Reference: Your teletype No. 195 of November 5.?
With two-thirds of the session behind us, an appreciation of the work of the Assembly to date may perhaps be useful.
2. The Assembly decided at the opening of the session that its agenda should be completed by December 8. The disposition of the question of Korea, placed on the bottom of the agenda of the Political Committee, remains uncertain, but with this exception it appears at this date that sufficient progress has been made to ensure that the agenda will be completed on the date fixed.
3. When the session commenced, with an agenda consisting for the most part of old problems that the Assembly had discussed at length in previous sessions, it was expected that it would be dull. This expectation was based in part on the assumption that the great political issues would be under discussion during the Eighth Session but outside the Assembly. In fact, no Korean Conference has been held, and no meeting of the Great Powers on Germany has been arranged. Those items which the Assembly has discussed have not been unimportant, but those with the greatest political implications -- Korea and United Nations personnel policy -- still remain to be dealt with in its final weeks.
4. In summary, an assessment of the general atmosphere of the Assembly might be made in very broad terms in relation to the cold war, colonial questions, and questions of economic aid to under-developed countries, and the extent of co-operation as between those countries which we regard particularly as our friends.
5. In so far as the attitude of the Soviet bloc is concerned, it cannot be said that any hopes for a relaxation of international tension, further to the small signs apparent during the past seven months, can be soundly based on anything that has happened so far at this Assembly. On the contrary, the Soviet bloc has firmly stated its traditional policy on all matters of concern without the slightest sign of attempting to meet the views of its opponents. In some respects their attitude has been one of marking time, and if hostility has not disappeared it has been less in evidence and has not increased. In matters of little direct concern to the Soviet bloc, they have taken little or no part and have not, as heretofore, introduced propaganda into almost every subject. Their speeches on matters which they feel concern them directly have often been bitter, but not as virulent as in the past, and in their social contacts Soviet Delegates have been much more friendly than in times past.
6. On colonial questions, including Tunisia and Morocco, and other questions relating to the development of self-government, and in items relating to racial discrimination, the anti-colonial group have had the problem of pressing the Assembly for further action in matters on which it has become apparent that an early solution by Assembly action will not be achieved. The debates have therefore lacked a sense of reality and have given the impression that the countries concerned, while no less deeply impressed than before with the importance of the aims for which they strive, are acting under the compulsion of ensuring that principles are maintained, that their position is not prejudiced, and perhaps that public opinion may slowly be moved, rather than in the hope of real immediate achievements.
7. The under-developed countries have also faced in the Second Committee the problem as to the best manner of gaining Assembly support for policies which they are fully aware require the co-operation of the economically-developed countries and on which immediate action is not yet a practical possibility. Their activities have therefore been directed towards gaining acceptance in principle of proposals which they hope will be implemented in the future for the establishment of an international economic development fund and an international finance corporation. The debates on these subjects and the resolutions under discussion are of importance in the mobilising of public opinion, but there is no expectation of results being quickly achieved. In the field of technical assistance it was encouraging to find that continued support for the programme is assured. Canada's announcement of increased support was timely and well received.
8. In all of the matters so far before the Assembly there has been no open divergence of view of any importance among those countries with which Canada usually acts in concert. It is nonetheless true that in behind the scenes discussions as to the wisdom of the United States in including certain items on the agenda and in respect of the Korean and United Nations personnel items, there has not always been an identity of outlook.
9. In support of these broad impressions we have set out below our comments on the principal items with which the Assembly has been concerned with some reference to those which it faces in the immediate future.
10. Assembly discussions have brought out a divergence of views as to whether negotiations with the Soviet bloc might now be fruitful and as to the appropriateness of discussing at this Assembly certain items involving condemnation of the Soviet bloc in specific matters.
11. Although the cards have seemed stacked against any meeting of the Powers on Germany, and even on Korea, many delegations have urged at this session the desirability of private talks being held among the major powers. Mr. Krishna Menon made this one of his major points when he spoke for the Indian Delegation in the opening debate in Plenary. His proposal was finally adopted in modified form during the Disarmament debate when the Western countries agreed that the Disarmament Commission should be asked to consider appointing a sub-committee of the powers principally concerned to seek in private an agreed solution. The powers principally concerned would in this case probably include Canada.
