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Message to the Congress Transmitting the 11th Annual Report on United States Participation in the United Nations.

January 14, 1958

To the Congress of the United States:

I transmit herewith, pursuant to the United Nations Participation Act, the eleventh annual report, covering United States participation in the United Nations during the year 1956.

1956 was a year of great peril to world peace and thus a stringent test for the United Nations--notably because of the crises in Egypt and in Hungary.

In Egypt the United Nations caused the world to turn away from war. Through a series of resolutions, the General Assembly effectively mobilized world opinion to achieve a cease-fire, and France and the United Kingdom shortly agreed to withdraw their forces. The Assembly's moral pressure played a powerful part in securing the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Egyptian territory in March of this year.

In the case of Hungary, the Assembly succeeded by massive votes in mobilizing opinion against the Soviet Union's blatant disregard of its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations. Although it has so far been impossible by peaceful means to secure freedom for the people of Hungary, this mobilization did arouse a strong revulsion around the world against Soviet imperialism.

The sharp contrast between the response of France, the United Kingdom and Israel on the one hand, and the Soviet Union on the other to the call of world opinion, is striking.

The Secretary-General deserves particular commendation for his role in the United Nations actions during the Middle East crisis. As requested by the General Assembly, he developed within forty-eight hours a plan to set up, with the consent of the nations involved, the United Nations Emergency Force "to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities." The Force took up its position in the Suez Canal area and later moved to other positions along the armistice demarcation lines. Today, it remains the guardian of peace in the sensitive Gaza and Sharm-el-Sheikh areas. The concept inherent in this Force constitutes a potentially important development for the future of the United Nations as an increasingly effective instrument for maintaining peace.

Under a mandate from the General Assembly, the Secretary-General also organized a fleet of more than forty salvage vessels to remove the obstructions with which the Suez Canal had been blocked during the hostilities. By April 24, 1957, the Canal was fully open and had resumed its role as an important artery in world commerce.

Thus the United Nations dealt effectively with a grave situation which could have caused general war. The restoration and maintenance of relative calm gives the United Nations the opportunity to work for the long-range solutions in the Middle East which alone can guarantee against the outbreak of new fighting.

Unlike the crisis in the Middle East, the situation in Hungary presented the problem of what the United Nations can do when one of its members refuses to respond to the peacemaking efforts of the General Assembly.

What began as a peaceful student demonstration in Budapest on October 23, 1956, mushroomed into a nation-wide uprising of the Hungarian people aimed at national independence. It was crushed only through massive Soviet armed intervention. The United States proposed a resolution in the Security Council calling on the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops. When this resolution was vetoed by the Soviet Union, a special emergency session of the General Assembly was convened under the "Uniting for Peace" procedure.

As the climax of a historic series of resolutions, the General Assembly on December 12 condemned the Soviet Union's violation of the United Nations Charter "in depriving Hungary of its liberty and independence and the Hungarian people of the exercise of their fundamental rights." It again requested the Soviet Union to halt its intervention in Hungary's internal affairs, withdraw its troops from Hungary, and permit reestablishment of Hungary's political independence. To these requests, the Soviet Union turned a deaf ear.

On January 10, 1957, the General Assembly established a Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary consisting of representatives of Australia, Ceylon, Denmark, Tunisia, and Uruguay--a committee drawn from five continents--and instructed it to investigate the Hungarian situation. Denied admission to Hungary by the Kadar regime, the Committee carried out its mandate by collecting authentic evidence elsewhere, mainly from eye witnesses who had fled Hungary. The results of this investigation were published in the Special Committee's report. They clearly refuted on a point-by-point basis the Soviet version of events in Hungary. The report confirmed that the purpose of the Soviet intervention was the suppression of the legitimate demands of the Hungarian people for freedom and independence. It revealed the naked truth of the ruthlessness of the Soviet intervention and its utter disregard for national sovereignty and basic human rights.

It was this report which lead to the reconvening of the Assembly on September 10, 1957, and to the second resolution again condemning Soviet conduct, which was adopted by 60 votes to 10.

The United Nations succeeded in stopping the fighting in the Middle East because the parties involved complied with the recommendations of the General Assembly. In the case of Hungary, United Nations action was frustrated because the Soviet Union refused to comply with its recommendations. The blame lies not with the United Nations but squarely on the shoulders of the men of the Kremlin who rely on force to keep Hungary from regaining its freedom.

The record of the United Nations clearly demonstrates that the processes of consultation, compromise, debate, and agreement are capable of relaxing tensions and resolving disputes if nations are willing to respect the opinions of mankind.

I was particularly pleased to note the progress made, under the aegis of the United Nations, in the fields of disarmament and the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The United Nations Disarmament Subcommittee has been the center for serious negotiations which we all hope will lead to a mutually acceptable agreement. The establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency has been especially promising.

The United States welcomed the constructive work done by the United Nations over the past year towards the achievement of self-government and independence in the dependent areas and trust territories. The independence of Ghana and the termination of the United Nations trusteeship over Togoland under British administration constitute notable achievements.

By the admission of Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Japan, Ghana, and most recently the Federation of Malaya, the United Nations has increased its membership to eighty-two. However, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Viet-Nam are still excluded by the Soviet veto in the Security Council. The United States considers their admission necessary and desirable and will continue its efforts to bring about their entry into the Organization.

The humanitarian activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in providing minimum subsistence and housing for over 900,000 refugees in the Near East were continued by the General Assembly with United States support. Although the Agency is doing an excellent job under trying circumstances, we must find a permanent solution to the Palestine refugee problem.

The economic and social activities of the United Nations have become increasingly effective. Through many channels and in numerous programs, the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies have contributed to the economic progress of the newly developing areas of the world and, in the words of the United Nations Charter, "the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations." This report gives a full account of many of the strikingly successful battles the Specialized Agencies have fought and won against disease, hunger, and illiteracy in many lands.

It has been the continuing pledge of the United States to give full support to the United Nations and to seek constantly for ways to increase its strength and to develop is effectiveness as an instrument to maintain world peace. This report to the Congress contains concrete proof that we are keeping that pledge.


Note: The eleventh annual report on United States participation in the United Nations is published in House Document 202 (85th Cong., 1st sess.).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Message to the Congress Transmitting the 11th Annual Report on United States Participation in the United Nations. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234691

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