United States. Dept. of State. Office of Public Co.

Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) online

. (page 30 of 90)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) → online text (page 30 of 90)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

vide disparity between American statements about
Vietnam and American actions there.

We hope you will find it possible to share your

thoughts with us about these matters. The rising
confusion about national purposes can undermine
mutual trust and respect among our people. This
seems to us as urgent a problem as any that con-
fronts the Nation today.

We are grateful for your interest and send our
best wishes for the New Year.

Robert Powell

Student Body President

University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, N.C.

on behalf of himself and [99] other elected
heads of student government organizations
and editors of college newspapers, all sign-
ing in their own individual capacities

U.S. Reaffirms Desire
for Peace in Viet-Nam

Following is an exchange of letters be-
tween Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Representa-
tive to the United Nations, and U.N.
Secretary-General U Thant.


U.S. /U.N. press release B04B

December 31, 1966
My Dear Mr. Secretary-General: I ap-
preciate your thoughtful reply to my letter of
December 19 1 concerning Vietnam. The
subject at issue — peace in Vietnam — is of
such vital importance to my Government and
to world peace that we have given your reply
immediate attention and are sending you
herewith our reply.

We share your deep concern about the de-
velopment and effects of the conflict in Viet-
nam: the risk it poses to international
peace, the ill effects upon relations between
states, and — more than anything else — the
tragic toll in death and destruction.

I can assure you without reservation that
the preeminent desire of the United States
Government is to bring all hostilities in Viet-
nam to a prompt and honorable end con-

' For text, see Bulletin of Jan. 9, 1967, p. 63.

ANUARY 23, 1967


sistent with the United Nations Charter,
which affirms for all peoples the right of self-
determination, the right to decide their own
destiny free of force.

We have carefully reflected on your ideas,
expressed in your December 30 letter and on
previous occasions, about the cessation of
bombing of North Vietnam. As you rightly
point out, Mr. Secretary-General, our size and
power impose special responsibilities upon us.
And it is with these responsibilities in mind
that I wish to assure you categorically that
my Government is prepared to take the first
step toward peace: specifically, we are ready
to order a prior end to all bombing of North
Vietnam the moment there is an assurance,
private or otherwise, that there would be a
reciprocal response toward peace from North

I am, thus, reaffirming herewith an offer
made before the General Assembly — on
September 22 ^ and again on October 18.^ We
hope and trust that you will use every means
at your disposal to determine what tangible
response there would be from North Viet-
nam in the wake of such a prior step toward
peace on our part.

While reaffirming our offer, I would also
express our conviction that the goal which,
I am sure, we both share — an end to all
fighting, to all hostilities, to all organized
terror and violence — cannot be attained by
either appeals for or the exercise of restraint
by only one side in the Vietnam conflict.
We therefore welcome the idea in your letter
that there be an extended cease-fire, which
would obviously include a cessation of the
bombing of North Vietnam as well as an
end to all hostilities and organized violence
in the south. We believe the temporary
truces already arranged in Vietnam offer
opportunities for initiatives in that direction
— though we cannot but regret that the other
parties concerned have shown no interest so
far in such a cease-fire.

We continue to believe that peace can come
to Vietnam in one of two ways: through
deeds, such as a mutual cessation or reduction

» Ibid., Oct. 10, 1966, p. 518.
'Ibid., Nov. 14, 1966, p. 757.

of hostilities, or through discussions. We
agree with you fully that the ultimate basis
for a peaceful settlement could be the Geneva
Accords. We are, however, entirely flexible
in our approach to the discussions we have
sought to promote, whether they be format"
negotiations or informal contacts. In this con-
nection we would be prepared, as President !
Johnson publicly stated this morning,* to
meet promptly with the Governments of
North and South Vietnam as proposed by .
the United Kingdom on December 30. As my
Government has stated before on many occa-
sions, we are prepared to discuss all proposals
and points which any interested party may
wish to put forward. I am sure that your de-
sire for a first step to bring about peace is
accompanied by a strong interest on your part
in what the subsequent step would be.

