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Revenge Strategy, Wasting the power of your hate on the guiltless (XXIII): UN at its roots

UN johann-berthelsen-united-nations-building-from-the-east-river

Johann Berthelsen (American, 1883–1972) Title: United Nations building from the East River

One of the WWII aftermaths-consequences was the emerging of the United Nations Organization (as it was baptized first in San Francisco, on June 26, 1945). A year later, its name changed to the United Nations or UN.

Today I would like to convey into our memory, a little bit of general history of the United Nations. We will cover its creation original motif, its´ beginning purposes; a brush about its 6 initial organ entities;  and its roots budgets – resources.
On my next publication (which will be this week) we will read what is United Nations now, seventy-four years later after its breeding. We will be able to compare and watch its growth, evolution, challenges, block roads, and what the United Nations has become to our days.

Again, as you already have perceived my methodology analysis, it is important to start from the commencement. If we wish to understand any entity we need to put ourselves the cap of a historian or sometimes an archives´archaeologist to trace the roots of the past. In addition, after doing our past research, we will require historian assistance to interpret the whole UN storyline, not just at the level of data or information, but at the level of insight and wisdom, Then and only then, we will sharply ready to comprehend the present contexts of it, and move forward to a better future. Without studying the past first, humans are completely lost in everything we do. Let´s start.

UN Naissance.
By June 1941, after 22 months of WWII, London was the home for 9 European exiled governments. Their respective leaders (from Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Yugoslavia) signed a declaration at Saint James Palace, London. This Inter-allied declaration was the first effort to put the end to war and help each other to reach peace. The solidarity of other countries as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa was uttered.

By August 1941, Franklin Roosevelt (President of USA) and Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister) formulated the Atlantic Charter. This was the first official meeting between the USA and UK to prepare the way for a system of collective peace, in the view of the disaster that was occurring between the Allies and the Axis Powers.

On January 1942, the United Nations initiative was conceived, for a three years pregnancy period. 26 countries signed a declaration pledging “to employ its full resources, military or economic” in “the struggle for victory over Hitlerism”. In addition, these countries validated the purpose of the previous Atlantic Charter declaration. The original twenty-six signatories were: the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Union of South Africa and, Yugoslavia.

During UN pregnancy,  after a couple of more meetings in Moscow and Teheran, while the year 1943, the number of countries supporting the United Nations effort grew to 42. The original leaders of these conferences and initiatives were always the USA, UK, China, and Russia. As a result, we can assume the real UN progenitors were basically USA, UK, China and Russia, the main Allies which were fighting the war in Europe. These 4 countries made-up the foundations throughout the UN pregnancy. When the gestation came to an end, the UN parents had gathered 50 countries on board. It happened the constitution signature and official kick-off meeting came about in June 1945. Not in NY, but in San Francisco, California. Watch the following video from the youtube channel HISTORY.

Why the UN? Its purposes at its roots in 1945.
1. Keep the peace and international security, and to serve this first purpose above all. To take collective effective measures to prevent and eliminate menaces to peace. To suppress aggression actions and other peace breakdowns. To adjust and resolve any controversial or susceptible international situations that may alter the peace. UN must do all the latter, by peaceful means and in conformity of the justice principles and international rights.
2. To encourage friendship relationships between nations, established with respect to the principle of equality of rights and the free determination of the countries. Take other measures for strengthening the universal peace.
3. Search and achieve international cooperation to solve universal problems of economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian character. To develop and stimulate the respect to human rights and the fundamental liberties for all, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.
4. Serve as a harmony center of all the efforts to reach all the previous objectives.

What is inside the body of the UN? Organs Initial Structure
The main UN organs have not changed since they were established in 1945. These are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.

1.  The General Assembly: UNGA the meeting place.


UNGA Assembly 73. Photo source. US Embassy London website.

The General Assembly is the main meeting place for all and every member state of the United Nations. At the inception, with 50 countries, they decided to meet and greet each September. Usually, each country leaders stood up in front of the rest and provided an informative summary of what had happened in his or her country since the previous year meeting. Each country has the right of one vote. Since the opening, the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) segmented its decisions through committees, such as security and politics; economics-financial; social-humanitarian and cultural; fiduciary-administrative; budgetary-resources; legal; and special policies. The relevant decisions on matters of peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. Decisions on other questions are by a simple majority.
2. The Security Council
The core concern of this council was the ultimate cause of the UN: To procure and to keep the peace. This council agreed to install the “Big Five”: Russia, China, USA, United Kingdom, and France as permanent members of a total of eleven (in 1945). The Security Council has taken the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the dispute parties to settle by peaceful means and recommends methods or terms of a settlement.
3. The Economic and Social Council
At first, the Economic and Social Council kicked off with 27 members, elected for 3 consecutive years. Its principal objective was to contribute to the improvement of the level of life to the whole world through economic and social development. Mainly issues in this Council, considered at that time were: world health and insalubrity, education, culture, and human rights. Eleven commissions with specific matters tasks or geographical regions depended on it.
4. The Trusteeship Council
The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 by the UN Charter, under Chapter XIII, to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories (including nations which lost at WWI and WWII as Turkey, Germany, Japan, Italy). These countries were placed under the administration of seven Member States, to ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for eventual self-government and independence.
5. The UN Secretariat
The Secretariat comprises the Secretary-General and its staff. He or She has numerous responsibilities and roles. But the main one is to solve any country affair in the world that could be considered as a threaten for peace. The first UN Secretariat was the Norwegian Trygve Lie, then a Swedish Dug Hammarskjold. Each Secretary-General stayed on his ruling chair for 6 years, with the possibility to be re-elected. The Secretary-General is like the chief administrative officer of the Organization.
6. The International Court of Justice: Its location is in Der Haag, The Netherlands. The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

Other companions who were conformed as of 1945 are called UN Specialized Agencies: The UN specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations. All were brought into relationship with the UN through negotiated agreements. Some existed before the First World War. Some were associated with the League of Nations. Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN. Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs. During the first decade of the UN, the first conformed specialized agencies were:
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The World Health Organization (WHO)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
International Development Association (IDA)
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
The Universal Postal Union (UPU)
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO)ICAO
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Many other specialized or geographical agencies have been set after the 60s, such as the UNICEF, UNDP, etc.

Who pays the UN? Budget-Resources
Toward 1946, the United Nations jolting budget was USD$19,390,000 of that time. Ten years later it doubled. Look at the graphic below.

UN nominalrealgraph

United Nations Programme Budget: Nominal and In Real Prices Table compiled by Klaus Hüfner (Senior Research Fellow, Global Policy Forum)

The UN is paid by each UN member contribution. It is considered as an “expenses” duty by every nation. The UNGA has prepared a contribution level table for each country, depending on the economic capacity. Initially, the USA contributed 49% of the budget. However, the UN depends on contributions (in kind, money) from all the countries members and wealthy individuals or entities. Since its beginning, it has depended on debt. Each contributor has its preferred line of themes, in consequence even though its first mandate is to preserve the peace, many other agendas have persisted beyond its initial conception.

Let´s stop here. On my next post, I will provide a snapshot of the UN today. And what is occurring inside the organization at the core of UN concept? You will be able to compare. The past versus the present. BTW, I invite you to follow UNGA  September observance. It is currently on. LIVE.

Thank you.


Sources of Reference utilized to write this article:

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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