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U.S. Department of State
95/09/25 Address at 50th Session of the UN General Assembly
Office of the Spokesman

 
 
                            U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                            Office of the Spokesman 
                                   (New York) 
 
                                                                 
For Immediate Release                         September 25, 1995 
 
 
                                 ADDRESS BY 
                   SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
        TO THE 50th SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY 
                             NEW YORK, NEW YORK 
                             September 25, 1995 
 
 
     Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, Distinguished 
Guests:  It is a privilege to speak to you today on behalf of the United 
States.  A half-century ago, the General Assembly first met in New York 
-- across the river in a converted skating rink at Flushing Meadows.  In 
those modest surroundings, our predecessors began to put into place an 
ambitious framework they hoped would keep the peace as successfully as 
they had prosecuted the war.   
 
     In the years since, the United Nations has helped to bring peace, 
prosperity and hope to countless people around the world.  Technological 
change has brought nations closer together than the UN's founders could 
possibly have foreseen.  The United Nations itself has been challenged 
in unforeseen ways.  It has had to manage complex humanitarian 
emergencies, from civil wars to the mass movement of refugees to health 
epidemics.  This evolution has placed great strains on the organization, 
and revealed the necessity for far-reaching change in how it is run. 
 
     The Clinton Administration has vigorously made the case to our 
Congress and our people for continued American leadership at the UN.  
The United States made a commitment to the UN Charter 50 years ago.  We 
are determined to keep our commitment, including our financial 
obligations. 
 
     We will always remember that for millions of people around 
the world, the UN is far from a faceless institution:  It is, as Harry 
Truman once said, "a case of food or a box of school books; it is a 
doctor who vaccinates their children; it is an expert who shows them how 
to raise more rice, or more wheat."  To millions more, it is the 
difference between peace and war.   

     Economic and social development, as well as protection of human 
rights, remain central to the UN's mission.  But the UN must change to 
meet these needs more effectively.  When money is wasted in New York, 
Geneva, or Vienna, and when time is lost to bureaucratic inertia, the 
people who pay the price are those most vulnerable to famine, disease 
and violence. 
 
     It is time to recognize that the UN must direct its limited 
resources to the world's highest priorities, focusing on the tasks that 
it performs best.  The UN's bureaucracy should be smaller, with a clear 
organizational structure and sharp lines of responsibility.  Each 
program must be held to a simple standard --  that is, it must make a 
tangible contribution to the freedom, security, and well-being of real 
people in the real world. 
 
     In the last two years, under the leadership of Secretary-General 
Boutros-Ghali, the groundwork for substantial change  has been laid.  
The UN has an office with the functions of an inspector general, and a 
mandate to crack down on waste and fraud.  Under-Secretary-General Joe 
Connor has embarked on an aggressive campaign to improve the UN's 
management culture, and we fully support his work.  The UN Secretariat 
has moved in the right direction by submitting a budget that begins to 
restrain spending. 
 
     Now the momentum for reform must accelerate.  Let me propose a 
concrete agenda: 
 
     First, we must end UN programs that have achieved their purpose, 
and consolidate programs that overlap, especially in the economic and 
social agencies.  The UN has more than a dozen organizations responsible 
for development, emergency response, and statistical reporting.  We 
should consider establishing a single agency for each of these 
functions.  We should downsize the UN's regional economic commissions.  
We should ensure that the functions of the UN Conference on Trade and 
Development do not duplicate the new WTO.  And we should adopt a 
moratorium on big UN conferences once the present series is completed, 
concentrating instead on meeting the commitments of those we have held. 
 
     Second, we need to streamline the UN Secretariat to make it more 
efficient, accountable and transparent.  Each part of the UN system 
should be subject to the scrutiny of an inspector general.  The UN must 
not tolerate ethical or financial abuses and its managers should be 
appointed and promoted on the basis of merit. 
 
     Third, we should rigorously scrutinize proposals for new and 
extended peacekeeping missions, and we should improve the UN's ability 
to respond rapidly when new missions are approved.  We must agree on an 
equitable scale of peacekeeping assessments that reflects today's 
economic realities.  And we should have a unified budget for 
peacekeeping operations. 
 
