Council of Foreign Relations World Planning

Years ago, I read an article that showed how the CFR makes plans and world leaders, especially American Presidents and other elected officials, make sure those things happen as planned by the CFR.  Here was an example of things to come, and  how they were laid out in the CFR publication “Foreign Affairs”.

You can read a pdf copy here.

The Hard Road to World Order

> 1974 Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. All rights reserved. 


By Richard N. Gardner 

It was the best of times it was the worst of times." What 
1 Dickens wrote of the last quarter of the 18th century fits 
the present period all too well. The quest for a world 
structure that secures peace, advances human rights and provides 
the conditions for economic progress — for what is loosely called 
world order — has never seemed more frustrating but at the same 
time strangely hopeful. 

Certainly the gap has never loomed larger between the objec- 
tives and the capacities of the international organizations that 
were supposed to get mankind on the road to world order. We 
are witnessing an outbreak of shortsighted nationalism that seems 
oblivious to the economic, political and moral implications of in- 
terdependence. Yet never has there been such widespread recog- 
nition by the world's intellectual leadership of the necessity for 
cooperation and planning on a truly global basis, beyond country, 
beyond region, especially beyond social system. Never has there 
been such an extraordinary growth in the constructive potential 
of transnational private organizations — not just multinational 
corporations but international associations of every kind in which 
like-minded persons around the world weave effective patterns 
of global action. And never have we seen such an impressive ar- 
ray of ongoing negotiations aimed at the cooperative manage- 
ment of global problems. To familiar phrases like the "popula- 
tion explosion" and the "communications explosion" we should 
now add the "negotiation explosion." 

What is "worst" about our times for those who wish for rapid 
progress toward world order is clear enough. The United Na- 
tions is very far from being able to discharge the responsibilities 
assigned by its Charter for the maintenance of international peace 
and security. The willingness of U.N. members to risk their 
short-term interests for the good of the community seems at the 
level of the frontier town in High Noon, where the citizens aban- 
doned their lawman as soon as the outlaw was released from jail. 
If a clear and unambiguous case of aggression came before the 
Security Council or General Assembly today, there would be 
little confidence that a majority of members would treat it as such 
or come to the aid of the victim. The Charter concept of collec- 


tive security is obviously dead; even for consent-type "peace- 
keeping," little progress has been made in devising agreed con- 
stitutional and financial arrangements. Nor are the world's 
principal economic forums in much better shape. In contrast to 
the accomplishments of happier days, nobody now takes a major 
issue to ECOSOC, UNCTAD, GATT, IMF or OECD 1 with 
much hope for a constructive result. Even the European Com- 
munity threatens to unravel under current economic and political 

In this unhappy state of affairs, few people retain much con- 
fidence in the more ambitious strategies for world order that had 
wide backing a generation ago — "world federalism/' "charter 
review," and "world peace through world law." The consensus 
on basic values and willingness to entrust vital interests to com- 
munity judgment clearly do not exist. One need only picture a 
world constitutional convention including Messrs. Nixon, Brezh- 
nev, Mao, Brandt, Pompidou, Castro, Peron, and Qaddafi, not 
to mention Mmes. Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi. What rules 
or procedures for world government could they agree upon? 

The same considerations suggest the doubtful utility of holding 
a Charter review conference. To amend the U.N. Charter re- 
quires the approval of two-thirds of the membership, including 
all of the five Permanent Members. If one examines carefully 
the attitude of U.N. members to specific proposals, one quickly 
discovers that the most likely consequence of wholesale revision 
of the Charter would be to diminish rather than enhance the 
strength of the organization. As in the case of the U.S. Constitu- 
tion, we are more likely to make progress by pressing the existing 
instrument to the outer limits of its potentialities through crea- 
tive use, seeking amendments only on carefully selected matters 
where they seem both necessary and capable of adoption by the 
constitutionally required majority. 

Just as world federalism and charter review now seem bank- 
rupt of possibilities, so does the old-fashioned idea of achieving 
"world peace through world law" by means of a greatly strength- 
ened International Court of Justice. The members of the United 
Nations seem less willing than ever to entrust vital interests for 

1 Respectively, to give their full names, the Economic and Social Council, the United 
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the General Agreement on Tariffs and 
Trade, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation 
and Development. 


decision to the 15 men at The Hague, as may be seen from the 
very few countries that are willing to accept the Court's compul- 
sory jurisdiction without crippling reservations. In the two cases 
now before the Court— one involving the "cod war" between 
Iceland and the United Kingdom, the other the French nuclear 
tests in the Pacific— the "defendant" countries, Iceland and 
France, have even refused to appear. In part, this reluctance to 
accept the Court's jurisdiction reflects lack of confidence in the 
competence and independence of some of its judges, but even if 
all of them had the intellectual and moral qualities of Solon of 
Athens the deeper problem would still remain. Nations are reluc- 
tant to risk adverse judgments at the hands of third parties they 
cannot control; moreover, they are reluctant to commit them- 
selves to have their controversies decided according to rules of 
international law that may be of doubtful legitimacy, incapable 
of alteration as circumstances change, and uncertain of general 

If instant world government, Charter review, and a greatly 
strengthened International Court do not provide the answers, 
what hope for progress is there? The answer will not satisfy those 
who seek simple solutions to complex problems, but it comes 
down essentially to this: The hope for the foreseeable future lies, 
not in building up a few ambitious central institutions of univer- 
sal membership and general jurisdiction as was envisaged at the 
end of the last war, but rather in the much more decentralized, 
disorderly and pragmatic process of inventing or adapting insti- 
tutions of limited jurisdiction and selected membership to deal 
with specific problems on a case-by-case basis, as the necessity for 
cooperation is perceived by the relevant nations. Such institutions 
of limited jurisdiction will have a better chance of doing what 
must be done to make a "rule of law" possible among nations — 
providing methods for changing the law and enforcing it as it 
changes and developing the perception of common interests that 
is the prerequisite for successful cooperation. 

In short, the "house of world order" will have to be built from 
the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like 
a great "booming, buzzing confusion," to use William James' 
famous description of reality, but an end run around national 
sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much 
more than the old-fashioned frontal assault. Of course, for polit- 
ical as well as administrative reasons, some of these specialized 


arrangements should be brought into an appropriate relationship 
with the central institutions of the U.N, system, but the main 
thing is that the essential functions be performed. 

The question is whether this more modest approach can do the 
job. Can it really bring mankind into the twenty-first century 
with reasonable prospects for peace, welfare and human dignity? 
The argument thus far suggests it better had, for there seems to 
be no alternative. But the evidence also suggests some grounds 
for cautious optimism. 


The hopeful aspect of the present situation is that even as na- 
tions resist appeals for "world government" and u the surrender 
of sovereignty," technological, economic and political interests 
are forcing them to establish more and more far-reaching ar- 
rangements to manage their mutual interdependence. It is 
instructive to ponder the institutional implications of the negotia- 
tions to which nations were already committed before the "en- 
ergy crisis" preempted international attention in the fall of 1973. 
Although some of these tasks of institution-building may be com- 
plicated or postponed by the energy problem, all are now con- 
tinuing fixtures on the diplomatic agenda : 

1. The non-Communist nations are embarked on a long-term 
negotiation for the reform of the international monetary system, 
aimed at developing a new system of reserves and settlements to 
replace the dollar standard and at improving the balance-of-pay- 
ments adjustment process. The accomplishment of these objec- 
tives would almost surely require a revitalization of the Interna- 
tional Monetary Fund, which would have unprecedented powers 
to create new international reserves and to influence national de- 
cisions on exchange rates and on domestic monetary and fiscal 
policies. Such a strengthened IMF might be given power to back 
its decisions by meaningful multilateral sanctions, such as uni- 
form surcharges on the exports of uncooperative surplus coun- 
tries and the withholding of multilateral and bilateral credits and 
reserve facilities from recalcitrant deficit countries. 

2. Roughly the same wide group of nations is launched on a 
parallel effort to rewrite the ground rules for the conduct of 
international trade. Among other things, we will be seeking new 
rules in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to cover a 
whole range of hitherto unregulated nontariff barriers. These 


will subject countries to an unprecedented degree of international 
surveillance over up to now sacrosanct "domestic" policies, such 
as farm price supports, subsidies, and government procurement 
practices that have transnational effects. New standards are also 
envisaged to regulate protectionist measures to cope with "mar- 
ket disruption" from imports. To make these new rules of the 
game meaningful, GATT arrangements for consultation, con- 
ciliation and enforcement of its decisions will have to be greatly 
improved. Moreover, as will be discussed, the energy and food 
crises have stimulated a new concern about access to raw materi- 
als and a clear need for new ground rules on export controls. 

3. The trend in recent years has been toward a steady increase 
in the resources of the multilateral development and technical 
assistance agencies, in contrast to static or declining bilateral 
efforts. This should enhance the authority of the World Bank, 
the regional development banks and the U.N. Development Pro- 
gram over the economic policies of rich and poor nations. By 
the end of this decade, a portion of aid funds may be channeled 
to international agencies from sources independent of national 
decision-making — many have proposed some form of "link" be- 
tween monetary reserve creation and development aid and some 
arrangement for the payment to international agencies of fees 
from the exploitation of seabed mineral resources. 

4. The next few years should see a continued strengthening of 
the new global and regional agencies charged with protecting the 
world's environment. In addition to comprehensive monitoring 
of the earth's air, water and soil and of the effects of pollutants 
on human health, we can look forward to new procedures to im- 
plement the principle of state responsibility for national actions 
that have transnational environmental consequences, probably 
including some kind of "international environmental impact 
statement" procedure by which at least some nations agree to 
have certain kinds of environmental decisions reviewed by inde- 
pendent scientific authorities. At the same time, international 
agencies will be given broader powers to promulgate and revise 
standards limiting air and ocean pollution. 

5. We are entering a wholly new phase of international con- 
cern and international action on the population problem, drama- 
tized by the holding this year of the first World Population Con- 
ference to take place at the political level. By the end of this 
decade, a majority of nations are likely to have explicit popula- 


tion policies, many of them designed to achieve zero population 
growth by a specific target date. These national policies and 
targets will be established and implemented in most cases with 
the help of international agencies. Under their auspices, several 
billions of dollars in national and international resources will be 
mobilized in fulfillment of a basic human rights objective already 
proclaimed by the United Nations in General Assembly Resolu- 
tion 2542 (XXIV) — that every family in the world should be 
given "the knowledge and means necessary to determine freely 
and responsibly the number and spacing of their children." 

