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Assembly recommended for the second time, however, that all Member states grant full immunity from national taxation to their nationals employed in the Secretariat and asked the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions to review the possibility of instituting a system of internal taxation within the United Nations in lieu of national income taxation.
Mr. Arthur J. Altmeyer, Commissioner for Social Security of the United States Social Security Administration, was elected to the Joint Benefit Committee which will administer the staff retirement scheme.
II. Security Council
Role of the United States in the Organization and
Work of the Security Council THE CHARTER of the United Nations confers upon the Security Ta
Council "the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security". The chairman of the United States Delegation to the San Francisco conference, Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., then Secretary of State, in transmitting his report of that conference to the President described one of the principal functions of the Council as follows: “It will be the duty of the Security Council
to use its great prestige to bring about by peaceful means the adjustment or the settlement of international disputes."
Cases brought before the Security Council during the past year, the initial year of its existence, all have been considered under chapter VI of the Charter relating to peaceful settlements. The Council had a difficult load to carry, because the world has been in a period of unrest of the type which inevitably follows the ending of a great war. Several of these cases have involved the presence of the troops of one power on the territory of another (the Iranian case, the Indonesian case, the Greek cases, the case relating to the Levant states of Syria and Lebanon, and the Soviet proposal concerning military forces of United Nations Members on foreign territories). Furthermore, all of these cases involved differences, arising directly from the war, among the permanent members of the Council, whose unanimity was required for non-procedural decisions. An outline of the salient features of each of these cases is given in this chapter.
The eleven states on the Council in 1946 consisted of the five permanent members, China, France, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United States; three states serving two-year terms, Australia, Brazil, and Poland; and three states serving one-year terms which ended on December 31, 1946, Egypt, Mexico,
and the Netherlands." The Council has been so organized as to be able to function continuously, and except for the six-week interval occasioned by its transfer from London to New York, has met at least every two weeks, on occasion meeting several times a week and even twice a day. There has been a total of 88 meetings, virtually all of which were open to the public and fully reported to the world.
The President of the United States stated in his opening address at the Second Part of the First Session of the General Assembly in New York that “The United States will support the United Nations with all the resources that we possess.
Our participation in the work of the Security Council has followed that spirit. The United States Representatives—former Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., from the Council's inception until his resignation on June 3, 1946; the Honorable Herschel V. Johnson, Deputy Representative under the United States Participation Act, who has been Acting Representative since June; and during the important discussion of the Iranian case in April, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes—have participated actively in all the cases under consideration. The full weight of United States prestige and influence has been thrown behind the activity of the Council, and many of its decisions were directly the result of United States initiative.
The United States has stood firmly for the right of every complainant and every nation directly involved in a case to be heard fully and publicly. The United States has also supported the principle that the Council should have all the facts at its disposal before making its decisions. Thus on two occasions, the second successfully in the third Greek case, it has urged on-the-spot investigations to insure impartial development of all of the facts.
While the United States has not yet brought a case to the Council table, it has recognized the great moral influence of the Council in the world by proposing to do so in the case of the plane incidents in Yugoslavia in the summer of 1946. On August 9 and August 19, 1946 two United States Army transport planes flying over Yugoslav territory were shot down with resulting loss of American lives. In its note of protest to the Yugoslav Government on this serious matter, which included a demand for immediate release of the surviving occupants of the planes, the United States announced its intention to call upon the Security Council to take appropriate action if its demands were not met within the time period stipulated in the note.
* To replace the last three states, Belgium, Colombia, and Syria were elected to the normal two-year term effective Jan. 1, 1947. See chap. I, General Assembly.
These demands were complied with by the Yugoslav Government, however, to such an extent that the matter was not referred to the Security Council.
The United States Government has been keenly aware at all times that the Members of the United Nations have conferred upon the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and that the Council acts on behalf of all 55 Members of the United Nations. This Government has also been very conscious of the special role with attendant rights and responsibilities of this nation and the four other permanent members of the Council. This point of view has been constantly kept in mind by our representatives on the Council and as a reflection of this policy it is interesting to note that the United States thus far has not exercised the right granted to it as one of the permanent members of the Council to prevent by its negative vote a decision otherwise supported by the necessary majority of the Council.
The United States has believed and continues to believe in the principle of unanimity among the five permanent members of the Council and at the same time considers that the “veto” should be employed sparingly and only when there is a clear-cut justification for its use. Moreover this Government has worked and will continue to strive for the necessary clarification of the voting procedures in the Council in accordance with the resolution adopted by the General Assembly.” There has, in fact, been a growing practice of voluntary abstention, whereby permanent members have abstained from voting without this operating as a “veto”. For example, in the third Greek case resulting in an appointment of a commission of investigation, both the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom abstained from voting on certain clauses of the resolution which defined the authority and functions of the commission.
Under article 33 all Members of the United Nations have pledged themselves to attempt to settle any disputes, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, by the means enumerated in that article, such as negotiation, enquiry, mediation, or by other peaceful means of their own choice. Hence, it follows that disputes or other situations reaching the Security Council are normally serious matters which have not proved susceptible to direct negotiation between the parties involved. Compromise and negotiated agreement between independent states is sometimes difficult even on seemingly minor matters. The Security Council, in its day-to-day business, confronts the infinitely more difficult task of finding solutions to the more serious international
* See chap. I, General Assembly.
problems where multilateral accord is necessary and in certain cases where two or more of the great powers may hold conflicting views.
It should also be said that the Security Council in its first year has demonstrated clearly its power to exercise great influence toward promoting peaceful adjustments of disputes even when such disputes have been settled outside the Council. The mere fact that the Security Council exists and is open for business every day in the year has undoubtedly played a part in varying degree in such settlements. Illustrations which can be cited are the negotiated agreement reached between France and Siam with respect to certain disputed territory, and the prompt compliance by Yugoslavia with the United States demands in the plane incidents mentioned above. Also, agreement following the majority opinion in the Council was reached directly between. France and England on the one hand and Syria and Lebanon on the other resulting in the settlement of this dispute. It is generally felt that the influence of the Security Council played an important part in the amelioration of differences existing between the Soviet Union and Iran. In these cases the important point is that the threats to international peace have been materially lessened or removed.
In addition to cases pertaining to the Council's primary duty of maintaining international peace and security, the Council has completed organizational tasks such as the nomination of the SecretaryGeneral, participation with the General Assembly in the election of judges to the International Court of Justice, provision for the participation in the Court of states not Members of the United Nations, establishment of the Military Staff Committee, recommendation to the Assembly of four states for membership in the United Nations, and development of its own rules of procedure. The work on the rules of procedure is a continuing one and much remains to be done. The discussion of article 27, dealing with voting procedure in the Council, and the resolution pertaining thereto passed by the recent session of the General Assembly are expected to give renewed impetus in the coming year to the Council's consideration of this problem.3
Also within the next year the Council, in addition to handling whatever specific cases arise involving the maintenance of international peace and security, will be called upon to consider other broad, fundamental problems pertaining to world security. Already in prospect are the development of plans for disarmament including control of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only, supervision of Trieste, and the consideration of the United States draft trusteeship agreement for the former Japanese mandated islands in the Pacific.
* See chap. I, General Assembly.