code.

THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE The General Assembly, moreover, adopted a resolution pointing out that punishment of the crime of genocide, which is the denial of the right of existence to entire human groups, is a matter of international concern. The most striking example of such a crime was the murder by the Nazis of all but a few hundred thousand of the seven million Jews in Germany and occupied Europe. The Assembly resolution affirmed that genocide is a crime under international law for the commission of which private individuals or public officials are punishable, whether the crime is committed on religious, racial, political, or other grounds. The General Assembly requested the Economic and Social Council to undertake the necessary studies with a view to drawing up a draft convention on the crime of genocide to be submitted to the next session of the Assembly. The United States took an active part in the formulation of this resolution and supported it in its final form.


In accordance with article 13 of the Charter, which provides that the General Assembly shall encourage the progressive development and the codification of international law, the United States Delegation strongly urged the General Assembly to take action in that field as soon as possible. The United States Delegation, together with the Chinese Delegation, submitted a proposal providing that a committee should be established by the General Assembly to study the methods by which the progressive development and codification of international law might be encouraged. It was emphasized that, if codification were to be effective, it would be necessary to plan the entire process with great care.

The Assembly consequently created a committee of 17 members, including the United States, which was instructed to prepare plans during the next year for the codification of the principles of international law. The committee was instructed to regard the codification of the principles of the Nuremberg Charter, mentioned above, as a matter of primary importance. The committee was also given a mandate to report to the next session of the General Assembly upon the comments received from Member states regarding the Draft Declaration of the Rights and Duties of States presented to the General Assembly by the Delegation of Panama.


The United States Delegation participated actively in the consideration of a number of other legal matters. It formulated regulations for the registration of treaties and international agreements with the Secretariat, in accordance with the terms of article 102 of the Charter, and secured their adoption by the Assembly. It assisted in the examination and approval of arrangements with regard to the privileges and immunities to be enjoyed by the Members and officials of the International Court of Justice. It introduced and successfully sought the passage of an interpretative resolution containing a necessary clarification of the meaning of the word “meeting” in articles 11 and 12 of the Statute of the Court, dealing with the election of judges. (This resolution requires the concurrence of the Security Council before it becomes effective.) On the advice of its Legal Committee, the Assembly also approved a report of the Security Council establishing the conditions upon which Switzerland might become a party to the Statute of the Court.1

* See chap. VI, International Court of Justice.

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