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

July 03, 1980

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit to the Congress this report of the activities of the United States Government in the United Nations and its affiliated agencies during calendar year 1978.

This 33rd annual report covers the second year of my Administration, and I believe it confirms our conviction that the United Nations is of vital and growing importance to the conduct of U.S. foreign relations.

The year 1978 revealed some of the strengths of the UN system. Among the actions taken during 1978 by the United Nations that best exemplify its strength were the rapid establishment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the development of a UN plan to ensure the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections. The UN plan for Namibia includes the authorized establishment of a United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) to assist the Secretary General's Special Representative for Nambia. Formation of UNTAG still awaits final agreement on the implementation of a Namibia settlement.

The establishment of UNIFIL was particularly important for the develop. ment of the UN's peacekeeping operations. UNIFIL is a test of the UN's ability to gain the cooperation of the parties concerned because, unlike other peacekeeping operations, it operates without a precise agreement between opposing parties. In an area where there has been little or no exercise of legitimate civil authority, the Force is attempting to maintain peace within the territory of a sovereign country where there are indigenous, rebellious armed groups supported from outside. The technique of peacekeeping is among the most innovative activities of the United Nations, and one of the most successful.

The year 1978 also witnessed small but growing third world interest in UN human rights initiatives, and the Special Session on Disarmament, which set forth goals and priorities for disarmament negotiations. The United Nations also began to become closely involved in efforts to alleviate the human tragedy in Kampuchea.

The continuing difficulties of the United Nations in dealing with general economic issues were demonstrated by the year-long impasse over the mandate of the Committee of the Whole. In contrast, the decision to convene a Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, which we strongly support, and the reconvening of the negotiating conference on the Common Fund for Commodities, which has since made substantial progress, are solid evidence of the UN's growing ability to deal effectively with specific international economic problems.

The United States remains deeply concerned about the budgetary growth in the UN system, and in 1978 voted against the UN budget for the first time because it failed to exercise the necessary financial restraint. We are continuing to monitor closely UN expenditures, programs, and personnel practices.

It is my hope that this report will contribute to knowledge of and support for the UN as an institution, and to continued active and constructive U.S. participation.


The White House,

July 3, 1980.

Note: The 309-page report is entitled "United States Participation in the UN—Report by the President to the Congress for the Year 1978."

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/251589

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