Volume #14 - 90.|
VOTING PROCEDURE AND USE OF VETO
Memorandum from Head, United Nations Division,|
to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs
March 13th, 1948|
The attached memorandum on the problem of voting in the Security Council is the one referred to in the draft Canadian statement to the Interim Committee which you approved on Friday, March 12. It contains a more detailed development of the proposals given in summary form in that statement. The memorandum is, with the exception of several deletions, the same as the one submitted to the First Committee of the General Assembly in November 1946.9
Such proposals in final form are supposed to be submitted on March 15 to the Interim Committee. They will then presumably be considered by a Sub-Committee set up for that purpose.
I am taking a copy with me to New York and, if you approve, I shall submit it as the Canadian proposal.
THE PROBLEM OF VOTING IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL
By Article 24 of the Charter, the Members of the United Nations have conferred on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and have agreed that, in carrying out this responsibility, the Security Council acts on their behalf. The Security Council is moreover required by Article 24 to act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The Charter has thus imposed on each individual member of the Security Council, permanent and non-permanent, the obligation to exercise its rights and responsibilities as a member of the Council not in defence of its own special national interests but in defence of the interests of the United Nations as a whole. This applies to the votes which a member casts in the Security Council as well as to its other actions in the Council.
The Canadian delegation therefore submits for the consideration of the Interim Committee the following proposals for procedure in the Security Council:
(1) All the Members of the United Nations have under Article 33 of the Charter undertaken that, if they are parties to any dispute the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, they will first of all seek a solution by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice. The spirit of this undertaking applies to situations which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute. Therefore, the rules of procedure of the Security Council should provide that, when a state brings a dispute or a situation to the attention of the Security Council, it should submit in writing a preliminary statement setting forth the steps which have been taken by the states concerned to carry out their obligation under the Charter to seek a solution by peaceful means of their own choice before coming to the Security Council.
(2) The Security Council ought not to he asked to consider frivolous complaints or complaints which do not appear to he brought in the bona fide belief that they involve disputes or situations likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. Therefore, the rules of the Security Council should provide that a state which brings a dispute to the attention of the Security Council should submit in writing a preliminary statement showing in what manner the continuance of the dispute is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. Similarly, a state which brings a situation to the attention of the Security Council should submit in writing a preliminary statement showing in what manner the continuance of the situation might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute.
(3) Apart from the special jurisdiction which may be conferred on it under Article 38 by all the parties to any dispute, the Security Council's jurisdiction is restricted to international disputes and situations which are likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. The preliminary question to be settled therefore when a dispute or a situation is brought to the attention of the Security Council is whether the Council has jurisdiction to deal with the matter, that is to say whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. Therefore, the Security Council should work out agreed procedures to ensure that the early stages of the consideration of a dispute or situation by the Security Council are directed towards settling the preliminary question whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. It may be necessary for the Council in these early stages to discuss the facts of the case and the claims and the counter-claims, but the purpose of this initial examination should be, not to arrive at a recommendation on the seulement or adjustment of the dispute or situation, but to decide the preliminary question of jurisdiction.
(4) The primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security was conferred on it by the Members of the United Nations to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations. The rules and practices of the Security Council should therefore he based on a recognition of the fact that the Security Council is under an obligation to deal with disputes and situations when it has decided that they come within its jurisdiction. Every member of the Security Council is under an obligation to see that prompt and effective action is taken by the Council. These obligations of the Council as a whole and of its members individually can he discharged only if the Council without delay pursues one or more of the three courses of action set forth in the relevant provisions of the Charter (paragraph 2 of Article 24, paragraph 2 of Article 33, paragraph 1 of Article 36 and paragraph 2 of Article 37). It may pursue these courses in any order it sees fit. The three courses of action are (a) to remind the parties to a dispute of their undertaking to settle it by peaceful means of their own choice; (h) to call upon the states parties to a dispute or directly involved in a situation to adopt such particular peaceful means or methods of adjustment as the Council considers most likely to succeed;
(c) to recommend terms of settlement to the parties to a dispute.
(5) Under the proviso to paragraph 3 of Article 27 of the Charter, a party to a dispute is required to abstain from voting in decisions taken under Chapter VI. This proviso would be rendered of no effect if a permanent member of the Security Council could veto a decision that a dispute exists or that it is, itself, a party to a dispute. Therefore the Security Council should work out agreed procedures to ensure that no state is judge in its own cause.
9Voir le volume 12, le document 512.
10 Notes marginales :/Marginal notes: