Volume #15 - 58.|
Instructions à la délégation permanente aux Nations Unies|
le 15 septembre 1949|
ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBERS|
1. Historical Background
Constitutional Provisions Governing Admission of New Members
"(1) Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
"(2) The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council."
2. There are two constitutional points relevant to these provisions. The first is that the admission of new members is considered to be a substantive rather than a procedural matter, and is therefore subject to the veto in the Security Council. The second point is that, by Article 18 (2) of the Charter, the General Assembly's decision to admit an applicant state must be made by a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting. To gain admittance to the U.N., therefore, a state must receive at least seven affirmative votes in the Security Council, and no negative vote from a Permanent Member; and must also receive, in the General Assembly, the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members present and voting. Since the United Nations began to consider applications from states which were not original Members, only eight countries (Afghanistan, Iceland, Siam, Sweden, Pakistan, Yemen, Burma and Israel) have succeeded in meeting the above requirements. Of these, the first four were admitted in 1946, Pakistan and Yemen in 1947, Burma in 1948 and Israel in 1949.
3. When the General Assembly resumes consideration of this item, it will be faced with the conventional East-West impasse. At the present time there are four-teen states whose applications for membership are outstanding: Albania, Mongolian People's Republic, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Roumania, Bulgaria, Finland, Ceylon, Korea and Nepal. Attached as Appendix At is a condensed record of the consideration given, to September 15, 1949, by the Security Council and the General Assembly to the fourteen applications, in the order in which they were submitted.
4. These fourteen cases can be conveniently grouped into those which have the support of the U.S.S.R. (Albania, Mongolian People's Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Roumania) and those which are favoured by the Western nations (the remainder of the above list). The significant point of difference between these two groups of applicants is that the Soviet-sponsored group has never gained a majority in the Committee on the Admission of New Members, nor seven affirmative votes in the Security Council; while the nine states supported by the Western Powers have all been approved by large majorities in the membership committee and have failed to pass the Security Council only because of the Soviet veto. The General Assembly, at its first, second and third sessions, has made clear its disapproval of the Soviet Union's repeated use of the veto to prevent the admission of new members, and has consistently deplored the Soviet practice of attaching conditions to its vote on new members (e.g. the statement of the representative of the U.S.S.R. in August 1947 and April 1948 that the Soviet Union vote for the admission of Italy on condition that Bulgaria, Hungary, Roumania and Finland were admitted).
5. In an attempt to put an end to Soviet obstructionist tactics, the second session of the Assembly in 1947 adopted a resolution sponsored by the Belgian Delegation, requesting the International Court of Justice to give an Advisory Opinion on whether the Members of the United nations might attach conditions, other than those contained in Article 4, to their affirmative vote for any membership application. On May 25, 1948, the International Court submitted its Advisory Opinion that considerations other than those stated in Article 4 were extraneous and irrelevant to the question of membership. A Commentary on the International Court's majority and minority findings is attached as Appendix B.†
The Question of New Admissions, September 1, 1948-September 1, 1949
6. During the past year, there has been no fundamental change in the positions of the Soviet and non-Soviet worlds on the question of new admissions. At the first part of its third session in September 1948, the General Assembly gave a clear expression of its wishes in a series of eight resolutions (197(III)A to H), and in a separate resolution on Ceylon's application.
7. These resolutions called upon the members of the Assembly and the Security Council to act in accordance with the Advisory Opinion of the International Court; asked the Security Council to reconsider applications which, though they had been examined, had not been recommended to the Assembly, and made specific and sympathetic reference to the applications of Portugal, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Italy, Finland, Ireland and Austria.
8. The application of Ceylon, having been submitted in May 1948, and vetoed on August 18, was given separate consideration by the Assembly which adopted a resolution on December 8, favouring Ceylon's admission and requesting the Security Council to reconsider the case at the earliest possible moment. On December 15, the Council re-examined the case of Ceylon, but again the Soviet Union's veto prevented a favourable recommendation being sent to the Assembly. Two days later, Israel's application, which had been submitted on November 29, was taken up by the Council, but failed to receive the necessary seven affirmative votes.
9. Thus, by the end of 1948 the number of outstanding applicants for admission had risen to thirteen. Of these, the General Assembly had specifically asked the Council to re-exantine each of the cases supported by the majority; the five Soviet satellite applicants had renewed their applications in the last four months of 1948; and both Ceylon and Israel were certain to press for reconsideration of their cases. Finally Korea, on January 19, 1949, and Nepal, on February 13, submitted their applications, bringing to a total of fifteen the outstanding cases which the Security Council was required to examine.
10. During 1949, the Security Council has dealt individually with the applications of Israel. Korea and Nepal. Israel was recommended for membership on March 4, and formally admitted during the second part of the third regular session of the Assembly on May I I. The applications of both Korea and Nepal, however, were vetoed by the USSR, the former on April 8 and the latter on September 7.
