Our experience on this continent shows that it is possible for nations and peoples to live together harmoniously and to make their interdependence fruitful and then peaceful methods, to settle not only the inevitable clashes of interest, but also to compose racial, religious and political differences and remove economic and social inequalities.
Your country, Mr. President, is an example of this American way of life.
Throughout the vicissitudes of their history, in bright and dark days alike, the Mexican people, overcoming every kind of obstacle, have continued to build up a great country, founded on social justice and on the practice of human solidarity.
In the part they are playing both in the community of this continent and in the world community, the Mexican people are guided by the same standards of liberty and fraternity as inspire their national institutions. This same spirit spurs them on towards the attainment of a national life that will provide greater abundance and justice for all.
We remember the wonderful spirit with which the Government and people of Mexico, in the days when civilization hung in the balance, took their place beside the United Nations, then engaged in the most terrible and decisive war humanity has ever suffered, to save the world from a slavery which threatened to overthrow the whole structure and moral values of mankind.
You, Mr. President, have taken over the responsibility not only of governing but of maintaining and strengthening the generous and heroic traditions of your country at a decisive hour for the destiny of mankind. It is such devotion to the ideals of generosity, humanity and brotherhood which has made the cause of the nations strong and their men worthy of the esteem of posterity.
Our Organization contains within it the greatest strength existing in the world, but an even greater strength resides in the moral expression of its raison d'etre, and in the ideals which inspire all its peoples.
Peace is not the result of power. It is the victory of culture, a necessity for civilization, a triumph of intelligence; it is the virtue of good neighborliness, the will of the people, democracy in its highest form. Peace will never be safeguarded by weapons. They lead the world along the unsafe path towards a repetition of the disasters of the past. The way of peace lies in thought, in feeling, in the hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
Mexico, like all the American nations, is by its origin and destiny linked to the whole world. That destiny finds its expression in the noble mission of the United Nations.
It is as an incentive to the accomplishment of that mission, through which we hope to build an increasingly humane and peaceful world, that we now gratefully welcome and greet Your Excellency, the distinguished President of Mexico, on the occasion of your visit here.
13. Address to the General Assembly by H. E. Mr. Miguel Aleman
H. E. Mr. Miguel Aleman (President of the United States of Mexico) (translated from Spanish)- Mr. President, Gentlemen: As the Chief Executive of a country which has given this Organization, from its earliest days, the fullest and most enthusiastic support, I thank you, on behalf of the people of Mexico, for the high honour you confer upon me in granting me the opportunity of reaffirming, before the most important organ of the United Nations, Mexico's unshakeable faith in the principles of the Charter which we signed at San Francisco.
To you especially, Mr. President, distinguished representative of our sister country of Brazil, I wish to express my thanks for your cordial words of welcome.
We have always believed that the fulfilment of obligations contracted between nations within the framework of a broad programme of international co-operation, is not only a good omen for lasting peace but the sole assurance of its maintenance, and the one and only solution to save us from the catastrophe of another war, which would be the end of civilization as we know it.
Nothing other than such co-operation can succeed in overcoming the difficulties arising out of the war, and in the end converting into a state of peace, true peace, the uncertain period through which we have been passing during these last months. Nothing would be more dangerous than to acquiesce, for the sake of expediency or simply from weariness, in a mere pretense of peace. For peace is not the striking of a balance between compromise opinions, but rather a firm determination of the mind. And if this firm determination is at all times to inspire the work of the United Nations, the United Nations must never disappoint the hopes placed in it by the free peoples.
The logic of history demonstrates that it is immensely important to find a just and equit able solution of the situations created by this last war. It is becoming daily more imperative to finish the arduous task of drafting the peace treaties. The world is anxious to clear up the problems of the war, so as to be able to devote itself wholly to the gigantic task of reconstruction. In that same spirit, Mexico most fervently wishes that the efforts of the great Powers may be crowned with success.
