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Assembly asked the Secretary General to invite member states to communicate to him their views and suggestions on the issue. But taking up a report by the Secretary General in 1972, the Assembly noted that less than one-fourth of the members had sent their comments. From the replies received, no general trend could be deduced. The Secretary General was again asked to invite member state observations so he could report them to the 1974 (29th) session of the U.N. General Assembly. On December 19, 1974, the Assembly voted to establish a 42member ad hoc committee to review member states' views to report to the 30th session of the General Assembly.

Congressional interest in improving the United Nations continues. Legislative proposals on the subject were offered in the 92d and 93d Congresses. Congressman William L. Hungate introduced House Concurrent Resolution 258 in April 1971, requesting the President to initiate high-level studies to determine what changes should be made in the United Nations Charter. On March 29, 1972, the Honorable William S. Mailliard introduced House Joint Resolution 1143, calling for the establishment of a commission to review U.S. policy and participation in the United Nations.

"We cannot afford," Representative Hungate told a 1972 hearing of the Subcommittee on International Organizations, "to jeopardize the goal of a lasting world peace by failing to provide the tools necessary for the United Nations to be effective in working toward this goal."

On April 8, 1975, Congressman Hungate introduced another charter review proposal, House Concurrent Resolution 206, which calls for the President "to direct the Department of State to formulate constructive and forward-looking U.S. proposals for the more effective functioning of the United Nations" either through changes in the charter or through procedural changes not requiring charter amendment. The text of House Concurrent Resolution 206 follows:

[H. Con. Res. 206, 94th Cong., 1st sess.]


Whereas the United Nations General Assembly voted on December 17, 1974, "to establish an ad hoc committee on the Charter of the United Nations, consisting of forty-two members to be appointed by the President of the General Assembly," and therein “invites governments to submit or bring up to date their observations" on United Nations Charter review "if possible before May 31, 1975," and said committee has been directed to report its work to the thirtieth United Nations General Assembly (opening September 16, 1975): Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that

(1) The United States should continue in its historic role of providing world leadership in working for modernization and reform of the United Nations, and toward the establishment and preservation of a civilized family of nations in accordance with the highest aspirations of mankind.

(2) The President is hereby requested to direct the Department of State to formulate constructive and forward-looking United States proposals for the more effective functioning of the United Nations, through (a) changes in the Charter of the United Nations, and/or (b) procedural changes that may not require charter amendment, in order to promote a just and lasting peace through the development of the rule of law, including protection of individual rights and liberties as well as the field of war prevention.

The President is further requested to report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives before June 30, 1975, on the position of the United States and the proposals submitted or to be submitted in this regard.


On July 17, 1975, the Subcommittee on International Organizations held a hearing on House Concurrent Resolution 206. Because the U.N.'s ad hoc committee on charter review was slated to begin its work on July 28, passage of the concurrent resolution before that time was virtually impossible. It was suggested in the hearing that a subcom-mittee report be filed instead. For this reason, as well as the complexity of the issues and new developments within the United Nations system, this subcommittee report has been filed in lieu of reporting House Concurrent Resolution 206. The subcommittee certainly shares and appreciates the concern of those who seek to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations organization. We hope this report will contribute to that goal.



Supporters of charter review argue that review is necessary to increase the U.N.'s effectiveness in dealing with a variety of international issues, and to bring that organization more into line with modern political realities. Citing among others the problems mentioned below, proponents contend that the challenges facing the United Nations and the need for concerted international action are so pressing as to require a full overhaul of the charter.

Among the areas for which charter changes have been proposed are: 4

Peaceful settlement of disputes and peacekeeping.—The ever-present threats of conventional and nuclear war call for improved mechanisms for negotiation and peacekeeping operations. Article 33 might be redrafted to provide a specific mode of progression past a two-party impasse to increasingly higher levels of third-party involvement. Another recommended change to foster pacific settlement could be the establishment, under authority of Article 29, of permanent standing machinery to function in the peaceful settlement of political disputes.

Once fighting has erupted, there are currently no provisions, aside from disengagement resolutions, for separating the warring parties. To overcome this, the addition of a new paragraph under Article 40 has been recommended which would allow the Security Council to establish United Nations Peace Observation Teams and a United Nations Interposition Force. In the event of Security Council inaction, the General Assembly would be authorized to act.

General Assembly membership and voting. The admission to the United Nations of the People's Republic of China, and the move to expel Israel from the organization, have emphasized the need for full implementation of the principle of universality. Also, the emergence of an automatic majority among developing nations and the "ministate" issue have given rise to calls for a more realistic and fairer voting system to reflect more accurately political and economic power. Security Council membership and voting.-The composition of the Security Council should reflect the realities of the power and responsibility in the U.N. But the Security Council must also balance the representation of all member states of the General Assembly. To serve better the latter goal, a new class of semi-permanent, regional seats in the Security Council might be established, to be:occupied on a rotating basis by regional members. This could entail converting non-permanent seats into semi-permanent ones, or possibly enlarging the Security Council. Such steps would require amendment of Article 23 of the charter. • The veto has long been regarded as an impediment to the U.N.'s effectiveness-particularly in some crisis situations. Recognizing the virtual impossibility of eliminating the veto altogether, proponents of change in this area have recommended altering the requirement that decisions of a substantive nature require

Hearing. Subcommittee on International Organizations, Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives. 94th Cong.. p. 10., 1st sess., United States Policy on Review of the United Nations Charter, July 17, 1975, p. 35.