6. Belatedly, a World Food Conference has been scheduled to 
deal with the long-neglected problem of assuring sufficient food 
supplies for the world's rapidly growing population. As reserves 
of food and arable land dwindle under the impact of crop fail- 
ures and disappointing fish harvests, there is mounting concern 
about "world food security." The Conference is likely to result 
in efforts to expand agricultural productivity, assure the mainte- 
nance of adequate food reserves, and food aid. 

7. In the 1974 Law of the Sea Conference and beyond — in 
what may be several years of very difficult negotiations — there 
should eventually emerge a new international regime governing 
the world's oceans. New law is, all agree, urgently needed on 
such crucial matters as the territorial sea, passage through inter- 
national straits, fisheries, the exploitation of the mineral resources 
of the seabed, the regulation of marine pollution, and the conduct 
of scientific research. To make these new rules of law meaningful, 
there will have to be tough provisions to assure compliance as 
well as to provide for the compulsory settlement of disputes. The 
regulatory responsibilities of the new oceans agency are likely to 
exceed those of any existing international organization. 

8. As the INTELSAT conference has foreshadowed, and in 
accordance with responsibilities already lodged in principle in the 
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United 
Nations, new rules and institutions will almost certainly be 
created to regulate emerging communication technologies, no- 
tably direct broadcasting from satellites. While providing some 
safeguards against the unwanted intrusion of foreign broadcasts, 
these arrangements will aim to maximize the potential for using 
satellite communications to promote trade and economic develop- 
ment as well as world culture and understanding. Ways will very 
likely be found to give the United Nations and other interna- 


tional agencies access to this new technology for both operational 
and informational purposes. The ITU and other agencies will 
probably be given new powers to allocate radio frequencies and 
satellite parking orbits among users. 

All these are cases where negotiations are already underway 
or scheduled for the near future. In addition, one could add two 
other items that have already been, one might have said, negoti- 
ated to death over the years; nonetheless they are so absolutely 
critical that progress simply must be made — and nations must 
come to know this. 

9. At some point in the years ahead the world will move be- 
yond U.S. -Soviet agreement on strategic weapons, and NATO- 
Warsaw Pact agreement on some measure of force reduction, to 
a truly multilateral set of negotiations (comparable to the non- 
proliferation treaty) designed to limit conventional weapons. It 
seems inevitable that the United Nations and perhaps regional 
bodies will be given new responsibilities for the administration 
of these arms control and disarmament measures, including 
means of verification and enforcement. 

10. And finally, despite the constitutional impasse over U.N. 
peacekeeping, there will in practice be increasing resort to U.N. 
forces to contain local conflicts. The arguments over authoriza- 
tion, financing and operational control will be resolved on a case- 
by-case basis where the interests of key countries converge, as 
they have already in the launching of the United Nations Emer- 
gency Force in the Middle East. With the United States, the 
Soviet Union and China each behaving "more like a country and 
less like a cause," some principles for mutual noninterference 
in the internal affairs of other countries are likely to be worked 
out, either bilaterally or under U.N. auspices. A corollary of 
such agreements will be international peacekeeping arrangements 
to patrol borders, supervise elections and verify compliance with 
nonintervention norms. 

Does this list read like a decalogue, more convincing as a state- 
ment of what nations ought to do in the pursuit of their enlight- 
ened self-interest than as a prediction of what they actually will 
do? Let the reader who has this impression go back over the ten 
items. Admittedly, there is not a one of these specialized negotia- 
tions that could not be wrecked and brought to nothing by the 
same forces of shortsighted nationalism that have crippled the 
central institutions of the United Nations. But is it not a totally 


hardheaded prediction that we shall see very substantial changes 
in the great majority of these areas by the end of the decade? 

The reason is simple : for most, perhaps eventually all, of the 
subjects, failure is simply not an acceptable alternative to deci- 
sive coalitions of nations. Felt necessity is often not strong enough 
to command assent to general principles with unpredictable ap- 
plications; but it can lead to agreement on specific measures and 

In short, the case-by-case approach can produce some remark- 
able concessions of "sovereignty" that could not be achieved on 
an across-the-board basis. The Soviet Union, China and the 
United States may be unable to agree on the general rules that 
should cover U.N. peacekeeping in all unspecified future con- 
tingencies, but they may well agree on a U.N. peacekeeping 
force to secure a permanent Middle East settlement that is other- 
wise satisfactory to them. The same three countries are unlikely 
to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court 
of Justice over all disputes to which they might be parties, but 
they may very well agree upon effective third-party machinery 
for compulsory settlement of disputes on the specific subjects 
dealt with in a new Law of the Sea agreement — where they 
recognize compelling national interests in getting other nations 
as well as themselves to comply with the rules. Thus, while we 
will not see "world government" in the old-fashioned sense of a 
single all-embracing global authority, key elements of planetary 
planning and planetary management will come about on those 
very specific problems where the facts of interdependence force 
nations, in their enlightened self-interest, to abandon unilateral 
decision-making in favor of multilateral processes. 


