Volume #18 - 295.|
SEVENTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, FIRST PART, OCTOBER 14-DECEMBER 21, 1952
Permanent Representative to the United Nations|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
December 31st, 1952|
SEVENTH SESSION GENERAL ASSEMBLY CHRISTMAS REPORT|
The Assembly adjourned at 4:45 a.m. on Monday, December 22, to
reconvene on February 24 or earlier at the call of the President.
Ten items remain on the Assembly's agenda for February, to be dealt
with in the First Committee or in Plenary. The other Committees
will not be reconstituted. I should think that we therefore have at
least another six weeks' work ahead of us, and probably more if the
new United States Administration decides to press for further
measures in Korea.
2. As Mr. Pearson, Mr. Martin and the Ottawa members of the Assembly Delegation returned home before there was time to prepare an assessment of the work of the Assembly, the best I can do is to send you our tentative report and leave it to those who have returned to Ottawa to supplement or correct our impressions.
3. There is no doubt that many members of delegations with whom we have close ties are returning home not only weary but wondering whether anything has been achieved at this session to compensate for the intense efforts devoted to interminable debates and for the serious disturbances in North and South Africa and other dependent areas which coincided with the Assembly's discussion of their problems. This view is not confined to the United Kingdom, French and South African Delegations. For example Walter Lippmann said a few days ago that "things have gone so badly during this session that there are many, once ardent supporters, who are asking whether the Organization can survive. There are even some who are asking whether it ought to survive."
4. I do not think any member of the Canadian Delegation would judge this Assembly so harshly, In fact I would have said that this has been one of the most important, interesting, and relatively productive Assemblies. In so far as the work of the Canadian Delegation was concerned, this Assembly has been one of the toughest. Not only did this Assembly, unlike its predecessor, have the big political problems before it, but the election of the head of our Delegation to the Presidency and the very active role which the President personally played, added considerably to the significance and effectiveness of our work. This was most clearly shown in the Korean discussions, particularly those behind the scenes. There were exceptions, but all in all, both the Korean and the colonial questions, including North and South Africa, were discussed more responsibly and with less propaganda than anyone could have expected before the Assembly met. AI the same time, even some non-colonial delegations could not help wondering whether, by admitting such issues as Tunisia and Morocco to the Assembly's agenda, we have not opened a Pandora's box which will plague not only the French but other Western delegations in years to come. These doubts are genuine but the question is probably academic. For Tunisia and Morocco could hardly have been kept off the Assembly's agenda this year. In these circumstances the Assembly's moderation this year was a sign that it may rise to its responsibilities, surviving, on the one hand, the excesses of some of the smaller powers, and on the other the negative attitude of some of the larger powers.
5. For the first time in several years, there were no formal pre-Assembly talks held between the United Kingdom, United States, French and Canadian Delegations. The State Department sent officials to New York, Paris and London for bilateral talks, while French and United Kingdom officials held separate discussions with the Americans in Washington. The United Kingdom Government made a special effort to make its point of view on colonial questions thoroughly understood, sending senior officials for pre-Assembly talks in Ottawa and Washington. Canadian preparations were, therefore, largely based on bilateral talks in Washington and New York and, to a lesser extent, in London and Paris. So far as we can tell, this pattern is likely to continue in future years unless one of the Big Three has some major theme to present to the Assembly.
6. At the two previous Assemblies the United States Government decided to develop themes on which it was prepared to take the offensive. In 1950, the Uniting for Peace resolution was the theme, last year it was the tripartite disarmament proposal. This year, by contrast, no theme has been developed, although the United Kingdom Government intend to concentrate on the Soviet "Hate Campaign" when the bacteriological warfare item is discussed after we reconvene in February.
