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Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill, and later accepted by China. The principal decision made at Yalta was that the unanimity requirement should apply to procedures of pacific settlement but that it should not be carried to the extent of permitting a member of the Security Council to take part in deciding a case to which it is a party. Therefore, it was agreed that any party to a dispute must abstain from voting. Both then and subsequently the United States favored strongly the requirement of abstention because it would facilitate the consideration of disputes in the Security Council.
The voting procedure in the Security Council became one of the most controversial issues of the Conference. The special voting rights of the great powers were vigorously attacked by the smaller powers on the ground that the so-called veto, particularly as applied to decisions at the stage of peaceful settlement, is unreasonable and might result in many cases in the inability of the Security Council to take jurisdiction of situations the treatment of which would then be shifted outside the Security Council. For the various reasons referred to below, the great powers strongly supported the Yalta voting formula and it was ustimately accepted by the Conference without change. It constitutes Article 27 of the Charter.
During the debate on the voting formula, the smaller powers asked a series of questions as to its application, and a Subcommittee was created for the purpose of clarifying the doubts which had arisen in the Committee discussion. It was decided to prepare and address to the Sponsoring Powers a formal questionnaire on the subject. Upon the receipt of this questionnaire, the delegations of the Sponsoring Powers began the preparation of a joint statement designed to interpret the formula officially, insofar as such an interpretation of a basic constitutional provision could appropriately be made in advance of its adoption and without any practical experience as to the operation of the Organization or the Security Council.
In the course of the preparation of this statement there arose a point on which the Sponsoring Powers differed. They were at all times fully in agreement that the text of the Yalta formula must be approved without change and that the rule of unanimity of the permament members should apply to decisions of the Security Council during the stage of peaceful settlement as well as during enforcement. However, a question of interpretation arose as to whether under the formula any one permanent member, not a party to a given dispute, could prevent the consideration and discussion of such dispute by the Council. The Department of State between the time of the Crimea Conference and San Francisco, had issued an official statement interpreting the Yalta voting formula in the sense that no one member could prevent such discussion. The United States Delegation placed considerable importance upon this interpretation and its views were shared by the delegations of the United Kingdom, China and France. The Delegation of the Soviet Union expressed the opinion during the preparation of the joint statement that the discussion and consideration of a dispute in the Security Council should be considered a substantive, rather than a procedural, matter. In the exchange of views which occurred on this important point the United States Delegation stressed the imperative necessity of providing for full discussion and consideration of any situation brought before the Security Council before any one permanent member could prevent further action by the Security Council with respect to the dispute. After full deliberation the Delegation of the Soviet Union agreed to this viewpoint, and complete agreement was therefore reached among the great powers on this basic question.
There follows the principal portion of the joint statement of the Sponsoring Powers with which France associated itself. (The Chapters referred to in the first four quoted paragraphs are those of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals.)
“1. The Yalta voting formula recognizes that the Security Council, in discharging its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security, will have two broad groups of functions. Under Chapter VIII, the Council will have to make decisions which involve its taking direct measures in connection with settlement of disputes, adjustment of situations likely to lead to disputes, determination of threats to the peace, removal of threats to the peace, and suppression of breaches of the peace. It will also have to make decisions which do not involve the taking of such measures. The Yalta formula provides that the second of these two groups of decisions will be governed by a procedural vote-that is, the vote of any seven members. The first group of decisions will be governed by a qualified votethat is, the vote of seven members, including the concurring votes of the five permanent members, subject to the proviso that in decisions under Section A and a part of Section C of Chapter VIII parties to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
“2. For example, under the Yalta formula a procedural vote will govern the decisions made under the entire Section D of Chapter VI. This means that the Council will, by a vote of any seven of its members, adopt or alter its rules of procedure; determine the method of selecting its President; organize itself in such a way as to be able to function continuously; select the times and places of its regular and special meetings; establish such bodies or agencies as it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions; invite a member of the Organization not represented on the Council to participate in its discussions when that Member's interests are specially affected; and invite any state when it is a party to a dispute being considered by the Council to participate in the discussion relating to that dispute.
"3. Further, no individual member of the Council can alone prevent consideration and discussion by the Council of a dispute or situation brought to its attention under paragraph 2, Section A, Chapter VIII. Nor can parties to such dispute be prevented by these means from being heard by the Council. Likewise, the requirement for unanimity of the permanent members cannot prevent any member of the Council from reminding the members of the Organization of their general obligations assumed under the Charter as regards peaceful settlement of international disputes.
“4. Beyond this point, decisions and actions by the Security Council may well have major political consequences and may even initiate a chain of events which might, in the end, require the Council under its responsibilities to invoke measures of enforcement under Section B, Chapter VIII. This chain of events begins when the Council decides to make an investigation, or determines that the time has come to call upon states to settle their differences, or makes recommendations to the parties. It is to such decisions and actions that unanimity of the permanent members applies, with the important proviso, referred to above, for abstention from voting by parties to a dispute.
“5. To illustrate: in ordering an investigation, the Council has to consider whether the investigation—which may involve calling for reports, hearing witnesses, dispatching a commission of inquiry, or other means—might not further aggravate the situation. After investigation, the Council must determine whether the continuance of the situation or dispute would be likely to endanger international peace and security. If it so determines, the Council would be under obligation to take further steps. Sim
ly, the decision to make recommendations, even when all parties request it to do so, or to call upon parties to a dispute to fulfill their obligations under the Charter, might be the first step on a course of action from which the Security Council could withdraw only at the risk of failing to discharge its responsibilities.