For the moment, it may seem that the "energy crisis" has oper- 
ated to reduce the chances of progress on some of these key multi- 
lateral action fronts. Certainly it has deferred a new monetary 
agreement, triggered a series of nationalistic actions affecting 
trade, contributed to the U.S. Congress balking at the American 
share for the World Bank's soft loan activity, jeopardized some 
domestic measures for the environment in the United States and 
elsewhere, and sharply affected the food balance for countries 
increasingly dependent on fertilizer. There is no rule in interna- 
tional affairs that things have to get worse before they can get 


better; they can just go on getting worse. Even with some roll- 
back in oil prices, it will require a special effort of cooperation 
for the industrialized countries to absorb the economic impact 
of increased oil costs without resorting to beggar-my-neighbor 
policies. It will take considerable statesmanship to maintain the 
flow of development assistance to those resource-poor develop- 
ing countries which have little to offer the industrialized nations 
in return. And it will require still greater ingenuity to "recycle" 
a portion of the additional oil revenues back to these countries 
so that they can realize their minimum development goals. 

But if one takes a longer view, it becomes apparent that, far 
from reducing the practical importance of multilateral agree- 
ment on specific subjects, the "energy crisis" has made the exist- 
ing agenda even more crucial, and in fact added what is in effect 
a new action item. For some years we have been talking of re- 
source scarcities in terms of physical limits; what is now appar- 
ent is that long before any such limits are approached we con- 
front what Lester Brown has called "the emerging global politics 
of resource scarcity." The problem is not only one of increasing 
total supplies of scarce materials, but of assuring their fair allo- 
cation between countries. Large parts of the world are depen- 
dent on food exports from the United States, just as the United 
States has become dependent on oil from the Middle East. 
Unilateral cutoffs of these vital resources for political, economic 
or conservation reasons could have grave consequences, even to 
the point of triggering international conflict In the early days of 
the Second World War, Roosevelt and Churchill proclaimed 
an Atlantic Charter with the postwar objective of "access, on 
equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world." 
In three decades of negotiations since that time, our focus has 
been almost exclusively on access to markets. In the next decades, 
we will need to place new emphasis on arrangements to assure 
reasonable access to scarce resources. 

Over the next few months, it seems likely that initial answers 
to the specific problem of oil will be sought in a widening series 
of negotiations that will come to embrace producing and con- 
suming countries. But it is already clear that such negotiations 
will not be limited merely to the terms and conditions, including 
price, on which oil will hereafter be made available by its prin- 
cipal producers. These latter have made it abundantly clear that 
their intended "terms and conditions" extend at least to the trans- 


f er of technology and investment and to the price and availability 
of raw materials and finished products that now move from the 
major oil consuming countries to the oil producers. Once other 
developing countries become involved, moreover, other subjects 
could form a part of the multilateral bargain that may be neces- 
sary — such as market access for developing countries' exports, the 
participation of the oil producers in aid and relief for the devel- 
oping consumer countries, and provisions for food that guarantee 
its availability and price on terms paralleling those worked out 
for oil. 

In all probability, these negotiations will not be crammed into 
the framework of the already-scheduled trade negotiations for 
which principles were agreed at Tokyo last fall. But certainly 
what is worked out for and around the question of oil will have 
a major impact on those negotiations — and may well leave un- 
resolved many of the wider issues of principle involved in the 
question of access to resources. These issues have now become 
critical, and we need to look hard at the present state of inter- 
national law and organization and what can be done about it. 

Not surprisingly, after three decades of neglect, the present 
state is far from satisfactory. The General Agreement on Tariffs 
and Trade does contain a general prohibition on the use of export 
and import controls (Article XI) as well as a requirement that 
both export and import controls should not discriminate between 
countries (Article I). But a subsequent article adds exceptions 
to these rules — and exceptions to the exceptions— which make it 
extremely difficult to discern any coherent guidelines for national 
policy. 2 And, what is more to the point, all of these principles 
are effectively vitiated by a subsequent GATT article (XXI) 
which declares that nothing in the GATT shall be construed "to 
prevent any contracting party from taking any action which it 
considers necessary for the protection of its essential security 
interests . . . taken in time of war or other emergency in interna- 
tional relations." 

2 Article XX of GATT permits measures deviating from these and other GATT rules 
"relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources if such measures are made 
effective in conjunction with restrictions on domestic production or consumption." The 
same article also permits measures "essential to the acquisition or distribution of products 
in general or local short supply; Provided that any such measures shall be consistent with 
the principle that all contracting parties are entitled to an equitable share of the interna- 
tional supply of such products . . ." These authorizations of export restrictions are sub- 
ject to the requirement that such measures "are not applied in a manner which would 
constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where the 
same conditions prevail, or disguised restrictions on international trade." 


A major objective in the forthcoming trade negotiations should 
be to incorporate some new and stronger rules. At a minimum, 
these should prohibit the use of export or other controls for polit- 
ical purposes. A country should not be permitted to cut off or 
threaten to cut off exports in order to change another country's 
policies (although exceptions would have to be granted to permit 
countries to restrict the export of weapons and national security 
information and also to restrict trade in the course of actual hos- 
tilities). The new rules should also seek to define more precisely 
the economic, conservation and other purposes for which exports 
can be limited, and should place greater emphasis on the need to 
take account of the interests of others. Most important of all, 
since the rules on this complex subject will inevitably require 
interpretation in specific circumstances, new GATT procedures 
should be created requiring advance notice, consultation, author- 
itative interpretation of the rules, and settlement of disputes by 
impartial conciliation commissions under GATT auspices. 

