March 8, 1962 (24th Parliament, 5th Session)

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

This vote for $6,493,500, which we on this side of the house certainly support, is made necessary, as the minister and the hon. member for Essex East pointed out, by the additional expenditures incurred by the United Nations and by the refusal of certain members of the United Nations to discharge their financial obligations in respect of those expenditures as well as in respect of normal expenditures. These additional expenditures have to do with such special and vital activities of the United Nations as the operations in the Congo.
I have not the figures at my command. Perhaps the minister has, but I know that the expenditures on these special operations like the Congo will soon run into amounts which will be comparable to, if not in excess of, the ordinary expenditures of the United Nations. This of course involves a new problem of finance, a problem which if it is not solved will create grave problems and dangers for the future effective existence of the United Nations.
There are member states who are in default of their ordinary obligations and the charter, at least in theory, has a way of dealing with that, but there is no provision in the charter, as I understand it, for dealing with special expenses for special activities. If they do not do so now, these will soon involve sums in excess even of normal expenditures. It is one thing to be in default of normal expenditures. We have some way of dealing with that in the charter, and I shall return to that in a moment.
But there is no way of dealing with these special expenditures in the sense that any particular obligation can be imposed on any particular state to pay its share. We are now getting into a position at the United Nations where if a member of the United Nations does not accept a particular operation-if it votes against a particular activity of the United Nations-it then claims it has no obligation to bear its share of the expenditures of that activity.
The best example of that, I suppose, is the Congo, where the Soviet union and the other 26207-1-103J
Supply-External Affairs communist states have washed their hands of all responsibility financial or otherwise for an activity of which they do not approve, at least in the form in which it is being carried on, although they voted for it in the first instance.
The Soviet union and the communist members are the most striking examples of this default, but there are other countries too. There are countries of the west which have taken the same attitude; they do not support the decision of the United Nations in respect of a particular matter and they will not pay their share of it. What do we do? We are now floating a bond issue in order to take care of these emergency expenses. The United States, which is always under criticism by these countries which do not take their share of these international responsibilities, is of course going to be asked to bear the great share of the burden. One hundred million dollars out of $136 million is to be taken up by the United States. If the United States does not do this, what will happen to the United Nations? There is only $36 million to be taken up by the other members, and with regard to that amount I think only eight, nine or 10 members have indicated that they will do anything at all. I think that is what the minister said a moment ago.
This is the problem, and I am glad this problem of the obligation of members of the United Nations in respect of the financing of these particular activities has been submitted to the world court. I hope the world court will come up with the kind of solution the minister has mentioned. That may be a good solution, but it will be one thing to get the verdict of the court and another to get the members of the United Nations to accept that verdict in terms of payment.
As my hon. friend from Essex East tells me, it will only be an advisory opinion in any event; it will only have the weight of an advisory opinion. So this is a very serious problem. It would be the tragedy of all tragedies if the United Nations were allowed, perhaps not to collapse-because it cannot collapse; it cannot be permitted to collapse- but if these activities were diminished because funds could not be found for that purpose, funds which are very small indeed in relation to the expenditures on modern armaments by some of these countries which are refusing to pay anything for this. We on this side of the chamber hope, Mr. Chairman, that this money will be made available in the way suggested.
I should like to ask the minister one or two questions. He has said that the United States is proposing to take up $100 million.
I take it that this matter is now before congress. I do not think it has been approved

Supply-External Affairs by congress yet. What will happen if congress does not approve of it, we do not know, but it will certainly involve a very serious problem for the organization in New York if the United States-and I hope this will not happen-does not find it possible to pay as its share such a high proportion of the total amount that is required.
Mr. Chairman, in this house on January 22 the Prime Minister had this to say in respect of the default of members of the organization on their ordinary contributions and in respect of the application of article 19 to members who are defaulting. This article is a way of dealing with these members. If they are in default after a certain length of time-I think it is two years-and if there are no circumstances which are considered as mitigating by other members of the United Nations, their franchise can be taken away from them.
I am not suggesting that this would be a wise course of action to follow. It has not been followed in the past. If it had been followed in the past we would have been in great confusion and difficulty at the United Nations. There have been cases in the past when nations were four or five years in arrears and then paid up. Therefore I am not suggesting that this should be done at this time. However, the Prime Minister did say at that time:
There should be no free riders in an International organization designed to maintain and preserve peace.
Therefore I should like to ask the minister what steps, if any, the government proposes to take to implement that statement of the Prime Minister that there should be no free riders; and is this a matter which the government proposes to take up at the next assembly of the United Nations in respect of those members who are now more than two years in arrears?

Topic:   HOUSE OF COMMONS ACT
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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