7. The Korean debate was, by all odds, the most important as well as the most lengthy. Within the scope of this summary I shall not attempt any general appreciation, the more so in view of the role played in the negotiations by the President of the Assembly and Mr. Martin. They together with Mr. Selwyn Lloyd of the United Kingdom Delegation gave the Indian Representative, Mr. Krishna Menon, every encouragement in his effort to draft a resolution on the one outstanding issue of prisoners-of-war which would provide an acceptable basis for an armistice in the opinion of the entire free world. In the protracted private negotiations which preceded the formal action of the Indian Delegation, the steadying and conciliatory role which the leaders of the Canadian and United Kingdom delegations played between the Indian and United States delegations was of great importance, although Soviet rejection of the resolution a week before the vote, combined with the amendments accepted by India, made it easier for the United States Government to accept the resolution in the end.
8. At first, the United States had opposed the Indian resolution and had seemed strangely blind to the advantages of having India take the lead in a matter of this kind. Wishing the vindication of an Assembly resolution endorsing all negotiations and actions of the Unified Command, the United States failed to realize the greater value to be gained from focussing the debate solely on the prisoner-of-war issue and on the principle of non-forcible repatriation which the Arab-Asian group were willing to accept. Had they persisted in bringing their original 21-power resolution to a vote, the Arab Asian group would not have voted for the general endorsement the United States Government wanted. Indeed, the terms of this resolution had already been rejected by the Communist Command at Panmunjom.
9. The Assembly was bound to try something at least a little different. The Indian plan seemed to offer a method for getting prisoners of war on the move and eventually reducing the problem in size, even if it did not necessarily provide a complete solution for the problem presented by those prisoners of war who would continue to resist repatriation.
10. When the Indian plan was first put forward, a large number of delegations believed there were grounds for hoping that it might prove acceptable to the Chinese and North Korean authorities. The United States Delegation never shared this hope. When the plan was so bitterly attacked by the Soviet Union, hopes diminished almost to the vanishing point. However, a number of responsible delegations, including those of the United Kingdom, Canada and France, found it difficult to believe that the Indian Government would have taken the initiative if it had not had some indication from its contacts in Peking that a scheme along the lines of that which was put forward might be acceptable to the Chinese Communists. It may be that the revisions which it was necessary to make in the original Indian resolution in order to gain the support of the United States doomed the final resolution in the eyes of the other side. No one could argue that these revisions were not in the interest of clarity, especially with respect to the principle of non-forcible repatriation, but it may be that any compromise scheme which will lead to solution of the prisoner of war problem may have to be kept deliberately vague.
11. In the event, the proposal did not lead to an armistice. But the sincerity of the attempt left no one at the Assembly in any doubt whatever as to where the responsibility for the continuation of the fighting lay. The Chinese were offered a formula which could have saved their face if they had wanted an honourable settlement. The early rejection of the Soviet Government may possibly have been prompted by their fear that the Chinese were considering the offer too seriously. At any rate, the Indian resolution which united the free world against the Soviet bloc on December 3 - 54 votes to 5 with only China abstaining - was the major achievement of this session, and Canada had a large part in it. Had it succeeded, we would have had peace. It was an attempt that had to be made. Even in failure, it was an impressive propaganda success. The Assembly has seen no greater demonstration of the solidarity of the free world.
12. That the Soviet Government itself recognized their defeat and smarted under it is, I think, sufficiently proved by their last minute propaganda manoeuvre of introducing a resolution accusing the United States of the "mass murder" of Korean prisoners of war at Pongam. Though they did not manage to gain a single favourable vote for their resolution from outside their own bloc, they did manage to obtain ten Arab-Asian abstentions including India and Pakistan. This vote no doubt will take some of the sting out of the defeat suffered by the Soviet bloc on the vote on the Indian resolution.
13. It is difficult not to express disappointment that India and Pakistan saw fit to abstain on the Soviet resolution, no doubt because they felt that they did not have all the facts in the case and might have suspected the United States of using more force than was strictly necessary. On the other hand, the Soviet resolution using terms such as "mass murder" was expressed in such extreme language as to demand a negative vote by fair minded delegations. Jamali of Iraq recognized this and voted against the resolution. Pakistan at that time represented by a junior official apparently followed the lead of India. The decision was Menon's, taken we understand, against the advice of Madame Pandit, the leader of his delegation. Perhaps, having gone rather further towards the Western position than he had intended in his Korean resolution, Menon was trying to reassert India's neutrality. Gromyko had called him a "rubber stamp of American policy in Korea", and western spokesmen had perhaps crowed too loudly about "lining up" India on the western side of the fence. Menon, apparently, was determined to get back on the fence.