12. Impelled by the obvious shortcomings of open diplomacy on the United Nations model, the middle and smaller delegations made more appeals at this session than ever before for attempts to be made in various fields to break the present deadlock through private negotiations, in or out of the United Nations. Perhaps no one made this point so strongly as the leader of the Canadian Delegation in his opening statement in Plenary when he warned, with due acknowledgment of our debt to the press, that we must not allow open diplomacy to become frozen diplomacy.38
13. Two prime examples of United Nations issues which have become or are becoming hardened from exposure exclusively to open diplomacy are the questions of Chinese representation and Charter revision.
14. The question of Chinese representation in the United Nations was, by agreement among the Western Powers, postponed once again for the duration of the present session in the present calendar year. A split between the United States and the United Kingdom was thus avoided, and the Chinese Communists were given a few months in which to demonstrate their good faith and intentions. Their refusal to come to a political conference on Korea will be taken by the United States as evidence of their bad faith and as an argument for extending the Assembly's postponement of any consideration of this question; though in fact the Chinese Communists cannot be expected to be too enthusiastic about a Conference in which they are refused in advance the recognition they want.
15. In the meantime, the issue colours every election of a United Nations body and many political issues, including the much disputed composition of the Korean Political Conference. For this reason more than any other, the United States worked hard to secure the election of Turkey rather than Poland to the Security Council and eventually succeeded despite the fact that the election was supposed to be for the so-called "Eastern European seat" and that Turkey, as recently as 1952, represented the Middle East on the Council.
16. The Chinese representation issue also precluded once again any serious discussion of the admission of new members. Since to have admitted any of the Communist candidates would have weakened the logic of the United States position in refusing to admit Communist China, the United States Delegation could not consider any version of the package proposal offered by the Soviet Union in the Ad Hoc Committee, either in the form of the familiar fourteen-member package or in the "little package", proposed this year for the first time, consisting of Italy, Finland, Bulgaria, Roumania, and Hungary. As a result, the Assembly finally agreed to adopt unanimously a resolution setting up a Committee of Good Offices (consisting of Egypt, the Netherlands, and Peru) who will see what they can do to facilitate agreement among the countries concerned and report to the present session or at the latest to the ninth session. This resolution will have the effect of shelving what is at present an insoluble problem for another year.
17. If public opinion in the United States has made any immediate solution of the question of Chinese representation in the United Nations virtually impossible, a similar hardening of United States public opinion may be in the making on the question of Charter revision. Shortly before the Assembly opened, Mr. Dulles, in a statement to the American Bar Association, made it appear that the United States was committed to amending the veto when the Charter came up for revision in 1955-56. He urged the Bar Association and other private groups in the United States to study how the Charter could be improved with particular reference to the veto.
18. Whether or not it was intended to do so, Mr. Dulles' efforts to promote a vigorous United States stand against the veto frightened the Soviet Delegation and made them strongly oppose any preliminary preparations for Charter revision whatever. As a matter of practical arrangements, however, some preparations are obviously going to be needed if the proposed Charter Revision Conference to be called by the 1955 Assembly is to have any hope whatever of accomplishing its task in a business-like way. Under the present Charter, the agreement of the Soviet Union and the other permanent members of the Security Council is necessary for any revision of the Charter to be made. On the face of it, this gives the Soviet Union ample protection; but they are nevertheless fearful of American intentions and of talk of extending the powers of the General Assembly at the expense of the Security Council, or other manoeuvres to reduce the scope of the veto. Nor are they alone among the permanent members in seeking to protect their veto power: both France and the United Kingdom would be most reluctant to lose theirs or have it reduced; and so, for different reasons, would China.
19. It was, therefore, inevitable that any resolution recommending that preparations be made for the Charter Revision Conference would be controversial. This was indeed the case. Nevertheless, a useful resolution amalgamating several similar ideas was co-sponsored by Canada in the Sixth Committee and finally adopted almost unanimously in much the form we desired.
