Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on United States Participation in the United Nations

April 26, 1985

To the Congress of the United States:

In accordance with the provisions of Section 116 to Public Law 98 - 164, I am pleased to report on the costs and benefits of United States participation in the United Nations.

The United Nations is an important body and one that deserves our most serious attention. At the same time, as the legislation that gives rise to this report suggests, it is generally recognized that the United Nations as it now functions does not fulfill many of the aspirations of its founders. The central question for the United States, then, is whether the United Nations can be made a more effective institution for the solution of international conflicts, for the promotion of national independence, democracy, and economic and social development -- in short, whether the United Nations can renew its dedication to the ideals enshrined 40 years ago in its Charter.

After the tragedy of the Second World War, the United States called upon the nations of the world to create an international institution in order, in the words of the Preamble to the United Nations Charter, ``to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.'' All too soon, however, it became apparent that this vision, in which the territorial integrity and political independence of each state were universally acknowledged, did not inspire universal respect.

The United Nations, acting through the Security Council -- the U.N. organ vested with primary responsibility for ensuring international peace and security -- has had some notable successes in keeping the peace. But as U.N. Secretary General Perez de Cuellar has pointed out, the Security Council has in recent decades proved increasingly ineffective in fulfilling this most critical obligation. I share the Secretary General's desire to make the United Nations a positive force in the maintenance of world peace. This report, like the legislation under which it is submitted, reflects our commitment to that greater goal. I hope this review will be a significant contribution to the reexamination and reassessment that the Congress contemplates.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

April 26, 1985.

Note: The 59-page report was entitled ``Report Reviewing United States Participation in the United Nations.''