11. The remaining twelve cases, including that of Ceylon, were considered together at a series of Council meetings between June and September 1949. On June 16, the representative of Argentina put forward seven resolutions which called upon the Council to recommend for admission Portugal, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Austria and Ceylon. When the Council met again on June 21, the Soviet representative countered this by proposing a more comprehensive resolution which,if adopted, would have had the effect of admitting all twelve applicants en bloc.
12. This was the first time that the Council had had to DEA/ with a specific proposal for a comprehensive "horse-trade" of outstanding applications. Although the majority of the Council spoke against the Soviet proposal as a manoeuvre which lumped all candidates together regardless of whether or not they fulfilled the conditions of Article 4, and which ignored the opinion of the International Court, no member of the Council has appeared anxious to press for a vote on the Soviet draft resolution or on a U.S. procedural motion that a separate vote be taken on each of the twelve applications. Meanwhile the Soviet Union is seeking to gain as much public credit as there is available as a result of its horse-trading offer; and the Western nations have not desired to bring the matter to a vote, no doubt partly because they suspect that some of the friendly applicant states might deplore the loss of this opportunity for admission. On September 13, 1949, after a lengthy procedural wrangle the seven Argentinean resolutions mentioned in paragraph I I above, were put to the vote. In each of the seven cases, the vote was 9 in favour with 2 against, the Soviet veto once more preventing a favourable recommendation being forwarded to the Assembly. On September 15, the Council adopted, by 8 votes to 3, the U.S. procedural motion calling for a separate vote on each application. On the same day, after further protracted procedural exchanges, the Council voted separately on the applications of Albania, the Mongolian People's Republic, Bulgaria,
Roumania and Hungary, all of which failed to receive 7 affirmative votes. The remaining eight applications, which had been put to the vote on September 13, were not voted on again as it was obvious that the positions Of Council Members had not changed. Subsequently, the Soviet proposal for the en bloc admission of all applicant States was defeated. The vote was 2 in favour (Ukraine and U.S.S.R,), 4 against (France, Norway, U.K. and Canada), and 4 abstentions (Egypt, China, Cuba and U.S.). One member of the Council, the representative of Argentina, did not participate in the vote.
Il. Previous Canadian Attitude
13. Broadly, the Canadian Delegation has been associated with the majority in insisting that the admission of new members should be governed in insisting that the admission of new members should he governed by the clear provisions of Article 4 of the Charter, and that other considerations were irrelevant and should not be allowed to apply. Canadian representatives have constantly emphasized the importance which they attach to this principle. At the 1947 Assembly,the Canadian position with regard to the veto on new admissions was specifically stated. Commenting on a suggestion that certain of the applications previously rejected by the Security Council should be sent back by the Assembly to the Council for further consideration, the Canadian representative said that such re-consideration would be futile unless the permanent members of the Council would give an assurance not to exercise their veto power on applications for membership. In the Committee debate, the U.S., U.K., China and France offered to waive their right of veto in this respect but the Soviet representative refused to do so on behalf of his Government.
14. Canada entered more fully into the discussions on new admissions after January 1, 1948, when its representative took his seat for the first time on the Security Council. In the debates which were held in the Council during April, the Canadian representative was instructed to vote in favour of the admission of Burma (which was admitted on April 19, 1948), Italy, Transjordan, Ireland and Portugal. He was instructed to oppose Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and the Mongolian People's Republic; to oppose Finland unless in private consultations with representatives of the U.K. and the U.S. it became apparent that there were good reasons for doing otherwise; and to oppose Austria until such time as the withdrawal of occupation troops was complete, unless, after consultation with the U.S. and the U.K., there appeared to be compelling reasons for voting in Austria's favour. During the discussions on these applications, the Canadian representative spoke in favour of Burma and Italy but, in view of the Council's decision not to take a vote on the other applications, he was not required to outline the Canadian position with regard to them. Canada supported Ceylon's application August 18 when it was rejected owing to the opposition of the U.S.S.R.
15. At the third session of the General Assembly, the Canadian representative again laid stress on the qualifications for admission set out in Article 4 of the Charter, and criticized the efforts of "certain members" of the United Nations who had attempted to introduce irrelevant criteria for membership. In particular, the representative of Canada referred to the question of whether or not an applicant had been a belligerent in World War II, or had diplomatic relations with other members of the United Nations. Both these considerations had been cited by the U.S.S.R. as reasons affecting the eligibility of certain applicants for membership, and neither consideration was relevant. In addition, Canada spoke strongly in favour of the Advisory Opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice in May 1948, which is quoted in Appendix B, and deplored the kind of horse-trading in membership which the U.S.S.R. had proposed in the 1947 Assembly and more recently in the Security Council.
16. On December 15, at the request of the General Assembly, the Security Council reconsidered Ceylon's application. Although nine members, including Canada, voted in favour, Ceylon's application was for the second time vetoed by the U.S.S.R. When, two days later, the Council considered Israel's application, Canada was among the five nations which abstained in the voting. The Canadian representative, explaining this abstention, stated that while we did not wish to defer indefinitely consideration of Israel's application, we desired an opportunity to give the question more careful examination than it had been possible to give it in the short time since the application was received on November 29.
