An increasingly important part of the activities of modern governments is participation in the support of international organizations whose work falls within a field quite distinct from that of the regular diplomatic and consular services. Each of these organizations has been established for a specific purpose which requires a central office and a permanent staff. Some have actual administrative duties in connection with international projects that have their origin in formal treaties or conventions. Some have been created for the purpose of collecting and disseminating information which may be of value to the governments which support them. Others have been organized to develop methods and understanding in matters relating to the social and physical sciences.
The participation of the United States in international organizations is not a recent development. Of the 29 bodies described in this volume, the United States adhered to four before 1880, to six between 1880 and 1899, to ten between 1900 and 1919, and to nine after 1919. The volume is confined to permanent bodies which were supported in part by the United States at the end of 1934 or to which the United States was obligated to make a contribution. It is therefore not an account of the complete participation of the United States in international bodies, as some organizations have been discontinued, and support has been withdrawn from others.
The contribution by the United States is in many cases small and the total contributed does not amount to a significant part of the expenditures of the govern-