IO files, SD/A/C.5/213

Position Paper Prepared in the Department of State for the United States Delegation to the Ninth Regular Session of the General Assembly

official use only

Scale of Assessment for the Apportionment of the Expenses of the United Nations: Report of the Committee on Contributions

the problem

Although the report of the Committee on Contributions has not yet been issued, it is expected to recommend a scale of assessments for 1955 in which the United States assessment would remain at 33.33%, and the aggregate assessment of the three Soviet states would be increased by 1.08 percentage points to 17.61%. The assessments of 6 other states including Canada and France would be increased, and the assessments of 15 states would be decreased by minor amounts. What should be the U.S. position on the Contributions Committee’s report if it follows these lines?

united states position

The United States should express appreciation for the conscientious work of the Committee on Contributions.
At the same time, the Delegation should express its concern that the Contributions Committee has not recommended the removal of all major discrepancies from the scale for 1955, and should draw attention particularly to the fact that certain countries, including the Soviet states, remain substantially underassessed. It should state the U.S. view that the continuance of these discrepancies is unjustified, and should urge that they be removed in their entirety for 1956 in order to clear the way for consideration of a more permanent scale.
If it should be proposed that the draft 1955 scale be applied also to 1956, the United States should oppose such a move as being premature as long as substantial discrepancies remain in the scale.
In regard to the principle that no Member shall be assessed more per capita than the per capita assessment of the largest contributor [Page 619] (per capita limitation principle), the Delegation should informally canvass the delegations of the countries which stand to benefit from the limitation. If it is clear that these countries are prepared to see the per capita limitation principle abandoned, the Delegation may support such abandonment. If this is not the case, the United States should make clear in any formal statement that (a) this principle is not necessarily a corollary of the one-third ceiling principle; (b) the United States supported the adoption of the per capita principle in 1948 at the time the one-third ceiling principle was adopted; (c) the U.S. agrees that full implementation of the per capita limitation should take place only as new membership and improved economic conditions permit such implementation to take place without hardship to other Member states; and (d) the United States does not believe reconsideration of the per capita limitation is required at this time.


Since the United States has accomplished its major objective of a full implementation of the one-third ceiling principle, it should not take a leading part in the discussion of the draft scale. The Delegation should, however, call attention to the fact that the Contributions Committee has been moving progressively more slowly in eliminating the remaining major discrepancies from the scale. In particular, the three Soviet states remain underassessed, and at the present rate of adjustment it would require more than another year to bring them to their proper level. The fact of Soviet underassessment continues to be a matter of concern to the United States even when the U.S. share has been reduced to 33⅓%. The Delegation should urge that all remaining discrepancies be corrected for 1956. If it would facilitate a solution to lay down specific instructions in this regard for the Committee on Contributions, the Delegation should propose or support such instructions.

With regard to the per capita limitation, the Report of the Contributions Committee is expected to propose a reconsideration of the principle as being of doubtful equity in the allocation of costs among Members. The United States supported the recognition of the per capita limitation in 1948 as a practical necessity in obtaining support for the one-third ceiling principle. Canada has been the most active promoter of the per capita limitation, and the United States is obligated to support the limitation in principle except in the unlikely event that Canada and the other beneficiary countries are ready to abandon it. It is more likely that these countries will insist upon the retention of the principle but will be willing to forego the benefits for the present.