I would conclude, Mr. Secretary-General,
by expressing our certainty that you — as all
men of good will — agree it is the war in all its
facets which must be brought to an end. We
are thus heartened — and believe all who de- 1
sire peace in Vietnam will share the feeling
— by your assurance that you will continue
to exert your efforts and explore every avenue I
toward a peaceful solution of the Vietnam

Sincerely yours,

Arthur J. Goldberg


U.N. doc. S/7668

30 December 1966
My dear Ambassador, I have very carefully
studied your letter to me dated 19 December 1966
on the subject of Viet-Nam. May I say how apprecia-
tive I am of your Government's request that I might
take whatever steps I "consider necessary to bring
about the necessary discussions which could lead to
such a cease-fire", and especially of the assurance
that "the Government of the United States will co-
operate fully ... in getting such discussions started
promptly and in bringing them to a successful com-

You are, of course, aware of my preoccupation
with the question of Viet-Nam during the last three
years. This preoccupation stems not merely from

' In reply to a question at a nevirs conference.



ny recognition of the serious risk that the continua-
;ion of this war poses to international peace and
security. To a very large extent it is influenced even
nore by my deep sympathy, and indeed anguish, over
;he untold suffering of the people of Viet-Nam who
Tiave known no peace for a generation, the tragic
oss of lives on all sides, the increasing number of
:ivilian casualties, the appalling destruction of prop-
erty and the vast and mounting sums being spent
)n the prosecution of the war.

In this context may I also stress my strong feei-
ng, publicly expressed more than once, that what is
•eally at stake in Viet-Nam, unless an early end to
he hostilities is brought about, is the independence,
he identity and the survival of the country itself.

I have already referred to the serious risk to in-
ernational peace and security that the continuance
f the war in Viet-Nam poses. There is an ever pres-
nt danger that the war in Viet-Nam may spread,
nd even spill over its frontiers. Already the war
as poisoned relations amongst States and has, as I
aid earlier, brought to a halt the great enterprise
f co-operation and understanding between nations
?hich had barely made a modest start in recent

This is how I see the over-all situation. It is a
ituation in which a powerful nation like the United
tates should take the initiative in the quest for
eace and show an enlightened and humanitarian
pirit. I believe that in the circumstances only action
eliberately undertaken in such spirit which, because
f its power and position, the United States can
fford to undertake, can halt the escalation and
ilargement of this war, and thus bring about a
irning of the tide towards peace.

Let me take this opportunity of reiterating my
iree-point programme, to which I still firmly ad-

1. The cessation of the bombing of North Viet-

2. The scaling down of all military activities by
II sides in South Viet-Nam;

3. The willingness to enter into discussions with
lose who are actually fighting.

I strongly believe that this three-point programme,
' which the cessation of the bombing of North
iet-Nam is the first and essential part, is necessary
I create the possibility of fruitful discussions lead-
ig to a just and honourable settlement of the prob-
m of Viet-Nam on the basis of the Geneva Agree-
lents of 1954.

I also wish to recall that in the course of the

twenty-first session, in the debate of the General
Assembly, the majority of the delegations have en-
dorsed the three-point programme. Many more heads
of delegations also specifically pleaded for the cessa-
tion of the bombing of North Viet-Nam. It seems
to me that this is a very clear indication of the
public opinion of the world at large on this issue.

Leaders of religious faiths all over the world have
also expressed their anxiety about the continuance
and escalation of the war in Viet-Nam. Only a few
days ago the General Secretary of the World Coun-
cil of Churches expressed a similar concern.

When His Holiness the Pope made his plea for
an extended cease-fire, I endorsed it and I urged all
parties to heed his appeal. In my statement of 2
December I said: "Is it too much to hope that what
is made possible for just a couple of days by the
occurrence of common holidays may soon prove
feasible for a longer period by the new commitments
that peace requires, so that an atmosphere may be
created which is necessary for meaningful talks to
be held in the quest for a peaceful solution?"

This is what I have in mind when I refer to the
need for a humanitarian approach. If action in such
a spirit could be undertaken, even without condi-
tions, by the United States to stop the bombing
of North Viet-Nam, and if the New Year cease-fire
could be extended by all the parties, I feel hopeful
that thereafter some favourable developments may
follow. I am reminded in this context that in 1954
negotiations for a peaceful settlement were con-
ducted even without a formal cease-fire and while
fighting was going on. Even though there may be
sporadic breaches of the cease-fire on account of
lack of control and communication, I believe that
this would provide a welcome respite for private
contacts and diplomatic explorations so that, in time,
formal discussions can take place on the basis of
the Geneva Agreements of 1954.

I am writing this letter to you after long delibera-
tion. I would like to close by assuring you and your
Government that, in my personal and private ca-
pacity, I shall continue to exert my utmost efforts
and to explore every avenue which may lead to a
just, honourable and peaceful solution of the prob-
lem of Viet-Nam.

As your letter under reply was issued as a Se-
curity Council document [S/7641], I am arranging
for this reply also to be issued as a document of the
Security Council.

Yours sincerely,

U Thant

INUARY 23, 1967


International Law in the United Nations

by Arthur J. Goldberg

U.S. Representative to the United Nations ^

All of us recognize that the practice and
teaching of law have undergone a profound
revolution in the last generation. No aspect of
this revolution has been more striking than
the growing involvement of American
lawyers and law schools with international
legal problems.

A generation ago international law was
considered a specialty so divorced from the
normal run of practice that Frederic R.
Coudert, a leading member of the New York
Bar, could complain, upon being elevated to
the presidency of the American Society of
International Law: "Those colleagues who
describe me as an international lawyer are
just trying to take away my best domestic
clients !"

Today the effective representation of cli-
ents in our major urban centers requires the
ability to deal with the legal aspects of inter-
national transactions. And, of course, there
is hardly a Federal agency in which the
lawyer does not find himself concerned with
international legal problems.

The curricula of our major law schools re-
flect this development. I understand that two-
thirds of the students at some of our major
law schools now take at least one course in
the field of international law.

This is as it should be. Indeed, I wonder
whether the trend in our law schools has gone
far enough. In the light of the revolutionary
developments which are increasing the inter-

' Address made before the Association of American
Law Schools at Washington, D.C., on Dec. 29 (press
release 304).


national influences on our national life — de-
velopments in science and technology, politics
and economics, in mass communications — one
may well ask whether today's law student
should not be expected to take at least one
course in international law, just as he takes
one course in torts, contracts, or property. If
this seems like an extreme suggestion, let us
remember that today's law student will be
reaching the peak of his professional career
in the year 2000.

When we speak of the international role
of our law schools, of course, we think of
research as well as teaching. Two centuries
ago the High Court of the Admiralty could
dismiss the work of scholars in international
law by saying: "A pedantic man in his closet
dictates the laws of nations; everybody
quotes, and nobody minds him." Today oui
scholars in international law are not onlj
quoted but minded. And I can think of no bet-
ter example than Professor McDougai
[Myres McDougai, president, Association ol
American Law Schools] himself and his
monumental works on the law of outer space,
the oceans, and the use of force — not to men-
tion many other scholars who are in this
room today.

But what of law in relation to diplomacy^
What is its relevance in dealing with the
problems of mankind as we face them in the
United Nations?

Sir Harold Nicolson once wrote that "the
worst kind of diplomats are missionaries,
fanatics and lawyers." Needless to say, we dc
not believe that at the U.S. Mission to the
United Nations. Sir Harold might be shocked


;o learn that the large majority of our dele-
gates and senior advisers at this last General
Assembly session were lawyers. In fact, we
lad the full-time services of one law school
lean and one law school professor, both of
hem on leave, and the part-time services of
I professor of international law. One of the
'ew nonlawyers on the delegation was the
"oreign Service officer whose title is Coun-

There are many Americans, I know, who
luestion the relevance of law in diplomacy
.nd in a political institution like the United
Nations. This skepticism results, I believe,
rom a number of misconceptions. Some peo-
ile think that law is only concerned with the
lechanical application of principles found in
ases and textbooks. Some see law and poli-
ics as antithetical concepts that operate in
'atertight compartments. And some believe
lat the differences between East and West
nd North and South have destroyed the basis
)r international law.

