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The Council held two sessions in 1948, the Sixth Session, at United Nations headquarters, Lake Success, N. Y., from February 2 to March 11, and the Seventh Session, at the European office of the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, from July 19 to August 29. Charles Malik, of Lebanon, served as President of the Council for the year. The substantive results of the Council's deliberations, conducted in more than 100 plenary meetings, are considered in part B of this report. In the organizational field the Council established an additional commission—the Economic Commission for Latin America, with terms of reference similar to those of the other regional commissions concluded an agreement of relationship with the International Refugee Organization, and approved a draft agreement with the proposed Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization, The only relationship agreements which remain to be negotiated are those with the World Meteorological Organization and the projected International Trade Organization. At its Third Session in Paris the General Assembly asked the Economic and Social Council to expedite its consideration of the establishment of an Economic Commission for the Middle East. This will be taken up by the Council at its Eighth Session in February 1949.
The proper scope of the Council's jurisdiction was brought into question by the action of Yugoslavia in bringing before the Economic and Social Council a claim for the return to it of certain gold reserves held by the United States. These reserves had been retained by the United States pending the settlement of outstanding claims and counterclaims between the two Governments. The Council decided that the matter did not fall within its competence because of the legal issues involved and expressed the hope that the two Governments would settle the dispute as soon as possible. The dispute was later resolved in the claims settlement between the United States and Yugoslavia signed on July 19, 1948.
During the review of the work of the Economic and Social Council by the General Assembly at its Third Session in Paris, a number of speakers dealt with the accomplishments of the Council, its functional and regional economic commissions, and the specialized agencies concerned with economic and financial matters. Some, including the United States Representative, expressed general satisfaction with the work accomplished and in progress; with the nearly completed emergence from the organizational stage to the stage of operations; and with the steps taken to improve coordination of the activities and programs of the specialized agencies and organs of the United
Nations. Many speakers stressed the economic and financial problems of underdeveloped countries in general or with specific reference to certain aspects, such as their failure to obtain adequate financial assistance from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or from other sources, including private investors. As a result of this debate the General Assembly adopted resolutions designed to expedite action in the field of economic development.
In the report to Congress for the year 1947 attention was called to the danger in which the Council found itself of being diverted to essentially political debates arising from ideological differences between the Soviet Union and most of the other Members of the United Nations. Unfortunately the tendency to introduce into the deliberations of the Council political arguments not relevant to the matters at hand continued during 1948 in even more pronounced form and materially hindered the constructive work of the Council. Speeches made by the Representatives of the Soviet Union, Byelorussia, and Poland-frequently of a political propagandistic nature—together took up more than one third of the total time used by all 18 members of the Council at its Seventh Session. At the close of the Session there remained for consideration 11 items on the agenda which could not be dealt with for lack of time and which had to be postponed to later sessions.
When the United Nations came into being three years ago, many people felt that the work of the Economic and Social Council in promoting international action to ameliorate economic and social distress would in time prove more important for the peace than the accomplishments of the United Nations in political and security matters. Today some people are disappointed in what the Council has done, or rather has failed to do. There is a noticeable tendency-evident abroad as well as at home—to censure the Council for having produced little in the way of concrete achievement or for having proceeded too slowly in taking up its important tasks.
These criticisms reflect in part a misunderstanding of the nature of the Council's role in the United Nations system and in part a natural desire for quick results. It is important that Americans and the people of other states Members of the United Nations-acquire a true appreciation of the proper role of the Council in order to judge its performance accurately and avoid an unnecessary sense of defeatism. The Council is not an operating agency possessed of specific powers to accomplish particular, concrete ends. Hence its activities do not lead to "results” in the shape of definite actions to remedy immediate situations. Rather, the Council is primarily an advisory and recommendatory body. It is meant to focus attention on problems and to point out to governments and to the specialized agencies the way to their solution-in short, to provide a sense of direction and coherence to world economic and social policies. Ultimately, whatever action is taken must be taken by governments or by the specialized agencies.
One of the most important functions of the Council is its continuing scrutiny of the activities of the specialized agencies to see that they are pulling together as a team and that their cooperative efforts contribute most effectively to the realization of the purposes of the United Nations.
The Council has as yet scarcely begun its substantive work. Many months have had to be spent in setting the stage-in establishing the technical commissions, in working out relationships with the specialized agencies, and in taking many other requisite preparatory steps. It was not until 1948 that the Council was able to devote most of its energies to central questions. For the first time the Council carefully surveyed the world economic situation. Also for the first time the Council reviewed in detail the annual reports of the specialized agencies. A significant development, illustrative of the Council's position of leadership, was its action in calling upon the entire machinery of the United Nations system-governments, specialized agencies, and commissions to take joint and prompt action to meet the world food crisis.
