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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 10. 1963.

NZ Inconsistent Says UN Delegate

NZ Inconsistent Says UN Delegate

Foss Shanahan, New Zealand's former delegate to the United Nations, spoke to the Political Science Society recently, giving an account of New Zealand's UN policy over the past 18 years.

The function of the United Nations, Shanahan said, and the reason for its foundation, was to maintain peace and security throughout the world. New Zealand has always believed that this could best be achieved through "collective action," that is, that an attack on one is to be seen as an attack on all. The majority of UN members, however, did not, and do not, support this view. For example, only eighteen nations contributed even token forces to the UN Force at the outbreak of the Korean War.

Since that time, "collective security" has received ever-diminishing support from the General Assembly of the United Nations and its organs, such as the Security Council. This was because of the Soviet Union's use of the Veto, and because of the changed membership of the UN since 1945, Shanahan said.

New Zealand delegates to the UN have frequently said that New Zealand was against all "acts of aggression," yet in the Special Session on the Suez Crisis, New Zealand voted in favour of the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion. When questioned by Salient on this point, Shanahan was forced to admit the inconsistency of New Zealand's behaviour, but excused it on the grounds of our "traditional loyalty" to Britain.

As to the role that the UN could hold in the sphere of international politics, Shanahan was more definite. It can, and has, had a useful part to play as an arbitrator—because it represents no one Power, it is non-partisan, he said.