HC Deb 03 February 1964 vol 688 cc817-8
27. Mr. Prentice

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what diplomatic initiative is being taken by Her Majesty's Government to resolve the constitutional position at the United Nations arising from the failure of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and some other countries to contribute to the cost of United Nations peace-keeping operations, thus calling into question their right to vote in the General Assembly.

Mr. P. Thomas

Her Majesty's Government are studying the situation which has arisen at the United Nations following the failure of the Soviet Union and some other countries to contribute to the United Nations peace-keeping operations in the Middle East and the Congo, and their resulting liability to loss of vote in the General Assembly under Article 19 of the Charter. The United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations in New York is in constant touch with other missions on this problem, we are considering whether any steps are necessary.

Mr. Prentice

Will the hon. Gentleman make it clear that this country takes the view that the Charter must be upheld in this respect and that any country which gets more than two years in arrears does forfeit its right to vote in the General Assembly? May I ask whether we are taking steps to try to get support for this view among the uncommitted nations in the hope that there will be sufficient world opinion by September, when the General Assembly meets again, to persuade the Soviet bloc to pay up their arrears? May I also ask him to make it clear that this applies not only to the Soviet bloc but to France—if and when that arises—so that it is plain that the stand we are taking is in support of the Charter and not merely a cold war attitude?

Mr. Thomas

Yes. In regard to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, we regard Article 19 as automatic in its application, and we wish to see upheld the principle of collective responsibility of United Nations members for meeting the expenses of duly authorised activities of the Organisation. As regards the second part of the supplementary question, as I said, we are in constant touch with other missions on this subject.

Mr. Wall

What was the date when the Soviet Union fell, or when will it fall, into arrears to such a degree as to deprive it of a vote?

Mr. Thomas

On 1st January this year.

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