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carrying out its duties the Council acts on their behalf. The Council undertakes the peaceful settlement of disputes or situations placed before it, and, if it deems that a threat to the peace or act of aggression exists, it seeks to enforce international peace and security. The Council is so organized as to be able to function continuously.

The Council consists of five permanent members—China, France, the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, and the United States and six nonpermanent members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. In 1948 the nonpermanent members were Syria, Colombia, Belgium, Argentina, Canada, and the Ukraine; the terms of Syria, Colombia, and Belgium expired at the end of the year, and Cuba, Norway, and Egypt were elected to serve in their places during 1949–50.

The Security Council's work naturally reflected the political instability and division that prevailed in 1948. In part, these conditions were incidental to the process of achievement of full independence and political unification by a number of nations. In part, they resulted from the continued inability of the major powers to reconcile their world policies, because—in the view of practically the entire non-Soviet world—the Soviet Union was engaged in varied efforts to expand its power and influence and extend its system. Such circumstances gave rise to disputes and situations which engaged the attention of the Security Council and some of its subsidiary bodies almost constantly throughout the year. The Council itself held 168 meetings, an average of well over 3 each week.

The specific problems considered by the Security Council during the year are discussed in detail in part B of this report under “Political and Security Problems”. Those involving pacific settlement include the problems of Palestine, Berlin, Indonesia, Kashmir, the coup d'état in Czechoslovakia, and Hyderabad. During the year the Council several times had to consider the use of its powers under chapter VII of the Charter. In some cases, those of Palestine, Indonesia, and Kashmir—actual fighting broke out. In these cases, the Council concentrated its efforts at first on the establishment of a cease-fire, through agreement by the parties or, if this was impossible, through an order issued by the Council under chapter VII. Such an order was issued in July in the Palestine case. In cases where it could be maintained, a truce was then utilized by the Council for efforts to bring the parties to agreement on further steps toward peaceful adjustment.

Two major cases posed the “East-West” issue sharply in the Council. In the complaint by Chile that the Communist coup d'état in Czechoslovakia in February 1948 resulted from Soviet intervention and threats of force, a proposal to appoint a committee to investigate the facts in Czechoslovakia was vetoed by the U.S.S.R. The Berlin case was unique in that it was a complaint by three permanent members France, the United Kingdom, and the United States—that the conduct of a fourth permanent member—the U.S.S.R.--constituted a threat to the peace. Although the Soviet Union vetoed a compromise resolution proposed by the six members of the Council not involved in the case, the debate clarified for public opinion in many countries the serious and complex issues of the case. At the year's end the six-member neutral group was continuing to explore intensively the possibility of agreement on Berlin's currency and trade.

The efforts of the Council to deal with these problems led during 1948 to further developments in its practice. By common consent the President of the Council, serving in a post which rotates month by month among the representatives, has taken a larger responsibility for guiding the work of the Council. He has acted informally on its behalf as a conciliator between the parties, sometimes with the help of other representatives. This practice was first used in the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. It was found useful and was further developed into joint efforts by several members under the President's guidance to bring the parties together and, to that end, to prepare an agreed settlement for approval by the Council.

Major problems in other fields which engaged the attention of the Security Council in 1948 related to atomic energy, the reduction and regulation of conventional armaments, the admission of new Members to the United Nations, and the procedure for carrying out the responsibilities of the Security Council in relation to strategic trusteeship areas.

Subsidiary Organs

From its beginning the Security Council has been assisted in its work by subsidiary organs. The Military Staff Committee, composed of representatives of the Chiefs of Staff of the five permanent members, or their representatives, was established under the Charter to advise and assist the Council on matters of a military nature. During 1948 the Council made no call on the Committee for such advice or assistance. The Committee's attention was devoted chiefly to efforts to reconcile its members' divergent provisional estimates of the over-all strength and the composition of the armed forces which should be

made available to the Council on its call. Two semipermanent bodies,

. the Commission for Conventional Armaments (CCA) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)—the latter an organ established by the General Assembly which reports to the Security Council on security matters—assist it in specific areas of the security field.

