WHATEVER else may result from the Security Council's decision to defend the Republic of Korea, the fact that this action was strongly recommended by the Secretary General of the United Nations will have lasting consequences for Trygve Lie and his successors. Mr. Lie's statement at the opening of the June 25th meeting--he insisted on speaking before Mr. Gross presented the United States' demand for action--was important if only because of the fact that it was the first time that he had used the power given him by Article 99 of the Charter to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security." But its significance went far beyond mere technical considerations.
Mr. Lie's statement that "I consider it the clear duty of the Security Council to take steps necessary to reëstablish peace in that area," brought him back to the original San Francisco conception that the United Nations, under the leadership of the Great Powers, must act vigorously to enforce peace. What was new, both for Mr. Lie and the world, was that action should be taken not merely in the absence of one of the two super-Powers, but against one of that Power's satellites--and not a "satellite" merely in a manner of speaking, but one that clearly could not have launched its aggression without its patron's full approval.
During the four and a half years between his election as Secretary General and the invasion of South Korea, Mr. Lie had operated on a different concept. For the first two years he still hoped that it would be possible to make the United Nations a league to enforce peace on the basis of some approach to harmony among the Great Powers. By 1948 he had been forced by a series of shattering events to lay aside such hopes, and he had turned instead to mediation and conciliation as the most that the United Nations could accomplish, apart from