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The Institute on world affairs the Institute on world affairs held each year on the San Diego State campus brings together statesmen scholars military leaders and businessmen from all over the world. The purpose of this institute is the understanding of the problems and challenges that face man gained through knowledge and discussion. This year's theme was toward a new world and here to introduce this session speaker is Professor Minos generalise director of the Institute. Fawaz been with us. Violent conflict has been possible of human to be a viewer ever since history was written and certainly before I. Am going to comment with it. The instinctive need. People have had. For some substitute to this kind of animal like behavior in spite
of all the efforts was continuing. And as you heard earlier today were in the throes of one of the most disturbing and challenging conflicts in this country of the world has ever known. So we ask ourselves the question as I speak of this evening little deal. Where are we heading in terms of this. To beat. The United Nations which has been. Criticized from top to bottom ever since since its inception. Criticize because. Theoretically it has not performed as it was expected to. And very often not very fairly sometimes quite justly. Where are we headed. If one stops for a moment.
To consider that we have a personal intimate interest. In this group of buildings that we picture sitting in New York City. Of all the administrative offices. And the parliamentary hall. And the council halls in the committee me. If we only pause for a moment to consider that this compendium. Has indeed an intimate relationship. With our own personal survival. Perhaps we wouldn't think of it as much as an abstraction. But rather as something very tangible and indeed very vital. These things we know and in this new world that we're trying to explore here the title the future of the United Nations
is a scenic Why not. Now even more than the title. A more important title is The. Ability of the person to handle it. I imagine that most of us here could at some point or other to some degree to either make an academic evaluation read the right books. On the right news dispatches and end up with something. But there are a few people who are in a position as Dr. Francis Wilcox to speak from personal knowledge and in this we are deeply grateful this evening. Dr. Wilcox comes to us. From position is dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Across the continent to attend this session.
He is distinguished in many capacities he holds his degree of Doctor of political science. From the University of Iowa who originally graduated but is also a doctor in that field in the University of Geneva grad of the School of International Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and a Fellow of the Hague Academy of international law. He holds a number of international and honorary degrees all I need not pass any more time introducing him to his own expertise will speak for itself. Listen to him. We are indeed on to have him with us one small part of France as well. Thank you very much to generalised for those very kind and complimentary remarks. Far more than than I deserve. It's a great privilege for me to be here. You know this institute is again quite a reputation in the country and I think that our
director general us and his colleague Dr. kitchen deserve a great deal of credit for the work that has been done in this area in the field of international relations and particularly with this annual summer institute so it is a really great privilege for me to be here to join with you tonight in the discussion. Now my subject is so broad and so difficult in a way to handle very concretely and in 50 minutes or so that I have selected certain topics that I want to touch upon things that I consider possible alternatives towards tards alternatives to the United Nations are our methods of strengthening it. But you know one of my favorite stories doesn't have anything to do with this topic but I want to tell it anyway. It's about a businessman who went to home one night and he encountered a rather disreputable bum not very far from his home.
And mom ask him for some money and here he was. Hat was all crumpled and torn as shoes were and shined as he was unshaven and he really a very disreputable looking person and the businessman set out on eyes I give you money you go you go buy liquor all a man says I don't drink. But then you spend it on cigarettes and tobacco. Well mum said I really I don't smoke well and you'd probably spend it on the women. But he says I don't I don't have anything to do with the women. Well businessman's that's very interesting tell you what I'll do I'll give you $20 if you'll come down to my house for just five minutes. The bums as well write what you want I want to introduce you to my wife I want her to see precisely what happens to a man it doesn't drink smoke all run around well. And as I said that doesn't have anything to do with my speech. No relationship whatsoever.