20. Most delegations of Western Europe, to say nothing of the Arabs and Asians, deplore the timing of the United States moves to have the Assembly discuss such loaded propaganda items as forced labour and prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, bacteriological warfare, and finally, (in the middle of negotiations for getting the Korean Political Conference to convene) the United States Army's report on communist atrocities in the Korean war. None of these items need have come up at the present session. All the major allies of the United States would have preferred to have kept them back until the Korean Political Conference had at least met and failed, or until some other turn of events not of our causing had terminated the more conciliatory phase of foreign policy on which the USSR had apparently embarked last spring. But none of the main allies, after the debate over Indian participation in August, was prepared to carry its disagreement into public opposition to the United States on any of these points, while the United States Government, more acutely aware of the pressures of Congress than of its allies, suffered no such inhibitions and could therefore have its way anytime it really wanted it.
21. An added difficulty for those who thought that it was a mistake to put these items on the agenda at this session was that few countries will now vote against the inclusion of a subject on the Assembly's agenda, so wide is its acknowledged competence to discuss matters. For example, the Assembly decided by 53 votes to 5 (Soviet bloc), with only India and Guatemala abstaining, to put the Korean atrocities item on the agenda, although the Asians who voted for inclusion did not welcome the submission of the item.
22. The only one of these "cold war" items which has so far been debated is bacteriological warfare. Dr. Mayo (of Clinic fame) presented sufficient documentary evidence to clinch the point that the so-called "confessions" of American airmen, circulated to the Assembly with much fanfare by the Communists last winter, were extorted by means which left those who heard him wondering what they would not have signed their names to under similar pressures. This chapter, therefore, may have been of some permanent value in nailing down a communist lie which could otherwise have been more readily dusted off and used again at any time. Moreover, the United States Delegation gained some credit for their restraint in not submitting a resolution condemning those who make charges and refuse to have them investigated.
23. In justification of their decision to include some propaganda items despite signs of a more conciliatory and business-like approach on the part of the Soviets, the United States Delegation would say that the Communists, here as elsewhere, have more respect for a "two-fisted" diplomacy (to use Mr. Lodge's phrase) than for a "soft" policy of "empty gestures" and concessions; that they react better to strength than to weakness, and that the United Nations is the place to "show them up" before the world. Having in mind not only the importance of solidifying United States public support for the United Nations against the increasing number of corrosive domestic influences, but also his own political future in this country, Mr. Lodge has been attempting to "put the Russians in their place" to the satisfaction of his own immediate audience. He has shown less concern for the reactions of other parts of the world, and has been less forthcoming in his consultations with his principal colleagues, while, in the interests of security from press leaks, he has greatly curtailed the freedom of his delegation to discuss matters of common concern with the rest of us. In the case of the atrocities report, there was no advance consultation whatever, although we understand that this was not the fault of the United States Delegation so much as the achievement of a fait accompli by the Defence Department and Congress. At any rate the combination of poor consultation and a primary concern for domestic rather than foreign reaction have been, as we see it, the basic reasons why the Western team in the United Nations, although the cracks have been papered over, is not pulling together as it should.
24. Where most of the allies of the United States were treading softly in an effort not to disturb the improved international atmosphere, the United States Delegation doubted that the atmosphere had really improved and suspected that the underlying motive in the shift of Soviet tactics was to divide the Western Alliance. From their point of view, until there were Soviet deeds to prove the sincerity of the new Communist posture, it was better for the United Nations to "face facts" rather than to try to protect itself from reality with a thick layer of cotton wool.
25. Despite some old-fashioned Vishinsky billingsgate when we discussed bacteriological warfare, Korean atrocities, and the western disarmament proposals, it may be premature to conclude from such evidence that the Soviet Union has pulled back from the "new look" of its post-Stalinist foreign policy and reverted to "cold war as usual" in the United Nations. This is the way in which some United States press and delegation circles interpret Soviet performance here, but it is, in our opinion, a hasty over-simplification. Rather, it has seemed to us as if Soviet delegates are growing tired of saying the same old things year after year, and would now prefer to cultivate the deliberate impression, among the smaller delegations especially, that if only the Americans would not be so tiresome and bellicose, "everything in the garden would be lovely".
