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referred before action by the Assembly itself. These are as follows: 1. Political and Security Committee (including the regulation of
armaments); 2. Economic and Financial Committee; 3. Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee; 4. Trusteeship Committee (including non-self-governing territories) ; 5. Administrative and Budgetary Committee; and 6. Legal Committee.
As in 1946 and 1947, the Assembly was in session twice during the year. Its Second Special Session, from April 16 to May 14, 1948, was called at the request of the Security Council to consider the problem of the future government of Palestine in the light of developments which had occurred since the Assembly's resolution of November 29, 1947.The Assembly adopted on May 14 a resolution providing for a United Nations Mediator to carry forward in Palestine itself, in conjunction with the parties, the efforts of the United Nations to reach a solution for this problem. This action represented a stage in the practically continuous consideration of this problem by the General Assembly and the Security Council.
Pursuant to its 1947 decision, the Third Regular Session of the General Assembly was held in Paris rather than at the headquarters at Lake Success, N. Y. The Session began on September 21, 1948, and on December 12, 1948, was temporarily adjourned until early April 1949, when it will reconvene at the headquarters. Attended in unprecedented numbers by representatives of European press and radio services, the Paris meetings may have served to bring the work of the United Nations more vividly to the European peoples.
Herbert V. Evatt of Australia was elected President of the Assembly. The chairmen of the six main committees were as follows: First Committee, Paul-Henri Spaak (Belgium); Second Committee, Hernan Santa Cruz (Chile); Third Committee, Charles Malik (Lebanon); Fourth Committee, Nasrollah Entezam (Iran); Fifth Committee, S. Dana Wilgress (Canada); Sixth Committee, Ricardo Alfaro (Panama). The Heads of the Delegations of China, France, Mexico,
The officers of the Assembly for the Second Special Session were as follows: President; José Arce (Argentina) ; chairmen of committees : First, T. F. Tsiang (China); Second, Eduardo Anze Matienzo (Bolivia); Third, Carlos Garcia Bauer (Guatemala) ; Fourth, C. A. Berendsen (New Zealand) ; Fifth, Joza Vilfan (Yugoslavia) ; Sixth, Nasrollah Entezam (Iran); Vice Presidents: Representatives of France, Peru, Sweden, Turkey, U.S.S.R., United Kingdom, and United States.
Poland, the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, and the United States were elected Vice Presidents of the Assembly.
The Assembly was presented with an agenda even heavier thanthose of previous sessions. At the beginning, some 75 items had been submitted for consideration; several items were added during the course of the Session. Especially noteworthy was the number of political and security matters which, as in preceding years, were placed before the Assembly.
The work of the Session in the political field was conditioned largely by the continuing differences between the Soviet Union and the other Members. In all the important political questions considered except that of Palestine, i.e. the questions of atomic energy, the reduction and regulation of conventional armaments, Greece, Korea, the veto, membership in the United Nations, and the Interim Committee, the issues were sharply drawn between Soviet and non-Soviet views. Consideration of these questions-particularly those of atomic energy, reduction of conventional armaments, and the Greek question-led to debates on foreign policies generally and on the broad issues separating the Soviet Union from other countries.
Concern was manifested by many of the delegations from smaller countries over the serious differences among the great powers reflected in Assembly debates and in the Berlin case, which was then under consideration by the Security Council. A resolution proposed by Mexico, calling upon the major allied powers to compose their differences and to reach as quickly as possible the agreements necessary to liquidate the results of the war and establish peace, was adopted by the Assembly.
The decisions on all of the specific political matters were, with isolated exceptions, opposed only by the Soviet group. The Assembly did not automatically adopt the proposals made by any one Member, as often alleged by Soviet spokesmen. On the contrary, national proposals were, in practically all instances, modified through the process of discussion. They expressed the views of a large majority, and they emerged with the support of practically the entire Assembly except the Soviet bloc. This fact reflects clearly the extent of the divergence of Soviet aims and policies from those of practically all other Members. Unfortunately, no tendency was seen on the part of the Soviet group to reconcile its views with those of the rest of the membership.
The impressive measure of agreement reached on these mattersall of which are continuing problems-probably resulted to some extent from the fact that in most instances the Assembly had before it the report of a specialized body that had dealt continuously with the matter. In the field of atomic energy the General Assembly approved the plan of international control developed by the Atomic Energy Commission during two years of painstaking effort. The Assembly, in taking note of the work of the Commission for Conventional Armaments, adopted a resolution which affirmed the principle already advanced by this Commission that reduction of armaments can take place only in an atmosphere of international confidence and security. In the Greek and Korean cases, it endorsed the work of its commissions, the United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans and the Korean Commission. The reports of the Interim Committee on the veto, on methods for the promotion of political cooperation, and on continuance of the Interim Committee were, by and large, approved. The work and reports of these bodies furnished the Assembly with facts and with expert judgment which it considered reliable. The past year registered a considerable increase in the use of subsidiary bodies by the General Assembly, a trend which seems to increase the effectiveness of the Assembly's political work.
