Page images

facts include effective control over a clearly-defined territory and population; an organized governmental administration of that territory; and a capacity to act effectively to conduct foreign relations and to fulfill international obligations. The United States has also taken into account whether the entity in question has attracted the recognition of the international community of states. Posted in Dept. of State Press Relations Office on Nov. 1, 1976, in response to question raised in news briefing of Oct. 22, 1976. Nonrecognition of the Transkei

On October 26, 1976, the Republic of South Africa declared the Transkei, a small territory located between the Republic of Lesotho and the Indian Ocean, to be an independent state. The Transkei is one of nine self-governing tribal homelands, called bantustans, created by South Africa. Aside from South Africa, no country sent official representatives to the independence ceremonies. Robert L. Funseth, Department of State spokesman, had informed the press on October 22 that the United States had no intention of recognizing the Transkei.

On the same day that Transkei independence was proclaimed, the General Assembly of the United Nations, by a vote of 134-0, with the United States alone abstaining, adopted Resolution 31/6 rejecting the "so-called independent Transkei and other bantustans.” In its operative paragraphs, the resolution (1) strongly condemned the establishment of bantustans as designed to consolidate the policies of apartheid; (2) rejected the declaration of independence of the Transkei and declared it invalid; (3) called upon all governments to deny recognition to the Transkei and to refrain from having any dealings with the Transkei or other bantustans; and (4) requested all states to take effective measures to prohibit all individuals, corporations, and other institutions under their jurisdiction from having any dealings with the Transkei or other bantustans.

Stephen Hess, Alternate U.S. Representative to the United Nations, in explanation of the U.S. vote, stated:

The United States delegation was prepared to support a resolution calling on all states not to recognize the Transkei and not to have official contacts with the Transkei Government. We regret that the present draft, in our opinion, contains some wording that goes well beyond this and with which we cannot agree. Although, with respect to operative paragraph 3, for example, we do not intend to have official contacts with the Transkei Government or to establish any type of relationship with the Transkei, we do reserve the right to act as necessary to protect the interests and rights of our citizens.

More broadly, we believe that it would be unwise to preclude contacts with any elements of the South African population which strive for social justice and racial equality, including those who have been relegated to the bantustans.

We also cannot support operative paragraph 4, which would have the effect of calling on United Nations members to impose a type of sanction on private relationships of any kind with people in the so-called homelands. This is a matter for the Security Council to decide.





U.N. Doc. A/31/PV.42, Oct. 26, 1976, p. 81. For the Republic of Transkei Constitution Act, 1976, and the South African Act of July 9, 1976, granting independence to the Transkei, see XV International Legal Materials 1136, 1175.

§ 4

International Organizations


United Nations Role in Disarmament

On May 10, 1976, the United States submitted to the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations its views and suggestions on the strengthening of the role of the United Nations in the field of disarmament, in response to Resolution 3484B (XXX), adopted by the General Assembly on December 12, 1975, with the United States abstaining. That resolution had established an ad hoc committee to carry out a review, to be focused on (a) possible new approaches for achieving more effective procedures and organization of work in the field of disarmament; (b) ways and means of improving U.N. facilities for collection, compilation, and dissemination of information; and (c) ways and means to enable the U.N. Secretariat to assist, on request, states parties to multilateral disarmament agreements to ensure their effective functioning. Excerpts from the U.S. submission follow:

The U.S. Government is of the view that progress toward the objective of general and complete disarmament under effective international control can best be made through the negotiation of concrete measures in the field of disarmament The multilateral agreements so far concluded have been facilitated by existing institutional arrangements, notably the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament and the annual review of disarmament issues by the United Nations General Assembly.

The U.S. Government believes that some procedural changes[in the United Nations) could be beneficial and that a serious effort

a should be made by the Ad Hoc Committee to develop agreed recommendations for that purpose. At the same time, it believes that changes in procedure alone cannot make a major contribution to progress in disarmament, since differences over substantive issues, not institutional factors, are the major obstacles to such progress . . . . the role of the United Nations will not necessarily be strengthened by assigning it additional functions, enlarging its staff or attempting to extend its authority. In some cases, it may be more relevant to consider whether existing U.N. institutions and procedures are being used to maximum effectiveness.

The essential role of the United Nations in the disarmament field, in the U.S. view, has been to provide a forum for the exchange of information and opinions and for the adoption of recommendations

for defining and promoting disarmament objectives . . . . Efforts to alter this role, for example by suggesting that U.N. General Assembly resolutions have more than recommendatory status and could be used as means of forcing states to take actions against their will, would not only be inconsistent with the Charter, but could diminish the influence of the United Nations General Assembly.

(a) Possible approaches for achieving more effective procedures and organization of work

For many years the disarmament activities of the United Nations have been focused in the General Assembly and its First Committee, and it would not be feasible or desirable to attempt to change that arrangement. The important task before the Ad Hoc Committee . . . should be to develop agreed recommendations for increasing the efficiency of the U.N. General Assembly and particularly of the First Committee, where disarmament items are considered in detail.