Where countries are found to have violated the new principles 
and fail to adjust their policies in accordance with multilateral 
decisions, they should face the possibility of multilateral repri- 
sals. If this cannot be done through the GATT, it may have to 
be undertaken through the OECD or some other multilateral 
forum. In extreme situations, multilateral sanctions may even 
have to be applied to countries that are not GATT members, on 
the theory that violation of broadly agreed-upon community 
standards are gravely threatening community interests. If we 
can propose cutting off air service to countries that give refuge 
to hijackers, if we can contemplate denying port facilities to na- 
tions that pollute the oceans with their tankers, we should cer- 
tainly explore the possibility of multilateral trade, aid and in- 
vestment embargoes on nations that threaten the world economy 
by arbitrarily withholding vital raw materials. 

None of the Arab oil producing countries is a party to GATT 
except for Kuwait, but a number of them (including Saudi 
Arabia) have committed themselves in bilateral treaties with us 
to refrain from the very measures of trade discrimination which 
they recently aimed in our direction. 3 Moreover, all of these 
countries voted for U.N. Resolution 2625 (XXV) of the 1970 
General Assembly, entitled "Declaration of Principles of Inter- 

3 The export embargo on oil was applied selectively to the U.S. and the Netherlands, 
and thus clearly violated the most-favored-nation provisions in the bilateral agreements. 


national Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation 
Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United 
Nations." One of the key principles of the Declaration was the 
following: "No State may use or encourage the use of economic, 
political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in 
order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its 
sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind." 

It was the Afro- Asian group in the United Nations, including 
the Arab countries, that pressed hardest for this principle and 
for the proposition that it was already part of international law. 
Of course, their motive was to prevent the United States and 
other industrialized countries from using economic power as an 
instrument of political pressure. Not a single voice has been 
raised in the United Nations to cite the relevance of this author- 
itative declaration to the Arab oil embargo — which is typical of 
the "double standard" that currently prevails in the world orga- 
nization and accounts for much of the skepticism about the in- 
tegrity of its decision-making process. 

Lest we adopt an unduly self-righteous attitude on these mat- 
ters, however, we should recognize that the United States itself 
has been one of the worst offenders in using trade controls in ways 
which have adversely affected other countries. As a result of 
congressional pressures, the President was given the authority 
to cut off aid to countries trading with Cuba or North Viet- 
nam. Last summer we unilaterally cut off exports of soybeans and 
other agricultural products to our trading partners in Europe at 
the very time we were pressing them to modify policies of agri- 
cultural self-sufficiency and become dependent on our produc- 
tion. And the House of Representatives only recently adopted 
amendments to the trade bill denying most-favored-nation treat- 
ment and trade credits to the Soviet Union and other "non-mar- 
ket economy" countries until they grant free emigration to their 

It is obvious from recent events that the whole concept of an 
open and cooperative trading system is under serious attack. 
International trade is becoming heavily "politicized." This trend 
is destroying the traditions of reasonably free and non-discrim- 
inatory access to markets and supplies that are essential in an 
increasingly interdependent world. 

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt, 
was a believer in the theory that "if goods can't cross borders, 


armies will." Since the U.N. Charter, countries are no longer 
permitted to use force to back up their economic claims. Quite 
apart from legal prohibition, such actions now entail costs and 
risks that make them politically undesirable. But if the Atlantic 
Charter concept of equal access to raw materials cannot be guar- 
anteed by the use of force, we need to implement it by institu- 
tional arrangements that include an effective combination of 
incentives to cooperation and deterrents to destructive behavior. 

Amendments have now been proposed to the trade bill which 
would authorize the President to cut off trade, aid and private 
investment from countries that injure the international commu- 
nity by the unreasonable denial of essential commodities. In 
using such new powers our government should act multilaterally, 
not bilaterally, for at least three reasons. The first is that in most 
cases a threat of reprisals against raw material cutoffs will have 
little practical significance unless we have our OECD partners 
with us. The second is that unilateral U.S. action will look to 
others as a destructive act of nationalism unless it is related to 
multilateral rules and procedures. The third is that such an effort 
of "collective economic security" could degenerate into a North- 
South economic war unless it is based on principles acceptable 
to a substantial number of developed and developing countries. 

Obviously codes of conduct by themselves are not enough. On 
both sides of the great economic divide, there will need to be 
more enlightened perceptions of national interest. In recent 
years, the developed countries have manifestly failed to dis- 
charge the aid and trade obligations that were necessary to make 
a success of the Development Decade. Partly in response to this 
failure, partly out of a misguided nationalism, many developing 
countries enlisted under the banner of "sovereignty over natural 
resources" — failing to see that developed countries also have 
"sovereignty" over their capital resources, their technology and 
their internal markets, and that some mutually agreed limita- 
tions of sovereignty are essential to give full possibilities to the 
sovereignty of all. Ironically, the greatest victims of the "sover- 
eignty" that the OPEC countries exercised in quadrupling oil 
prices in 1973 were the developing countries themselves. 