26. This is, of course, a very intelligent Soviet propaganda line in present circumstances and might have more effect if it came from less suspect quarters. It is true that a good many more criticisms of the United States than usual have been heard in the corridors, but the Russians have, for the most part, to thank the Americans rather than congratulate themselves for this state of affairs.
27. Perhaps the current disarmament debate has brought out more clearly than at any previous time at this session the dissatisfaction of the smaller and middle powers with the present paralysis in the United Nations and the deadlock between the major powers, stuck behind long dead formulations of their respective positions. Mr. Vishinsky's arid repetition of the old Soviet line -- "prohibit the bomb and we'll see about control" -- was pretty depressing. It was hard for the smaller powers to see what they could do to help break the deadlock. The faithful old philosopher-orator, Dr. Belaunde of Peru, complained that the smaller powers in the Assembly were becoming nothing more than a kind of Greek Chorus, brought onto the stage to comment sadly upon the tragedy of the Heroes whose fate they share without sharing in the responsibility for their actions. The Egyptian representative was still more forthright, calling upon the smaller countries to take up their "rightful role" in the United Nations and not remain passive bystanders in a universal catastrophe. Their speeches were symptoms of the sense of frustration which is probably more acute at this Assembly than before -- not because matters are worse, but because we all thought we had reason to hope in recent months they would be much better.
28. The topics which have taken most of the time of the Political Committees have been the North African and one of the two South African items. The question of Indians in South Africa has been completed but the debate on South Africa's racial policies is still to come. In the case of the North African and of the apartheid items, the outstanding fact is that the new Administration in the United States has, at this its first complete session, adopted a more conservative approach to the problem of competence. This has also been evident in the Fourth (or Trusteeship) Committee, where the United States has itself been under attack for going through the motions of making Puerto Rico independent and self-governing without making full Puerto Rican sovereignty a fact, and has, like the Dutch in the case of Surinam and the Antilles, maintained that it (and not the Assembly) is competent to decide when one of its territories has "graduated".
29. The impact of the "new look" in United States policy, and the narrower interpretation of the domestic jurisdiction clause of the Charter (Article 2(7)) now being given by the United States, came as something of a shock to the countries most vitally interested in promoting Arab independence in Tunisia and Morocco. Had they known how nearly the United States came to voting against "the right of the people of Morocco to complete self-determination in accordance with the Charter", they would have been still more shocked. In fact the United States did vote, so to speak, "against the Charter" in Committee but, thanks partly to Canadian influence, abstained on the principle in Plenary.
30. United States opposition was decisive and both the Tunisian and Moroccan resolutions failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed for adoption. This leaves on the books last year's exhortations to the parties to negotiate but it has given the Arabs a sense of grievance which could become dangerous if the French do not make the best possible use of the next few months to improve matters, at least in Tunisia.
31. The French Delegation again refused to take part in any debate on Tunisia and Morocco and absented themselves from Committee and Plenary when these subjects were being discussed. In the knowledge that they would be supported by the United States this year, the French decided to discourage the introduction of any compromise resolution comparable to the Brazilian resolutions adopted at the last session. They calculated that the Arabs could be counted upon to propose resolutions which would go too far to be adopted, and they hoped that if no well-meaning delegation introduced compromise proposals, the result might be that the Assembly would adopt no resolution on North Africa at its present session. Contrary to our expectations, their tactics succeeded, and they won their calculated risk, although by any yardstick their policies in North Africa during the past year have been almost the reverse of those which received the blessing of the Assembly a year ago.
32. French tactics would have been futile without the behind-the-scenes support of the United States Delegation. The support of the United Kingdom Delegation and of the other colonial powers, the French could more or less take for granted in view of their restrictive interpretation of Article 2(7), but for the United States to discourage a moderate resolution was a reversal of the position it had adopted at the last session. It did so, we suspect, not only on grounds of competence but because it wanted to keep the French Government trying for ratification of the European Defence Community and firm in their fight in Indo China.
33. Unlike the United States, Canada's position on Tunisia and Morocco was almost unchanged and we therefore found ourselves a step ahead of the Americans, from the Arab point of view, on most of the votes. Largely in deference to France, however, we abstained on the much watered-down version of the Tunisian resolution which would have been no substitute for last year's more complete resolution which we had supported.