14. The Chinese rejected the President's appeal and the Assembly's resolution on December 14 and the North Koreans followed suit a week later. Both used terms which Soviet spokesmen had already made familiar. Both called the Assembly's resolution "illegal" and insisted that the Soviet resolution had provided the only path to peace. In other words, they wanted to call a halt in the fighting before, rather than after, explicit agreement had been reached on the repatriation of prisoners of war, leaving it to a Commission of five to carry through the repatriation of all prisoners in accordance with the Communist interpretation of the Geneva Convention, even if this meant repatriation of prisoners by force.
15. When the Assembly reconvenes, we shall presumably know what plans the new United States Administration has for resuming negotiations or stepping up the fighting. One of the most important by-products of the Indian resolution was that it made it possible to avoid any "second stage" proposals which the "lame duck" United States Delegation might otherwise have submitted in an effort to get more help from its Allies. The Soviet and Chinese Governments will also, one must suppose, be more interested in what the new Eisenhower Administration has to say than in an Asian "neutral's" proposals carrying the reluctant consent of a dying Administration.
Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa and the Competence Issue
16. In contrast to the Korean discussions in which Canada, the United Kingdom and India had worked very closely together our Delegation found that when we carne to the colonial questions we were almost invariably divided from the other "old" Commonwealth members and from many NATO countries, notably France. Canada tended, on colonial issues, to side with the United States and was even, as for example in the case of Morocco, occasionally "ahead" of the United States. The example of Morocco just given, in which Canada voted in Committee for a mild resolution which the United States opposed, may be attributable to the more direct responsibility of the United States for such questions as the French Government's ratification of the European Defence Community Treaty on which Canada's vote could have little, if any, effect, and perhaps also to United States defence interests in Morocco.
17. The "liberal" stand taken by the Canadian and United States Delegations on most of these questions was not only, I think, justified on legal grounds but also for general political reasons such as our desire to "bridge the gap" with the more moderate Arab-Asian and Latin delegations. It was also a fair reflection of the currents of public opinion on these questions in both Canada and the United States. By contrast, the United Kingdom, South African and French Governments had necessarily to bear in mind their own colonial responsibilities and the repercussions, even of Assembly discussion, on the territories and peoples for which they are responsible.
18. Although colonial questions as such came before the Fourth Committee, I should like first to discuss the politically more important questions relating to North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco) and South Africa which came before the two Political Committees. They were fundamentally the expression of Arab and Asian nationalism, trying, through the United Nations, to promote the independence of Arabs in North Africa and the rights of coloured men in South Africa. The Assembly was in effect being asked to consider whether two European minorities of under two million people each should be allowed to continue to direct the affairs of very large Arab and African populations by means of various kinds of discrimination contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.
19. The debates on Tunisia, Morocco and South Africa were largely concerned with the question of competence. Had the Assembly the right to discuss, consider or make recommendations about these problems? France and South Africa took an extreme position and denied the right of the Assembly even to discuss these questions. After making its position clear in the general debate in Plenary France absented itself while Tunisia and Morocco were under discussion in the Political Committee. Though holding the same legal view South Africa adopted different tactics. Unlike France, South Africa argued its legal case ably and forcibly when South African questions were under discussion in Plenary and in the Ad Hoc Committee, but would not discuss the merits of its case. The legal view taken by France and South Africa on the competence issue had the full support of the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium and a number of the other colonial powers, although most of these countries regretted France's decision to absent itself from the Committee.
20. The Canadian Delegation. along with a number of other delegations including the U.S. Delegation and the Scandinavian delegations, made it clear that they considered that the General Assembly had authority to discuss these questions and even to make recommendations about them. These delegations also made it equally clear that they would closely examine any recommendation emerging from the discussions to make sure that it did not in their view constitute intervention in the internal affairs of the countries concerned.
