22. Memorandum From Albert F. Bender, Jr., to the Representative at the United Nations (Lodge)1
- Financing of UNEF2
I am sorry that we were not able to keep you more fully informed last month concerning the financing of UNEF.
The decision taken by the Assembly on UNEF financing was, I believe, a most significant one, and can certainly be reported to the Congress as a notable victory.
The question involved was how to raise the $10 million which the Assembly had authorized Hammarskjold to spend for UNEF. This involved, of course, the creating of a precedent as to how large-scale collective security action voted by the Assembly should be financed. It involved a question as to which there was previously much doubt, namely, whether governments voting for collective security action of this kind would give financial support to their votes.
It appeared at first as though the Assembly action in creating UNEF would be disowned on the financial level by most of the membership. The Afro-Asians, lead by the Arabs and supported by some Latin Americans and Europeans, took the position that the “aggressors” should pay. Some argued that the major powers should assume the financial responsibility. Even after considerable pressure, the Latin Americans at first announced in the Fifth Committee as a group that they would recognize collective responsibility only to the extent of $5 million and that the balance would have to come from voluntary contributions, that is, from the United States. The Soviet bloc demanded payment by the “aggressors” and announced that they would pay no part of UNEF expenses.[Page 34]
After some weeks of very difficult negotiation we were able to get the Fifth Committee and the Assembly to vote to assess $10 million against the general membership on the basis of the regular 1957 scale of assessments (to make this possible, we, of course, had to accept the scale recommended by the Contributions Committee for 1957). The vote in the Plenary was 62–8–7, with only the Soviet bloc against and repeating that they would not pay the assessment.3
This vote was an important step forward in the assumption by the general membership of the responsibilities involved in belonging to the United Nations and being able to speak and vote on collective security action. It was an important step forward in the implementation of collective security action. The principle established should, incidentally, save the United States many millions of dollars in the future.
Our success on the final vote was surely due, to a large extent, to the Nehru visit to the United States. In the last few days of negotiations the Indian Delegation, which had reportedly been working against us, switched almost completely and helped us to bring the Afro-Asians into line.
This matter, to be sure, is not completely wound up. There still remains the question of how to finance any expenditure in excess of $10 million. To get our vote on the first $10 million, we had to agree to the establishment of a nine-government committee—including the United States—to advise on the financing of any excess above $10 million, and we had to recognize that some other basis than the regular scale might have to be adopted to finance such an excess.
We believe it important to maintain the principle established by the vote on UNEF finances by doing everything possible to assure that the UNEF expenses, over and above voluntary contributions, do not exceed $10 million. Of course, if UNEF is given an extended life or its functions are expanded by the Assembly, we will have to reconsider this approach. Meanwhile, the Department is considering what steps are desirable on the part of the United States to make it possible, by way of voluntary contributions, to keep the costs of UNEF to the general United Nations membership within the $10 million. This sum of $10 million will probably enable UNEF to maintain its present level of activity for another six months.
- Source: USUN Files, Unnumbered File, IO: Emergency Force. Limited Official Use. Bender was an Adviser for Legal and International Organization Affairs, attached to the U.S. Permanent Mission at the United Nations.↩
- Documentation concerning the financing of UNEF is in Department of State, Central File 320.5780.↩
- Reference is to U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1089 (XI), adopted at the 632d meeting of the General Assembly on December 21, 1956.↩