The Preservation of Peace

The major task for the world community is, of course, the preservation of peace. The need for an instrument which could further this purpose was the prime motivation behind the founding of the United Nations. The U.N.'s ability to fill this role, however, is dependent to a considerable extent on cooperation among the major powers; and a somber fact of recent history is the failure of the victorious allies of World War II to maintain their cooperation. This being true, a crucial development would be joint recognition by the United States and the Soviet Union of a common interest in strengthening the U.N.'s peacekeeping capacities.

On October 23, before many of the world's chiefs of state and heads of government assembled at the U.N., I called on the U.S.S.R. to put our relations "on a basis consistent with the aspirations of mankind" and to join with us in developing "practical means that will enable the United Nations to move decisively to keep the peace."

Even if U.N. peacekeeping efforts cannot be perfected in the world as it is, they can certainly be improved. Peacekeeping in the past has depended essentially on improvisation. There were, and are, no general understandings on how these operations are to be directed or financed. One result has been that the U.N. has developed a large financial deficit as some countries have refused to pay their share.

We believe that a major effort should be made to reach an agreement on reliable ground rules for peacekeeping operations. Discussions are going forward directly with the Soviet Union and in a special U.N. committee on this subject. One major issue is the degree of latitude which the Secretary General would have in conducting day to day operations, once the Security Council has authorized an undertaking. We believe he needs adequate authority to manage peacekeeping operations under the broad political supervision of the council. While these problems have been difficult, discussions are continuing.