Future of the United Nations

October 5, 1966

Report Outline
Thant's Resignation and Current U. N. Tasks
Two Decades of Change and of Challenge
Guides to Future of the United Nations

Thant's Resignation and Current U. N. Tasks

As the general assembly convened for its 21st session on Sept. 20, the United Nations faced internal crises that may have vital bearing on the organization's effectiveness as a maker and keeper of peace in the world. Secretary General U Thant, announcing on Sept. 1 that he would not seek a second five-year term, cited as one reason his inability to get negotiations for peace started among the warring parties in Southeast Asia. The biggest obstacle to early agreement by the Security Council and the General Assembly on a successor to the Burmese diplomat is expected to be the Moscow-Washington rift over Viet Nam. In any event, the process of electing a new Secretary General will serve to dramatize grave difficulties besetting the world organization.

The current General Assembly session promises to test severely the resilience and endurance of the United Nations. Recent admission of defeat by a Special Committee of 33, entrusted by the 19th General Assembly in February 1965 with the task of finding a satisfactory formula for launching and financing future peacekeeping operations, re-emphasized the stubborn nature of that question and the urgency of making a new attempt to place the United Nations on a sound financial footing. The perennial and divisive issue of the representation of Red China appears once more on the Assembly's agenda. Although it seemed at one time that the Communist nation might finally obtain this year the two-thirds majority vote required for seating in the General Assembly, that eventuality became less and less likely as the disorderly activities of Mao Tse-tung's Red Guards spread over mainland China to the amazement and puzzlement of outside observers.

Interwoven with these questions is Afro-Asian displeasure at the survival of the white-controlled regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa, and the concern of the Afro-Asians that substantial aid be provided to shore up the struggling economies of the underdeveloped nations. The African and Asian states are now sufficiently numerous in the 119- member U. N. General Assembly to muster a two-thirds majority. Thus, resolutions relating to repression of black majorities in southern Africa and to development aid will consume a major portion of the Assembly's time and energy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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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
Diplomacy and Diplomats
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