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By his repeated attacks on the performance and intentions of the administering authorities, the Soviet Representative beclouded technical issues with propaganda. At the Third Session a statement of minority views—those of the Soviet Representative-was for the first time appended to a Trusteeship Council report.
The high purposes which motivated the inclusion of chapter XI, XII, and XIII in the Charter continue to guide the actions of the United Nations, and the machinery for carrying out these purposes is functioning with increasing efficiency. Determined effort will make possible even further progress toward the Charter objectives of promoting to the utmost the well-being of the inhabitants of those territories which have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.
Managerial and financial problems are usually of little interest to the general public and the press. The fact that these administrative aspects of the United Nations have attracted little attention is no measure of the importance with which they are regarded by the Member governments. It is recognized that their careful consideration and disposition are essential to healthy organization and efficient administration, particularly since the United Nations is without precedent in the area of international organization, the Secretariat is staffed with persons of many nationalities, and willing financial support is dependent on the satisfaction of the governments of 58 Members that their contributions are used wisely and efficiently.
The General Assembly's Fifth Committee, the Administrative and Budgetary Committee, is one of the busiest of the six main committees of the Assembly. During the Third Session it held 73 meetings and disposed of 35 agenda items which varied widely in significance and difficulty. Revised staff pension regulations, the audit report on 1947 accounts, a procedure for liquidating indebtedness to members of the League of Nations for assets transferred to the United Nations, a policy for the payment of expenses of commissions and other United Nations bodies, and proposals for a United Nations telecommunication system and a United Nations postal administration are examples of items discussed by the Fifth Committee in addition to broader issues, such as the annual budget and the scale of member assessments. Major decisions are reported in the succeeding paragraphs along with significant administrative and financial developments of the year.
Major Decisions and Developments
The General Assembly adopted a United Nations expenditure budget for 1949 in the amount of $43,487,128. Miscellaneous income, estimated at $4,794,550, reduces to $38,692,578 the amount to be assessed against Members.
The General Assembly also approved a supplementary budget for 1948 to reimburse the Working Capital Fund for extraordinary and unforeseen expenditures which had not been anticipated by the 1948 appropriations. This supplementary appropriation, $4,460,541 in amount, brought the 1948 expenditure budget to a total of $39,285,736.
It will be noted that, despite the expansion of United Nations activities, the 1949 expenditure budget is not much larger than the comparable budget for 1948, i.e. $43,487,128 for 1949 and $39,285,736 for 1948. However, decisions of the Second Part of the Third Session to be held at Lake Success in April and unforeseen and extraordinary expenses during the year may necessitate a supplementary budget for 1949.
The budget as finally adopted is the product of many months of careful development and detailed screening. In June 1948 the Secretary-General submitted an estimate of approximately $33,500,000. A standing committee of the General Assembly—the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, composed of nine experts from as many countries and serving in their individual capacities—devoted approximately seven weeks of the summer to a thorough review of the estimates and of both written and oral justifications submitted by the Secretariat. The Committee recommended to the General Assembly that the estimates be reduced by approximately $1,500,000. The Secretary-General agreed to accept most of the reductions before the proposed budget was considered by the Fifth Committee.
The Fifth Committee devoted about eight weeks to a close scrutiny of all details of the budget. Its final recommendation was submitted to the plenary session on the last day of the Assembly and approved by a vote of 48 to 0, with 6 abstentions, the United States voting in favor.
The 1949 budget submitted by the Secretary-General was more than one million dollars less than the original appropriation for 1948. This was due partly to the fact that the 1948 budget provided for a number of activities—the Balkan Commission, the Korean Commission, the Interim Committee of the General Assembly, and the holding of the regular session of the Assembly away from headquarters—the continuation of which in 1949 had not been authorized and for which the Secretary-General accordingly had not included estimates in his 1949 budget proposal. However, as noted by the Advisory Committee, the reduced estimates also reflected certain administrative reforms during 1948. Further, the Secretariat's estimates had been prepared more realistically and were justified more adequately than in 1948.
The United States position generally was to support most of the Secretary-General's estimates as modified by his acceptance of substantially all of the Advisory Committee's recommendations for reduction. In a few cases, particularly the estimates for advisory socialwelfare activities, the United States supported increases; in other cases, such as the estimate for expatriation allowances for members of the staff of the Secretariat, the United States pressed for decreases. The result of reductions and additions made by the Fifth Committee during the first reading of the budget was provisional approval of a budget of about $32,480,000. The difference between this figure and the amount of $43,487,128, which was finally adopted, is largely accounted for by authorizations for the continuation or initiation of activities not included in the original estimates, such as the Conciliation Commission in Palestine ($3,000,000), the Special Committee on the Balkans ($1,347,300), the Korean Commission ($334,000), the Kashmir Commission ($326,089), the Indonesian Good Offices Committee ($215,114), adoption of Spanish as a third working language in the General Assembly ($300,000), and the holding of the Second Part of the Third Session in April ($336,000).
