Courtesy Reuters

The Inter-American System and the United Nations

THE proposals agreed upon at Dumbarton Oaks set the debate over regionalism versus universalism in postwar international organization in new terms. The plan for world security there evolved makes concessions to regionalism in a much more explicit and positive form than the League Covenant did in Article XXI.

Section C of Chapter VIII of the Dumbarton Oaks draft frankly contemplates that regional arrangements and agencies "for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action" may coëxist with the permanent United Nations system, "provided such arrangements or agencies and their activities are consistent with the purposes and principles" of the over-all organization. The plan further proposes that "the Security Council should encourage settlement of local disputes" through appropriate regional arrangements or regional agencies "either on the initiative of the states concerned or by reference from the Security Council," and that the Council "should, where appropriate, utilize such arrangements or agencies for enforcement action" under its own authority. A third provision stipulates that "the Security Council should at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation under regional arrangements or by regional agencies for the maintenance of international peace and security."

The italicized clauses pose the key questions: (1) What problems are "appropriate for regional action?" (2) How is consistency of regional "purposes and principles" with those of the world organization to be determined in the event of disagreement? (3) How can regional arrangements for the settlement of disputes be related to a global peace system without complicating its operation, or perhaps weakening its effectiveness? (4) Under what conditions, if at all, will it be practicable to devolve upon regional agencies the responsibility for the execution of security measures authorized by the world Security Council? These questions are not all of equal import. But the answers given to them may vitally affect the future of the United Nations.

By the same token the postwar rôle of organized Pan Americanism is

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