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THORNY POINTS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 171, 21 July 1945
DEFECTS IN CHARTER
SMALL POWERS OUTVOTED
WELLINGTON, this day. While the United Nations Charter does not measure up to our most earnest hopes, it does exceed our expectations in certain respects, and, moreover, represents a marked advance over the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, which formed the basis of the discussions at San Francisco," says the Prime Minister, Mr. Fraser, in his report on the United Nations Conference.
, ♦I* 1 *? more llfe - m °re breadth and depth, than that somewhat stiff and iormal document," he adds. "It is more flexible, and it is in some respects more democratic. It bears the imprint of many more minds and points of view than did the original. These improvements reflect the degree of willingness of all the nations, great and small, to travel at least part of the distance towards the reconciliation of divergent points of view. There were few, if any, delegations which did not find themselves called upon to make some considerable concessions in the interests of the successful conclusion of the Conference. Without that spirit of restraint and co-operation, the Charter would not have been written at all."
Satisfaction with the New Zealand delegation's part in the conference is recorded by Mr. Frasor. At the same time, he does not claim for it any disproportionate share of the credit for the improvements made on the original orcposals. New Zealand's individual efforts to gain many of the improvements would have been of no avail, he says, without the similar efforts of many other delegations. It was gratifying to discover so many who shared the Dominion's point of view and whose sincere beliefs coincided to such a large degree.
Accord Among Small Powers Closest relationships were maintained throughout the conference between the New Zealand and Australian delegations. Examination of the Dumbarton Oaks plan made by the two Governments in Wellington in October of last year, and the common viewpoint on world organisation problems then reached remained the basis of the policies of the delegations at San Francisco. Mr. Fraser pays tribute to the outstanding work and ability of the Australian representatives.
• Among the smaller and middle Powers, Mr. Fraser singles out for special mention the delegations of Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece, Brazil, Chile and Cuba. Although their policies did not coincide in detail with that of New Zealand, in many important respects they shared a • mutual understanding, sympathy and enthusiasm.
Largely as a result of the insistence of delegates of the smaller nations, the purposes and principles of the Charter are set forth with the utmost clarity and positiveness, in order that they might be understood by all to be the international rules of conduct to which member States should be" bound to conform, says Mr. Fraser.
One goal' which New Zealand sought, but was unable to attain, he states, was a declaration, as a positive aim of the International Organisation, that the territorial integrity and political independence of every member of the Organisation would be preserved against external aggression. The New Zealand amendment on this point was defeated, but an undertaking to refrain from any act of aggression was added to the Charter. This negative provision, was, however, an inadequate substitute from New Zealand's point of view.
Dealing With Aggression An even more Important weakness, continues the report, lack of an undertaking, which New Zealand did its best to have included, that all members should "e-jlleetively resist every act of aggression against any member." This proposal suffered varied fortunes at the hands of the conference. It wau first rejected in sub-committee by a majority which included the votes of the five Great Powers, but was resurrected in the full committee and put to the vote after Mr. C. A. Berendsen, of the New Zealand'delegation, had insisted forcefully that a clear pledge against aggression was the minhmun undertaking to which the smaller nations were entitled, and that it was in fact the core and kernel of any system of collective security. Although 25 other nations supported New Zealand/the Great Powers remained opposed, and, with the assistance of thirteen others, were able to prevent the required two-rhirds majority on the vote. . . Mr. Fraser holds that on this issue a "grave defect" remains in the principles of the Charter, and reports that he made a declaration in the name of New Zealand that the point of the proposal advanced on behalf of this Dominion was that when the Security Council decided that an act of aggression against one of the members of the organisation had occurred there should result immediately a clear and unmistakable duty on every member, great and small, to resist and defeat that aggression by the means laid down by the Security It is New Zealand's hope—and this was made clear to the conference— that it will be found possible and advantageous to carry out the Dominion's proposal in practice as a guiding and basic principle in a realistic appr° acn to international problems.
Stand by Great Powers Another point on which New Zealand left no doubt about its feelings •was the extent of the authority conferred on the Great Powers. 'We felt and still feel, that the smaller nations could take a much greater part in framing the decisions of the World Organisation than has been envisaged in the Charter," says Mr. New' Zealand protested vigorously akainst the determination of the If eat Powers tojetain for themselves ttierigbt to say in every case whether the Organisation should or should not actfand whether they, themselves sSbe bound or not. The Great Powers were plainly told that the small powers were footed *° the right which was denied to them, of not only a vote, but also a voice, hi cniph vital decisions. Still another thorny topic was what Mr. Fraser describes as the veto." This concerned the right of any one of the permanent Powers to prevent enaction in a case of aggression When it became clear that the Powers would not agree S the Charter if the veto were not included, the opponents of the veto—and they were the maioritv of the Powers—were pre-. Sed with the alternative of either vStin" against the veto or abstaining. I
THORNY POINTS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 171, 21 July 1945
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