21. Acting on these principles the Canadian Delegation voted in favour of moderate General Assembly resolutions on Tunisia and Morocco which had been put forward by Brazil and a group of Latin-American delegations encouraged by the United States. We voted against stronger resolutions sponsored by a group of Arab-Asian countries. The moderate resolutions on Tunisia and Morocco, were eventually approved by the necessary two-thirds in Plenary Session. The resolutions of the Arab-Asian group were defeated. Hence in spite of the uncompromising stand taken by France the resolutions eventually passed by the General Assembly on Tunisia and Morocco were such as not even France could take very strong objection to.
22. As regards the South African racial discrimination item, the Canadian Delegation voted in favour of a moderate resolution sponsored by the Scandinavian powers, recalling the objectives of the United Nations and the obligations of all members in regard to human rights without singling out South Africa. We abstained on the resolution setting up a Commission to study racial discrimination in South Africa. Our abstention on this latter resolution in Plenary was keenly resented by South Africa, because a number of delegations including the Scandinavian countries (but not including Canada or the United States) changed their votes from an abstention in Committee to a vote against in Plenary. On the item dealing with Indians in South Africa the Canadian Delegation abstained on the resolution setting up a Good Offices Commission to assist in bringing about negotiations between the governments concerned.
23. As a result of the moderate attitude taken by a number of delegations including the Scandinavian group, most of the Latin-American group, the United States and Canada, the debates on Tunisia, Morocco and South Africa, which had been feared by many delegations including Canada passed off much better than had been expected.
24. In the Fourth Committee, despite many criticisms of the slowness of the administering powers in preparing their dependent territories for self-government and some assertions that colonialism is an evil which must be wiped out, there has been greater readiness than we had expected on the part of the more responsible Arab and Asian and Latin Delegations to recognize that the administering powers have a positive and necessary role to play.
25. Up to a point, the extremists set the pace by presenting resolutions, usually of a challenging nature, on most of the main items. Very few such resolutions, however, were adopted unchanged if their original form was really extreme. In order to rally adequate support, it was necessary at least to give the impression that an attempt was being made to keep the proposals moderate and reasonable and to avoid gratuitous offence to the administering powers. This was an indication that the bulk of the Committee wanted to act in a responsible fashion and to work with the colonial powers.
26. Against this is the fact that even in this modified form the resolutions which were able to rally a majority were still in many cases unacceptable not only to the administering powers but to other western states and were occasionally rash and irresponsible in many of their provisions. Some examples are the resolution on factors determining self-government with its dogmatic declaratory clauses, the resolution calling on the Tanganyika Government to return the land taken from the Wa-Meru tribe and the resolution on the Togolands requesting France and the United Kingdom to consider revising their trusteeship agreements. A more co-operative attitude was, however, shown in Plenary where the resolution on the Wa-Meru tribe failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority and the resolution on the Togolands problem was so amended as to make it acceptable to the administering powers.
27. The administering powers for their part have not been too skillful in handling the situation. Admittedly it is a difficult one to deal with when there is a real degree of unreasonableness and lack of restraint on the other side; and the habit of resistance to unwarranted demands and unfounded criticisms, coupled with the feeling of being in a small minority chronically exposed to irresponsible attacks, has produced a defensive psychology that results in a somewhat negative attitude. If the administering powers were prepared to assert a more positive policy of trying to work with the United Nations, coupled with an exploitation of their past achievements and their present progressive policies, and were ready to try out some of the resolutions which though undesirable are not actually inapplicable, they might gradually win a response from countries which at the moment are not actually hostile but are not convinced that the colonial powers are really interested in promoting self-government, especially of the colonial as distinct from the trust territories. The more forthcoming approach that Hopkinson adopted for the United Kingdom at the beginning of the session made a better impression than Sir Alan Burns' less conciliatory tone.