     Finally, we must maintain the effectiveness of the Security 
Council.  Germany and Japan should become permanent members.  We should 
ensure that all the world's regions are fairly represented, without 
making the Council unwieldy. 
 
     We welcome the formation of the high-level group on reform, 
initiated under the leadership of outgoing General Assembly President 
Essy.  Our goal must be that a practical blueprint for UN reform will be 
adopted before the General Assembly's 50th Session finishes work next 
fall.  The way forward is clear:  We have already seen countless studies 
and reports.  The time has come to act on the best proposals.   
 
     As you know, in my country there have been serious efforts to 
curtail our support for the United Nations.  The Clinton Administration 
believes it would be reckless to turn away from an organization that 
helps mobilize the support of other nations for goals that are 
consistent with American and global interests.  But to sustain support 
for the UN among the American people and the people of other nations, it 
is not enough that we defend the institution.  The best argument against 
retreat is further reform.  Tangible progress will help us win the 
battle for UN support that we are waging in the United States. 
 
     The United Nations must emerge from the reform process better able 
to meet its fundamental goals, including the preservation of peace and 
security.  From Korea, to the Persian Gulf, to Haiti, the UN has 
provided a mandate to its members as they carried out this 
responsibility.  The UN's own blue helmets have helped nations create 
the basic conditions of peace in some of the most difficult situations 
imaginable, even though they have not always fully achieved their 
intended purpose.   
 
     Recently, a young Haitian father was asked what peacekeeping forces 
had achieved in his country.  "We walk freely," he answered.  "We sleep 
quietly.  There are no men who come for us in the night."  In Haiti, as 
for example in Cambodia, Mozambique and El Salvador, the UN has shown 
that peacekeeping, for all of its limitations, has been an enormously 
useful instrument. 
 
     One region where UN forces and the international community have 
played a critical role is the Middle East.  Another historic milestone 
will be marked this Thursday in Washington when Israel and the 
Palestinians sign their agreement to implement phase two of the 
Declaration of Principles.  That agreement will bring to life a goal 
first set in the Camp David accords -- that is, to protect Israel's 
security and to give Palestinians throughout the West Bank control over 
their daily lives.  The international community and the UN must continue 
to support this process politically and economically.  
 
     Without a doubt, the UN has never undertaken a mission more 
difficult than the one in the former Yugoslavia.  The limitations of 
that mission are well known.  But we must also recognize that it has 
provided relief for hundreds of thousands of people and saved thousands 
of lives.  Today, with diplomacy backed by force, the United States and 
the international community are moving forward on a track that is 
producing genuinely hopeful results.  The United Nations and NATO are 
working together effectively to bring peace to the region.  On September 
8 in Geneva, the parties to the conflict accepted the fundamental goal 
the Security Council has often expressed -- namely, the continuation of 
Bosnia-Herzegovina as a single state within its current internationally 
recognized borders.  When I meet with the foreign ministers of Bosnia, 
Croatia, and Serbia later today, I will urge them to maintain momentum 
toward peace and to establish constitutional structures for Bosnia. 
 
     The framers of the UN Charter created this institution to meet 
threats to peace and security posed by aggression and armed conflict.  
These threats are still very much with us.  But the world also faces a 
set of new security challenges, including proliferation, terrorism, 
international crime and narcotics, as well as the far-reaching 
consequences of damage to the environment.  These have assumed a new and 
dangerous scope in a more interdependent world.  As President Clinton 
said in San Francisco in June, the "new forces of integration carry 
within them the seeds of disintegration and destruction."   
 
     While new technologies have brought us closer together, they have 
also made it easier for terrorists, drug dealers, and other 
international criminals to acquire weapons of mass destruction, to set 
up cocaine cartels, and to hide their ill-gotten gains.  The collapse of 
communism has shattered dictatorships.  But it has also left the 
political and legal institutions of newly liberated nations even more 
vulnerable to those who seek to subvert them. 
 
     Although these threats are sometimes sponsored by states, they 
increasingly follow no flag.  Each of us must vigorously fight these 
enemies on our own.  But we will never be truly secure until we 
effectively fight them together.  That is the new security challenge for 
the global community.  It must be the new security mission of the UN. 
 