4 For a more complete discussion of possible revisions, see appendix B, p. 10.

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While favoring measures to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations, opponents of charter review voice concern over the possible sequences of open ended revision. They fear the possible immobili


zation or even destruction of the U.N. as disagreement over new structures and goals spill over into day-to-day operations.

The Department of State has consistently taken a position against sweeping alteration of the charter. In a letter to Hon. Thomas E. Morgan, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, dated November 30, 1971, Assistant Secretary of State (Congressional Relations) David M. Abshire noted that charter amendment required an absolute two-thirds vote of the U.N. membership, with ratification by two-thirds of the membership, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. (The only measures which have so far attracted the necessary support have been those for enlarging the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, both accomplished through the regular amendment process.) Assistant Secretary Abshire then stated:

To attempt comprehensive review and amendment of the Charter in these circumstances would, in the Department's view, be more likely to lead to serious frustrations than to constructive results. Any fundamental changes that might attract the necessary absolute two-thirds vote in the conference, for example, abolition of the veto or giving the Assembly mandatory powers, would almost certainly fail in the ratification process; while those that might be desirable by the larger powers, some system of weighted voting in the Assembly, for example, could not realistically be expected to obtain the requisite vote for adoption. The Department recognizes the shortcomings of the United Nations and the need to strengthen it, but believes that these shortcomings derive more from the policies of the member states than from the provisions of the Charter. Rather than initiating actions seeking to convene a Charter Review Conference . . . the Department believes it would be more productive to focus on steps that might be taken to strengthen the United Nations under the present Charter and on such possible amendments under the Charter's regular amendment procedure.

The State Department's position has not changed. In testimony before the International Organizations Subcommittee on July 17, 1975, Robert O. Blake, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (International Organization Affairs), restated the Department's original position and, noting preparations for the meeting of the ad hoc committee on charter review, stated:

... we intend to make clear our basic position: serious reservations with any attempt at comprehensive review; willingness to consider seriously specific proposals we think might attract the necessary support; and a desire to find agreement on procedures which will lead to constructive agreements rather than hollow confrontations.

Moreover, new developments within the United Nations may bring opportunities for new forms of cooperation and increased U.N. effectiveness not requiring charter review or amendment. A recent study by a group of experts appointed by Secretary General Waldheim offers important changes which do not require charter revision."

The group of experts, charged by the General Assembly with studying ways of making the U.N. system "fully capable of dealing with problems of international economic cooperation in a comprehensive manner", has produced a most useful report with implications for other areas of U.N. activity. Included in the group's recommendations

For the official U.S. position, as conveyed to the Secretary-General, see appendix C, p. 15. For the official positions of other governments, see U.N. documents A/10113 and A/10113/ Add. 1.

For a summary of the group's findings, see appendix D, p. 16. For the complete report, see "A New Structure for Global Economic Cooperation", Report of the Group of Experts on the Structure of the U.N. System, May 1975, U.N. document E/AC.62/9.

for U.N. economic activities-which account for some 85 percent of the organization's budget-are the following:

Creation of the post of Director General for Development and International Economic Co-operation, second in rank only to the Secretary-General, to provide leadership to the central Secretariat and the entire United Nations economic system.

The proposed Director-General would be aided by two Deputy Directors-General. One Deputy would head a single United Nations Development Authority, which would consolidate all special purpose U.N. funds for preinvestment activity, except UNICEF. The second would be in charge of research and policy, and oversee high-level research, policy planning, and analysis for ECOSOC and the entire United Nations economic system.

The Economic and Social Council would be reorganized to permit it to exercise its charter mandate of providing central policy guidance on economic and social affairs. Most of ECOSOC's commissions and subordinate bodies would be abplished and ECOSOC would assume direct responsibility for the work of these groups, avoiding unnecessary duplication of debate at two intergovernmental levels.

A new system of consultative procedures would be established under the General Assembly and ECOSOC to promote agreed solutions on controversial economic questions. Under these procedures, ECOSOC would establish, under full-time chairmen, small negotiating groups on particular issues to work, for one or two years defining issues for consideration, structuring the discussion, and searching for solutions. The negotiating groups, consisting of countries principally interested in the subject matter and broadly representative of United Nations membership, would operate on the basis of unanimity. Upon successful completion of their work, the groups would refer their solutions to ECOSOC and the General Assembly for votes. These bodies would then remain free to debate and vote on issues under consideration in negotiating groups, but would take into account the progress of the negotiations when deciding whether to vote on a particular resolution.

The Human Rights Commission would be maintained but its work would be reviewed by the General Assembly, not ECOSOC. Another possibility mentioned in the report but not unanimously agreed to was a charter amendment transforming the Trusteeship Council into a Human Rights Council, thus raising human rights issues to a political forum comparable to the Security Council and ECOSOC.

A small body of independent experts would be created, functioning on a fulltime basis to evaluate the implementation of United Nations programs and projects.

Similar approaches, taken on subjects such as pacific settlement of disputes, peacekeeping, or arms control could prove fruitful and avoid the possibly divisive problems of charter review.

Finally, opponents of comprehensive charter review note that a mechanism for charter review in addition to articles 108 and 109 of the charter has been available since 1955, when the General Assembly established the Committee on Arrangements of a Conference for the Purpose of Reviewing the Charter. That committee ceased regular meetings in 1967, but was kept alive on paper, in the event any member state might request its action. But no meetings have been sought. And even as the ad hoc committee began its work in late July 1975, only 19 nations had filed their comments on the question of charter review, with many opposed to the idea. Obviously, before comprehensive review can begin, there must be a broadly felt need which has yet to appear.


The subcommittee supports the basic position, of the Department of State with regard to United Nations charter review. Proposals for

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