Representation in the United Nations

October 10, 1950

Report Outline
Controversy Over Representation of China
Deadlock on Admission of New U.N. Members
Security Council Veto and Representation
Special Focus

Controversy Over Representation of China

Coming General Assembly Debate on China Dispute

Controversy over who shall speak for China in the United Nations—representatives of the Nationalist government who now function in that capacity or representatives of the Communist government who claim the right to do so—will come to a head and may be finally settled during the current session of the General Assembly. On the opening day of the session, Sept. 19, the Assembly, after rejecting resolutions to expel the Nationalists and seat the Communists, decided to set up a special seven-nation committee to study the question of Chinese representation. Its report and recommendations are likely to produce one of the liveliest Assembly debates of the current session. Meanwhile, the China case will be argued back and forth at open meetings of the special committee.

Although the Communists completed their conquest of mainland China nearly a year ago, that country still is represented in the United Nations by delegates of the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek. All moves to transfer China's seat to the Communist government have so far been balked. But there is a chance that the shift will now be made, unless Peiping itself foredooms it by intervening in Korea.

Because the question is entangled in the world struggle over Communism, it is not surprising that the United Nations has been slow to welcome delegates from Red China. In practice, however, their exclusion has resulted in an anomalous situation. The most populous of all nations, with more than 450 million inhabitants, is represented in the world organization, not by spokesmen of the government in control of the country, but by delegates of a refugee government which now controls only an island outpost with 7 million inhabitants. And the situation is the more anomalous because China holds a permanent seat on the Security Council. With the Nationalists occupying that seat, it is in effect Formosa rather than China that is being treated as a great power with the same rights and privileges, including the power of veto, as the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France.

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Oct. 10, 1950  Representation in the United Nations
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