INTRODUCTION -- "REGIONALISM" WITHIN THE UNIVERSAL SYSTEM
EVEN prior to the League "regionalism", in the sense of a grouping of States by a common bond of policy, existed; the Monroe doctrine or the British Empire are obvious example. Article 21 of the League Convent recognised that the new global organisation must co-exist with such regional groupings by providing that "Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe doctrine for securing the maintenance of peace". The League therefore saw the creation of the Balkan entente, the Locarno agreements, and the Briand proposal for a European Union. When, at San Francisco, the same problem of reconciling the new global organisation with regional understandings arose, there was already in existence a fairly comprehensive Inter-American system ( Pan-American Union), which in 1948 was to become the "Organisation of American States", and also the newly-formed League of Arab States, inaugurated by the Pact of March 22, 1945. In order to meet the fears of the American States, in particular, provision was expressly made to ensure that the new arrangements for collective security in the Charter, operating under the Security Council, should not stultify the arrangements already in being on a regional basis. Article 52 (1) of the Charter therefore provides that:
"Nothing in the present Charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action provided that such arrangements or agencies and their activities are consistent with the Purpose and Principles of the United Nations."
Clearly, the concern here is to avoid a conflict between the respective security systems of the United Nations the "regional arrangements". For this reason Article 52 continued, in the remaining three paragraphs, to encourage prior reference of regional disputes to any regional machinery for settlement, but without impairing the Security Council's