     There is no area where the UN can make a more significant 
contribution than in nonproliferation.  Fifty years ago, the United 
States was the only country capable of making a nuclear bomb.  Today, 
many countries have the technology that would enable them to turn a 
fist-sized chunk of plutonium into a bomb as small as a suitcase.  That 
is one reason why more than 170 countries agreed to extend for all time 
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty last May, at the conference chaired 
here by Ambassador Dhanapala.  We must build on that achievement. 
 
     First, we should have a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ready for 
signature by the time we meet here next year.  As President Clinton 
announced last month, the United States is committed to a true zero-
yield test ban.  We urge other nations to join us in that commitment. 
 
     Second, we should immediately start negotiations on a Fissile 
Material Cutoff Treaty.  Those who have been most vocal in calling for 
nuclear disarmament should recognize that it is essential to ban future 
production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.  
 
     Third, we should push forward with the historic reductions of the 
nuclear arsenals of the United States and the countries of the former 
Soviet Union.  I call on the U.S. Senate, as well as the Russian Duma, 
to approve the START II Treaty so that we can lock in deep cuts in our 
strategic nuclear arsenals.  In addition, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin 
are working together to ensure  the safety, transparency and 
irreversibility of nuclear arms reductions.   
 
     As part of this process, President Yeltsin will host a Nuclear 
Safety and Security Summit in Moscow next spring.  The Summit should 
have an ambitious agenda, including a declaration of principles on 
nuclear reactor safety.  We look to the summit to address the worldwide 
problem of nuclear waste management, including ocean dumping.  The 
Summit should also promote a plan of action to safeguard nuclear 
materials.  That plan should include new measures to prevent criminals 
and terrorists from acquiring nuclear material for use in weapons. 
 
     Finally, we should push for the earliest possible entry-into- force 
of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  President Clinton has urged the 
U.S. Senate to act promptly on its ratification, and to stop holding it 
and the START II treaty hostage to unrelated issues.  The world has 
witnessed the effect of poison gas too many times in this century -- on 
European battlefields during World War I, in Ethiopia and Manchuria 
during the 1930s, and against Iranian soldiers and innocent Kurdish 
civilians in the 1980s.  The Chemical Weapons Convention will make every 
nation safer, and we need it now. 
 
     The UN is also playing an invaluable role in focusing attention on 
pressing regional proliferation problems.  In Iraq, UNSCOM and its 
chairman Rolf Ekeus continue to uncover horrific details about Saddam 
Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.  
 
     Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq developed a deadly biological weapons 
capacity hidden from view.  It was conducting research to turn some of 
the most toxic substances known to man into weapons of war.  We know 
Saddam succeeded in putting anthrax and botulism in bombs and missile 
warheads.  In December 1990, he deployed these with every intent of 
using them against the international coalition and innocent civilians.  
He was dissuaded only by the steadfast determination of the United 
States and the international community. 
 
     In light of what Ambassador Ekeus has uncovered, we can only 
conclude that for the last four and a half years Saddam Hussein has lied 
about the full scope of Iraq's weapons programs.  There should be no 
easing of the sanctions regime until the Iraqi government complies with 
all the demands of the Security Council and demonstrates that it has 
changed its ways. 
 
     The UN should also promote responsibility and restraint in the 
transfer of conventional weapons.  Last year at the General Assembly, 
President Clinton proposed, and the Assembly approved, the eventual 
elimination of antipersonnel landmines.  On my recent trip to Cambodia, 
I saw the terrible damage these hidden killers can do.  This year, we 
will again call on other countries to join us in ending the export of 
landmines. 
 
     Two years ago, President Clinton called on the international 
community to devise a true international system that governs transfers 
of conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use technologies.  I am 
pleased that the Russian Federation has joined with the United States 
and 26 other countries to agree on common principles to control the 
build-up of dangerous conventional arms.  We hope to activate this 
global regime, called the New Forum, by the end of this year.  
 
     The proliferation of weapons has added a disturbing dimension to 
another threat we all face: international terrorism.  Indeed, this 
year's sarin gas attack in Tokyo is a grim warning of what can happen 
when terrorists acquire weapons of mass destruction. 
 
