United Nations Reorganization

September 12, 1961

Report Outline
Proposals to Recognize Secretariat
Changes in United Nations Since 1945
Question of Representation of China

Proposals to Recognize Secretariat

Soon after the United Nations General Assembly convenes on September 19, either Secretary of State Dean Rusk or President Kennedy himself will lay before the members the position of the United States on Berlin, nuclear testing and other urgent questions. The purpose will be to make this country's views clear to all who listen, within the chamber and beyond, and of course to gain as wide support as possible.

Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union, however, will look to the United Nations to settle the conflicts now dangerously dividing East and West. At the founding of the world organization in 1945, the great powers, the United States included, were unwilling to assume the burden of keeping peace between nations without retaining a controlling voice over use of their military forces for that task. Hence the power of veto was accorded the permanent members of the Security Council and ordering of United Nations action to restrain an aggressor became dependent on unanimity among the great powers. Only the uncertain sanction of world public opinion remained to hold in line the great powers themselves.

Coming Assembly Debate on U.N. Structure

As things have worked out, there has been a conspicuous lack of unanimity among those powers, and the Soviet Union's free use of the veto has virtually paralyzed the Security Council. This situation long ago gave rise to demands for revision of the Charter to restrict resort to the veto. Moscow has resisted all such demands. During the past year, moreover, it has been campaigning for a reorganization of the U.N. Secretariat that would impose the principle of unanimity on the executive arm of the world organization and enable dissenters to obstruct the carrying out of mandates of the General Assembly. It has been observed that “If the power to manipulate the United Nations for its own designs passes to the Soviet Union, or if the organization is rendered impotent by the structural change which Mr. Khrushchev has demanded, it is indeed ‘done for’ as a functioning agency of world collaboration.”

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