34. It can at least be said in favour of this year's Assembly debate on North Africa that it did not seem to have any violent repercussions in French North Africa as it did last year, but this is probably attributable to the more effective measures of French control taken in the interim rather than to any moderation in the presentation of the Arab case. What weakened the vitality of the debate in the Assembly was the complete lassitude with which the Arab case was heard by the United States and most of the Latin American countries which last year had made a serious attempt to produce a constructive resolution on middle ground.
35. As in the First Committee's debates on North Africa, the "cold war" was remarkably little in evidence in the Ad Hoc Committee's debates on the South African item and the general tone of the debate was moderate and restrained.
36. The discussion of the treatment of Indians in South Africa brought about the adoption of a resolution which condemned South Africa and appealed to it not to implement discriminatory legislation, while at the same time re-appointing a Commission which would attempt to mediate, and in addition investigate. A previous Commission had failed to achieve any results and many states considered the appointment of a new one was of doubtful utility. The proposal to investigate the affairs of a member state and the direct appeal to a country to alter its legislation appeared to many countries as going very far indeed in disregarding that part of the Charter which excludes the competence of the Assembly in matters of domestic jurisdiction. This resolution therefore caused difficulty not only for those states which have consistently taken a conservative view as to the competence of the Assembly in matters of domestic jurisdiction, but also for a number of other states which take a more liberal view of the Assembly's competence. It is indicative, therefore, of the widespread disapproval of South Africa's policies that the resolution was adopted by a large majority with South Africa alone voting against it. A number of countries which had strongly opposed particular parts of the resolution which they considered clearly involved interference in matters of domestic jurisdiction, should logically have voted against the resolution as a whole but they abstained or as in the case of the United States, voted in favour of it. Canada abstained throughout on the various parts of the resolution and on the resolution as a whole and therefore perhaps showed a trifle less opposition to a restrictive interpretation of the competence of the Assembly than a number of other middle-of-the-roaders.
37. In spite of some bitter exchanges between the Arabs and Israel, the Ad Hoc Committee's debate on Palestine refugees was on the whole maintained at a level in keeping with the primarily humanitarian nature of the problem. In view of the political situation, in which the Arabs maintained that all refugees must be repatriated and Israel as stoutly refused, the Committee tacitly agreed with the Director of the Relief and Works Agency that "rehabilitation of all refugees is for all practical purposes impossible", and extended the Agency's mandate until June, 1955. When this item comes up next year, however, the Assembly will have to come to grips with the problem of what to do with the refugees after 1955. So far, the Arabs have refused to agree to accept responsibility for the bulk of the refugees in return for financial aid from the United Nations towards their resettlement.
38. After the sense of unreality which pervaded the Assembly's discussions of the North and South African items, it was a refreshing change to come to the Burmese item, for here action recommended by the General Assembly was being taken to ease what everyone almost without exception agreed has been an intolerable situation for Burma which it has borne with remarkable patience for the past four years.
39. No sooner had the debate begun than the United States representative was able to make the dramatic announcement that agreement had been reached between the Bangkok Committee of representatives of the United States, Nationalist China and Thailand under which about 2,000 "hard-core" Chinese of General Li Mi's army will be repatriated by air to Formosa before November 23rd. The Burmese Government, the announcement continued, had concurred in this agreement although it was not a party to it. It had, however, agreed to suspend military operations in order to facilitate the evacuation which it hoped would be only the first step in the evacuation or surrender of the 10,000 or so other members of Li Mi's forces, including not only Chinese but those locally recruited in Burma. In the circumstances, the First Committee agreed to postpone further consideration of this item until after November 23. The United States Delegation has announced that the United States will continue to work for a more complete solution. In the meantime, the Burmese are keeping their fingers crossed.
40. On the other Far Eastern question on our agenda, Korea, there has been a somewhat uneasy partnership of silence among the principal powers concerned on the Western side to bury the hatchet and the subject with it. The United Kingdom Delegation has been explicitly under instructions to make amends for the distressing public display of basic differences of policy which rejoiced the Russians and bemused the world last August. Having taken their stand on the inclusion of India at the Korean Political Conference, and failed to carry the necessary two-thirds of the Assembly, the Commonwealth Delegations -- or at any rate the United Kingdom and Australia -- relapsed with noticeable relief into the "sportsmanlike" attitude of "accepting the verdict of the Assembly" despite the fact that the verdict had been imposed by a minority and that the Communists in and out of the United Nations soon made it perfectly apparent that if there was to be a Korean Political Conference the Assembly, or the United States which it permitted to speak for it, would have to modify if not change their tune.