SCALE OF MEMBER ASSESSMENTS
The scale of assessments for member contributions to the budget for 1949 remains substantially the same as the scale of assessments for 1948. As in 1948, the United States share in 1949 is 39.89 percent of the aggregate assessment of Members. The admission of Burma made it possible to adjust the shares of two Members who clearly had been overassessed in 1948, but the percentage contributions of other Members are not affected.
This year, for the first time, a country which is not a Member of the United Nations but which has accepted the Statute of the International Court of Justice-Switzerland-is assessed a share of the expenses of the Court.
Although the scale of assessments has not been changed fundamentally for 1949, the General Assembly adopted a resolution which anticipates an eventual ceiling of 33.33 percent of the total assessments as the maximum which any one Member will be assessed in normal
times. United States delegations have sought acceptance of this principle at each regular session of the Assembly since 1946. The resolution which was finally adopted is the result of extended negotiations in a working group of the Fifth Committee and reflects directly the efforts that have been made each year since the United States Delegation at the Second Part of the First Session in 1946 first propounded the concept of a percentage ceiling for the scale of contributions.
The resolution of the General Assembly accepts “the principle of a ceiling to be fixed on the percentage rate of contributions of the Member State bearing the highest assessment” and recognizes in the preamble that in normal times no one Member State should contribute more than one-third of the ordinary expenses of the United Nations for any one year.” This resolution represents acceptance in principle of the position consistently maintained by the United States that, although relative capacities to pay must be regarded as a major factor in determining the scale of member contributions for a universal organization such as the United Nations, the concept of sovereign equality and its corollary of equal responsibilities must also be considered. In light of the opposition expressed by other Members in previous years, this resolution may be regarded as a significant accomplishment by the United States in the administrative and budgetary field.
Full implementation of the ceiling principle is not expected for several years. Because of the obvious dollar shortage experienced by almost all of the other Members (assessments are paid in dollars), the United States Delegation made it clear that it expected application of a ceiling when consistent with the financial ability of the Members to meet dollar assessments.
CONSTRUCTION OF PERMANENT
HEADQUARTERS Pursuant to a resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1947 in response to an offer made by the United States, the Secretary-General negotiated an agreement with the United States Government for an interest-free loan of $65,000,000 to be used for construction of the permanent headquarters of the United Nations in the city of New York. The offer to negotiate such an agreement was made with the specific reservation that it would be subject to approval by the Congress.?
The background of the problem of financing the headquarters construction is set forth in The United States and the United Nations: Report by the President to the Congress for the year 1947, Department of State publication 3024, pp. 83– 86.
The agreement provides that the Government of the United States will lend to the United Nations sums not to exceed in the aggregate $65,000,000, which shall be expended only for the construction and furnishing of the permanent headquarters in the United Nations Headquarters District in the city of New York. The United Nations will repay the loan, without interest, in 32 annual payments beginning July 1, 1951. The United Nations agrees that, while any part of the indebtedness is outstanding, it will not create any mortgage, lien, or other encumbrance against the real property in the Headquarters District.
On April 7, 1948, the President transmitted the headquarters loan agreement to the Congress and urged its approval. Before the close of the regular session, the Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 212 authorizing the President, after the Congress shall have appropriated the necessary funds, to bring the loan agreement into effect on the part of the United States. The House of Representatives completed action on this legislation during the special session of the Congress, and the legislation became law (Public Law 903, 80th Congress) upon signature by the President on August 11. The legislation approved the agreement as signed, adding provisions designed to assure that construction will proceed as planned and that advances will be called for only as needed. The legislation also authorizes and directs the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to make advances not to exceed in the aggregate $25,000,000 pending appropriation of the full amount of $65,000,000.
The General Assembly approved by acclamation the report of the Secretary-General on the agreement and the construction plans; expressed appreciation of the cooperation extended by the Government of the United States, the State of New York, and the city of New York; and applauded a statement of gratitude to the United States made by Assembly President Herbert Evatt. Special messages by Mr. Evatt to the President, to the Governor of New York, and to the Mayor of the city of New York supplemented the General Assembly action.
The headquarters site was acquired in March 1947 by the United Nations as a gift from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It is located in New York between 42d Street and 48th Street and between the East River and First Avenue. The plans envisage three major structural units: a meeting hall for the General Assembly, a conference area housing the chambers for meetings of the Councils and other conference and committee rooms, and an office building for the Secretariat. Supplementing construction on the site itself, the city of New York is moving