The interdependence of nations is unquestionably the most striking fact of our time. That is why international co-operation, founded upon scrupulous respect for the rights of States, must now be the supreme aspiration of our family of nations. The selfish nationalism of the nineteenth century led us in the twentieth to the holocaust of two terrible wars. Were it only out of an elementary instinct of self-preservation, mankind could not continue indefinitely on the downward road to material ruin and cultural disintegration. Therefore, it is one of the sacred obligations of the United Nations to halt the tragic steeds of war. And another of its immediate and inescapable duties is to strengthen the foundations of a universal community in which the provocations to discord, namely, insecurity, ignorance, poverty and hunger, will disappear.
The spread of education and of the fruits of study, the development of international trade on a basis satisfactory to all nations, both those exporting raw materials and those processing them into manufactured goods, the raising of the standard of living, the encouragement of countries in the process of industrial development, and many other activities to which this Organization is devoting worthy and well-directed attention are not merely theoretically plausible objectives. They awaken in all our minds a concern for their successful accomplishment, and they strengthen our desire to advance without delay from projects to achievements, from words to deeds.
The obstacles frequently encountered in every sphere do not seem to us in Mexico a reason for pessimism. On the contrary, these very difficulties have served to make us realize that, this time, States will not be satisfied to build peace on false compromises, but are aware that the new world structure will have to be founded on a precise knowledge of the problems to be solved and on complete agreement as to the means for their solution.
The fact that my country is part of a regional political organization compatible with the structure of the United Nations leads me to reflect upon the valuable moral contribution which the regional organizations—and in particular that which the American Republics have built up in this hemisphere—can honourably make to the orderly structure of the world. Our friendship, purified by much experience, should be a source of encouragement to the doubting and the fearful, for we too have not been without serious set-backs in our history; yet, despite all these set-backs, we have endeavoured to establish, and are striving to improve, our present relations of good neighbourliness, that good neighbourliness which you, Mr. President, consider a necessity for mankind and a triumph of intelligence.
Mexico, which has always condemned aggressive force and the breaking of international treaties, will give of its best in the service of world brotherhood, Without which all material forces would end by destroying themselves.
And so, coming here during my visit to New York and greeting, through you, the Governments which you represent, I wish to repeat my thanks for the distinction which you, through me have conferred upon my country. I sum up fervent wishes in these closing words: May harmony and justice ever guide you in all your deliberations!
The President: I shall now escort the President of Mexico from the platform, after which we will adjourn for ten minutes.
The meeting was recessed, and reconvened 2.45 p.m.
14. Consideration of the report of the General Committee concerning communications from organizations (document A/299)
The President: I shall now call on the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General to the report of the General Committee.
Mr. CORDIER (Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General): The report reads as follows:
"The General Assembly, at its sixty-ninth plenary meeting, referred to the General Committee the consideration of certain communications received from organizations which have asked for the opportunity of expressing their views concerning the items of business for which this special session was called, and instructed it to make recommendation thereon to the plenary meeting with regard to the procedure for dealing with them.
"The General Committee, having considered this matter at its thirty-second and thirty-third meetings, adopted, by eleven affirmative votes with three abstentions, the following resolution:
"The General Committee,
"Having considered the communications referred to it by the President of the General Assembly from the Jewish Agency and other organizations requesting that they be permitted to express their views on the Palestine problem,
"Recommends to the General Assembly that it refer these communications, as well as any communications of a similar character which may be submitted to this special session, to the First Committee for its decisions."
The President: The report is now open for discussion.
Sir Carl Berendsen (New Zealand): Mr. President, I shall endeavour most earnestly to keep within the confines of relevancy, and if I should, by inadvertence, stray from the straight path in the words of one of my "predecessors at this rostrum, I shall not stray very much. I wish to assure you that I shall, in any case,, be exceedingly brief, and shall probably not speak again. Accordingly, if you should have any doubt as to the propriety and relevancy of what I am about to say, I would earnestly beg you to give me the benefit of that doubt.