I regard these views as profoundly mis-
iken. After 18 months and two General As-
?mblies, I am impressed by the significance
f law and legal skills in diplomacy and in the

ork of the United Nations.

Perhaps a good way to illustrate this is to
ok at two subjects with which the United

ations has recently been involved: outer
)ace and Rhodesia.

le Development of Space Law

As you all know, one of the principal mat-
ers which engaged our attention during re-
;nt months was the negotiation of a treaty
werning the exploration and use of outer
)ace, including the moon and other celestial
3dies.2 The negotiations were successfully
mcluded in early December, and the General
ssembly has recommended that all states
gn and ratify the treaty.

This treaty is an important step in the
rogressive development of international law.

reduces the danger of conflict and promotes
le prospects of cooperation in the newest
id most unfamiliar of all realms of human

' For background, see BULLETIN of Dec. 26, 1966,
952, and Jan. 9, 1967, p. 78.

activity. Among other things, the treaty pro-
vides that:

— Outer space, including the moon and
other celestial bodies, shall be free for ex-
ploration and use by all states on a basis of
equality and in accordance with international

— Outer space, including the moon and
other celestial bodies, is not subject to na-
tional appropriation by claim of sovereignty,
by means of use or occupation, or by any
other means.

— Nuclear weapons and other kinds of
weapons of mass destruction shall not be sta-
tioned in space or on celestial bodies.

The treaty also provides for international
liability for space vehicle accidents, for the
rescue and return of astronauts and equip-
ment, for the avoidance of harmful contami-
nation of celestial bodies from earth and vice
versa, for the exchange of information on
space activities through the United Nations
and other bodies, and for access to stations
on the moon and other celestial bodies upon
reasonable advance notice.

This treaty did not spring full blown from
the minds of a few U.N. delegates. It repre-
sented the culmination not only of negotia-
tions which began in Geneva last summer but
of years of consideration in the U.N. and
elsewhere. This record reveals, I think, a
number of significant things about the role
of international law in diplomacy and in the
United Nations.

First, the record shows that the develop-
ment of international law is possible even in
the midst of deep divergencies of ideology
and national interest. Even between ad-
versary powers there can be agreements con-
taining mutual restraints and reciprocal con-
cessions which serve the interests of both
sides. The incentive for the negotiation of
such agreements and for compliance with
them is the hope of reciprocity; the sanction
is the fear of reprisal. For example, it would
have been difficult for either the Soviet
Union or the United States to commit itself
unilaterally not to station nuclear weapons
in space, but such commitments could be ex-
changed to the net advantage of both.

^NUARY 23, 1967


Second, the record shows the evolutionary
character of international law in gradually
codifying ground rules which are perceived
by states to be in their common interests. In
space as on earth, the life of the law has not
been logic but experience. Consider the fol-
lowing chronology:

— In 1959, year two of the space age, a
committee appointed by the U.N. could refer
to a developing practice that space could be
used for orbiting satellites without objection
from subjacent states.

— In 1961, year four of the space age, this
principle could be recommended to states in
a General Assembly resolution, together with
the related principle, on which there had
been no practice, that there could be no sov-
ereign claims on celestial bodies.

— In 1963, year six of the space age, both
these principles could be included in a
Declaration of Legal Principles by the Gen-
eral Assembly asserted to have the force of

— And in 1966, year nine of the space age.
these principles could be included in a for-
mal treaty instrument.