Revisions in the procedures for debate and decisionmaking in the First Committee should be considered, taking into account that the number of delegations and the variety and complexity of issues have increased over the years and also that the increase in the number of resolutions approved each year, many of which concern relatively minor issues or have little prospect of achieving any practical result-has tended to dilute the impact of such resolutions and to diminish the influence of the United Nations in the field of disarmament.

One possibility . . . would be to limit the number of agenda items, issues, and resolutions to be considered, with the understanding that issues not covered atone session could be given priority at the next.

Consideration might also be given to allotting a limited period of debate for each agenda item and dealing with each item in turn. In order to provide sufficient time for such an approach, it might be necessary to shorten substantially the time allotted to general debate in the First Committee.

In an effort to enhance the significance of recommendations by the General Assembly, the Ad Hoc Committee may wish to consider alternative procedures for decisionmaking.

Consideration might, for example, be given to the adoption of all substantive resolutions by the First Committee and the U.N. General Assembly by consensus. In instances where a draft resolution could not achieve consensus, the draft, or a working

paper embodying the recommendations contained in the draft, could appear with a list of countries supporting the proposal in the official records of the First Committee and the U.N. General Assembly. Under this arrangement the First Committee could continue to vote on matters of a strictly administrative or procedural character, such as the establishment of an ad hoc study group, the referral of issues to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament, and requests that the Secretary-General provide assistance at particular conferences. If it were not possible to adopt such a decisionmaking procedure on a formal basis, the Ad Hoc Committee might nonetheless wish to recommend that delegations make every effort to achieve consensus on First Committee and General Assembly resolutions. Under such a voluntary arrangement, delegations might choose to have their recommendations, together with a list of supporters, recorded as official documents rather than put to a vote.

(b) Ways and means of improving existing U.N. facilities for collection, compilation and dissemination of information on disarmament issues

The U.S. Government shares the view that increased availability of accurate information related to arms control and disarmament questions could make an important contribution to the development of sound policies in the disarmament field. It also believes that the United Nations, particularly the Secretary-General and the Secretariat, could play a significant role in keeping the international community informed on disarmament matters. Accordingly, consideration should be given to appropriate means by which the United Nations could make widely available factual information provided by governments on arms control and disarmament, focusing on such subjects as military expenditures, arms transfers and arms production.

... The U.S. Government is of the view that further in-depth studies under the auspices of the United Nations should be encouraged, and it considers that, in order to maintain the authoritative character of such studies and to assure greatest access to information resources, the Secretary-General should follow the past practice of appointing consultant experts nominated by governments.

(c) Ways and means of enabling the United Nations Secretariat to assist, on request, states parties to multilateral disarmament agreements in their duty to ensure the effective functioning of such agreements

The U.S. Government ... believes that the principal responsibility for the operation of a treaty regime lies with the treaty parties, and therefore doubts that a new international organization should be established for that purpose. Nonetheless, the U.N. Secretariat could play an important role in assisting treaty parties in the effective implementation of disarmament agreements.

.. it would seem appropriate for the Secretariat to provide . . . assistance to future review conferences, of the nonproliferation treaty and of other agreements upon request of the parties. Consideration should also be given to the preparation of periodic factual reports by the Secretariat on the status of disarmament agreements.

For some agreements in the field of arms control and disarmament, it might be appropriate to establish consultative bodies of treaty parties in order to assist in the implementation of those agreements. In such cases there might be need for a permanent staff for the consultative body. The U.N. Secretary-General and his staff could play a useful role in this regard. U.N. Doc. A/AC.181/1Add. 1, May 18, 1976, pp. 20-22; U.N. Doc. A/AC.181/2, June 1, 1976.

Organization of American States Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, in a statement before the Sixth General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) at Santiago, on June 11, 1976, rejected the proposed new draft Charter of the OAS that had recently emerged from the Permanent Council, stating that the United States could neither sign it nor recommend that the Senate approve it. He criticized its prescriptive and hortatory statements of general principle and its failure“to come to grips with the need to modernize or improve the structure of the organization.” He offered instead a series of proposals for OAS reform in matters of structure, governance, membership, and financing. The following are excerpts from his statement :


The United States would like to advance four points as possible guidelines for the future effort, in the interest of modernization of the organization. The purposes of the organization should be stated simply and clearly in the new charter. Those purposes should be:

-The promotion of cooperation for development;
-The maintenance of the peace and security of our region; and

– The preservation of our common tradition of respect for human dignity and the rights of the individual.

The structure of the organization serving these goals should be flexible. We should write a constitutive document for the organization which will serve us well into the future . . . flexibility and adaptability must be the key considerations guiding the reform effort. We should not hamstring ourselves with a charter brimfull of the details of the day, with procedural minutiae, or with regulatory prescriptions hindering our ability to meet contingencies.

The governance of the organization should be in the hands of the Ministers. Over the years, the proliferation of functions assigned haphazardly to the OAS has produced an overelaborated organization that is ponderous and unresponsive. Instead of closer and more frequent contact between Foreign Ministers in ways that truly reflect our foreign policies as we are attempting to manage them from our respective capitals, we find ourselves insulated from each other by a plethora of councils and committees with conflicting mandates and a cumbersome permanent bureaucracy.

« PreviousContinue »