What does the U.N. do?

  • Keep the peace
  • Promote human rights
  • Protect the environment
  • Fight poverty
  • Discourage nuclear proliferation
  • Strengthen international law
  • Provide humanitarian aid
  • Promote democracy
  • Promote women's rights
  • Provide safe drinking water
  • Eradicate disease
  • Promote literacy and tolerance
  • Reduce child mortality rates
  • Improve global communication

 

THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE
UNITED STATES THROUGH FIVE DECADES

Harry S. Truman:
"You have created a great instrument for peace and security and human progress in the world. The world must now use it! If we fail to use it, we shall betray all those who have died in order that we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it. If we seek to use it selfishly - for the advantage of any one nation or any small group of nations - we shall be equally guilty of that betrayal. The successful use of this instrument will require the united will and firm determination of the free peoples who have created it. The job will tax the moral strength and fiber of us all. We all have to recognize - no matter how great our strength - that we must deny ourselves the license to do always what we please. No one nation, no regional group, can or should expect, any special privilege which harms any other nation. If any nation would keep security for itself, it must be ready and willing to share security with all. That is the price which each nation will have to pay for world peace. Unless we are all willing to pay that price, no organization for world peace can accomplish its purpose."
-addressing the United Nations Conference on International Organization, June 26, 1945

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower:
"It's up to us and the other member states to see that the United Nations serves with increasing effectiveness, within the Charter, its central purpose of maintaining the peace and fostering the well being of all peoples. To this end the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies associated with it deserve, and should continue to receive, our honest, intelligent and whole hearted support."
-Message to Congress transmitting the 10th Annual report of U. S. Participation in the U.N., July 19, 1956

 

John F. Kennedy:
"Our instrument and our hope is the United Nations - and I see little merit in the impatience of those who would abandon this imperfect world instrument because they dislike our imperfect world. For the troubles of a world organization merely reflect the troubles of the world itself. And it the organization is weakened, these troubles can only increase. We may not always agree with every detailed action taken by every officer of the world itself. And if the organization is weakened, these troubles can only increase. We may not always agree with every detailed action taken by every officer of the United Nations,  or with every voting majority, but as an institution, it should have in the future, as it has had in the past, since its inception, no stronger or more faithful member than the United States of America."
-State of the Union Address, January 11, 1962

 

Lyndon B. Johnson:
"The United Nations is the best instrument yet devised to promote the peace of the world and to promote the well-being of mankind."

 

Richard M. Nixon:
"It is in the world interest for the United States and the United Nations, all nations, not to be paralyzed in its most important function, that of keeping the peace. Disagreements between the major powers in the past have contributed to this paralysis. The United States will do everything it can to help develop and strengthen the practical means that will enable the United Nations to move decisively to keep the peace. This-means strengthening both its capacity for peace-making, settling disputes before they lead to armed conflict, and its capacity for peacekeeping, containing and ending conflicts that have broken out."
-addressing United Nations General Assembly, 25th Anniversary session, October 23, 1970

 

Gerald R. Ford:
"Our participation in the United Nations reflects our fundamental belief that to assure a peaceful world, it is necessary to cooperate with other nations in a multilateral framework on mutually agreed upon activities."
-addressing United Nations General Assembly, September 18, 1974

 

James E. Carter:
"Americans are more protected from health hazards, air accidents, sea catastrophes, and environmental dangers than ever before because of U.N. activities. U.N. programs like the World Health Organization's smallpox eradication campaign, or the World Meteorological Organization's World Weather Watch cost relatively little, yet they save the American people several hundred million dollars every year - year after year. We could not possibly carry out these programs by ourselves except at enormous cost. It is appropriate that we acknowledge once a year the unusual contributions to our health and welfare  that are provided by these critical programs. For all of these reasons, the United Nations of clear and growing value to the United States."
-United Nations General Assembly, September 19, 1978

 

Ronald Reagan:
"The United States remains committed to the United Nations. For over 40 years, this organization has provided an international forum for harmonizing conflicting national interests, and has made a significant contribution in such fields as peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and eradicating disease."
-adressing United Nations General Assembly, September 22, 1986

 

George H. W. Bush:
"Universal respect for human rights, as well as the long-term social and economic development of nations are aims that go hand in hand with the larger goal of lasting world peace. Thus the United Nations and its specialized agencies must continue working to overcome repression, poverty, illiteracy, and other persistent barriers to human freedom and progress."
October 24, 1991

 

William J. Clinton:
"The United States recognizes that we also have a special responsibility in these common endeavors that we are taking - the responsibility that goes along with great power, and also with our long history of democracy and freedom. But we seek to fulfill that responsibility in cooperation with other nations. Working together increases the impact and the legitimacy of each of our actions, and sharing the burdens lessons everyone's load. We have no desire to be the world's policemen, but we will do what we can to help civil societies emerge from the ashes of repression, to sustain fragile democracies, and to add more free markets to world, and of course, to restrain the destructive forces that threaten us all."
-addressing United Nations General Assembly, September 26, 1994

Reproduced as a public service by The Friends of the United Nations


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