28. Although the United Kingdom representatives probably feel that their country has been under constant sniping, it was in fact far less of a target than either Belgium or France. Belgian administration in the Congo came in for a good deal of criticism, and their representative Mr. Ryckmans - an experienced and very able man - more or less established himself as the prototype of the old colonial outlook, however paternal and benevolent that outlook may have been. The French in addition to direct attacks had to suffer from adverse comparisons between their trust territories and the adjacent British ones, and M. Pignon did not handle things well.
29. By the latter part of the session a middle group of moderates had begun to emerge among the smaller powers. This included Israel, Thailand, Colombia, the Dominican Republic. the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand. The Netherlands and of course the United States also could usually be counted among the moderates during the debates on the Trusteeship system. It was a very shifting group without real cohesion, but it gave Canada a number of friends with whom we could normally act in common. If these states should become more consistent in their opposition to extreme or impractical proposals, they might have a moderating effect on still other states with which they are associated.
30. In the early days of the Committee, Canada several times voted against our normal associates in NATO and the Old Commonwealth. Their sense of shock and resentment at this apparent desertion was much greater than was warranted by the importance of the issues involved, and was expressed in a discontinuance of invitations to attend the meetings of the administering powers. In the later part of the session we found ourselves voting much more habitually with our accustomed friends. By that time, however, we had fairly well established our independence of mind; and the value of this achievement was attested when on several occasions the United Kingdom and the United States appealed to us to intervene in debate on matters on which we would normally have remained silent. Altogether, the Canadian Delegation took much less of a back seat in the Fourth Committee's work this year than in previous years.
31. One of the things that bedevilled the Committee was the question of oral hearings. Nearly one-third of the whole session was consumed in discussing applications and holding hearings and debating resolutions that should have been dealt with by the Trusteeship Council, not the Assembly. Since a number of the hearings took place in the dying days of the Session when there was neither time to give full consideration nor available material on which to base a reasoned judgement, the value of such hearings to the operation of the trusteeship, or the benefit to the groups involved, will be slender at best.
32. In the context of the Assembly's work as a whole the discussion of Palestine seemed once again something apart - a bitter struggle between Arabs upholding previous Assembly resolutions they had disregarded and Israelis refusing to be bound by the very resolutions to which they owe their existence as a State.
33. Israel's efforts to free herself from previous United Nations resolutions concerning refugees, the internationalization of Jerusalem and the territorial division of Palestine were partially successful, but not in the sense expected. Israel had hoped this would be brought about through a resolution calling on the parties to the Palestine dispute to settle their differences by direct negotiation. The resolution in question so aroused the antagonism of the Arab States, because it did not reaffirm past Assembly resolutions on the three points just mentioned, that direct negotiations seemed quite unlikely to take place on the basis of the draft resolution of which Canada was one of eight cosponsors. However, the resolution was defeated in Plenary, where it failed to gain a two-thirds' majority following a surprise Soviet switch from abstention to a negative vote and the unsettling of some Latin votes over the question of Jerusalem. This so elated the Arabs that there is a possibility that they may agree to negotiate. Moreover their realization that the Assembly is not likely to reaffirm its past resolutions on Palestine may make them hesitate to inscribe the Palestine question on the agenda of the Eighth Session of the Assembly.
34. The fact that the vote was a draw this year has made both parties feel they are off to a fresh start, and for this reason if for no other, the debate has been useful. It has had, however, an unfortunate effect on British relations with the Arabs which may affect adversely the planning for Middle East defence owing to the violent reaction in the Middle East to Lord Llewellin's unvarnished statement that the refugees would be happier if they settled in Arab States than if they returned to their former homes in Israel.
35. The efforts of the Canadian Delegation were directed towards securing a more moderate draft resolution than had been privately proposed by the Israeli Delegation. Although at first resentful of these efforts, the Delegation of Israel later came to support the results of our work. They also responded in the end to our suggestion that the expression of a co-operative attitude on their part might provide a useful background for the negotiations. We also persuaded the Arabs to reduce their claims from implementation of all 54 past resolutions of the United Nations to the implementation of the Assembly's resolution of November 29, 1947 and a single paragraph of the resolution of December 11, 1948. These accomplishments were, however, offset by the failure of our resolution to achieve what we had hoped. Once again, the Delegation felt the lack of direct Canadian diplomatic representation in the Middle East.
