Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State for the White House1
The Organization of United
United Nations System
basis for participation
The United Nations and its related agencies deal with a wide variety of problems which are of major concern to the United States as a leading world power. This is the fundamental reason for United States participation. The United Nations is an instrument for the accomplishment of certain objectives. Our own national interest is served by the use we make of the instrument, and by our effectiveness in preventing its misuse by others. In the Cold War the UN has become a major means for diplomacy and propaganda in combatting the political warfare of the Soviet Union and in rallying the strength of the free world through a wide variety of measures.
In addition, the technical complexities of problems which cut across national boundaries have required us, in our own self-interest, to cooperate with other sovereign states in dealing with them.
For these reasons, the Congress has provided a body of legislative authorization under which the Executive branch develops and carries out policies and programs through international organizations in order to further the interests of the United States. (Tab A lists the pertinent treaties, statutes and other legislative acts.)
the un system
In the UN proper, the parent organ, so to speak, is the General Assembly, which meets annually for approximately three months, and in addition holds special sessions almost every year. All 60 member nations participate with equal voice and vote.
The Security Council has eleven members, always including the Big Five who have the right to veto important matters. The Economic and [Page 71] Social Council consists of eighteen nations, the great powers in practice always being reelected. This has also been the ease on the Trusteeship Council (twelve members). The Disarmament Commission has the same membership as the Security Council (plus Canada, because of her atomic development). The Military Staff Committee consists of military representatives of the Big Five’s Chiefs of Staff, including our own. Temporary intergovernmental UN bodies include the Collective Measures Committee (fourteen members), and Peace Observation Commission. UN operating programs include the Technical Assistance Administration, Korean Reconstruction Agency, Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the Children’s Fund.
Under the Economic and Social Council are eight functional commissions (Fiscal, Statistical, Population, Social, Human Eights, Status of Women, Narcotics, and Transport-Communications) plus three regional economic commissions (Europe, Asia, Latin America). The US is a member of all these bodies.
Outside the UN proper but considered part of the UN system are the so-called Specialized Agencies—intergovernmental bodies in technical fields where problems cross national and regional boundaries and require cooperative efforts. These are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Bank (IBRD), Universal Postal Union (UPU), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Meteorological Organization (WHO), International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Through agreements between these agencies and the Economic and Social Council, as prescribed in the UN Charter, their programs and administration are reviewed and to a considerable extent coordinated by the UN. In general, however, they are autonomous and directed by their various governing bodies, on which we and other member governments sit.
(Completely outside the UN system but performing functions of concern to the UN operation are such ad hoc intergovernmental organizations as General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration (ICEM).)
chain of command
The President is responsible, in the words of the Hoover Commission, “for the conduct of all aspects of foreign affairs within the purview of the Executive Branch”. As Chief Executive, as Commander-in-Chief, as Chairman of the National Security Council, he presides over the process of defining world objectives and coordinating foreign affairs activities to achieve those objectives.[Page 72]
In directing US participation in international organizations the President under his constitutional authority determines policy and designates representatives and agencies for its execution.
The National Security Council advises the President as prescribed by statute, and acts on major policy problems arising in the UN—Korea and disarmament are two current examples—in the same way as with other foreign policy issues before it.
The Secretary of State “advises the President in the determination and execution of US foreign policy” and “directs the discharge of the functions of the State Department”. In managing US relations with international organizations, the Secretary performs his functions in the same fashion as he does in all fields of international relations.
The Assistant Secretary for United Nations Affairs is one of six executive or “operating” vice-presidents of the State Department, who in the words of the Senate Committee on Government Operations have “responsibility for decisions within clearly defined limits” and “serve as focal points of contact between the Department and the Missions in both substantive and administrative matters”. (Committee Report No. 4, January 9, 1953.)
These officers, according to the Hoover Commission, have “the responsibility for the formulation of foreign policy proposals and for action in line with approved policies”. The Commission described the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs as “in charge of relationships with international organizations, including the United Nations and its affiliated organizations”, and as “the channel for instructions to and from United States representatives and delegations at the United Nations and all other international organizations and conferences”.
The Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs has the function of servicing or “backstopping” the US Representative to the UN, and US delegates to other UN agencies (and some non-UN bodies). In a nutshell, his job is to see that the policies these representatives express in the name of the US Government always represent White House policy.
To furnish this “staff support”, the Assistant Secretary supervises the Bureau of UN Affairs (UNA) which provides three types of services:
- it coordinates the policy views and technical requirements originating in various other parts of the Department and other agencies, so that US representatives in international organizations can be sure they are always stating consistent and unified US positions.
- it develops the actual US policy positions on questions which are peculiarly “multilateral” in nature, which cut across the bilateral functions of the geographic units and the specialized “subject” units in other agencies, and which no other office is staffed or equipped to handle.
- it assembles in one unit the special knowledge and experience the US has built up in the field of multilateral diplomacy so that the Government [Page 73] can prepare itself most efficiently to uphold its interests in international organizations.
Thus, according to 1) above, where another part of the executive branch is responsible for relations with one area or one subject, it furnishes policy guidance to the Bureau of UN Affairs, which develops it for use in the international organizations in terms of precedents, relation to other UN matters, parliamentary problems, UN personalities, etc. In the second category, the Bureau of UN Affairs, as indicated, has the primary “policy responsibility” for specialized multilatéral questions. Examples of these are: political matters of an inter-regional nature (in the UN this has meant such items as admission of new members, general Cold War moves and resolutions like “Peace Through Deeds” and “Essentials of Peace”, counter-strategy to Soviet propaganda charges of “warmongering”, and biological warfare, etc.); collective security preparations in the UN (e.g., activities under “Uniting for Peace” program, additional measures against Communist China, contributions of troops for Korea, etc.); world refugee problems; parliamentary tactics which have been proven best by experience in specific UN agencies; international secretariat problems; operations of the UN Trusteeship system; world health and human rights problems;interpretations of articles of the UN Charter; international budgets; the diplomatic aspects of arms regulation.
In the third category, the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs contributes to the whole process of policy-making and servicing the technical “know-how” in the field of multilateral diplomacy. This means chiefly the political and organizational side of the work of UN bodies. It includes questions of credentials (e.g., the tactics of defeating moves to seat Communist China, in 135 separate UN meetings to date), elections (the balancing of interests, blocs, and geographic distribution in the membership and officers of multilateral bodies), budgets, secretariat organization and practices, agenda problems, relationship of other multilateral bodies to the UN, etc.
The US Representative to the UN is, as prescribed by Executive Order 10108, the Chief of the United States Mission to the UN (USUN). The Mission includes: various other US Representatives (i.e., those serving in the UN Economic and Social Council and its Commissions, the Trusteeship Council, Disarmament Commission, Military Staff Committee, etc.); the Deputy Chief of Mission; and the Deputy Representatives to the UN Security Council and to other UN bodies in New York. Ambassador Lodge coordinates “the activities of the Mission in carrying out the instructions of the President transmitted either by the Secretary of State or by other means of transmission as directed by the President”. He thus guides all US Government activities at the UN headquarters, administers the US [Page 74] Mission, is the Chief US Representative in the UN Security Council, Chairman or Acting Chairman of the US Delegation to the General Assembly, representative ex officio and principal US spokesman in any UN body at UN headquarters, and principal US negotiator vis-à-vis the UN Secretariat and representatives in New York of other member governments. In addition, Ambassador Lodge participates regularly in the President’s Cabinet meetings, and takes part in other top-level meetings within the Government, such as meetings of the State–Defense–AEC Committee on Regulation of Armaments, etc.
The status of the US Mission to the UN, while unique in many ways, is in a sense comparable to a major American Embassy abroad in terms of the normal working relationships with the State Department. Just as the Bureau of European Affairs is the “home desk” for our London Embassy, so the Bureau of United Nations Affairs is the “home desk” for USUN. The American Ambassadors in both cases are appointed by and responsible to the President. They are instructed by and report to the Secretary of State, acting for the President. In practice, the Assistant Secretary of State, acting for the Secretary, is in both cases responsible for ensuring that they are instructed and advised, that such instructions and advice represent the coordinated views of the Government (including where necessary the decisions of the Secretary, the NSC, and the President), and for receiving the information they report and seeing that it is properly used and acted on at the Washington end. In practice also, the head of the UN Mission takes an active part in the formulation of US policy and tactics both prior to and during UN meetings, and recommends changes in policies if in his opinion conditions “on the ground” so require.