17. The Canadian position on the broad question of new admissions has not substantially changed during 1949. We supported Israel in the Council both on March 4 and in the second part of the third session of the Assembly, The Canadian representative on the Security Council now has instructions to support all but five (Albania, Bulgaria, Roumania, Hungary and the Mongolian People's Republic) of the fourteen outstanding applications. When in June, the U.S.S.R. proposed the en bloc admission of twelve applicant states (Nepal's case was still in the committee stage) the Canadian representative was authorized to oppose the renewed attempt at a constitutionally unjustifiable DEA/. When, on September 13, the Council voted on the seven resolutions proposed by Argentina (paragraph I1 above), Canada voted in favour in each case, although owing to the Soviet veto all seven were rejected. On September 15, when the Council again rejected the five Soviet satellites, Canada voted against in each instance and also opposed the Soviet proposal for the en bloc admission of outstanding applications.
III. Policy Recommendations
18. The Canadian attitude on the fourteen pending applications has been adequately outlined above. In any consideration of the five Soviet-sponsored applications, the Canadian representative might explain his adverse vote by stating that the Canadian Government was not yet satisfied that the Governments of these states could carry out the obligations which the Charter would place upon them. With particular reference to Bulgaria, Hungary and Roumania, he could add that Canada did not consider it appropriate that these states should be admitted to membership while they stood charged with violating their Peace Treaty agreements. As for Bulgaria and Albania, their refusal to co-operate in any way with the United Nations Special Commission on the Balkans was no assurance that they would be good members of the United Nations. The Mongolian People's Republic is not considered in any sense an independent state with control over its own policy.
19. The Canadian position on individual applications, then, is clear. But there are issues of a more general character with which this Assembly may be called upon to DEA/. The first of these will arise out of the Report of the Security Council. This Report includes references to the Soviet proposal, made on June 21, 1949, and rejected on September 15, that the Council should recommend to the Assembly the admission to membership of twelve outstanding applicants en bloc. (It will be recalled that Nepal's application was still in Comnvttee stage on June 21, and therefore was not mentioned in the Soviet proposal. However, it has since been included.) The Canadian position, based as it is on Article 4 of the Charter and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court. is clearly opposed to this suggested bargain.
20. It is possible that the delegation of Argentina, which has constantly opposed the use of the veto with respect to new admissions, may propose that the Assembly ask the International Court for an Advisory Opinion on the meaning of the word "recommendation" in Article 4(2), The object of such a move would be to secure a ruling from the Court to the effect that the last word on an application for membership would be with the Assembly, and not the Security Council; and thereby to deprive the permanent members of their veto on new admissions. In other words, the proposal would attempt to have it juridically accepted that the "recommendation" of the Security Council was of a purely formal nature. A reference to the Court of this nature may seem to be harmless, but it should be borne in mind that a decision of the Court would probably confirm the present interpretation of the Charter on this point and thereby make it all the more difficult in the future to remove the veto on the admission of members, by custom or convention. The Canadian Delegation should consult with the U.S.and the U.K. and other responsible delegations if this proposal is put forward, and should do everything possible to ensure that the major Western powers act in concert.
21. Although no mention is made of them on the Agenda, there are two other pints which may be taken up in the discussion on admissions. The first of these arises from the note on "Universality of Membership" in the Introduction to the Secretary-General's Report for the period July 1, 1948-June 30, 1949. In spite of the frequently repeated arguments expressed by the Secretary-General in favour of the admission of all sovereign states, the present would not appear to be an appropriate time to initiate discussion along these lines in the Assembly. There are two principal objections to striking a bargain at the moment, even if we were so disposed. In the first place the delegation could not contemplate the admission of Hungary, Roumania and Bulgaria until the charges of treaty violation have been disposed of. In the second place, the Soviet bloc would gain more proportionately by adding five votes to their present six than the Western powers would gain by adding eight votes, none of which is certain always to be on their side. The U.S. and U.K. are expected to oppose any serious effort to raise this question, and it would seem advisable for the Canadian Delegation to adopt a similar attitude.
22. The second point which may be raised concerns the question of "Associate Memberships" of the Assembly. There has been some informal discussion of the possibility that the Assembly might choose to exercise its independence in this way. It is possible that, if there is no other way through the existing impasse, some delegation might suggest that the Assembly should, by a two-thirds majority, allow applicant states which had received seven affirmative votes in the Security Council but whose application had been vetoed in the Council, a voice in the General Assembly. The question of qualified membership raises the problem of how far the Assembly could go within the terms of the Charter, in giving privileges of association to non-member states. However, if some or all of the Western candidates would accept non-voting participation in the work of the Assembly, the Canadian delegation could support responsible proposals along these lines.