But there is a story that does that is also one of my favorite ones a story that at least Stevenson used to tell about a young couple who came into a metropolitan area one Saturday afternoon. They drove up to a parsonage and knocked at the door and asked the minister if he could perform a marriage ceremony. Well said the minister I'll be glad to do that. If presuming on the assumption you got your license and are ready to go. The young man said Well I'm very sorry says I stopped down at the court house and the place was closed and the clerk of the court I understood was out of the city for the weekend so he says I'm sorry I just don't have the license that you say is required. Well the minister said in that case is nothing much I can do about it. The law is the law on the whole just have to wait and the young man with a very plaintive look and said to the minister officer couldn't you say just a few words of prayer in order to tide us
over the weekend. Well now what I am planning to do tonight with this topic is to at least get started so that we'll have an opportunity in the discussion period to talk about some of the fundamentals which I obviously won't have time to get into in the course of my more formal remarks during the brief 22 years of United Nations history is Dr. generalises pointed out. The United Nations has been criticized by all kinds of people. It's been criticized by friendly opponents on the left because they say it's too weak to keep the peace. And it's been criticized by opponents on the right because they say it has too much authority and will somehow deprive the United States of its sovereign rights. I don't belong to either the left or the right in this respect but it does seem to me that those who have been worrying very much about the United Nations and the excessive power that it has can rest fairly easily in their beds because after 22 years the United Nations is still made up of sovereign states whose agreement is necessary before it can do
anything of any real importance. Thus both Israel and the USA are had to give their consent before the U.N. was able to put its troops in the Middle East and help resolve that crisis. And similarly in Cyprus that government had to give its permission in order to get U.N. troops in to that territory. When Frederick the Great. Long ago was presented with the famous peace plan of the Abyei sent Pierre. His aide stood over him Holly read it and said Sir how do you like this. This plan that's had such a fine reception and Frederick looked at him and said you know it's a perfect plan. He said it is perfect in every detail all we need now is the consent of Europe and a few similar trifles unwittingly Frederick put his pudgy finger squarely on the central problem of our time. We have created an international organization we've charged it with the responsibility of keeping the peace and we haven't given it the power to do its job effectively. The simple fact is until the nations of the world are willing
to surrender a little more of their sovereign authority to the United Nations it can never really come to grips with the critical issue which confronts us and that is the power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union at the present moment or more generally what I would call the management of our international community. Even so working around the periphery it can and can accomplish a great deal. Sometimes it can be the difference between war and peace as I think it was in the Suez crisis in 1056 and sometimes it may prevent a confrontation of the great powers as it did in the case of the Congo and perhaps even in the last Middle East crisis. Nevertheless the criticisms of the United Nations continue and during recent years I've heard a good many comments from the foreign ministers and diplomats from European countries particularly about the changing character of this organization that we build in San Francisco in one thousand forty five and almost unanimously these people reflect the growing apprehensions of Europeans generally who may still
believe in the basic objectives of the United Nations but who see the influential position which they once held in its councils is slipping away. Now they don't talk about quitting the United Nations. They do complain bitterly about the unwieldy character of the General Assembly and they point out that it's hard for the countries of Europe to get anything like a square deal in the in the new United Nations. And when they talk about getting things done they don't talk about the U.N. They talk about the Common Market and 8:0 and organizations of the European area. While in this country and in Western Europe the crisis in confidence in the United Nations it seems to me is due in part to the difficulties that the organization encountered in the Congo the great financial problems that it has run into in the last few years. The repeated attacks of the Soviet Union upon the organization and in large part to the actual and potential impact of the new countries of Asia and Africa upon the peacekeeping machine. Once again as a result of the recent Middle East crisis the