36. Members of the Delegation attending the Political Committees had the satisfaction of knowing that they were considering even if not settling important political issues. Members attending the Second or Economic Committee did not have the same satisfaction. It was generally realized that the important decisions in the economic field were taken elsewhere. Moreover the burning issue of the establishment of an International Development Fund to make capital grants, which caused lively debates last year, was not on the agenda this year because the Economic and Social Council instead of producing its expected report had set up a group of experts to make further studies. Hence debates in the Second Committee tended to be theoretical and to deal with secondary questions.
37. In only one field did its debates have special significance: in the restless pleadings of the under-developed primary producers for sufficient capital to industrialize their countries in some small measure. Yet these were the countries which insisted on passing the nationalization resolution which, despite disclaimers, was most likely to succeed, not in attracting, but in frightening away any private, or even public capital available for the purpose. The resolution was one-sided and failed to acknowledge the obligation to pay compensation for nationalized wealth and resources.
38. Of all the resolutions considered by the Committee only one reached it on the initiative of the group of countries of mature economies. This was the resolution which endorsed the Economic and Social Council's recommendation that the goal of the Technical Assistance Programme for 1953 should be $25,000,000. Some of the remaining resolutions were submitted by the Arab Asian countries, but the majority emanated from the Latin-American group. The initiative in Committee 2 has thus passed almost entirely to the underdeveloped group, with the Latin Americans in the lead and the Arab-Asian-African delegations giving fairly consistent support. As a result, the industrialized states were fighting a sterile defensive action throughout the session and devoted almost all their efforts to the removal of the most objectionable features from resolutions which were at their worst irresponsible and at their best a mere reaffirmation of previously defined objectives.
39. This situation was partly due to the lack of leadership from the United Kingdom delegation and to the species of paralysis which domestic political circumstances imposed upon the Americans. But a more serious and more fundamental cause was the fact that the industrialized countries as a group had no positive approach to what is after all bound to be in the foreseeable future a main preoccupation of the Economic and Social Council and the principal work of the Second Committee of the Assembly.
40. In the past a constructive step towards meeting the aspirations of the under-developed countries through international rather than purely bilateral action was the establishment of the various Specialized Agencies, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The most recent has been the Technical Assistance Program (complemented by the American Point Four Programme and the Colombo Plan). Very valuable work can be and has been done under these technical assistance programmes. But we now seem to have reached the stage where the programme is losing its momentum, or at least where some new initiative is needed if United Nations action in this field is to be fruitful.
41. In recent years, the tendency in the United States has been more towards bilateral action. This tendency may be increased with the advent of a Republican administration. We ourselves will certainly always retain an area of bilateral action or action through the Commonwealth grouping. There is nevertheless a field in which economic considerations are strongly affected by political and social factors which is proper to the United Nations in the international sphere, just as it may be proper to the public corporation in the national sphere. The much discussed International Development Fund, for example, might possibly, with careful organization and proper safeguards, be the most economical and politically effective way to meet certain of the financial needs of under-developed countries. If our expanding productive plans require expanding markets, and if technical assistance is really not enough, from the point of view of the developed countries themselves, as even Mr. van Zeeland87 was prepared to admit, the big question is whether capital assistance should come on a bilateral or on an international basis.
42. The Third Committee, like the Second, spent most of its time on questions of secondary political importance, at least to Canada. The same groupings were apparent as in the Third and Fourth Committees, and not infrequently the same sense of unreality.
43. The most important intervention by Canada was made in the closing days of the session by Mr. Martin who drew the Committee's attention, in a vigorous statement, to religious persecution in Eastern Europe as instanced most recently by the four death sentences passed in Bulgaria but not yet carried out. Mr. Martin's statement was one of the few direct and telling attacks made during the Assembly against the principal violators of human rights and fundamental freedoms who so glibly accuse others of crimes which they have perfected.
