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United States Participation in the United Nations Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report.

November 01, 1977

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to send to the Congress this 31st annual report on the principal activities of the United States in the United Nations and its constituent organizations during calendar year 1976.

This report describes the main UN activities concerning issues affecting the security and well-being of the American people, such as the Middle East, Southern Africa, Cyprus, law of the sea, North-South economic relations, food, the environment, drug control, science and technology, human rights, terrorism, and disarmament. It emphasizes the work of US representatives in these forums and the positions they adopted, and it explains our government's stand on the issues. In sum, the report portrays an active year during which our country worked hard with others in the UN to advance the causes of peace, economic progress, and justice.

In the area of peace and security, the United Nations continued to serve as a valuable forum for the discussion of political disputes even where progress on the underlying issues was not always possible. In the Middle East and Cyprus, UN peacekeeping units performed their vital tasks while the search for a durable peace continued. The Security Council also worked to defuse other problems in such areas as Southern Africa, Djibouti, and the Comoros. In all, the Security Council met 113 times in 1976---more often than in any year since 1948, and twice as often as in 1975.

The 31st General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions in the area of disarmament and arms control. The two most significant of these were a resolution opening the Environmental Modification Convention for signature and one calling for a special session of the General Assembly in 1978 devoted to disarmament issues.

On the recommendation of the Security Council, and with US support, Secretary General Kurt Waldheim was reappointed by the 31st General Assembly to a second five-year term.

In the area of economic cooperation, the developing and developed countries continued efforts begun at the Seventh Special Session of the General Assembly to find common ground on a wide variety of issues. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held its fourth ministerial session in Nairobi and reached partial consensus on the critical issues of commodities, technology transfer, debt, and assistance to the poorest countries. The General Assembly also devoted considerable attention to economic questions. The United States co-sponsored a resolution in the General Assembly calling for a UN Conference on Science and Technology for Development, to be held in 1979.

The UN's record with respect to human rights was disappointing. The unwarranted linking of Zionism with racism was an impediment to serious consideration of human rights matters and the US continued to resist it by all possible means. In a number of cases, failure to take effective action belied the commitment to human rights that all UN members have accepted. International concern over human rights issues continues to broaden, however, and the acceptance of an international competence to consider these issues has become more firmly established.

During 1976, the United States participated in the International Labor Organization under the first year of its two year notice of intent to withdraw from the organization. A favorable development was the increased cohesion of the industrialized free market countries at the June 1976 conference, but I have yet to decide whether sufficient progress has been made to justify continued US membership.

These were some of the most dramatic developments in the United Nations during the last year but there are a great many other UN activities discussed in this report. Much of this work--the "quiet side" of the United Nations--is not well known to the public because it is noncontroversial and seldom reported in the news media. But these economic, social, and technical activities, which account for the use of nearly 90 percent of the total resources of the UN system, are of great importance to our prosperity, security, and well-being. They include such activities as:

--Establishing safety .standards for international civil aviation;

--Maintaining a World Weather Watch;

--Improving health conditions and standards worldwide;

--Combatting ocean and air pollution;

--Improving international food standards and preventing the spread of plant and animal disease;

--Providing assistance to the less-developed countries; and

--Working to curb illicit drug production and abuse.

Since assuming the Presidency, I have pledged my Administration to full support for the work of the United Nations and to greater use of its machinery in the conduct of our foreign relations. The wide-ranging activities described above show clearly the importance of the work done by the UN and its associated agencies. It is work that cannot be accomplished by nations acting alone or even through bilateral diplomacy. It is only through multi-lateral forums such as the UN that many of the world's most pressing issues can be effectively approached.

I am proud of America's role in creating the United Nations, in advancing global cooperation through its various agencies, and in providing, over the years, the largest share of its financial support. As the UN begins its 33rd year, I welcome the opportunity to submit this report to the Congress and to reaffirm my Administration's commitment to this increasingly vital institution.


The White House,

November 1, 1977.

Note: The report is entitled "U.S. Participation in the UN--Report by the President to the Congress for the Year 1976" (Government Printing Office, 426 pp.).

Jimmy Carter, United States Participation in the United Nations Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242456

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