U.N. is being subjected to a rather prolonged criticism. Why couldn't it keep the peace in the Middle East. Why did not withdraw U.N. peace forces from the Middle East so quickly when Nasser demanded that it be done. Why can't it bring about a peace settlement now. Well in this connection we have to remember that for 20 years it was the United Nations that held the Middle East together with scotch tape and baling wire and the small United Nations emergency force at least in this recent crisis. The U.N. did serve two very useful purposes. It offered a point of contact where problems could be aired and secondly if the United Nations had not been available for negotiating perhaps the risk of the involvement of the great powers would have been much greater than it was actually. Some will argue that it was the force of Israeli arms that brought about the ceasefire in the Middle East but it was extremely helpful to have the United Nations machinery available so that the ceasefire decision could be acted upon and put into effect. And now the big
task of course that faces the U.N. is to help work out some kind of long range solution to the Middle East problem and to find some way to enable the Arabs and the Israelis to live together in peace. The essentials for such a plan I think you're fairly well aware of. We must have an end of the belligerence in the Middle East. We must have some kind of recognition of the existence of Israel as a sovereign entity a sovereign state. The withdrawal of Israeli forces from Arab territory generally is satisfactory guarantee for the passage of ships through the Gulf of Achab and through the Suez Canal. A guarantee for political independence and territorial integrity to countries in the area an end to the dangerous arms race and some equitable arrangements for that remarkable city of Jerusalem. Now this is going to take an awful lot of time to work out. It's not something that's going to fit into place quickly overnight but I'm sure the United Nations must have a considerable role to play in bringing some kind of peaceful
solution to the Middle East again. And when you look at the history of the organization and the fundamental assumptions on which the United Nations was based in the first instance the record really isn't a bad one in fact it's quite good in this respect. There was the assumption for example in San Francisco that the great powers would continue to demonstrate the unity that they had shown in winning the war. They would continue to demonstrate that unity in winning the peace. There was the assumption that peace treaties would be concluded and the United Nations would be able to function in a relatively peaceful world. The job would be to maintain the peace the peace and not to create it. And there was the assumption that reasonably prompt solutions for the critical post-war problems would be forthcoming and the United Nations could deal with longer range problems. And finally there was the assumption that wars in the future would be no worse and no more devastating than the wars of the past. When all these assumptions as you know have been demonstrated to be erroneous by the
passage of time. Had it been assumed that the great powers would soon be quarreling among themselves or that they would find it impossible to agree on peace treaties with Germany and Japan had it been assumed that economic reconstruction and recovery would require sustained and large scale international cooperation for a long period rather than just on an emergency basis and had it been assumed that nuclear weapons within seven years would be uncontrolled in the hands of at least three of the major powers United Nations charter might have been a much different instrument. Well in the beginning. These are famous words as you know in the beginning the United Nations was largely the creation of the Western world at the San Francisco conference there are only four countries from the continent of Africa. Now there are 36 or 37 African members depending on how you count them. The UN rationale was Western It was rooted in the legal philosophy and the cultural patterns of the West. Its parliamentary leaders
came from the west the members of the Secretariat who were most instrumental in running the organization were people who came from Britain France the United States the Netherlands Belgium and so on. And by and large the organization did what the United States and the Western countries wanted it to do. Now of course all this is changed. U.N. membership and U.N. object These are no longer Western. I went to the General Assembly as a delegate of the United States in one thousand sixteen. And as I walked in I could see the three people who were the leaders at least externally of the of the General Assembly there was Dag Hammarskjold from Sweden the secretary general there was Fred Boland from Ireland the Irish ambassador who was president of the assembly there was Andrew Card from the United States who was undersecretary and secretary in charge of General Assembly affairs a year later I walked in the three seats were then filled by from Burma. By
Moggi slim from Tunisia and by C.V. an Arab Seaman from India which is I think only symbolic of the changes that have been taking place in the organization. Eleven hundred twenty three members a majority of course are now from Africa and Asia and this is given great rise to great concern in the West. Won't the General Assembly vote against the United States and the West. Won't the countries of Asia and Africa take action that is inimical to the interests of the West. Can we trust the cause of world peace to an unwieldy organization like the General Assembly the United Nations. Now the critics of these new countries tend to raise three fundamental postulates or criticisms. First that the Afro Asians tend to vote with the Soviet Union. Secondly they tend to create a double standard of justice and morality in the United Nations you know one level for the free world and another for the communist world. And that they may behave in an irresponsible manner and thus weaken the efforts of the U.N. to keep the peace.