The Assembly has decided, and I entirely agree with the decision, that the sole item on the agenda of this special session should be that proposed by the United Kingdom, contemplating the establishment of a special committee of inquiry to investigate the situation in Palestine.
That being the case, I am at a loss to understand why we cannot at once and forthwith proceed to establish that committee without unnecessarily thrashing around. That may cause weeks of debate and, it seems to me, would not only be useless but might, indeed, be mischievous.
It will not disturb you, Mr. President, that I, who am so frequently unable to understand what is happening around me, have been unable fully to understand your ruling that, in the discussion of the sole item on the agenda, the Assembly and its committees will be able to discuss the entire subject of the question of Palestine. I am not contesting that ruling. If that is indeed the situation, if it is within the competence of the Assembly and its committees to discuss the situation and not merely the constitution and the terms of reference of the proposed committee of inquiry, I wish to urge with all the emphasis and the urgency at my command that the Assembly and its committees should do no such thing.
I shall offer three compelling reasons, any one of which, to my mind, is conclusive, why such a course would be improper and unwise. In the first place, the representatives at this meeting are neither adequately instructed nor adequately informed to undertake such a discussion. We are instructed—and that is certainly the case with reference to the New Zealand delegation—solely on the preliminary question of the establishment of a committee of inquiry.
I shall be told, of course, that there is a wealth of information available on the substance of this matter, that, indeed, previous inquiries have been made, the results of which are available to all of us here. However, the proposal now under consideration is, I suggest, of a totally different order. We are now recognizing, perhaps belatedly, that this is indeed an international problem which demands international action.
That is the basis upon which this special session has been called, and that, indeed, is the foundation for the decision which we are certainly about to take: namely, to undertake an inquiry which is not only special in its character but is the first such inquiry undertaken by the United Nations.
It seems to me, therefore, that we should rule out at this stage the results of all previous inquiry, and should ignore all previous information except to the extent that those results and that information are introduced by way of evidence before the committee of inquiry, when it undertakes its duties.
I shall be told that a debate on the substance of this unhappy situation will serve to guide the Members whom we may appoint to this committee of inquiry. That, I assert, is precisely the course which this Assembly should not adopt.
The deliberations of the committee of inquiry should be guided solely by the logic and the authority of the evidence produced before it. The members of that committee should not be influenced at all by the oratory or dialectics of a debate prior to that committee's establishment. Those, if such there be, who favour such a debate are obviously preferring oratory to evidence, dialectics to fact. The time for such a debate, full and free, is at the next meeting of the Assembly after, not before, the committee of inquiry has made its report and its recommendations.
I may be told, also, that such a debate is necessary in order to enable this Assembly properly to establish this committee and its terms of reference. I reject that reasoning at once. What we require in the membership of this committee of inquiry are competence and impartiality, which have no connexion at all with the merits or the substance of the situation in Palestine.
As to the terms of reference—and I hope I am not going to shock my colleagues—I would not waste two minutes in considering them. The word "Palestine" would be enough for me. However, if we must, as of course we must, produce terms of reference couched in clear and intelligible language, I suggest that something of this order—I am not concerned with the words—"to consider the situation in Palestine and to report with any recommendations that the committee may see fit to make", would be adequate.
My only concern—and I venture to suggest the only concern of every representative to this Assembly—is to ensure that the committee should be given the widest possible authority to investigate every aspect of the situation, and to hear all parties which are genuinely concerned.
Any attempt to particularize in the terms of reference necessarily has a restrictive effect. There is no reason at all why we should differ on the terms of reference, and no reason at all why we should enter upon a lengthy debate upon this subject.
I pass now to the second of my three reasons against debating the substance of this situation at this Assembly. It is an incontestable, unchallengeable fact that there are many parties directly concerned in this unhappy situation. Those parties may roughly be divided into two contending groups. Only one of those contending groups, a group for whom I have the highest respect and the utmost regard, is represented at this Assembly. I suggest to you that to attempt to discuss in this Assembly the substance of the matter under consideration, without giving to the other group full and equal rights, would be palpably contrary to every dictate of justice and of logic.