“6. In appraising the significance of the vote required to take such decisions or actions, it is useful to make comparison with the requirements of the League Covenant with reference to decisions of the League Council. Substantive decisions of the League of Nations Council could be taken only by the unanimous vote of all its members, whether permanent or not, with the exception of parties to a dispute under Article XV of the League Covenant. Under Article XI, under which most of the disputes brought before the League were dealt with and decisions to make investigations taken, the unanimity rule was invariably interpreted
to include even the votes of the parties to a dispute. “7. The Yalta voting formula substitutes for the rule of complete unanimity of the League Council a system of qualified majority voting in the Security Council. Under this system nonpermanent members of the Security Council individually would have no ‘veto'. As regards the permanent members, there is no question under the Yalta formula of investing them with a new right, namely, the right to veto, a right which the permanent members of the League Council always had. The formula proposed for the taking of action in the Security Council by a majority of seven would make the operation of the Council less subject to obstruction than was the case under the League of Nations rule of complete unanimity.
“8. It should also be remembered that under the Yalta formula the five major powers could not act by themselves, since even under the unanimity requirement any decisions of the Council would have to include the concurring votes of at least two of the non-permanent members. In other words, it would be possible for five non-permanent members as a group to exercise a 'veto'. It is not to be assumed, however, that the permanent members, any more than the non-permanent members, would use their 'veto power wilfully to obstruct the operation of the Council.
69. In view of the primary responsibilities of the permanent members, they could not be expected, in the present condition of the world, to assume the obligation to act in so serious a matter as the maintenance of international peace and security in consequence of a decision in which they had not concurred. Therefore, if a majority voting in the Security Council is to be made possible, the only practicable method is to provide, in respect of non-procedural decisions, for unanimity of the permanent members plus the concurring votes of at least two of the nonpermanent members.
“10. For all these reasons, the four sponsoring Governments agreed on the Yalta formula and have presented it to this Conference as essential if an international organization is to be created through which all peace-loving nations can effectively discharge their common responsibilities for the maintenance of
international peace and security”. By the time the joint statement was presented to the Committee it appeared that there was no serious disposition on the part of other delegations to press certain amendments designed to eliminate the rule of unanimity of the great powers with respect to enforcement action. The only open question then as to voting procedure was in connection with peaceful settlement. Many delegations had proposed amendments to alter the voting procedure, several of them with the idea of removing the process of pacific settlement from the requirement of unanimity of the permanent members. This was the purpose of an Australian amendment, which, when offered originally, had enlisted the support of several other delegatjons, and, in a revised form, provided the test of conference sentiment on this problem after the issuance of the Sponsoring Powers' statement. The amendment was rejected, although many delegations abstained when the vote was taken.
During the course of the debate on the Australian amendment and the voting formula itself, it was stressed by the great powers that their special voting position would be used with a great sense of responsibility and consideration of the interests of the smaller nations and that therefore the “veto" would be used sparingly. The eyes of world opinion will be directed upon the Security Council in all of its deliberations with respect to the maintenance of peace and security. Any misuse of the voting procedure would offend this great weight of opinion and impair the development of the prestige upon which the ultimate success of the Organization will depend. Since the great powers have carried the brunt of two great wars in one generation, their interest in building a strong and effective organization will surely make them ever conscious of maintaining this prestige.
Finally, it was emphasized that in the consideration of the problem, the aspect of formal voting in the Council should not be over-emphasized in relation to the process of careful discussion and examination of alternative methods of procedure which in the vast majority of cases could be expected to result in agreement among the great powers. It was pointed out in this connection that for many months the great powers have been working together in the formulation of this Charter and that their efforts thus far have produced complete unanimity without the taking pf formal votes.
THE SECURITY COUNCIL'S PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF
INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY
In addition to the special position accorded the great powers, a distinguishing characteristic of the Security Council is that, in relation to other parts of the Organization, it has primary responsibility for international peace and security. The League of Nations Covenant granted concurrent jurisdiction of the Council and the Assembly with respect to the peaceful settlement of disputes and the taking of enforcement action, whereas the Members of the United Nations in the first paragraph of Article 24 "confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this
responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf”. This feature • of the Důmbarton Oaks Proposals was incorporated in the final
Charter without change, after the defeat of various amendments which attempted to place a share of the ultimate responsibility for peace and security on the General Assembly. All of these proposals, which ranged from assignment of primary responsibility to the General Assembly to the granting of a negative veto to the General Assembly over decisions of the Security Council, were rejected by large majorities. However, as described in Chapter IV of this Report, other amendments were adopted which clarify the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly.
One of the most difficult problems in this connection had to do with the nature of the reports to be submitted by the Security Council to the General Assembly and the extent of the latter's authority with respect to such reports. In the end an amendment was adopted which provided that the Security Council shall submit annual and where necessary special reports to the General Assembly (Article 24, paragraph 3); that these reports shall include an account of the measures which the Security Council has decided upon or taken to maintain international peace and security; and that the General Assembly shall receive and consider the reports. (Article 15).
In another important respect the functions of the General Assembly and the Security Council are interrelated and placed in scale. Under Article 11, the General Assembly may consider the "principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments." Under Article 26, the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee, is responsible for formulating “plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments." This responsibility is placed on the Security Council in order “to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources".
THE BINDING EFFECT OF DECISIONS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
A third characteristic of the Security Council is to be found in the principle set forth in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and incorpo