So far things have gone reasonably well. We haven't lost very many really important votes the Afro-Asian have for the most part behave reasonably well. They have not by any means always voted with the Soviet Union Indeed many times the Soviet Union votes with them. But many times of course they vote with us. That is the Asian African countries not the Soviet Union. But the divisive factors in Asia in Africa have been much greater than the things that tend to pull them together. The divisive factors are differences in language culture literature history tradition background geography politics and economics. These things tend to pull them apart. You look at that great sweep of states from Morocco through the Japan. The difference between Nigeria and Burma for example are some olive and Jordan are what you name any two countries in the area. The differences are very obvious.
We're now. Looking at the alternatives with this brief background in mind. What is it we can do in the United Nations to improve our posture there. Or perhaps to change the management of power in the world so that we can avoid some of these difficulties and dilemmas that have arisen. Some people have suggested a system of weighted voting by which the voting of states is more commensurate with their power and prestige and influence in the world. And it is pretty ridiculous to have. The Maldives Islands coming in with 90000 people in the same voting power that the Soviet Union has or the United States that it doesn't really submit itself to much logic does it. Now weighted voting has been used successfully in the World Bank where contributions determine the voting power and you know it's been used in the council in the European community of nations but it is much harder to devise a voting system for a
general international organization that would combine workability and acceptability and any formula that you can think of would have to put a put a good deal of emphasis on population. And when you think of India with 400 70 million people and the possibility of Red China was 700 million this perhaps is not as as as inviting to us in the West as it might be. It wouldn't be true if the voting power were accorded in terms of financial contribution because they're the Western countries contribute about 75 percent of the budget of the United Nations. But this would be open to serious objection because it would draw an invidious distinction between rich and poor members and we don't like that putting too much emphasis on materialism. The contribution scale would not seem to be any better criterion than population and the state department of course is conducting a lot of studies
on this problem they've come up with a conclusion that there isn't any way that you can weight votes that's reasonable. That would be particularly helpful to the United States and to the and to the Western world and I think that is a correct and correct answer to the problem. In any case we can assume that the little states would resist such a change to the better and they would resent the idea of second class citizen ship that they would have fewer votes than the other countries they consider their vote as their badge of membership in the international community and they would fight to the last ditch before they gave up their privileged position in the general assembly. So I don't think even in spite of the fact that some Republican leaders and others have advocated that we move in the direction of a weighted voting for the assembly. I really don't think this. While it's while it's logical I don't think it's really a very rational approach in the light of the world situation. A second approach to the problem and what to do with the UN
revolves around Senator Fulbright proposal for a concert of the free nations. This objective he said should be pursued as far as possible within the United Nations in large measure however he said it must be pressed outside to the UN through instrumentalities that reflect a limited but real community of common interests. There are two points in his proposal which disturb me very much in the first place unless one ignores the deep attachment of the little countries to the United Nations. That organization must remain far more than he suggests a symbol of our aspirations. It's got to be more than just a symbol of our aspirations. United Nations has many important functions that it alone can perform both in connection with the maintenance of peace and in the social and monetary and and economic field. Moreover I wouldn't doubt the wisdom of using the NATO-Russia lions as a nucleus of machinery for any concert of the free nations.
Theoretically of course you could do this either by expanding the geographic scope of NATO drawing it beyond the Atlantic area or by creating a new security system and inviting everybody who wants to come in and work together to defend themselves against. Whatever is going to attack. Them then form a new organization. But who else would it would be would join NATO. I think Malta has suggested that she might be willing to. The Certainly most states in the neutralise camp would be unwilling to join any such concert because of its military nature and because of the apprehension that it might be an anti-communist alliance. And I don't think the prospects for any significant expansion of NATO's work in the economic field is very apparent because NATO is too closely associated with nuclear weapons and military power in the minds of many many people to enable it to tackle economic problems except in a very restricted way.