It is not possible, whatever we may do to hear the representatives of that second group, to accord equal rights to them at this meeting. I am not opposed at all to hearing them. Indeed, as at present advised, I think that if that group desires to make representations in the consideration of the terms of reference or in the composition of the committee, some effort should be made to hear those representations. At this stage, however, I am convinced we should go no further. If we are agreed that the committee should be given the widest possible terms of reference, then it may well be that there will be no necessity and no reason for any such special arrangements.
The point I am endeavouring to make, which is obviously incontestable, is that all parties concerned in this matter should, at the proper time, be given the fullest possible opportunity of expressing any views germane to the subject under consideration. But this is not the time. The time will come, of course, when the committee we are about to establish is conducting the inquiry we are contemplating.
I venture to suggest that not one single representative in this hall is proposing that the matter should be decided now. If it is not to be decided now, if it is to go to a committee, I can see no valid reason whatsoever for initiating a debate, with all the implications that are involved, into the substance of this dispute, thereby anticipating, confusing, perhaps prejudicing the calm and careful consideration which we contemplate at the hands of the committee of inquiry.
I pass now to my third reason: a discussion of the subject matter at this time might well have the most detrimental effect on the prospects, for which we all so devoutly hope, of achieving a just and permanent solution as a result of the inquiry now to be initiated.
I repeat that I can see no object whatsoever, if it is agreed that no decision can be reached at this meeting of the Assembly, in embarking upon a discussion of the substance of the dispute. The only object of such a discussion could be to reach such a decision in advance of the evidence, and the principal result might well be mischievous.
If, however, we do embark upon such a discussion, and I should regret it if we did, I would urge upon all the necessity of restraint and moderation. We, whose responsibility in this matter is so heavy, must be careful, most meticulously careful, lest any word on our part, chance or deliberate, might indeed add fuel to the fires which are so unhappily raging. The risk of such a result is obvious. That is my principal reason for urging upon my fellow representatives that we should ignore at this stage all questions of substance, leaving those matters, as they should be left, to the committee which we are establishing for just that purpose.
In concluding, I shall go one step further: I wish to endorse with all the emphasis and earnestness at my command the very moving appeals made during the meetings of the General Committee, made with an eloquence and authority to which I do not pretend, that all concerned should strive to establish, during the whole of the period between this meeting and the final decision of the Assembly after the report of the committee of inquiry, that atmosphere of peace and tranquillity which is so essential if the work is to be done as we all wish to be done.
That is a plea which should be unanimously sponsored by this Assembly, supported by every Government, broadcast throughout the world, emblazoned in every journalistic headline, endorsed in every pulpit, repeated in every school, and adopted by every public speaker on this great and solemn problem: that all right-thinking people throughout the world so comport themselves during the next few pregnant months as to ensure that this inquiry may be conducted in that atmosphere of calm and peace which alone can enable us to perform our task and to attain the solution which will bring justice to all and relief to suffering humanity.
Let all hands be held back. Let all voices be stilled, except in considered and responsible argument, before the committee we are to establish. I most solemnly urge magnanimity, patience, and moderation on the part of all, so that we may establish a true truce of God during these months to come; I urge that all refrain form of provocation or exacerbation, by word or by deed, in their consideration of this and agonizing human problem.
For that brief period at least—although I hope for all time—let passions be stilled. Let us all look forward, not backward. In no other way can the United Nations fulfill this high and onerous responsibly. In no other way can mankind prove itself worthy of humanity.
During Sir Carl Berendesen's statement, Mr. Quo Tai-chi representative of China, assumed the Chair as Acting President.
The ACTING PRESIDENT: The meeting will know be adjourned, and the General Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to resume discussion on the report of the General Committee concerning communications from organizations.
The meeting rose at 1.30 p.m.