It would be tragic if developing countries were to conclude 
from the temporary "success" of the OPEC countries in raising 
oil prices that confrontations through producer cartels and 
across-the-board nationalizations now offer a better future for 


them than cooperation. Growing resource pressures do promise 
some additional bargaining power to many developing countries, 
but outside of oil the possibilities for successful producer cartels 
to raise prices are very doubtful — either the producers lack the 
identity of interest and the necessary foreign exchange reserves 
for a collective cutback in supply, or the consumers have too 
many other options in the form of large stockpiles, home-based 
production, and the availability of substitutes. The danger is that 
a policy of confrontation could push developed countries into 
policies of self-sufficiency, denying developing countries the tech- 
nical assistance, the capital and the market access without which 
they cannot meet their development goals. In the economic and 
political backlash, even the resource-rich developing countries 
would lose ; and the have-not countries would lose most of all. 

In the next several years, the United States and the other indus- 
trialized countries, in their enlightened self-interest, should com- 
mit themselves to a number of measures to assist the economic 
development of the developing countries — more multilateral aid, 
more market access for developing countries' exports, more 
transfer of technology, a world food reserve, more private in- 
vestment on mutually satisfactory terms, revenue-sharing from 
seabed exploitation, the issuance of special drawing rights to 
multilateral lending agencies, and a new look at commodity 
agreements in those special situations where they may be prac- 
ticable. In return, the developing countries can fairly be asked to 
do their part in the construction of a cooperative economic order 
which would include nondiscriminatory access to raw materials 
at reasonable prices. 

Thus the elements of a "world order bargain" between rich 
and poor are emerging more clearly as a result of the energy 
crisis. The way to strike it is not through bilateral North-South 
arrangements that can only lead to political friction and an 
unfair distribution of both aid and raw materials. To find a truly 
multilateral solution to the energy problem, as part of the 
broader issue of economic relations between developed and de- 
veloping countries, is perhaps the most urgent challenge that now 
faces the international institutions and their members. 


The need for multilateral agreement and management is, then, 
becoming steadily greater and more widely felt. But of course 


need alone is not enough. Most national leaders around the world 
do not have to be persuaded that it would be much better to ap- 
proach key problems on a multilateral basis, usually a global 
one; the question that troubles them is whether international 
rules and organizations can be made to work. Unless some major 
structural weaknesses can be dealt with more effectively, even the 
existing responsibilities of existing international agencies will 
slowly wither away, and new responsibilities, however badly 
needed, will simply not be given either to old or new agencies. 

Since the structural problems are political in origin, to remedy 
them will require not just technical ingenuity but an act of po- 
litical will on the part of key member-states. The deficiencies of 
international institutions that governments cite as reasons for 
bypassing them are of the governments' own making. Some acts 
of creative statesmanship are needed to break out of the vicious 
circle. To paraphrase a slogan of the peace movement: "All we 
are saying is, give the international organizations a chance." 

The most obvious structural problem is in the decision-making 
process. How to equilibrate voting power, not just with national 
sovereignty but with responsibility for implementing decisions, 
is a riddle that continues to plague the international agencies. 
It is understandable that large and middle-sized powers will not 
grant significant authority to a General Assembly where coun- 
tries representing less than ten percent of the population of the 
total membership and less than five percent of the budget can 
take decisions by a two-thirds majority. It is equally obvious that 
the "principle of unanimity" under which any one country can 
veto action is not a recipe for progress. 

Fortunately, there are a number of methods that have been 
developed to assure that influence in decision-making bears a 
reasonable relationship to power in the real world and to the 
responsibility for implementing decisions. Weighted voting is 
the most obvious, but the assigning of differential voting rights 
is often non-negotiable. Other approaches deserve greater atten- 
tion: "double majorities" (requiring a majority of all the mem- 
bers plus a majority of specially defined categories of members) ; 
"weighted representation" ( delegating decision-making to a 
small committee in which the countries that are most important 
in the particular subject matter have more than their normal 
proportion of seats) ; "bicameralism" (in which decisions must 
first be adopted by a small committee with weighted representa- 


tion and then by the membership as a whole) ; and "concilia- 
tion" (deferring a vote for a "cooling-off period" of further 
negotiations at the request of a specified minority of countries). 

Obviously no one decision-making formula will be applicable 
across the board. Different structures are required for different 
functions — what is appropriate in a new oceans agency may not 
be appropriate in multilateral development assistance. More- 
over, the decision-making reforms that are needed will not 
always adjust power in the same direction. The United States 
will justifiably seek "a GATT within the GATT" where deci- 
sions can be taken by the key trading nations on some special 
voting basis rather than on the one-nation one-vote formula 
among 86 contracting parties. At the same time, it can reason- 
ably be asked to concede a greater voice in the IMF and World 
Bank to Japan and the Arab countries, whose voting power does 
not adequately reflect their financial power. To be sure, changes 
in outmoded or unreasonable decision-making arrangements may 
be opposed initially by the countries that presently have more 
than their fair share of influence. The challenge to multilateral 
diplomacy — and one that has not been seriously faced so far — is 
to persuade the countries that are overendowed with power in a 
particular institution that a fairer sharing is needed to save the 
institution from creeping irrelevance and make it more effective 
on matters of interest to them. 