As regards peaceful settlement, the work of the Council has required increasingly the use of subsidiary organs, especially commissions to investigate or mediate on the spot. Most of the Council's work in the Indonesian case during 1948 was done through the Good Offices Committee created in 1947. In 1948 the Council created two similar bodies: the Palestine Truce Commission, composed of representatives of Belgium, France, and the United States; and the five-member United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan, composed of the United States, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, and Colombia.

Voting Procedure

Throughout 1948 the questions of the proper scope and use of the permanent members' rights of veto were problems of the Council as an operating body. The voting procedures, remained unchanged, and the veto was used in five questions in all instances by the Soviet Union. These vetoes prevented the Council from adopting the decision favored by the large majority of its members in the Czechoslovak and the Berlin cases; on the reports of the AEC; and in the applications of Italy and Ceylon for membership in the United Nations.

The efforts of the great majority of Members of the United Nations, including the United States, to secure the adoption of voting procedures which would put limits on the exercise of the veto so as to carry out the intent of the Charter and to increase the effectiveness of the Security Council were developed further in 1948. Although the Interim Committee of the General Assembly made a useful study of the problem and its Ad Hoc Political Committee adopted its conclusions in large part, the U.S.S.R. stubbornly opposed any liberalization of the voting procedure.

In 1947 the practice developed under which the abstention of a permanent member is not considered to be a veto. This practice has become, through further usage, an established part of the custom of the Council. Thus many nonprocedural resolutions for which only some of the permanent members of the Council were willing to cast affirmative votes were nevertheless adopted. To this extent the Council's effectiveness has been increased.

Whatever may be the ultimate outcome of the serious problems with which the Council grappled during 1948, one fact stands out. This fact is the extensive use which states made of the Council in order to attempt solutions of their serious disputes. Despite the difficulties occasioned by the abuse of the veto and by basic disagreements among the permanent members, the Security Council continued its role as the organ primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.


The existence of the Economic and Social Council reflects the vital concern of the Members of the United Nations with the world's economic and social problems and symbolizes their aspirations for economic and social progress. The Charter assigns to the Council-an 18-nation body of which the United States is a member by election of the General Assembly-wide responsibilities with respect to economic, social, cultural, educational, health, human rights, and related matters. The Charter recognizes that progress in these fields is necessary to peaceful and friendly relations among states.

The Economic and Social Council naturally does not and cannot itself carry out the vast range of activities which go to make up the network of economic and social cooperation under the United Nations. The complexity of international economic and social problems in our present-day civilization is such that a number of specialized organizational tools have had to be devised for particular purposes. There are, first, the “specialized agencies” of the United Nations, which are the major operating arms of the United Nations. Each agency has its own sphere of responsibility and set of functions, which are defined for it by a separate constitution legally independent of the United Nations Charter. There are at present 11 specialized agencies: the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (Fao), the International Monetary Fund (FUND), the International Bank for Reconstruction and

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Development (BANK), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the International Refugee Organization (IRO). The basic instruments of two more agencies are now awaiting action by governments—the International Trade Organization (Ito) and the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO). These new agencies are essential to round out the economic and social structure of the United Nations. In general this report does not cover the accomplishments during the year of each of the specialized agencies except so far as they were the subject of discussion or action by the Economic and Social Council or the General Assembly.

Part of the United Nations proper, yet similar to the specialized agencies by virtue of its specialized operations, is the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The Fund, which is subject to the general authority of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, functions semiautonomously under a 26-nation Executive Board elected by the General Assembly and through a staff responsible administratively to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The second set of specialized organizational tools consists of the nine functional commissions of the Economic and Social CouncilHuman Rights, Economic and Employment, Transport and Communications, Statistical, Fiscal, Population, Social, Status of Women, Narcotic Drugs—and three regional economic commissions for Europe (ECE), Latin America (ECLA), and Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). Each of these commissions, except the Fiscal Commission, held one or more meetings during 1948.

Under the Charter of the United Nations the Economic and Social Council is given the responsibility of coordinating the work of the specialized agencies through procedures of consultation and advice. For this purpose the Council has negotiated relationship agreements between the United Nations and the specialized agencies. The technical commissions, which are directly responsible to the Council, assist the Council in its work.


2 At present this organization is an informal body known as the International Meteorological Organization. It will become a formal intergovernmental agency after the necessary number of countries have ratified its new convention, which was drawn up in 1947.

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