This history provides the most recent illus-
tration of how international law is developed
in the world today: how states gradually per-
ceive common interests on the basis of experi-
ence and how these common interests are
gradually crystallized into binding rules of

In the course of the recent negotiations I
was struck by the fact that the Soviet Union
and ourselves both followed the same prag-
matic approach to the development of space
law. Both countries were prepared to reach
agreement on those matters where experience
had demonstrated a sufficient measure of
common interest, and both countries resisted
the injection of questions which, though im-
portant and logically related to the agreed
principles, were not ripe for international
negotiation — such as the delimitation of outer
space and the exploitation of resources on
celestial bodies.

Third, the record demonstrates the effec-
tiveness of the United Nations as a vehicle
for the development of international law. The

process of discussion and negotiation of legal
principles governing outer space naturally
focused on the two great space powers. But
the fact that these negotiations were carried
on in the multilateral framework of the U.Nr^
undoubtedly encouraged the space powers to
be more forthcoming than they otherwise
might have been — and obliged them to take
account of the legitimate interests of other
countries, which also took part in the negotia-
tions all along the way. Moreover, in the light
of the Viet-Nam war and the Sino-Soviet
split, the fact that the space negotiations took
place in the United Nations made it less dif-
ficult for the Soviet Union to make the agree-

Sanctions Against Southern Rhodesia

Even as we were completing our work on
the space treaty, we were involved in the Se-
curity Council with another important sub-
ject which can also tell us something about
the relevance of law in the United Nations. I
refer, of course, to Rhodesia.

Earlier this month, the Security Council
took an unprecedented step with respect to
Rhodesia.^ It imposed mandatory sanctions
on key exports from Rhodesia and on oil ex-
ports to that territory.

This was the first time in the history of the
United Nations that such sanctions had been
imposed. All members of the United Nations
are legally obligated to apply these sanctions
in accordance with article 25 of the charter.
For the first time in history, our Government
will be prohibiting activities in international
trade by American individuals and corpora-
tions pursuant to a U.N. order under the au-
thority of our United Nations Participation

A number of individuals in our country
have attacked, on both legal and policy
grounds, this action of the Security Council
and the support which the United States has
given it.

First, it is said that the United Nations
action represents a denial of the principle of

' For background, see ibid., Jan. 9, 1967, p. 73.
' See p. 145.



The simple answer to this argument is that

the Smith regime is not asserting the right

of self-determination for all the Rhodesian

people but merely the right of 6 percent of

Y the Rhodesian people who are white to rule

j lover 94 percent who are black. The refusal of

j Ithe United Kingdom to recognize the illegal

1 sseizure of power by the Smith regime, far

jfrom being a denial of self-determination, is

, |an attempt to implement that objective for

jthe Rhodesian people as a whole.

Second, it is argued that the action of the
Security Council involves a violation of article
12, paragraph 7, of the U.N. Charter. This
iprovision reads:

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall au-
thorize the United Nations to intervene in matters
which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction
of any state or shall require the Members to submit
such matters to settlement under the present Char-
ter; but this principle shall not prejudice the appli-
cation of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.

The fallacy of this argument can be seen
when the facts in the case are tested against
the provisions I have just quoted:

— Rhodesia is not a "state" and has not
been recognized as such by a single govern-
ment or international organization.

— The situation in Rhodesia is not "domes-
tic," since it involves the international re-
sponsibilities of the United Kingdom under
chapter XI of the charter relating to non-self-
governing territories.

— The action of the Security Council does
not constitute "intervention," since the Coun-
cil has acted at the request and with the con-
currence of the legitimate sovereign, the
United Kingdom.

— Article 2, paragraph 7, by its own terms,
does not apply to the application of enforce-
ment measures such as the mandatory eco-
nomic sanctions imposed by the Council in
this case.

Third, it is argued that there is here no
threat to international peace justifying resort
to mandatory sanctions.

Under article 39 of the charter, it is the
responsibility of the Security Council to "de-
termine the existence of any threat to the
peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggres-

sion" and to "make recommendations, or
decide what measures shall be taken in ac-

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) → online text (page 30 of 90)