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fields, and human rights and fundamental freedoms. This list is not, however, intended to be exhaustive or final (Article 13).

The relationship of the Economic and Social Council to the Assembly in these matters is a subordinate one. Although the Economic and Social Council is itself one of the principal organs of the Organization and is intended to carry on the bulk of the work of the Organization in regard to such matters, it acts always under the authority of the General Assembly. The General Assembly itself is specifically empowered to initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of promoting cooperation in all fields within its jurisdiction. This jurisdiction includes the coordination of the activities of specialized agencies brought into relationship with the United Nations, which is effected by the Economic and Social Council partly by direct dealings with the agencies, and partly through recommendations to the General Assembly and to the Members. The General Assembly, would of course be free to act or not to act upon such recommendations as it might see fit.

In the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, the references to the promotion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms was included only in Chapter IX dealing with the Economic and Social Council. In the Charter, however, this responsibility, stated in even broader terms, is mentioned in Chapter IV which relates to the General Assembly, as well as in Chapter X dealing with International Economic and Social Cooperation. It is clear that both organs have responsibility in this field, although again the relationship of the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly is essentially a subordinate one. The Position of the General Assembly within the Organization

From the foregoing description it is clear that the General Assembly occupies a central position in the Organization. Although it cannot invade the functions which have been specifically assigned in security matters to the Security Council, it will nevertheless wield great authority and influence throughout all parts of the Organization and will affect the development of basic policies of the entire Organization.

Unlike the functions of the Security Council, which are primarily political and in case of need may be repressive in character, the functions of the General Assembly will be concerned with the promotion of constructive solutions of international problems in the widest range of human relationships, economic, social, cultural and humanitarian. The General Assembly, therefore, may well come to be regarded by all nations as the forum in which their interests can be effectively represented and promoted.


(Chapter V)


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There can be no debate after this war, as occurred in 1918, over which country won the war. This war was won not by any one country but by the combined efforts of the United Nations, and particularly by the brilliantly coordinated strategy of the great powers. So striking has been the lesson taught by this unity that the people and Government of the United States have altered their conception of national security. We understand that in the world of today a unilateral national policy of security is as outmoded as the Spads of 1918 in comparison with the B-29's of 1945 or the rocket planes of 1970. We know that for the United States and for other great powers—there can be no humanly devised method of defining precisely the geographic areas in which their security interests begin or cease to exist. We realize, in short, that peace is a world-wide problem and that the maintenance of peace, and not merely its restoration, depends primarily upon the unity of the great powers.

There were theoretically two alternative means of preserving this unity. The first was through the formation of a permanent alliance among the great powers. This method might have been justified on narrow strategic grounds, but it would have been repugnant to our traditional policy: It also would have contained elements of danger because it might well have been interpreted as a menace by nations not party to it. Accordingly, this method was rejected.

The second method was through the establishment of a general security system based upon the principle of sovereign equality of all peace-loving states and upon the recognition of the predominant responsibility of the great powers in matters relating to peace and security. This was the policy adopted by this Government as reflected in the Moscow Declaration of October 30, 1943, in which the Four Nations declared :

"That their united action, pledged for the prosecution of the war against their respective enemies, will be continued for the organization and maintenance of peace and security.

“That they recognize the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, and open to membership by all such states, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security.

In the framework of the United Nations, the provisions for the General Assembly give recognition to the principle of the sovereign equality of all nations. The provisions for the Security Council recognize the special responsibilities of the great powers for maintaining the peace and the fact that the maintenance of their unity is the crucial political problem of our time.


The Security Council is that agency of the Organization which is charged with the principal responsibility and empowered to take the necessary action for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is so organized as to afford full opportunity for the great powers to maintain in the post-war era their essential unity. It is to be in continuous session in order to assure that at all times it feels the pulse of the world and is prepared to take appropriate remedial measures when the earliest symptoms of irregularity become apparent.

The responsibilities of the Security Council are two-fold: primarily to induce, by every conceivable method, peaceful solutions of inter

national disagreements; and, secondly, as a last resort, to apply force, even to the employment of military measures, in order to maintain peace or to suppress any breach of the peace. The manner in which the Security Council will undertake to perform its functions of pacific settlement and enforcement are set forth in Chapters VI, VII, and VIII. With the exception of Article 26, which specifically assigns responsibility to the Security Council for formulating plans for the regulation of armaments, Chapter V is concerned with the fundamental structure and powers of the Security Council. It is this aspect of the Council that is dealt with here.


It was taken as axiomatic at Dumbarton Oaks, and continued to be the view of the Sponsoring Powers at San Francisco, that the cornerstone of world security is the unity of those nations which formed the core of the grand alliance against the Axis. Their continuous consultations in San Francisco with resultant unity on main Conference issues were one of the outstanding features of the Conference and augur well for the future. We cannot base our national policy solely on independent action. We can support our interests effectively in Europe and Asia only by patient consultations through which we will extend the area of agreement among the great powers. Only by such discussions will our influence be felt.

Within the United Nations, the Security Council is the vehicle for continuing and developing this process of consultation. In this respect, it is without precedent in international relations; it differs from the traditional alliance and is unlike the Council of the League of Nations. It will provide us with an effective means of direct participation in the discussion of issues which may vitally affect our own strategic interests. The prestige of the Security Council, its influence in world affairs generally, and its success in the maintenance of peace and security will depend upon the degree to which unity is achieved among the great powers.

