HL Deb 17 December 1958 vol 213 cc394-5

2.37 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government if they will state, with regard to the United Nations Organisation, what member countries, if any, are still in arrears on their undertakings with regard to contributions and the amount concerned for any such member country.]


My Lords, according to the most recent information, published on October 10, two Member States of the United Nations, Bolivia and Chile, then owed arrears of contributions in respect of 1956 totalling some 35,600 dollars or .07 of 1 per cent. of total contributions due for that year. On the same date the following thirteen Member States owed arrears of contributions in respect of 1957: Austria, Bolivia, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Lebanon, Paraguay, Uruguay, Yemen. Total arrears were approximately 2,467,000 dollars or 4.8 per cent. of total contributions due for 1957. With your Lordships permission, I shall circulate more detailed figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the detailed figures referred to:

On October 10 the following Member States were in arrears of contribution to the United Nations:

Arrears Dollars
Contributions for 1956:
Bolivia 19,845
Chile 15,730
Contributions for 1957:
Austria 76,000
Bolivia 19,838
Chile 109,957
China 1,943,043
Colombia 5,735
Ecuador 9,582
Honduras 474
Hungary 202,193
Israel 25,081
Lebanon 2,500
Paraguay 620
Uruguay 54,921
Yemen 17,382


My Lords, in thanking the noble Earl for his reply, which gives such an alarming picture of lack of enthusiasm by Members for their "club", is he able to state what sanctions can be applied to delinquents?


My Lords, while not entirely agreeing with the remarks of my noble friend—though I thank him for his reception of my original reply—I do not consider that 4.8 per cent. is as bad as he suggests. As to sanctions, Article 19 of the United Nations Charter states: A Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organisation shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The General Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member. No Member State has hitherto been deprived of its vote in the General Assembly under this rule.


My Lords, may I ask whether the members in arrears with their subscriptions have access to the resources of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank?


My Lords, I regret to say that, no longer being an expert in this matter, I cannot answer my noble friend's question. It is not exactly in line with the Question on the Order Paper.