The Formulation and Administration of United States Foreign Policy

By H. Field Haviland; Robert E. Asher et al. | Go to book overview

APPENDIX F
CONSIDERATIONS AFFECTING RELATIONS WITH MULTILATERAL ORGANIZATIONS1

A fundamental characteristic of contemporary international relations is the development of various types of multilateral organizations as a means of establishing more effective continuing contacts among nations. There is scarcely an area of human activity that is not touched by this trend, as suggested briefly at the beginning of the main report, and these associations are likely to become an even more significant aspect of U.S. foreign policy in future years. Because of the importance of this development, the main body of the report discusses various facets of the organization of the U.S. Government to deal with multilateral associations. The following paragraphs complement that discussion by considering briefly certain general structural and functional characteristics of different types of international organizations that affect the ability of such agencies in relation to U.S. interests.

International organizations have sprung up during the past half century not because of abstract idealism but because they seemed to offer certain advantages as a way of doing business in support of the national interests of the principal states of the world. Similarly, in the future, the continuing development of these organizations will depend primarily on their relative assets and liabilities as instruments for achieving the substantive objectives of various national governments. Thus the utility of individual organizations must be discussed primarily in relation to the requirements of individual substantive programs.

Some kinds of problems will continue to call for a worldwide approach, such as that embodied in the United Nations. Certain political issues, for example, affecting a broad range of countries, may benefit from inquiry, debate, and mediation under the auspices of a worldwide association. Some economic and social problems may be dealt with most effectively in an organization that embraces the bulk of both the more and less developed countries. Many of the prospective advances in science and technology, such as the exploration and use of space, will emphasize the universal approach. Weapons development is likely to lead to increasing demands for an effective international system for the control and reduction of armaments. The universal applicability of many advances for improving agricultural and industrial production, health and welfare, will raise questions of means to insure their use on an international scale, instead of a national one.

There are also likely to be continuing experiments with closer political and economic cooperation among nations on a regional basis. Much has already been achieved, particularly in Europe during the past decade, with new political and economic institutions -- the Council of Europe, the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community. As in Europe, so in the rest of the world, the growing recognition of the interdependence of nation-states will require a more organized system of international relations. How rapidly such a system will be developed is unpredictable, as are its institutional forms. The ideal of world government may remain the ultimate goal for many, but less radical and more feasible steps will have to be taken before that ideal can possibly be realized.


A. GENERAL ORGANIZATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

It is beyond the boundaries of this study, however, to probe any more deeply into the special requirements of particular substantive endeavors. Most relevant here are certain general organizational strengths and weaknesses that must be taken into account within the U.S. Government in determining the

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1
By H. Field Haviland, Jr.

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