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N man's quest for freedom from want and from fear and for free
dom of speech and of worship, he has created many governmental institutions. His national government and his local government help him to obtain peace and prosperity within the nation in which he lives. Many of his problems cannot be solved, however, on a national or a local basis. War, disease, poverty, and many other scourges of mankind do not recognize national or local boundaries. To solve these problems man has created a great variety of international organizations, unions, bureaus, commissions, and committees.
The international organization, in its most elementary form, is only one step removed from the international conference. It emerges from a simple decision of national governments to deal with a particular subject in concert or through multilateral diplomacyrather than in a series of separate negotiations or through bilateral diplomacy. Whenever the basic decision to act in concert produces an institution for common action, an international organization is created.
The pattern of these international organizations is not a tidy one. They range in size from the United Nations, with its 3,000 employees, to the Central Bureau of the International Map of the World on the Millionth Scale, which has no full-time employees. Some of them are old, like the Universal Postal Union (1878); some are new, like the International Authority for the Ruhr (1949). Their activities are global, like those of the World Health Organization; and they are regional, like those of the Caribbean Commission.
All of these organizations taken together do not compose any "world government.” They cannot be neatly divided into an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. Iaken together, however, theyform a vast and complex network of functional organizations which contribute to the safety and well-being of the peoples of the United States and of the rest of the world. Because of its very complexity, the work of many of these organizations goes unnoticed, and their contributions to world peace and prosperity are not easily calculated.
These international organizations present many of the same types of administrative problems with which we are familiar in Washington, in our State capitals, and in our town halls. Such problems take a special form in the international field. Recruitment of competent
personnel, always a difficult matter, is complicated by factors of language and national prestige. The collection of money for operating the agencies is hampered by the absence of any system of international taxation and by differences in currencies. The balancing of the budget, abroad as at home, is a serious issue.
One of these administrative problems offers peculiarly arduous tasks in the international field: the avoidance of duplication and the elimination of obsolete and unnecessary agencies. Some organizations created to solve a difficult but transitory problem have to be dissolved when they have served their purpose. Others of a more permanent nature require continual adaptation to changing circumstances, particularly with respect to the coordination of their activities. For example, efforts are directed toward bringing within the framework of the United Nations certain international organizations with similar functions, and, within the framework of the Organization of American States, international organizations that operate exclusively in the inter-American area.
Despite the obstacles, the international agencies in the work of which the United States participates are making notable contributions to the well-being of every American. They are helpful to all of us in our quest for freedom and security. For this reason, Americans should be as well informed as possible about the structure and functions of these international organizations. To this end, the present volume is being published.
JOHN D. HICKERSON
Inter-American Statistical Institute .
International Bureau of Weights and Measures .
International Council of Scientific Unions and Associated Unions
International Hydrographic Bureau .
International Meteorological Organization
Pan American Institute of Geography and History
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
1 Concerned solely with technical military problems.