IO Files: US(P)/A/252

United States Delegation Position Paper

Scale of Assessments for the Apportionment of the Expenses of the United Nations (A/702)1

1. United States Position

The United States Delegation should support adoption of the two resolutions, which are proposed by Committee 5, without comment, if that is proposed by the President of the Assembly. If some Delegation should oppose the report, it will be necessary for the United States to speak. Such opposition is not anticipated inasmuch as the Report and the resolutions were adopted unanimously, with 5 abstentions.

If it is necessary to make a statement, its contents can be only determined in the light of the substance of the remarks at which the reply is directed. The attached statement, made by Ernest Gross in Committee 5,2 summarizes the position of the United States Government, and may be paraphrased as necessary (Press Release #13, Sept. 30, 1948).

2. History in Committee3

The draft resolutions submitted to the Plenary are the product of a series of meetings held by a Committee 5 Working Party of 13, plus Mr. Martinez-Cabanas, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions. The Working Party considered the Report of the Committee on Contributions, which recommended continuation of the 1948 scale with minor adjustments in 1949, and the proposal of the United States Delegation that a ceiling of 33.33 percent should apply to contributions to the administrative budget in normal times.

[Page 274]

The final resolution proposed by Committee 5 is a compromise between the United States position that a one-third ceiling for normal times should be fixed at once and a majority view that a definite ceiling should not be fixed time. The compromise represents many hours of discussion in the Working Party and Committee 5, and gives Substantial recognition to the United States position. It adopts the policy that a ceiling on contributions should apply and establishes a presumption in the preamble that the ceiling will be fixed in normal times at 33.33 percent.

The second resolution proposed by Committee 5 approves the 1949 scale as recommended by the Committee on Contributions. It is the same as the 1948 scale except that it adjusts the assessments for the United Kingdom and Sweden to take account of the addition of Burma to the list of contributors.

Thus, the proposed resolutions satisfy the most important objectives of the original instructions, as modified by the Delegation:

Establishment of a ceiling in principle (accomplished in full);
Fixing a normal ceiling at one-third (presumptive acceptance);
Nominal reduction of United States share in 1949 (satisfied to attain 1 and 2).

3. Possible Development in the Plenary Meeting

The only likely opposition to these resolutions would be from the Delegations which abstained in Committee 5: Argentina, Egypt, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Yugoslavia. The Soviet Union and other Eastern European States (except Yugoslavia) supported the compromise resolution after opposing it strongly in the Working Party.4

  1. United Nations document A/702 was the report of the Fifth Committee on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations. For text of this report with its two accompanying resolutions, see GA(III/1), Plenary, Annexes, pp. 307 ff.
  2. For the statement by Ernest A. Gross, U.S. delegate in the Fifth Committee, see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Third Session, Part I, Fifth Committee, pp. 73–76.

    At the conclusion of his statement Mr. Gross emphasized that

    “… his Government was not asking for a ceiling of 33.33 per cent to be adopted for 1949 nor even for several years to come; it was merely suggesting that the General Assembly should adopt that ceiling as a directive for the Committee on Contributions. That ceiling would be operative as soon as economic conditions and the admission of new members made it possible. The General Assembly should make a decision on that point during the present session, as the Committee on Contributions, in its report, had expressed a desire for detailed instructions regarding its terms of reference in connexion with the ceiling to be fixed for contributions.” (ibid., p. 76)

  3. For the proceedings in the Fifth Committee on this matter, see ibid., pp. 70 ff.
  4. The report of the Fifth Committee on this matter was adopted by the General Assembly on November 18 with no discussion; for text of Resolution 238 (III), see GA(III/1), Resolutions, pp. 97–100.