The United States is confident that the Economic and Social Council can and will become the world forum for focusing attention on key international economic and social problems and proposing constructive solutions for them.
One of the principal aims of the United Nations is the promotion of the well-being and advancement of more than 200,000,000 people who have not yet achieved self-government. These aims, set forth in the Charter “Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories," relate to all such people. In addition, part of this total number reside in trust territories to which trusteeship principles of the Charter apply.
Ten trust territories, all formerly under League of Nations mandate, have been placed under the international trusteeship system. These territories contain a total population of approximately 15 million people. The Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the
United Nations, oversees the administration of these trust territories. Like the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, the Council examines reports and petitions. Moreover, it sends visiting missions to investigate conditions in the territories under its supervision.
The Trusteeship Council has held three sessions at Lake Success and has sent two missions to trust territories. It now has 12 members, half of which administer trust territories and half of which do not. The six administering authorities are Australia, Belgium, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States; the nonadministering members are China, Costa Rica, Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Of the latter six, China and the U. S. S. R. are permanent members, while the remaining four are elected for three-year terms by the General Assembly.
The Council meets in regular session twice each year. At these sessions it examines reports submitted by administering authorities on the basis of a questionnaire which it formulated, acts upon petitions from inhabitants of the trust territories and other interested parties, and reviews the reports of its visiting missions.
Nine territories formerly under League of Nations mandate have been placed under the trusteeship system by agreements negotiated between the administering authorities and the General Assembly. A tenth former mandate, now known as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and under United States administration, has been designated a strategic area through an agreement approved by the Security Council. None of these trusteeship agreements can be altered or amended without the consent of the administering authority and the approval of the General Assembly or Security Council. Although the Charter provides that the United Nations itself may administer a trust territory, the 10 trusteeship agreements thus far approved designate Members of the United Nations as administering authorities. As a result the Trusteeship Council plays a supervisory rather than an administrative role in regard to the present trust territories.
Six of the ten trust territories are in Africa. They contain 93 percent of the people under the trusteeship system, some quite primitive and others well advanced. Two thirds of these Africans live in the East African trust territories of Tanganyika, under British administration, and Ruanda-Urundi, under Belgian administration. The trust territories of British Cameroons, British Togoland, French Cameroons, and French Togoland are in West Africa. In the Pacific area are the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, under United States administration; New Guinea, administered by Australia ; Western Samoa, administered by New Zealand; and Nauru, administered by Australia on behalf of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The Trusteeship Council reports on its activities to the General Assembly, which has charged its Fourth Committee with the examination of trusteeship problems. It also cooperates with other United Nations organs and specialized agencies on common problems.
The Trusteeship Council completed most of its organizational work by the end of the Second Session on May 5, 1948, and, upon special request of the General Assembly, drafted a statute for the City of Jerusalem. When the Third Session of the Council opened on June 16, it was ready therefore to undertake its assigned task of supervising the administration of the trust territories. An unexpectedly long session resulted, during which the Council examined in detail reports by the administering authorities on New Guinea, Ruanda-Urundi, and Tanganyika. A special representative of each territory was present to answer questions from Council members. The Council also considered 13 petitions, completed arrangements for sending to East Africa its first regular visiting mission, examined a report on South West Africa referred to it by the General Assembly, and dealt further with a draft statute for Jerusalem.
Although Soviet membership on the Trusteeship Council is provided for in the Charter, a representative of the Soviet Union took his place at the Council table for the first time in April 1948. The effect of Soviet participation was to disrupt the cooperative spirit which had characterized the sessions of the Council during its formative period.
The United States has been an active member of the Trusteeship Council from its beginning. Francis B. Sayre, the United States Representative, served initially as President of the Council, until the third session opened in June 1948, when Liu Chieh of China was elected to succeed him. At first a nonadministering authority, the United States became an administering authority on July 18, 1947, when the trusteeship agreement for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands entered into force. Because this territory is a strategic area, the Security Council and the Trusteeship Council are now attempting to work out suitable procedure for the application of the trusteeship system.
In setting standards for the progress of the 15 million inhabitants of the trust territories, the work of the Trusteeship Council cannot but influence the administration of other non-self-governing peoples. The well-being of the latter is the primary concern of the declaration regarding non-self-governing territories contained in chapter XI of the Charter. To promote the principles of this declaration, the Gen