A U.N. Alternative to War: “Uniting for Peace”

In 1950, the Security Council set up a procedure for insuring that stalemates between countries would not prevent the United Nations from carrying out its mission to “maintain international peace and security.” With the United States playing an important role in its adoption, the Council adopted Resolution 377, the aptly named “Uniting for Peace” in an almost unanimous vote.

The General Assembly can meet within 24 hours to consider such a matter, and can recommend collective measures to U.N. members including the use of armed forces to “maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Uniting for Peace was next used by the United States to pressure the Soviet Union to cease its intervention in Hungary in 1956. The Soviet Union had used its veto to prevent the passage of an anti-intervention resolution in the Security Council. Again, an emergency session of the General Assembly was held and the Soviet Union was ordered to stop its intervention in Hungary.

It could mandate that the inspection regime be permitted to complete its inspections. It seems unlikely that the United States and Britain would ignore such a measure. A vote by the majority of countries in the world, particularly if it were almost unanimous, would make the unilateral rush to war more difficult.

(The CCR website has a draft resolution and other supporting Uniting for Peace documents. www.ccr-ny.org)

Jules Lobel Professor, Univ. of Pittsburgh Law School 1 412 648 1375

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