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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MAY 24 '49
LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL
The President to the Congress
To the Congress of the United States:
The accompanying report on the participation of the United States in the United Nations for 1948 is transmitted to the Congress on the recommendation of the Secretary of State.
The report has my approval.
At this stage in the life of the United Nations it is appropriate to say a word about the Charter and the organization. The Charter is at once a statement of objectives and a guide to action. It proclaims the objectives of preventing future wars, of settling international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with principles of justice, of promoting world-wide progress and better standards of living, of achieving universal respect for and observance of fundamental human rights and fundamental freedoms, and of removing the economic and social causes of international conflict and unrest.
These objectives are well stated in the Charter itself. We subscribed to them at the time we signed the Charter. We are firm in our resolution to work for these objectives.
The Charter is a guide to action. While this is so for all Members, it is particularly so for those enjoying the “right of veto”. There is å greater obligation on these five powers than on the other Members to conduct themselves in accord with the principles of the Charter. They must "settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” Equally, they must “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." Fulfilment of these obligations means the exercise of national self-restraint in international relations. Along with other Charter obligations they place limits on our freedom of action. But these limits are self-imposed, because we signed the Charter without reservation. During 1948 we have continued to recognize these Charter obligations as restrictions upon our conduct. We will continue so to recognize them.
And we have a right to expect other Members of the United Nations to act similarly, for the Charter is a pledge of good faith exchanged by each Member with all the others.
I recommend the accompanying report to the attention of the Congress. The nature of our participation and the many different ways in which it is manifested may come as a surprise to many members. But it will not be an unpleasant surprise. We have taken the leadership in many fields of international relations. We can be proud of what we have done. If the United Nations as a security organization has disappointed us, as the Secretary of State notes, and if we have had to take supplemental measures to meet actual or potential threats to our security, it is not because the United States has not put forth real efforts to develop the United Nations to its full stature. The world today is not the world we had hoped for when the San Francisco conference adjourned less than four years ago.
The United States supports the United Nations in all respects. The following pages tell how that was done in 1948.
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 12, 1949
The Secretary of State to the President
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
March 17, 1949 MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
Transmitted herewith is a record of United States participation in the United Nations for the year 1948. I recommend that the report be approved and forwarded to the Congress in response to section 4 of the United Nations Participation Act (Public Law 264, 79th Congress).
Both hope and disappointment marked the participation of the United States in the United Nations during 1948. The hope grew out of the continuing feeling that the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter offer the best basis of a peaceful world with international justice and respect for individual human rights and that most Members of the organization are working loyally in that direction. At the same time there was disappointment because of the failure of certain states to observe their obligations under the Charter on matters which seriously affect the maintenance of peace.
At the end of the year the American people could feel satisfied that their Government had used their rights and had respected their obligations as a Member of the United Nations. Our conduct was responsive to those rights and obligations in different ways. The United States took the lead in keeping the attention of the United Nations focused upon the political questions of the future government of Palestine, the independence of Korea, and the maintenance of the territorial integrity and political independence of Greece. In passing I wish to note that a major part of the personnel and equipment needed to facilitate United Nations efforts at peaceful settlement in these areas was supplied by the United States. Through its member on the Security Council's three-member Commission of Good Offices the United States took a prominent part in efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement of the differences between the Netherlands and the Indonesian republic. When exhaustive efforts failed to remove the threat to peace caused by the Soviet blockade of Berlin, we joined with France and the United Kingdom in placing the matter before the Security Council.
In other fields the United States was equally active. By its vigorous advocacy of forward steps the United States maintained its position
of leadership in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The right to gather and disseminate news was given a strong impulse by the United States at the Freedom of Information Conference in March 1948. The American people have made available much of the money used by the International Children's Emergency Fund.
With respect to the trusteeship system, the United States took an active part in developing the Charter techniques of supervising the administration of trust territories and of giving substance to the right of petition of their inhabitants. As a Member responsible for the administration of non-self-governing territories, the United States submitted full information about its own territories.
By supplying complete statistical data we aided the United Nations in its analysis of the world economic situation through the Economic and Social Council and its commissions. We encouraged the greater use of the International Court of Justice.
We cooperated actively in the “Little Assembly's” study of voting procedure in the Security Council by defining our 1947 proposals for removing the unanimity requirement (the veto) from action in pacific settlement of disputes and in admission of new Members.
We agreed to extend to the United Nations a 65-million-dollar interest-free loan for headquarters construction.
I am glad to be able to provide this evidence of American steadfastness in our support of the United Nations. Details are to be found in the pages which follow.
At the same time, I feel it my duty to report that the American people, along with others, experienced disappointment over the inadequacy of some of the efforts of the Members of the United Nations to provide international peace and security on the basis of the Charter. In 1948 the conclusion became clearer than ever that as a security organization the United Nations has not thus far been able to grow to its full stature.
To meet the resulting need, several courses permitted by the Charter and consistent with its purposes have been followed. One course adopted has been to explore possibilities in the Charter relating to regional security arrangements. This procedure was recognized in the Senate resolution reaffirming the policy of the United States to achieve international peace and security through the United Nations (S. 239, 80th Congress). In line with this resolution, negotiations for a North Atlantic security pact were under way at the year's end. The same approach has been followed by certain other states as evidenced by the Brussels pact entered into by the United Kingdom, France, and the Benelux countries and endorsed by the United States Government. Another course consistent with the purposes of the Charter was the continuation of economic assistance and the provision of military equipment to Greece, Turkey, and China. The institution of the European Recovery Program followed the realization that the long-range Charter objective of increasing political stability by economic improvement required an interim program for Europe.
Nevertheless, there is no sound reason for Americans to lose confidence in the United Nations. Responsible collective judgment on matters of international concern is better than the interested and sometimes irresponsible judgments of individual nations. The future of America is closely related to the extension of democratic principles and practices in other areas; we believe the United Nations is the proper agency for promoting that extension by peaceful and proper means. Much remains to be done; the present need is to reaffirm our belief in the Charter of the United Nations and to strengthen our support for its processes of peace.