Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 23. September 28, 1950
UN and Korea
UN and Korea
This is the second part of an account by R. E. Blazey which was commenced in an earlier issue. The sources quoted for the information are UN Bulletin Vol IX, No. 2, July 15, 1950, and the 2000 word review from UNCOK on June 26 (which is now available).
Meanwhile, a joint resolution by France and the UK requesting the US to take charge of all UN forces in the area and authorising use of the UN flag was adopted 7-0 with three abstentions. The following day, MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of all forces in Korea and American troops went into action.
A review cabled to UN Headquarters on June 26 by UN Commission in Korea stated "For the past two years, the North Korean regime has, by violently abusive propaganda, by threatening gestures along the 38th parallel and by encouraging and supporting subversive activities in the territory of the Republic of Korea pursued tactics designed to weaken and destroy the Government of the Republic of Korea established under the auspices of the United Nations Temporary Commission in Korea and recognised by the General Assembly. During the same period the United Nations Commission has been a target for repeated propaganda broadcasts which denied its legality, dubbed it futile and subjected its individual members to abuse."
The facts alone point to a definite conclusion but some analysis is necessary, especially of the charge of illegality on which the whole of the opposition argument rests.
It is true that Article 27 of the Charter requires the affirmative votes of seven members including the concurring votes of the permanent members but by a long series of precedents dating back to 1946, the practice has been established that the abstention of a permanent member does not constitute a veto. Previous decisions made on this basis have been accepted as legal and binding by all, including the Soviet Union. Here it may be noted that not one of the members present at the debate of June 25 raised the question of illegality.
Furthermore, article 28, para. 1, states that "the Security Council shall be so organised as to be able to function continuously. Each member of the Council shall for the purpose be represented at all times at the seat of the organisation."
Clearly the U.S.S.R., in being absent from (and in fact boycotting the UN) was defaulting on its obligations and it was considered during the debate on replies from members that the voluntary absence of a permanent member is clearly analagous to abstention and thus does not constitute a veto. What if the Soviet representative had been absent ? Would he have vetoed the Council's decision and condoned the North Korean aggression?
The admission of Communist China to the Security Council is a separate question on which the General Assembly has already given its ruling and to raise it in regard to Korea is to use a dishonest argument in the form of an irrelevant diversion.
The North Korean allegation that the Security Council's decision of June 25 was illegal because they had not been consulted is absurd. Just fancy, a man attacks his neighbour with intent to kill, a policeman arrests him, and he declares the policeman's action illegal because he was not consulted about being arrested.
The Soviet statement that they adhere to the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries is hypocritical in view of recent events in Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia.
For UN the Korean situation is a critical test: the outcome will determine the future of UN and the Charter. Secretary General Lie has taken the firmest stand on this in condemning the North Korean action in no uncertain terms and in urging member states to assist the South Koreans to repel the invader. He had refused to accept any proposals for meditation unless and until the North Koreans withdrew to the 38th parallel and ceased hostilities.
In this, Lie is to be commended and given wholehearted support by all who believe or profess to believe in a world order based on law.
—R. E. Blazey