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UNITED NATIONS GUARD
At the request of the Secretary-General this topic was placed on the agenda of the Third Session of the General Assembly and was assigned to the Ad Hoc Political Committee. In a special report to the Assembly, the Secretary-General set forth his views concerning the need for a Guard, its legal basis, and proposed functions and organization. The report stated that the Guard would be nonmilitary in character, that it would accompany United Nations field missions when necessary to provide protection to United Nations personnel, premises, and property, to assist in furnishing transportation, communications, and supplies to the missions, to patrol and guard objectives neutralized under truce or cease-fire orders, and to assist in the conduct of plebiscites. The Secretary-General's proposal visualized an initial strength of 800 men to make up the Guard.
In the course of his address to the opening plenary session of the General Assembly, Secretary of State Marshall referred to this problem and stated :
“We believe that the General Assembly should give sympathetic consideration to the suggestions of the Secretary-General for the establishment of a small United Nations guard force to assist United Nations missions engaged in the pacific settlement of disputes. The fate of the Mediator in Palestine and the experience of the several commissions already working in the field have already demonstrated the need for such a group. This great world organization should not send its servants on missions of peace without reasonable protection. The guards would be entirely distinct from the armed forces envisaged under article 43 and would not carry out military operations. They could, however, perform important services in connection with United Nations missions abroad not only as guards but as observers and as communications and transportation personnel."
The subject did not reach the stage of active consideration at the First Part of the Session and was consequently postponed to the second half of the Session to convene April 1, 1949.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND HUMAN
During 1948 the United Nations substantially completed its organizational arrangements for dealing with economic problems and began to take action. Highlights of the year's developments were the successful outcome of world conferences looking toward the establishment of two new specialized agencies of major importance—the International Trade Organization and the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization; the conduct by the Economic and Social Council of its first over-all review of the world economic situation, based on the first factual world economic survey to appear since before the war; further emphasis on economic development and provision for additional facilities for extending technical assistance to underdeveloped countries; the development of concerted action by the United Nations and the specialized agencies to adopt measures to meet the world food crisis; and the continuation under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe of measures to aid in the reconstruction of Europe.
BASIS FOR ACTION: FACT-FINDING AND STATIS
TICS; REVIEW OF THE WORLD ECONOMIC SITUATION The importance of factual studies to the economic work of the United Nations cannot be overestimated. The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the specialized agencies, and the several commissions operate in a vacuum if they are not supplied with facts. Problems cannot be thoroughly analyzed without such material, and recommended solutions, if they are to be adopted by Member governments, require supporting facts and analysis. The year 1948 revealed substantial progress by the United Nations in laying a factual basis for intelligent action in the future.
In January 1948 the United Nations issued the first comprehensive world economic report to be published since before the war. Entitled Salient Features of the World Economic Situation, 1945–47, the report covered commodity supplies, international trade and credit, production bottlenecks, the world food situation, manpower problems, and other major aspects of the world economic picture. The Economic and Social Council found the report extremely useful in its consideration of economic conditions and problems and in its review of the activities of the several specialized economic agencies. It is expected that in the future the annual report on world economic conditions will be of major importance to the Council in the performance of its central task of considering key economic problems and making recommendations as to their solution.5
Economic surveys of a more limited nature have been made or are being made by the regional economic commissions created by the Economic and Social Council. The Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) has made some preliminary studies and will have a fuller report on economic problems in its region in 1949. The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) has sent a questionnaire to governments in preparation for a regional economic report. By far the most thorough economic report published by any organ of the United Nations thus far is that prepared by the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), A Survey of the Economic Situation and Prospects of Europe. The report covers production, trade, balances of payments, problems of inflation, intra-European trade, and specific production bottlenecks. This report has been useful in the United States in the planning and execution of the European Recovery Program.