44. The three resolutions of the Third Committee which attracted the most attention were those dealing with:
(a) Freedom of Information
The Canadian Delegation opposed the Assembly's resolution dealing with the Convention on the International Right of Correction. Along with the United States Delegation and others, we felt that the Convention would contribute not to the freedom of the press but to government-imposed restrictions requiring the press to publish not merely corrections but official propaganda.
45. We supported the opening for signature of a Convention on
the Political Rights of Women after a colonial application clause
had been deleted so that it was no longer slanted against the
47. The two principal items which came before the Sixth Committee were:
(a) the question of defining aggression; and
The Canadian attitude towards both these questions was that, while we were not opposed in principle, consideration of concrete proposals now was premature in the world in which we live and in the relatively embryonic state of international law. The United States and United Kingdom Delegations were more vigorous in their opposition than the Canadian, and voted against the final compromise resolutions while we abstained. These resolutions, in effect, served to postpone further consideration of these items for two years, but the Arabs, Asians and Latins, with Soviet support, managed to make sure that these questions will be included on the Assembly's agenda for 1954, and will be given further study in Committee in the meantime.
48. Mr. Vishinsky honoured the Sixth Committee with a personal performance during the debate on the definition of aggression but he was too stereotyped to be really effective. He argued that the refusal of the NATO powers to consider a definition of aggression "exposed their aggressive intentions" against the Soviet Union and that their talk about loopholes in any possible definition was only to cover up their evil designs.
49. The suicide of A.H. Feller, Mr. Lie's General Counsel and top legal adviser, dramatized the state of demoralization into which the Secretariat as a whole has been sinking in recent months, under the impact of exaggerated charges in the United States press of "Reds in the U.N.". Much quiet work was done during the Assembly by a number of delegations, including the Canadian, to allay fears that we were willing to stand by and allow United States hysteria to force the Secretary-General to expel from the Secretariat any American citizen considered undesirable by the host country.
50. Unfortunately, Mr. Lie accepted the Jurists' Advisory Report with undue and unnecessary alacrity as the basis of his personnel policies. Although his action calmed Senator Wiley, it alarmed other delegations concerned to maintain the international character of the Secretariat. However, the combined pleas of the President, the Chairman of the Fifth Committee and a number of delegations including the Canadian Delegation served to forestall a debate before Christmas which would have been unprofitable in the present atmosphere. At the Secretary-General's request, an item has been included in the Assembly's agenda which will ensure a full discussion of this issue in February or March.
51. This Assembly was as difficult to control as its predecessors. Although the Sixth Committee studied some sensible but rather minor proposals of the Secretary-General's for improving the Rules of Procedure and shortening sessions of the General Assembly, only one was approved, the others being referred to a Committee for study and report next year. From the debates it appeared that no tampering with the sacred right to speak would be permitted by the majority of the Members. Experience has shown that the Chairmen who are most successful in completing their Committee's agenda under pressure (e.g. Kyrou of the Ad Hoc Committee), are those least inclined to give rulings.
52. Nevertheless, if Foreign Ministers are to attend a fair proportion of the time an Assembly is in session, something must obviously be done to accomplish the Assembly's task in less time than it takes at present.
53. This Assembly suffered more than any previous session from the lack of leadership from the United States Delegation. The disruption which United States elections cause to the work of Assemblies every other year has lead some Delegations, including our own, to wonder whether it would not be better to aim at holding Assemblies in the Spring rather than the Fall, despite the administrative difficulties and in some cases (e.g. the United Kingdom) the parliamentary inconvenience involved. The proposal is to be explored fully at the next session of the Assembly.