41. From the outset, it was recognized by all Commonwealth Delegations that if the Communists remained obdurate, it would be only a matter of time until the Assembly would have to discuss the real issue of composition. There is today almost universal agreement, even including the United States Delegation, that as soon as Mr. Dean gets tired of sitting it out with the Communists in Panmunjom, Korea will have to be thrown back into the uncertain hurly burly of an Assembly debate. It remains to be seen whether the United States may now be more ready to examine less rigid formulae for a compromise solution of the admission of neutrals to the Korean Political Conference, and whether the Commonwealth Delegations will once again be prepared to take issue publicly with the United States if they are not.
42. Be that as it may, there is every expectation here that the composition of the Korean Political Conference will be fully discussed before the Assembly adjourns, and that that debate, when and if it comes, will be the highlight of the present session. Although not yet publicly discussed, it has already been much debated in private groups. The problem of how to get a Korean Political Conference going has overshadowed this session, as the problem of breaking the Korean Armistice deadlock on the prisoner of war question overshadowed the last. A solution this year may depend, as it did last year, on the willingness of the major Commonwealth Delegations to depart, if necessary in public, from the confines of current United States orthodoxy, knowing that if the object is attained, differences of approach in the making of agreement will soon be forgotten. What inhibits such action this year to a far greater extent than last is the fear of Syngman Rhee's violent and possibly disastrous reaction to an Assembly decision to admit India to "his" conference table.
43. The gloomy figure of Krishna Menon, brooding in conspicuous places around the Assembly, has become almost a symbol of the Assembly's preoccupation with the problem of a Korean settlement. For so far Korea has been left conspicuously in the background except for the opening Plenary debate in which Canadian, United States and United Kingdom statements hinted at a neutralized united Korea, its security guaranteed by the major powers concerned, as the ultimate solution, if the Communists would agree.
44. In the economic field , the Second Committee has been having an interesting time in its annual sparring contest between the developed and the under-developed countries.
45. Despite serious uncertainties which were only partially allayed concerning the future of United States contributions to technical assistance, the Committee adopted unanimously a resolution on the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance which by implication set a goal of $25.3 million for 1954. Its resolution on the related item concerning technical assistance in public administration was also adopted unanimously.
46. The Second Committee is now discussing the economic development of under-developed countries under two main heads: Question of the Establishment of a Special Fund for Long-Term Low Interest Loans and Grants-In-Aid; and the Status of the Proposal for an International Finance Corporation. Resolutions on both of these projects have been tabled by sponsors from the under-developed countries and are at the stage where they are being discussed by either formal or informal working groups with a view to seeing whether they can be made acceptable to the developed countries. There is also a resolution on the table, sponsored by the United States and not yet voted upon, which takes the form of a declaration on the part of states members of the United Nations that they stand ready, when there has been sufficient progress in international supervised world-wide disarmament, to ask their peoples to devote a portion of the savings therefrom to assist in the economic development of under-developed countries.
47. These two proposals -- for the fund and for the international finance corporation -- have now been under discussion for several years. In accordance with the wishes of the developed countries, any final decision regarding their establishment has up to now been put off, and the General Assembly in successive years has called for expert studies, reports from the International Bank and so on. This year, the under-developed countries are determined, if possible, to come closer to their goal. The disarmament declaration referred to above, which was originally introduced by the United States at the 16th session of the Economic and Social Council last summer, is in itself a tribute to the persistence of the under-developed group since, though it postpones the establishment of the fund indefinitely, it accepts the idea in principle. Canada has indicated that it will support the United States resolution on this subject.
