Veto Power in United Nations

September 18, 1946

Report Outline
United Nations Charter and the Veto Power
Use of Veto Power in Security Council
Veto Power and Control of Atomic Energy
Special Focus

United Nations Charter and the Veto Power

Rising Concern Over Obstruction by veto

The right of a single nation to block action desired by the other members of a world body responsible for maintaining peace is now under fire from two sides. Small states are challenging the general veto power granted by the United Nations Charter to the five permanent members of the Security Council. The United States and most of the other large and small states represented on the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission are insisting that the veto principle can have no place in international arrangements to safeguard against destructive uses of atomic power.

Russia's frequent exercise of her right of veto in the Security Council, on matters of less than the highest importance, has generated the current demand for reconsideration of the Council's voting rules. At the request of Australia and Cuba respectively, proposals for reviewing application of the veto power and for considering its outright elimination have been placed on the agenda of the October meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Meanwhile, the work of the Atomic Energy Commission is being hampered by Soviet resistance to any modification of the veto principle. The other great powers, while holding that the right of veto should be exercised only for the weightiest reasons, have shown little willingness to consider its complete abandonment. They are in agreement, however, that unless the veto can be set aside in devising measures for control of atomic energy, there is little possibility that mankind can be freed from its fear of a future atomic war.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Nations
Jun. 24, 2016  Reforming the U.N.
Sep. 04, 2012  Millennium Development Goals
Mar. 20, 2012  Assessing the United Nations
Apr. 2007  World Peacekeeping
Feb. 27, 2004  The United Nations and Global Security
Aug. 18, 1995  United Nations At 50
Jul. 27, 1990  A Revitalized United Nations in the 1990s
Oct. 04, 1985  United Nations at Forty
Aug. 29, 1975  United Nations at Thirty
Oct. 05, 1966  Future of the United Nations
Aug. 19, 1964  United Nations Peacekeeping
Sep. 18, 1963  Afro-Asians in United Nations
Mar. 07, 1962  United Nations Financing
Sep. 12, 1961  United Nations Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1960  United Nations: 1945–1960
Jan. 09, 1957  Policing by United Nations
Mar. 28, 1952  Treaties and Domestic Law
May 28, 1948  Revision of the United Nations
Sep. 18, 1946  Veto Power in United Nations
Jun. 12, 1945  National Sovereignty
Apr. 05, 1945  San Francisco, Yalta, and Dumbarton Oaks
Arms Control and Disarmament
Diplomacy and Diplomats
United Nations