54. The Soviet Bloc - The Soviet Delegation was an unusually strong one. When the Assembly met, it was generally expected that the Soviet Delegation would take some new initiative or in other ways reflect the policies announced at the 19th Party Congress which concluded in Moscow as the Assembly convened. In the event, the Soviet Delegation took no new tacks, sang the old songs with less zest to a case-hardened audience, and reflected neither the note of confidence nor the shifts in the Party line which emerged from the Congress. With the exception of a brief and only partially successful foray (the "mass murder" of Korean prisoners of war) as the Assembly was adjourning for Christmas, the Soviets seemed largely on the defensive - perhaps bored or tired, perhaps saving their fire until other items more suited to their cold warfare come up after Christmas. Although we can know little about the relations between Moscow and Peking, the main achievement of Soviet policy during the Assembly may have been in keeping China in the Korean war by engineering their rejection of the Assembly's resolution.
55. NATO - The NATO Powers were deeply divided on colonial questions, especially Tunisia and Morocco, and on the competence issue in a manner which could only bring comfort to the Soviet bloc. Yet, as the United States vote against the Moroccan resolution showed, concern for any weakening of NATO obviously influences positions taken in the United Nations by NATO powers. If the choice is between a free North Africa without NATO airfields and a French North Africa with them there was little doubt where our immediate interests lay.
56. As for our more long-term interests, there was room for doubt, and the doubts were reflected in the divisions within NATO on these issues. For in the long run the NATO Powers must also find an answer to the untidy problems that lie outside their tidy fences. How to live with Arab and Asian nationalism is one of the most urgent of these problems. Thanks to the United Nations, we have been made aware of its existence and force before it becomes too late to do anything useful about it, before it turns sour and possibly Soviet, and while it is still possible for orderly change to take place. Already since 1945, we are reminded, 600 million people have emerged from dependent to independent status.
57. The Commonwealth - It was a fortunate development that no hard and fast lines formed between the "old" and "new" Commonwealth countries during the Assembly's discussions of North and South Africa, and of colonial questions as such. Had India and Pakistan come to feel that on all such issues the "white" Commonwealth would be ranged against the non-white, the intimate and fruitful co-operation which marked the Korean debate would hardly have been possible. At the same time, too much should not be made of Commonwealth solidarity on Korea, against the United States. Although it was an important political fact, it was conditioned in part by the desire to put off until February any consideration of United States proposals for the "next stage" in Korea.
58. Arabs, Asians and Latins - This grouping, never solid but capable of delivering 34 votes of the Assembly's 60, was the real question mark at this Assembly. These states have a majority and with a few additional votes can obtain a two-thirds vote and thus pass any resolution on which they can all agree. Fortunately for the rest of us, they seldom, if ever, all agreed. But the co-operation of Arabs, Asians and several Latins was sufficiently close to elect to office certain candidates whose qualifications leave something to be desired (e.g. Nosek88 in place of Sharp89 on the Contributions Committee). The potential voting strength worried the more "responsible" delegations constantly, not only on budgetary and economic but on political questions as well. The fear of this grouping and its potential power is now sufficiently clear to all that the Soviet line, which Gromyko repeated at this Assembly, about the United Nations being "a branch office of the State Department," is made ridiculous. It is this fear which makes France and the United Kingdom so eager to stand by the letter of the Charter, and so opposed to the slightest tampering with the veto.
59. The United Nations seemed on the whole to be growing up at this Assembly. It is true that there were many shortcomings. Much was done that should not have been done; much was left undone. Many issues were ignored. Austria was discussed briefly to please the Austrians, but nothing was said about Germany. East-West issues other than Korea were either left until the Assembly reconvenes or not put on the agenda. Other issues were raised only to be postponed. The contentious questions of the definition of aggression were shelved in Committee for two years and of the admission of new members for one year.
60. Hence, though in fact no issue was really settled, the main
lines of effort were worthwhile. Some big issues at least in the
political field have been aired without wars or walk-outs. There
has been discussion with a minimum of intervention. There has been
an attempt to bring peace to Korea and it did at any rate unite the
free world as never before. The General Assembly provided the
occasion for some contact between increasingly isolated groupings
and sharpened the world's acuity in distinguishing shameless
propaganda from an honest accounting.
DAVID M. JOHNSON