10. Instruction From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions 1



  • Tenth Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly—Committees II and III. (Reference Circular Instruction No. CA–12252)

Circular instruction No. CA–1225, August 11, 1955, supplied information as to preliminary United States thinking on political issues likely to arise at the Tenth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled to convene on September 20. The present instruction deals with United States views on the economic and financial topics to be discussed in Committee II of the General Assembly and the Human Rights and Social topics scheduled for discussion in Committee III. This material is supplied for your information and for use in answer to inquiries by officials of the Government to which you are accredited.

Committee II—Economic and Financial

Item 1. Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development (SUNFED)

The United States Delegation to the 20th Session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) abstained on a resolution recommending that the General Assembly (GA) invite United Nations (UN) members to transmit to the Secretary General not later than March 31, 1956, their views on the experts’ recommendations with respect to the establishment, operation, and management of the proposed SUNFED and also the establishment of an ad hoc committee to analyze these comments by governments and submit such interim report as it may be in a position to make. The United States supports the creation of a fund for economic development grants when progress toward world-wide internationally supervised disarmament has released funds for that purpose, but we have maintained that it is premature to set up SUNFED at this time. Our abstention, joined in by Australia and the United Kingdom, on the ECOSOC resolution was motivated by our feeling that the preambular portion of that resolution contained inaccuracies and by our reluctance to see set up an ad hoc committee of governments to study this question, even though that committee would be specifically barred from committing any member government.

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It is anticipated that the United States Delegation to the GA will abstain on any proposed resolution by that body to implement the recommendations of ECOSOC. Should an effort be made to proceed even farther toward the creation of a SUNFED at some definite date in the near future or to set up a committee of governments with broader powers than those called for in the ECOSOC resolution, the United States would attempt to have such proposals withdrawn or modified. In any discussion with the government to which you are accredited on this subject, you should emphasize that the United States feels it would be unwise to take definite steps in the direction of setting up a SUNFED before progress made in the direction of world-wide internationally supervised disarmament has released funds adequate to ensure that the new body would be able to cope adequately with the need it is intended to meet. A premature or abortive establishment of SUNFED with insufficient funds would be unfortunate and could result in a serious setback to the cause of assisting under-developed countries to hasten their economic development.

Item 2. International Finance Corporation (IFC)

At the Ninth General Assembly a resolution was passed calling upon the International Bank to draft statutes to govern the proposed IFC and to bring about agreement among its members on the statutes. ECOSOC was requested to report on this matter to the GA at the latter’s Tenth Session. The ECOSOC report notes that the draft Articles of Agreement have been prepared and that progress has been made toward the establishment of the Corporation, which is to have not less than $75,000,000 in subscribed capital and not less than thirty participating governments in order to begin operations. It is anticipated that a resolution will be passed by the Tenth GA similarly noting progress toward the establishment of IFC and looking forward to its actual coming into being as soon as practicable.

The United States Government has completed the legislative action necessary for its adherence to IFC and has expressed itself in favor of the early commencement of operations by that body. It will, therefore, support a GA resolution of the type indicated.

Item 3. Assistance to Libya

A GA resolution passed at the Eighth Session places the question of UN assistance to Libya on the agenda of the forthcoming Tenth Session and requests the Secretary General to make a special report in the matter. While the United States Government is in favor of assistance to Libya and has, in fact, contributed substantial aid to that country on a bilateral basis, it is felt that the UN as such should [Page 21] not assume particular responsibility for financial assistance to Libya nor should the UN specify, as has been proposed, that assistance to Libya be rendered “in conditions which will not detract from that country’s independence”. This Government feels that the question of assistance to Libya must eventually take its place in the general context of assistance to under-developed countries and that the fact that Libya was, so to speak, brought into existence by the UN as an independent country, does not endow the UN with a special continuing responsibility for it.

Item 4. United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA)

The United States sees no policy issues arising this year with regard to UNKRA, and assumes that GA action will be confined to general endorsement of the program and the hope that outstanding pledges may still be made good. If the question is raised, it may be stated that the United States has more than fulfilled terms of its own pledge. The United States contribution of approximately $92 million represents about 67 per cent of the total contributions (the original United States pledge was at a 65 per cent figure). Unless other contributions are substantial (which is frankly not anticipated), it may be assumed that UNKRA’s present task is to make effective use of its remaining resources.

Item 5. Technical Assistance

The United States anticipates no policy issues this year in technical assistance. It is assumed there will be a general endorsement of the program. The organizational issue seems to be settled for the time being; the United States agrees with TAB and agency officials who hope no fresh organizational proposals will be made for some time. The ECOSOC resolution on administrative problems is satisfactory.

Committee III—Social, Humanitarian and Cultural

Item 6. Draft Covenants on Human Rights

We will repeat our intention not to sign or ratify these Covenants when completed and will express our views on technical drafting points.3

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Item 7. Human Rights Advisory Services

We will support the adoption of the resolution approved by the Economic and Social Council authorizing the Secretary-General to provide UN advisory services (expert assistance, fellowships and scholarships, seminars) in the general field of human rights, including assistance previously authorized on women’s rights, discrimination and minorities, and freedom of information.

Item 8. Freedom of Information

The United States will support proposals to further freedom of information, including provision of advisory services (see above). The consideration of the draft Convention on Freedom of Information is not anticipated at this session, but if it is considered, the United States will vigorously oppose its completion, pointing out that (a) the Convention would incorporate and give UN approval to undesirable restrictions which will have the effect of retarding rather than promoting freedom of information, and (b) the failure of repeated UN efforts since 1948, when this draft was begun, demonstrates that effective agreement is impossible.

Item 9. Draft Convention on Nationality of Married Women

We will vote against the completion of this draft Convention because (a) the nationality problem should be considered as a whole, and better results can be obtained by referring the draft to the International Law Commission for its information (this Commission has already begun a study of nationality as a whole), and (b) a separate convention on women necessarily neglects related matters of fundamental importance to the family, such as the situation of children born to parents of differing nationality. It may also be noted that the substance of the draft does not provide full equality, whereas United States law makes no distinction between the spouses in nationality rights and naturalization.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320/9–855. Official Use Only.
  2. Document 8.
  3. The official U.S. position on the draft international covenants on human rights was elaborated in position paper SD/A/C.3/191, August 26, in which Secretary Dulles’ statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 6 was quoted in justification and explanation of the U.S. position. Secretary Dulles stated:

    “The present Administration intends to encourage the promotion everywhere of human rights and individual freedoms, but to favor methods of persuasion, education and example rather than formal undertakings which commit one part of the world to impose its particular social and moral standards upon another part of the world community, which has different standards. That is the point of view I expressed in 1951 in relation to the Japanese Peace Treaty. Therefore, while we shall not withhold our counsel from those who seek to draft a treaty or covenant on Human Rights, we do not ourselves look upon a treaty as the means which we would now select as the proper and most effective way to spread throughout the world the goals of human liberty to which this nation has been dedicated since its inception. We therefore do not intend to become a party to any such covenant or present it as a treaty for consideration by the Senate.”

    A copy of this position paper is in Department of State, IO Files: Lot 71 D 440, 10th GA, P Books, Committees 1–6.