The special position accorded to the most powerful nations is reflected in the composition of the Security Council and in the character of its voting procedure. Both of these issues involved the problem of establishing a satisfactory working relationship with the smaller nations. In addition, the question of voting raised the problem of the proper form in which to cast the relationship of the great powers among themselves. Permanent Members

The long-standing problem of the proper kind of relationship to establish between greater and smaller powers presented itself in unprecedentedly acute form because of the dramatic way in which the present war has demonstrated the importance not only of population and space, but as resources and industrial development, in the successful control of potential or actual aggression. At Dumbarton Oaks the Sponsoring Powers had provided for a Security Council of eleven members in which the five leading powers among the United Nations would have permanent seats. This provision for permanent membership was approved at San Francisco (Article 23, paragraph 1). Proposed amendments, a few of which would have abandoned

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the concept of permanent members but most of which were designed to increase the number of such members, did not command substantial support. Non-Permanent Members

It was decided at Dumbarton Oaks to propose that a majority of the seats on the Security Council should be occupied by smaller states to be elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. To assure a measure of rotation in the election of such states, it was provided that a retiring member could not be eligible for immediate re-election. In this manner the Sponsoring Powers recognized that the concern for international peace and security is of necessity a general one, and that, therefore, the interests of all states should be taken into account.

A large number of amendments were submitted at San Francisco with the purpose of enlarging the Security Council by increasing the number either of permanent or of non-permanent members, or both. Other amendments would have required the additional members to be selected from a particular region or regions. Still others would have abandoned the idea of permanent, in favor of non-permanent, membership.

The United States and the other Sponsoring Powers pointed out the importance of making a sharp distinction between the functions of the Security Council and those of the General Assembly, and the consequent necessity of keeping the Security Council small in the interest of efficiency. The majority opinion in the Conference supported this point of view, and the Dumbarton Oaks provision on membership was accepted. (Article 23, paragraph 1.) Participation of Non-Members of Security Council

While the number of full-participating members of the Security Council was fixed at eleven in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, provision was also made for the participation of any Member of the Organization in the discussion of any question which the Council deems specially to affect the interests of that Member. Further, the Security Council was obligated to invite any Member of the Organization not having a seat on the Council and any state not a Member of the Organization to participate in discussion, if it is party to a dispute under consideration in the Council. These provisions were incorporated in the present Charter (Articles 31 and 32). Various amendments of these provisions were presented to the Conference. One would have left the Security Council no discretion to determine whether the interests of a given state may be affected. Others would have placed all parties to a dispute on an equal basis with members of the Security Council in respect to voting and other matters. These amendments were defeated, but the Conference adopted a proposal of the Sponsoring Powers that, in the case of a non-member of the Organization, the Security Council shall lay down the conditions for the participation of such non-member in its deliberations.

Furthermore, the Conference adopted, in accordance with a Canadian suggestion, the very important amendment incorporated in Article 44, which is discussed under the heading “No Taxation Without Representation” in Chapter VII.

Election of Non-Permanent Members

Other proposals made at San Francisco were concerned not with the number of non-permanent members, but with the criteria to be employed by the General Assembly in electing them. Those states which might be classified as “middle” powers by virtue of the nature of their contributions to the prosecution of the present war, took the position that it was entirely in accord with the philosophy of the Security Council, and, indeed, a necessary element in its successful functioning, that their eligibility for election as non-permanent members be given special recognition. At the same time, there was a strong sentiment in favor of explicitly recognizing the desirability of an equitable geographical distribution among the non-permanent members.

In response to these views, the Sponsoring Powers took the initiative in proposing, and the Conference adopted, an amendment which provides that the General Assembly shall elect the nonpermanent members of the Security Council in accordance with two principles : “due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution”. Article 23, paragraph 1).


Even more than the composition of the Council, the voting procedure highlights the special position of the great powers.

The Yalta voting formula provides for a system of qualified majority voting in the Security Council, which represents an advance over the procedure in the Council of the League of Nations. In no instance is the unanimous vote of all of the members of the Council required; in all cases a majority vote of seven is sufficient to take decisions. When the question under consideration is one of procedure, the vote of any seven members, whether permanent or nonpermanent, determines the position of the Security Council. On all other matters, decisions of the Council must be made by an affirmative vote of seven members including those of all of the permanent members, except that in decisions with respect to peaceful settlement of disputes (Articles 33 to 38) a party or parties to a dispute must abstain from voting.

The issue of the voting procedure in the Security Council was the most difficult one which confronted the nations in the preparation of the Charter. At Dumbarton Oaks it was not possible to reach agreement on these issues, which bring into sharpest focus the entire problem of the adjustment of the relations among the great powers, and between them and the other nations of the world. While there was no question at Dumbarton Oaks as to the necessity of unanimity of the great powers with respect to enforcement action, it was not possible to reach agreement on other aspects of voting procedure and consequently the entire matter was left open. The Dumbarton Oaks Proposals were completed in respect of voting procedure at the Crimea Conference in February, 1945, when President Roosevelt submitted a proposal which was approved by Marshal

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