Multilateral diplomacy involves a wide variety of subjects, only some of which are “purely political”. The State Department, in collaboration with military and other agencies directly concerned, directly manages US interests in problems which are primarily of a political or security nature, such as: disputes between states, organization of collective defense against aggression, administration of colonial areas of the world, regulation of arms, and world trade, to name but a few.
Since World War II the US has undertaken to collaborate with large numbers of nations on essentially “technical” questions of mutual interest, such as epidemic control, famine relief, currency stabilization, flight safety, labor conditions, dope smuggling, radio frequency allocation, and comparative statistical methods, again to name only a few of the problems in which world conditions affect US interests.
This has meant that other parts of the US Government where experts work on these subjects must be looked to for defining this country’s [Page 75] international interest in the matter, often in consultation with private groups such as business, farm, professional and labor organizations. Because of the diversity of subjects dealt with internationally, these expert “source” areas range across much of the Government, from the Atomic Energy Commission to the Tariff Commission, from the Narcotics Bureau to the Department of Agriculture, from the Budget Bureau to the Civil Aeronautics Board. In addition to the State Department at least 24 other executive agencies are concerned with UN activities, often on the ground that the success of the domestic programs they operate are materially affected by what happens in the particular UN body which is dealing with the same subject.
the coordination of policy
The Process of Coordination
The machine of US participation in international organizations is somewhat like a funnel. At one end experts in various government agencies recommend policies for the US to adopt in the UN on a large number of topics. At the other end US spokesmen in international forums are expected to state with clarity and authority the views and wishes of their government, often at meetings separated by thousands of miles, and on subjects which bear on each other significantly. This fact presents the Government with a formidable task of coordination.
When real conflicts of views exist as between interested parts of the Executive branch, they must somehow be resolved before a unified and agreed to American position can be confidently presented in an international forum. Even when no substantive conflict exists, varying approaches and methods are often suggested by the interested agencies. These contributions from different standpoints must be brought into harmony with each other, and with what the US is currently saying and doing in other similar international situations and meetings.
The ultimate purpose of the coordination process is to ensure that when the US speaks officially to the world at large, it speaks with one voice, and with the knowledge that in the next room, the next city, or the next continent, other US spokesmen are, so to speak, on the same wave length. US policies on different subjects must be consistent with one another. They must fit together into an effective program for the advancement of US interests throughout the whole UN system.
The Machinery of Coordination
The process within the Government of funneling to a single point of action all necessary views and interests on a host of political and non-political subjects requires machinery of coordination. For this function of coordination, by definition one central point is required. The coordination machinery thus runs on the principle of narrowing the [Page 76] funnel at its end to a single organizational unit. This is the Bureau of United Nations Affairs in the State Department.
Under the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs, UNA’s four offices [political security (UNP), economic-social (UNE), dependent areas (UND), and international administration-conferences (OIA)], plus its International Refugee Staff, pull together the many threads throughout the executive branch with the purpose of ensuring that throughout the whole system of international organizations and conferences the representatives of this Government are adequately serviced with agreed policies on all topics of concern to the US.
The Hoover Commission recommended that the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs, “while participating in the formulation of foreign policy … should, so far as possible, obtain his policy guidance from the various regional units, the Planning [Staff], and from other staff advisers…”. In accordance with this, as indicated earlier, UNA operates in the first instance as a working coordinator of Department-wide and government-wide policy-formulating operations.
A considerable part of the coordination job is done through informal day-to-day contacts between the desk officers in UNA on the one hand and the “subject specialists” elsewhere in the Department or other Departments, on the other. Often this is the only way in which deadlines can be met at UN meetings, imminent votes, or sudden shifts in position by other countries. In this way also the countless minor matters that arise in various international organization operations can be resolved with a minimum of bureaucratic “layering” or “clearances”.