     More nations are joining the fight against those individuals and 
groups who attack civilians for political ends.  The United Nations has 
supported this effort in important ways.  The UN Security Council 
recognized the importance of countering state-sponsored terrorism by 
imposing sanctions against Libya for the bombing of Pan Am 103 and UTA 
772. 
 
     Terrorists should be treated as criminals and there must be no 
place where they can hide from the consequences of their acts.  States 
that sponsor terrorists should feel the full weight of sanctions that 
can be imposed by the international community.  Let us not deceive 
ourselves:  Every dollar that goes into the government coffers of a 
state sponsor of terrorism such as Iran helps pay for a terrorist's 
bullets or bombs.  Iran's role as the foremost state sponsor of 
terrorism makes its secret quest for weapons of mass destruction even 
more alarming.  We must stand together to prevent Iran from acquiring 
such threatening capabilities. 
 
     The United States has taken a leading role in meeting the 
international terrorist threat.  We have intensified our sanctions 
against Iran.  Last January, President Clinton also issued an Executive 
Order prohibiting financial transactions with terrorist groups and 
individuals who threaten the Middle East peace process.   We are urging 
our Congress to tighten our immigration and criminal laws to keep 
terrorists on the run or put them behind bars. 
 
     The United States strongly supports the counter-terrorism measures 
the G-7 and Russia announced at the Halifax Summit, and we expect the P-
8 Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism in Ottawa to produce a concrete 
action plan to implement these measures. 
 
     Other kinds of international crime also threaten the safety of our 
citizens and the fabric of our societies.  And globalization brings new 
and frightening dimensions to crime.  The threat of crime is a 
particular menace to young democracies.  It weakens confidence in 
institutions, preys on the most vulnerable, and undermines free market 
reform. 
 
     Of course, every country must take its own measures to combat these 
threats.  The Clinton Administration is now completing a review of our 
approach to transnational crime that will lead to a stronger, more 
coordinated attack on this problem. 
 
     To help other states deal with criminal threats, the United States 
and Hungary have created the International Law Enforcement Academy in 
Budapest to train police officers and law enforcement officials from 
Central Europe and the states of the former Soviet Union.  We are 
providing similar help bilaterally and through the UN Drug Control 
Program to countries whose laws are challenged by drug cartels. 
 
     A particularly insidious form of crime and corruption is money 
laundering.  All nations should implement recommendations by the OECD to 
attack money laundering.  The nations of this hemisphere should also 
advance the anti-money laundering initiative introduced at last 
December's Summit of the Americas.  Together, we must squeeze the dirty 
money out of our global financial system. 
 
     Through the UN's conventions on drugs and crime, the international 
community has set strong standards that we must now enforce.  We call on 
UN member states who have not already joined the 1988 UN Drug Convention 
to do so.  Those countries who have approved the convention should move 
quickly to implement its key provisions. 
 
     We are increasingly aware that damage to the environment and 
unsustainable population growth threaten the security of our nations and 
the well-being of our peoples.  Their harmful effects are evident in 
famines, infant mortality rates, refugee crises, and ozone depletion.  
In places like Rwanda and Somalia, they contribute to civil wars and 
emergencies that can only be resolved by costly international 
intervention.  We must carry out the commitments we made at last year's 
Cairo Conference, and the Rio Conference three years ago.  
 
     Never have our problems been more complex.  It has never been more 
evident that these problems affect all nations, developed and 
developing, alike.  Only by working together can we effectively deal 
with the new threats we all face. 
 
     That is why, on this 50th anniversary year, we must shape the UN's 
agenda as if we were creating the institution anew.  Just as the UN's 
founders devised a new framework to deter aggression and armed conflict, 
the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, must now assign 
the same priority to combating the threat posed by proliferation, 
terrorism, international crime, narcotics, and environmental pollution.  
We should dedicate our efforts in the UN and elsewhere to turning our 
global consensus against these threats into concrete action.  We must 
renew and reform the United Nations not for its sake, but for our own.   
 
     Thank you very much. 
 
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