Although attention focused mainly on the political debates, perhaps the most constructive work of the Session lay in other fields. Particularly significant was the approval of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the final meeting of the Assembly, John Foster Dulles, Acting Chairman of the United States Delegation, said:
“Historians will, I think, refer to this session as the Human Rights Assembly. We have met in a country where the Declaration of the Rights of Man was inspired. We have met on a continent which has seen mankind's greatest struggle against tyranny. And we have met at a time when the paramount issue is the preservation of human freedom."
Adopted by a vote of 48 to 0 (with 8 abstentions), the declaration proclaims human rights and fundamental freedoms as a common standard of achievement for all peoples. The Assembly also adopted a resolution looking toward the accomplishment of the long and difficult task of implementing these principles. It took another important step in approving unanimously a convention on genocide. The convention describes genocide as a crime under international law which the contracting parties undertake to prevent and punish. Following approval by the General Assembly, the convention was signed by the representatives of 20 countries, including the United States.
In the field of finance the Assembly gave express recognition to an important principle for which the United States has long contended the principle that, in the interests of the organization itself,
no one Member should contribute an unduly large share of the budget. It established the principle that in normal times a "ceiling" of 331/3 percent on the contribution of any single Member to the total budget for a fiscal year should be maintained.
The extremely heavy agenda of the Session, particularly in the political field, presented even more sharply than heretofore the essential procedural problem of the General Assembly. In order to make possible the continued attendance of responsible political leaders of the Member States, the sessions should preferably be limited to a. period of not over six to eight weeks. As in previous years, political problems were debated with such intensity that the progress of the First Committee was markedly slow. At times it appeared that a small minority was deliberately attempting to delay or frustrate the work of the Assembly. Because of the magnitude of the task of considering and approving the Declaration of Human Rights, the Third Committee was unable to complete its agenda.
Faced with the prospect of continuing the Session indefinitely, or of postponing or dropping important items, the Assembly took two decisions. In the first place it established an Ad Hoc Political Committee to deal with some of the political problems on the agenda. To this Committee, presided over by Gen. Carlos P. Romulo (Philippines), were assigned the questions of the admission of new Members, the veto, the proposal for a United Nations Guard, the reports of the Interim Committee, and the report of the Security Council. This step accelerated the progress of the Assembly as a whole. The second decision was to adjourn the Session temporarily on December 12, until early April 1949.
The business of the Assembly—particularly in the political fieldhas expanded rather than decreased during the three years of the Assembly's work. It must be expected that the problem of organizing the Assembly's time and energy in such a way as to bring maximum effectiveness will be a continuing one. The concern of some Members with the problem was reflected in a proposal by the Scandinavian states that a committee be appointed to study and report upon it. The proposal will be considered by the Assembly in April.
The Interim Committee—a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly—was established for the period between the Second and Third Regular Sessions for the purpose of performing certain preparatory and follow-up functions for the Assembly in the political field. It was thus envisaged in part as a means of increasing the effectiveness of the Assembly's political work by preparing matters for consideration at the Assembly's relatively short and busy sessions. The Committee, on which every Member is entitled to be represented, organized itself on January 5, 1948, with Padillo Nervo (Mexico) as chair man, Fernand van Langenhove (Belgium) as vice chairman, and Nasrollah Entezam (Iran) as rapporteur. Although the Commit.tee's work was interrupted for a month by the Second Special Session of the Assembly and the preparation for holding the Third Session of the General Assembly in Paris necessitated an early adjournment, 29 meetings of the full Committee and over 50 meetings of its subcommittees and working groups were held.
As authorized by the resolution on Korea at the Second Session, the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea consulted the Interim Committee at Lake Success in February 1948 concerning the problem arising from the refusal of the Soviet Union to permit the Commission to perform its functions in the Soviet occupation zone in Korea. During the year, the Committee also made three major studies for the General Assembly. One related to the problem of voting procedures in the Security Council; the second, to methods for promoting international cooperation in the political field; and the third, to the advisability of establishing a permanent committee to perform the duties of the Interim Committee with any changes considered desirable in the light of experience.
No disputes or situations were referred to the Interim Committee by Member States for preparatory consideration. The six states of the Soviet group refused to participate in the work of the Interim Committee on the stated ground that the establishment of the Committee was a violation of the Charter and an attempt to "bypass the Security Council".
By a resolution of December 3, 1948, the Assembly extended the life of the Committee as an experiment for another year.
Under the Charter, the Members of the United Nations have conferred upon the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and agreed that in