48. The under-developed countries are not forcing the issue at the Eighth Session but are determined to secure resolutions which would make it impossible, or at least exceedingly difficult, to avoid a show-down at the Ninth Session. They are displaying a fair amount of skill and self-control in achieving this objective. Speeches have been much shorter than last year and comparatively few resolutions have been tabled; apparently in order to avoid raising any extraneous issues until the big questions have been settled. Though the chips are down and both sides are fighting hard to secure their basic minimum requirements, on the surface at least the atmosphere of the Committee is much better than last year. There has so far been no real head-on clash. The experience of last year, when the under-developed countries forced through two resolutions -- on nationalization and international commodity prices -- against the united opposition of all the developed countries, may have suggested that this is not in the long run a very profitable policy. But the Chairman of the Committee, Leo Mates39 of Yugoslavia, can claim at least some of the credit, as he has most earnestly sought to avoid any votes or procedures which would tend to harden the position of delegations prematurely.
49. One new element in the situation is an increased divergence of view among the developed countries themselves. Thus, the Netherlands has moved much further towards the under-developed countries on both the fund and the corporation than have the rest of us, though France, Belgium, and even in some respects the United Kingdom, have been more conciliatory than the United States on the subject of the fund. Canada and Belgium, as heretofore, have regarded the finance corporation as an idea well worth exploring, whereas the United Kingdom and France are opposed in principle.
50. Although the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) has benefited from the business-like direction of its Chairman, Dr. George Davidson,40 it has as in years past suffered from the amorphous and topsy-turvy character of its subject matter. For the countries with the lowest standards in such matters as freedom of the press, women's rights and human rights generally have been somewhat sanctimoniously urging those countries with a better record in actual practice to subscribe to resolutions and declarations which, although in many ways unexceptionable, are not, in our opinion, the best means of carrying forward these worthy goals.
51. These difficult and sometimes embarrassing issues have been dealt with partly by evasion, partly by compromise and partly by postponement or reference to the Economic and Social Council or the Human Rights Commission. The Covenants on human rights are being referred back to the Human Rights Commission who have, perhaps fortunately for those delegations which insist upon it, not yet developed a satisfactory "federal state clause". The Freedom of Information resolution, on the other hand, was watered down until it is at least harmless.
52. One of the main reasons for the reversal of the United States position on human rights which was announced last May was the Administration's fear of Congressional. support developing for the Bricker amendment, For this reason, too, the United States Administration has agreed to shelve the ratification of the Genocide Convention but this did not prevent the United States Delegation from supporting., tongue in cheek, a Sixth Committee resolution urging countries to ratify.
Trusteeship Matters and Non-Self-Governing Territories
53. Colonial questions have again this year brought to light in the Fourth Committee the fact that the gulf between East and West is not always uppermost in the minds of delegates. For some delegations, the gulf between groups within the free world community on colonial issues can be deeper. This divergence of views has probably not, however, given rise this year to more heated debate than in previous years.
54. The pressure against Administering Powers was spearheaded by the same delegations, such as, apart from the Soviet bloc, those of Guatemala, India, Mexico, Egypt, and Yugoslavia. Mrs. Menon, this year's Indian delegate on the Fourth Committee, may have lacked the tact and debating abilities of Mr. Rau, who represented India last year. A number of flare-ups in the Committee could be attributed more to the manner in which certain issues were first introduced by Mrs. Menon, rather than to the controversial nature of the subjects. This is probably true in both the question of 'factors" and the question of the Central African Federation.
55. It has been said, on the other hand, that a more subtle approach to colonial problems in general has so far been noticeable this year on the part of some delegations, which were too ready in the past to follow the lead of the extreme anti
colonials. If this trend towards a more rational approach to colonial issues is not always shown in the final votes, it can nonetheless be detected in a considerable number of speeches. For instance, the awareness that the Committee on Information from non-self-governing territories might be deprived of representation by the Administering Powers, or the warning of the United Kingdom delegation that they might walk out of the Committee if the question of Central African Federation were discussed, undoubtedly led the less extreme anti-colonial delegations into a greater caution, if not objectivity.
56. In spite of a relatively weak chairman, the procedural entanglements have been few and the majority of the Committee has shown a clear desire to get on with the work. For the uninitiated delegate who comes into contact with the Fourth Committee for the first time, (as was the case this year with Lord Hudson who sat in for a few weeks for the United Kingdom and who left the United Nations with an unfavourable opinion of this Committee's activities), the merit of the Committee's proceedings may not be strikingly apparent. At any rate, if one of its purposes is to provide the middle and small nations with an opportunity to let off steam about colonial problems, it is at least fulfilling this task.