A related but separate structural problem is how to improve 
present arrangements for creating, adapting, interpreting and 
enforcing international law — what some would call the "norma- 
tive process." The development of new rules of law has become 
both more cumbersome and more politicized — we need only con- 
trast the highly political 90-member preparatory committee for 
the current Law of the Sea negotiations with the small and ex- 
pert International Law Commission that prepared the texts for 
the Law of the Sea conventions of 1958. While the membership 
explosion of the U.N. system makes it politically impossible to 
return completely to the old ways of doing things, the common 
interest of all countries in the orderly development of new rules 
of international law suggests that greater use of small and expert 
bodies should be made in the preparatory stage of law-making 

Once the rules have been created, we need better arrangements 
for adapting them in the light of rapid and possibly unforeseen 


changes in political, economic or scientific circumstances. The 
traditional amendment process is as unsatisfactory a means for 
modernizing treaties on oil pollution from tankers as it is for 
modernizing the GATT provisions on nontariff barriers. A pos- 
sible formula here is the delegation of power to small and expert 
groups to promulgate changes in the rules, subject to an "opting 
out" privilege for countries that do not wish to accept the 
changes. With respect to interpretation and application of the 
rules, we will need to have greater resort, in such diverse con- 
texts as trade and environmental protection, to fact-finding, con- 
ciliation and arbitration by disinterested third parties. Finally, 
we will need to find better ways of enforcing the rules, as by 
multilateral action that denies benefits and applies punishments. 
As has been noted, where essential community interests are 
threatened, as for example in hijacking, marine pollution or the 
withholding of vital raw materials, action may need to be taken 
not only against those who ratify the rules and then break them 
but against those who refuse to accept the rules at all. 

A third structural problem that must be mentioned is the crisis 
in morale and effectiveness that now afflicts the international 
civil service. Though a few international agencies may be exempt 
from this generalization, in most of them the concepts of inde- 
pendence and efficiency have been badly eroded by political 
pressures, particularly the excessive emphasis given to the con- 
cept of "equitable geographical distribution." If the vitality of 
the international agencies is to be assured, more must be done to 
apply standards of excellence in recruitment, promotion and 
selection out. Greater efforts should be made to fill senior posi- 
tions with outstanding persons from the professional, scientific 
and business worlds, rather than predominantly, as is now the 
case, with persons on loan from member-governments. As with 
the other structural problems, what is required here is a change 
in national behavior resulting from a new perception by key 
governments of their enlightened self-interest. 

A final structural problem is how to coordinate and rational- 
ize the fragmented system of international agencies. Govern- 
ments are encountering increasing difficulties in coping with 
the proliferating conference schedule and the bewildering vari- 
ety of secretariats that deal with separate pieces of a total prob- 
lem. The need here is not just to cut overlapping and wasteful 
activities, but to clarify responsibility for taking and implement- 


ing decisions. It involves both functional coordination (e.g., the 
respective responsibilities for balance of payments adjustment 
between IMF, GATT and OECD), and regional coordination 
(e.g., the division of functions on air pollution between the U.N. 
institutions and agencies like NATO 4 , OECD, and the Council 
of Europe). Once again, the problem is fundamentally political, 
since the proliferation is partly the result of "forum shopping" 
by governments which wish to promote a favorable outcome, and 
partly the result of the launching of special purpose programs 
(e.g., on population, environment, and narcotics) financed by vol- 
untary contributions from governments which feel they cannot 
achieve their objectives within the U.N.'s central policy and 
budget process, 

A generation ago the central problem was to create new insti- 
tutions where none existed; today it is to get several hundred 
functional and regional commissions, boards, committees and 
secretariats to work together effectively. Perhaps the most diffi- 
cult obstacle in the way of the objective is the projection into the 
international organizations of the fragmented system of "port- 
folio government" that still characterizes most of the major 
countries. Governments will have to do a better job of coordinat- 
ing themselves if the functional approach is to produce a coher- 
ent system of international institutions. The special session of the 
General Assembly on economic issues now scheduled for 1975 
provides a useful opportunity for governments to clarify their 
objectives and improve their internal processes for the achieve- 
ment of this purpose. 

If the functional approach to world order is to have any kind 
of chance, there are some obvious things the United States will 
need to do. 

One obvious and pressing need is to take a hard look at the 
way the American government is organized to cope with the 
present sweep of multilateral negotiations. Multilateral diplo- 
macy increasingly cuts across the interests of many domestic de- 
partments. The effort to resolve foreign policy conflicts between 
agencies has led during the past decade to excessive concentra- 
tion of power in the White House. The new practice of having 

4 Specifically, NATO's Committee on Challenges of Modern Society, which is directly 
concerned with this subject. 


cabinet officers like the Secretary of State and Secretary of the 
Treasury double as assistants to the President, with responsibility 
for directing policy in certain areas, offers a new opportunity to 
coordinate our approach to different multilateral negotiations, 
achieve consistent solutions to structural problems, involve the 
necessary disciplines and interest groups in the policy process, 
and exploit potential "trade-offs" between different negotiating 
sectors. The mechanism of the National Security Council (NSC) 
could be used more than it has been to achieve these objectives. 