Sure the United States and Canada might cooperate more extensively in the economic work of the common market than the coal and steel community in the European Tomic energy community but even that is limited. This kind of cooperation can be helpful if it is kept within its proper perspective. And the central question here it seems to me is this. The degree of cooperation between the U.S. and the European countries that is consistent with our broader interests in the United Nations if it is based on the simple proposition that the free world must federate or unite in order to defeat the communist menace then it could lead to harmful results. Since a great many states resent the implications that they must choose up sides to be either for us or against us in the struggle between the east and the West and we do not want to put them in that difficult and embarrassing situation. Moreover despite our desire to cooperate more closely with our Atlantic partners
the United States must continue to play its role on the world stage. We are bearing heavy responsibilities in Latin America Africa and the Middle East Southeast Asia and South Asia in which the countries of Western Europe are not prepared to share except to a very limited extent and you see now Britain getting ready to pull out or at least drastically reduce its commitments in the area west east of Suez. So I think they would not be in a very good position to participate with us in anything like a real partnership in meeting our global problems during the Kennedy administration you heard a good deal of talk about the grand design and is was a little bit a little mystique attached to this people weren't quite sure what was being meant. But apparently what was meant was that the Atlantic community would serve as a kind of coal around which other. Free world organizations and other organizations would be grouped and that this
power and the strength and the dynamism of this. Grouping of states would serve as a counterpoise a counterweight to the dynamism and the thrust of Soviet and communist powers. Now since Lyndon Baines Johnson took over the White House more emphasis of course as been put has been put for obvious reasons on domestic problems on and on South Vietnam and very little has been said about Mr. Kennedy's grand design the word has been dropped from the from the from the administration's dictionary. The mission in ministration leaders not taking a more pragmatic approach to the world a world of great diversity says Mr Rusk with many centers of power and influence coming into better focus. I hope they they do. They recognize that a world community is not within our grasp now or in the foreseeable future. And with that I think I'm inclined to agree. They also realize
that regional organizations are unequipped to cope with many important problems that are global in character and which are only made more difficult by attempting to dis distort them or to squeeze them into a regional mold. Ambassador Stevens and but the problem this way for the foreseeable future he said we will have to pursue world peace and world order in a combination of ways bilaterally regionally and globally through the United Nations. There must be continuous flexibility about this. Each of these methods has its limitations as well as its advantages. Now a third possibility lies in developing the regional agencies like the Organization of American States the Arab League the Organization of African Unity NATO SEATO sent though the Warsaw Pact so that they might perform better the important task of peacemaking and peacekeeping. This you know it was the dream of Winston Churchill who talked in terms of
creating a series of regional agencies which would serve as the great pillars on which the world organization would ultimately rest. But now admittedly the regional organizations have been something less than successful. They've been helpful but they have not fulfilled the functions of the charter hoped they would. The OAS is perhaps the one great exception. By and large it has helped settle a good many of the disputes that have arisen in the Western Hemisphere largely because of the power and the strong leadership of the United States of America and most of these organizations lack I think the three great qualities which you look for in a in an international organization. To be successful leadership a strong state who is willing to take the lead in making sacrifices and contributing towards a common cause. Membership that is members in a regional and or regional grouping that make good collaboration possible. And finally unity of purpose. These are the three qualities a Jew look for. And this is the trouble with
Toward a new world
Future of the United Nations, part one
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San Diego State University
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program features the first part of a lecture by Dr. Francis Wilcox, Johns Hopkins University.
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Lectures recorded at San Diego State College's 25th Annual Institute on World Affairs. The Institute brings together world leaders to discuss issues in politics, culture, science, and more.
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Producing Organization: San Diego State University
Speaker: Wilcox, Francis O. (Francis Orlando), 1908-1985
Speaker: Generales, Minos D.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-9-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:54
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Chicago: “Toward a new world; Future of the United Nations, part one,” 1967-12-21, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 22, 2022,
MLA: “Toward a new world; Future of the United Nations, part one.” 1967-12-21. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 22, 2022. <>.
APA: Toward a new world; Future of the United Nations, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from