In the political field this is particularly the case. When there are indications that a political problem will come before the UN a working team is formed. The subject may be Korea, or Palestine, or Kashmir, or currently Laos. The representative of UNP usually chairs the group, prepares papers for consideration by the group, and drafts instructions for the UN representative. His responsibility is to ensure that the views of all interested offices are secured and that any information required is obtained from Department and overseas files. He furnishes the knowledge of UN Charter considerations, precedents established in various UN bodies, past performance of various delegations and delegates, voting probabilities, operation of regional and special-interest blocs in the UN, etc. He frequently acts as principal adviser to the US Representative during the UN meetings when the case is considered.
Also on the “team” are representatives of the affected geographic areas, who provide the general US policy toward the country in question (although these must be reconciled where one desk officer is speaking of our interests in the UK and the other on our interests in Iran, as in the Iranian oil case in the Security Council). In addition they furnish the knowledge of geographic factors, national idiosyncrasies, [Page 77] and official personalities, and often they participate in the actual GA or SC sessions as political liaison officers with delegates from countries in their areas.
These teams also frequently include representatives of the Legal Adviser’s office and, when necessary, of the public affairs, economic and research offices. The UNP member often consults informally on military aspects of the cases with officers in the Defense Department. The team members turn to their respective Assistant Secretaries for major decisions, and these in turn consult higher echelons, as required, before approving final US positions. Either UNA or the geographic offices undertake consultation with appropriate US Missions abroad and foreign envoys in Washington (e.g., the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs is responsible for the regular briefings of representatives in Washington of countries with troops in Korea in addition to his frequent consultations with foreign representatives on other UN problems).
An essentially similar process takes place within the Department on economic and social questions before the UN, and on problems of dependent and colonial areas. In the latter case, issues of the greatest perplexity arise in different parts of the world vitally affecting US relations with both our principal allies and with the strategically important regions of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where most dependent areas are located. Conflicts between these two groups on colonial questions come to a head in the UN, both in the Trusteeship Council and in the General Assembly. UNA’s Office of Dependent Area Affairs (UND) teams up with the geographic desk officers concerned and with Defense and Interior Department officers for the task of harmonizing both within the US Government and in our UN policies, traditional US attitudes toward colonial peoples on the one hand, and the pressing need to maintain a united front alongside our major European allies, on the other.
During the entire process of developing US policies the Department of State, through UNA, constantly consults the US Representative to the UN and members of his staff, seeking his views and judgment on all matters of importance. For his part Ambassador Lodge conducts consultations with his diplomatic colleagues in New York, and of course carries the burden of top-level negotiation on behalf of the US Government on all matters under discussion in the UN. As a source of political intelligence, the US Mission to the UN is one of the key listening posts in the world, with US representatives constantly in contact with high officials from 59 other countries. This flow of information, combined with Ambassador Lodge’s recommendations, significantly influences the formulation of policy, of strategy, and of tactics.[Page 78]
Coordination by Committee
More formal coordination within the State Department is afforded by the UN Liaison Committee. This is chaired by the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs, and includes representatives from other parts of the Department and from USUN. On such relatively long-term operations as the preparation of US positions on agenda items in the UN General Assembly, this Committee meets regularly prior to the session so each item can be worked out in an orderly fashion (71 items were on the agenda of the first part of the last session, ranging from Korea and Tunisia, through regulation of armaments and admission of new members, to tensions in colonial areas and the loyalty of US employees of the UN).
A group of inter-departmental committees furnishes the chief means of coordination in the economic and social field, where members of other government agencies are involved. Several of these committees deal exclusively with international organization problems. Others have wider jurisdiction. There are also a few which make recommendations on certain special political and security questions (such as colonial problems and regulation of armaments). Tab B lists some of the major interdepartmental committees in this field.
Unless another agency clearly has a predominant interest (e.g., Agriculture, for FAO), the State Department furnishes the Chairman or at least the Secretary of these committees. Within the State Department, UNA usually provides either or both, particularly in the political-military, trusteeship, and social-human rights fields.