Significant publications are under way in connection with the work of the several functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council. The Statistical Commission reports substantial progress in preparations being made in most countries for the population census of 1950. The statistical office of the United Nations Secretariat has begun publication of a Monthly Bulletin of Statistics. A useful projected publication is the Demographic Yearbook, being prepared by the United Nations Secretariat with the advice of the Population Commission. The Population Commission is also stimulating studies in the fields of migration and population estimates and forecasts. International Tax Problems and Public Debts 1914-47 are recent publications by the fiscal division of the Secretariat, initiated by the Fiscal Commission. A major study entitled Public Finance Survey, 1937–47, is also under way.
The principal statements on the report made by the official delegates to the February 1948 session of Ecosoc were reproduced in a supplement to the economic report in March 1948.
Substantial headway was made during the year in the programs to improve the international comparability of statistics and to coordinate the statistical activities of the United Nations and the specialized agencies. A main goal in the statistical field is to establish a system which, based on a careful and realistic evaluation of international statistical needs and taking into account the capacity of national statistical systems, will provide monthly, quarterly, and annual publications of the United Nations and the specialized agencies that will include all the statistical series needed for the conduct of international affairs.
At its Third Session, in Paris, the General Assembly approved the transfer to the United Nations of the functions and powers exercised by the League of Nations in respect of economic statistics under the international convention relating to economic statistics (1928).
The factual and analytical work of the United Nations in the economic field is off to a good start. Improvements may be expected as personnel become more experienced and more advanced techniques are developed
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ORGANIZATION
The conclusion at Habana in March 1948 of the charter for an International Trade Organization represents a landmark in the history of international economic relations and an outstanding accomplishment of the United Nations. If adopted by governments, to which it has now been submitted for approval, the International Trade Organization charter will open a new era in international trade cooperation and will mark the end of a period characterized by trade warfare and the taking of nationalistic trade measures without regard for the interests and needs of others. As an organization, Ito will take its place as a specialized agency alongside the other economic agencies already established, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and will round out the organizational structure of the United Nations in the international economic field.
The International Trade Organization charter was developed after painstaking international negotiations extending over a period of more than two years and culminating in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment held at Habana from November 21, 1947, to March 24, 1948. It seeks to promote the expansion of production and trade on a mutually advantageous basis and establish a code of fair conduct over a broad range of international economic activities. It provides rules and principles with respect to employment; economic development and reconstruction; commercial policy (including tariffs, preferences, international taxation and regulation, import and export quotas, subsidies, state trading, customs administration, and customs unions and analogous arrangements) ; restrictive business practices; and intergovernmental commodity agreements. To carry out these various provisions, the charter sets up an International Trade Organization composed of a Conference, an Executive Board, and a secretariat.
The Ito charter is to enter into force when a majority of the countries which signed the final act of the Habana conference has approved the document. However, if a majority fails to approve at the end of one year after the signature of the final act, then the charter may come into force upon the approval of 20 countries. The charter has now been submitted to the various countries for approval in accordance with the constitutional procedures of each country. The approval of the United States will be sought from Congress.
An Interim Commission of the International Trade Organization was set up to deal with certain administrative and organizational matters and prepare the way for the first meeting of the Conference. The 53 member countries of the Interim Commission selected 18 of their members as an Executive Committee to perform these tasks.
The Executive Committee has held two sessions thus far. The first session was convened in Habana immediately after the Habana conference and was purely organizational in character. The second session of the Committee was held in Geneva from August 25 to September 15, 1948. The agenda consisted of a number of procedural and organizational matters relating to Ito. Several recommendations were considered and agreed upon by the Committee with respect to such items as the relationship of the International Trade Organization, when established, to other international organizations and bodies, e.g. the International Court of Justice, the International Monetary Fund, and the Food and Agriculture Organization; the expenses incurred during preparatory meetings which drafted the Habana International Trade Organization charter; and the preparation of an authentic Spanish text of the Habana charter.
A basic provision of the Ito charter requires that members negotiate for the substantial reduction of tariffs and the elimination of preferences on a mutually advantageous basis. Anticipating the application of these provisions, the United States and 22 other countries completed in October 1947 the largest single trade agreement ever negotiated, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). When the International Trade Organization is set up, all members will be required in time to become parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. During 1948 the parties to Gatt opened discussions with 13 other coun