Moreover, for many of the multilateral negotiations discussed 
earlier, we could establish an interagency task force as a sub- 
group of the NSC, with a supporting staff in the executive de- 
partment most directly concerned with the subject matter. The 
model could be the NSC interagency task force on the law of the 
sea and the new office established in the State Department for 
the law of the sea negotiations. It would also be useful for many 
of the ongoing negotiations to appoint an outstanding profes- 
sional from within the government or from private life to serve 
as Ambassador-at-Large to direct the U.S. negotiating team. Reg- 
ular congressional consultation and private-sector involvement 
through a working (not ceremonial) public advisory group — 
as is now the case on the law of the sea — could assure a more 
open and democratic policy-making process. 

It is people, of course, not just boxes on organizational charts, 
that determine the effectiveness of a nation's policy process. Our 
ambassadors to the United Nations and other international agen- 
cies should be individuals with broad experience and deep sub- 
stantive knowledge; their staffs should consist of the best talent 
our country can make available, not only from the foreign service 
but from the business, academic, professional and scientific com- 
munities. We will know we are serious about our "world order 
business" when we stop using positions in our missions and dele- 
gations to international agencies for political payoffs, and start 
applying the same requirements of excellence here that we apply 
in negotiations with the Russians and Chinese. Another test of 
our seriousness will be the extent to which we include in the very 
top structure of decision-making — in the White House and the 
key executive departments — persons experienced in and com- 
mitted to the multilateral approach. 

Third, we need to put a new emphasis on world order issues in 
our bilateral negotiations with former adversaries, nonaligned 


nations, and old allies. In particular, this would mean using our 
negotiating leverage to encourage the Russians and Chinese to 
take a more affirmative position on such matters as the law of the 
sea, international programs to curb population growth, U.N. 
peacekeeping and U.N. financing, and the reform of the deci- 
sion-making and law-making processes along the lines mentioned 
earlier. This will be a difficult and long-term effort, but there 
will be a growing number of people in both countries who under- 
stand the necessity of tackling such issues in a cooperative and 
non-dogmatic way; we could strengthen their hand by the right 
kinds of initiatives. For example, we have created a dozen U.S.- 
U.S.S.R. bilateral commissions as the result of the summit meet- 
ings : we could use the SALT Commission to explore the possi- 
bilities of mutual nonintervention by the superpowers in Third- 
World areas and of limiting the spread of nuclear and conven- 
tional arms; we could seek support for global health and popula- 
tion programs in the bilateral health commission ; and we could 
press in the environmental commission for Soviet cooperation in 
global efforts to curb whaling, protect ocean fisheries, and reg- 
ulate land-based sources of marine pollution. We could place a 
similar priority on world order issues in our relations with the 
European countries and Japan both bilaterally and in regional 
forums like NATO and OECD. And we could work harder to 
strike a "world order bargain" with the developing countries — 
showing more interest in their priorities in order to encourage 
their support for ours. 

Most important of all, we need a more principled approach to 
the conduct of foreign policy. Instead of citing the U.N. Charter 
and other sources of international law when it suits our short- 
term interest and ignoring them when it does not, we would 
recognize our long-term interest in strengthening the norms and 
processes of a civilized world community. We would make a 
greater effort to use our armed force and economic power con- 
sistently with multilateral undertakings and with other sources 
of international law, submitting disputes wherever possible to 
third-party settlement. We would resort to unilateral action only 
in very exceptional circumstances where multilateral processes 
were clearly unavailable, and any unilateral action on our part 
would be carried out in a manner calculated to promote the 
restoration of multilateral processes. To be specific, we would 
abolish the CIA's "dirty tricks" department, avoid the excesses 


of unilateralism that characterized our Vietnam and Dominican 
interventions, do more to strengthen multilateral processes in 
foreign economic policy, and show a really objective concern 
with human rights questions on a global basis — whether within 
the borders of former adversaries, neutrals, allies or in our own 
society. This does not mean unilateral disarmament or ignoring 
valid concerns of national security. It does mean recognizing that 
national security can only be promoted from now on by achiev- 
ing a better balance between traditional preoccupations with 
power relationships and emerging requirements of global order. 

Implicit in all these recommendations is a redefinition of our 
foreign policy objectives. We would make it clear that a Struc- 
ture of peace" cannot be achieved merely by maintaining a pre- 
carious balance between five power centers — that it requires 
strengthened international institutions at the global and regional 
levels in which all interested nations have a chance to partici- 
pate. By making "world order business" our central preoccupa- 
tion we could help rebuild support for our foreign policy at 
home and abroad by identifying our purposes more closely with 
those of the rest of mankind. By demonstrating a commitment to 
constructive internationalism, we could find common ground 
between generations as well as political parties. 

Were we to commit ourselves fully to the multilateral ap- 
proach, were we to enlist the energies of our Congress and our 
citizens, were we to exploit to the full what leverage we still have 
with other nations, we might begin, very gradually, to deflect the 
divisive tendencies of nationalism that are now emerging and to 
exploit the latent possibilities for strengthening the international 
system. Some may object that a generation of arduous and possibly 
futile negotiations on specific functional problems is not a very 
inspiring prospect to put before a democratic electorate. Let them 
ponder again the words of Dickens: "It was the age of wisdom, 
it was the age of foolishness, we had everything before us, we had 
nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were 
all going direct the other way." We do have to aim in one direc- 
tion or the other. The road to world order will still be a long and 
hard one, but since the short cuts do not lead anywhere we have 
no choice but to take it.   SOURCE

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