In the technical-economic committees, State’s economic area generally leads the Department’s participating group, which usually includes UNA.
administration and finance
The question of administration of international organizations is really a foreign policy question. It involves our relations with other governments and with international secretariat officials. It includes the domestic problem of US budget estimates for the US share of contributions to the international organization budgets. But this operation is related closely to the formulation within the organizations themselves of their own budgets and assessments on members. A similar field is that of international administrative and personnel practices in the UN system. These questions are handled as policy problems by OIA, an office of UNA, in collaboration with the Department’s administrative and security area, the Budget Bureau, and the Civil Service Commission. Continuous advice and liaison with the UN Secretariat is provided by the US Representative to the UN and his staff.[Page 79]
The field described in the last paragraph is distinct from the purely internal administrative aspects of US participation in the UN. The Bureau of UN Affairs is staffed and financed as an integral part of the State Department’s regular operation. The US Mission to the UN (USUN) is financed under a special appropriation along with other US Missions to international organizations. USUN’s organization and staffing are the responsibility of its Chief of Mission, who draws on the Department’s personnel, finance, and service functions as needed, through UNA as his “home desk”.
Special funds to finance the sending of US delegations to international conferences are budgeted under the “International Contingencies” appropriation.
In the UN system most meetings are regularly scheduled, and can be planned for systematically. Other international bodies frequently issue invitations for special conferences. UNA’s Division of International Conferences (IC) screens all such invitations, recommends as to US participation, negotiates throughout the Government the makeup of the US delegations, helps organize the preparations of US positions, allocates funds, makes all travel, housing, etc., arrangements, and, in meetings away from UN headquarters, furnishes the service staff of the delegation itself. After the meeting IC makes sure all official reports, documents, and other follow-up items are properly discharged. Formal steps in the process of administrative preparations are:
Staff Study—IC with concurrences of all policy units affected secures the written approval of the Assistant Secretary for UNA or, if necessary, the Secretary or President, for US participation in each international meeting.
Naming of US Delegations—P.L. 341, in addition to requiring Presidential appointments of permanent US Representatives to UN organs, specifically makes him responsible for naming US delegates to the annual UN General Assembly. Other statutes similarly charge the President (such as P.L. 643 with respect to US delegates to the WHO Assembly). To ease the burden on the White House for the appointment of delegates to numerous lesser meetings, the President on February 26, 1948 approved a delegation of authority to the Secretary of State “to designate all … representatives and delegates as well as advisory and secretarial staff for all groups” other than those assigned by law to the President, or in special cases like the naming of Congressional consultants, etc. On March 6, 1953 the Secretary of State re-delegated his authority to the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs (all delegation members are named subject to security clearance). UNA, which, in addition to coordinating all policy preparations, administers the funds for conference participation, decides on the advisory and service staffs of US delegations after weighing recommendations from all interested offices and agencies. The basic [Page 80] factors are: scope of the agenda and availability of funds. The specific criteria are: all members must be “working members”, actually responsible for agenda items; they must be able to handle several items each; generally, they must represent the Government as a whole; and maximum use should be made of qualified US personnel at the conference site.
The Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs, through UNA’s Division of International Conferences, administers the “International Contingencies” appropriation, for costs of US participation at various international conferences, and the appropriation “Missions to International Organizations”, which finances permanent US missions at the seat of the UN, ICAO, etc. (although in the case of USUN, authority for encumbering the appropriated funds is immediately transferred to Ambassador Lodge).
Payments of US shares of UN costs are directed by the Assistant Secretary for UN Affairs under allotment authority made to him by the Department’s Budget office, based on appropriations made by Congress for the purpose. UNA’s Division of International Administration actually issues and records the obligation documents by authority in writing from the Assistant Secretary.
- Drafted by Lincoln P. Bloomfield of the Planning Staff of the Bureau of United Nations Affairs. The paper was requested by the White House for the use of Sherman Adams, Assistant to the President. Bloomfield coordinated the project in the Department of State. The paper was forwarded to the White House on June 3. (A small collection of documents illustrative of its operational history is in decimal file 310.)↩
- The Chairman of each Committee is underscored. [Footnote in the source text.]↩