57. For the Canadian Delegation, the Committee's work at this session will bring back the memory of Dr. George Patterson41 who, after years of devoted services to young Canadians through the YMCA, and later, on behalf of the Government, in the Far East, died while serving as Canadian spokesman on the Committee. He will be warmly remembered and sadly missed.
Administrative and Budgetary Matters
58. As in the Political Committee, the Fifth Committee's biggest problems still lie ahead: the Administrative Tribunal's awards of compensation to dismissed employees; the Secretary-General's report on personnel policies, including his request for an extension of powers; and his plans for re-organizing the Secretariat, abolishing the posts of his eight Assistant Secretary-Generals, and cutting the Secretariat by 15% during the next two years.
59. The first reading of the budget is now nearly complete. It has gone through with a minimum of discord, thanks chiefly to the fact that the Secretary-General did not contest cuts proposed by the Advisory Committee, and only the Soviet Delegation has this year asked for block cuts to be made in the budget. As for the revised scale of assessments, the United States have been brought down, as promised last year, to contributing one-third of the United Nations budget. The USSR and a few other countries have had their assessments increased correspondingly. Although the Soviet delegate has protested, he has never indicated that his government might not accept the increase. There has been no change in the Canadian assessment. In the interests of harmony, we have, with the other countries working on a per capita ceiling, agreed to forego the application of this principle for the time being.
60. It is unlikely that the Assembly will decide to change its opening date to the Spring, despite the many good reasons for doing so, because of difficulties raised by the United Kingdom and other western European countries whose parliamentary business is particularly heavy at this time of year. The Advisory Committee is expected to recommend that the Assembly should in future meet on the first Tuesday of October instead of the second Tuesday of September, but whether this will result in shortening the sessions or not, remains to be seen.
61. Apart from the question of Charter revision which we have already touched on, the Sixth Committee has made exceptionally good progress in disposing of a rather heavy agenda, for the most part of a relatively non-controversial nature. Once again, the Soviet Union still maintained what can only be called its old-fashioned if not reactionary concept of the sovereignty of states. Every other "bloc" in the Sixth Committee has been split on most issues but the Soviets never.
62. As this report has been written as primarily a political assessment, we have, I am afraid, done less than justice to the labours of the other Committees, touching on their problems and accomplishments only when they seemed to have political as well as technical significance.
63. To sum up, although the political atmosphere of this session seems improved, although the Soviets are more co-operative and the Arabs, Asians and Latins more moderate in the pursuit of their goals, nevertheless the Assembly has not yet borne fruit such as might have been expected to come from these improvements. Indeed, it is apparent that while the appearances are better, the underlying realities remain the same. Delegates often say "if only the Russians would behave", or "if only we had less propaganda", or "if only the Great Powers would really negotiate", or "if only the small powers would do more and talk less", or "if only there was less of a gap between word and deed". But the fact of the matter is that while the Great Powers spar with each other as to where and when and whether to talk to one another, the United Nations remains the one place in which they do talk to one another. With all its procedural wrangles and irritations and painful slowness, it is perhaps helpful in the midst of the shuffle to realize that a mammoth multilateral negotiation on close to a hundred subjects of international concern has been going on in this seven-ring circus and that we are much better off under the shadow of an atomic or hydrogen war than we would be without it.
DAVID M. JOHNSON
Voir:/See: L.B. Pearson, "Statement by the Chairman of the Canadian Delegation to the Eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly", United Nations, New York, September 23, 1953. Department of External Affairs, Statements and Speeches, 53/37.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia.
George Davidson, sous-ministre de la Santé nationale et du Bien-être social; représentant, délégation à la huitième session de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Dr. George Davidson, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare; Representative, Delegation to Eighth Session of General Assembly of United Nations.
G.S. Patterson, consul général à Boston; représentant suppléant à la huitième session de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. G.S. Patterson, Consul-General in Boston; Alternate Representative, Delegation to Eighth Session of General Assembly of United Nations.