THE United Nations Organisation has grown continuously since its formation, as have the variety of specialised agencies working within its general framework. In the earliest years the Organisation was under the dominant influence of the powers which were allied during the second world war.
De-colonisation, and the collapse of old imperial networks, have steadily expanded the number of independent states presenting themselves for admission, and now the United Nations is almost universal in its inclusiveness and scope. It is also less predictable than it once was, in the decisions it takes.
In recent years, the United Nations has attracted strong criticism from a number of people who have been unhappy about the UN's growing influence in the world, and about the fact that some of its judgments have been uncomfortable for some powers.
More recently, cuts in the funding of the United Nations Organisation have posed very considerable problems for its efficient functioning. We believe that the United Nations Organisation retains a vital importance in the modern world.
The UN suffers from many weaknesses, and could arguably be reformed in a number of beneficial directions. However, if it is to be improved and developed, it must be sustained: to weaken it by undermining its resources is no way to render its operation more efficient, or more equitable.
Because we are worried about the present international situation, fraught with economic crisis and military confrontations, we feel that it is more than ever necessary to support the United Nations. Therefore we join our voices in an appeal to all the governments of Europe. Without prejudice to any needs for future reforms or changes, we urge such governments to join together to guarantee the adequate development of the UN as an Organisation.
We suggest that each government in Europe should agree to combine with all the others in raising a sufficient sum of money to eliminate any present UN deficits, and that a joint European appeal be launched by the same governments, to organise public subscriptions on a scale large enough to maintain effective international association during forthcoming years. We appeal to public organisations to join us in requesting our governments to consider such action and we appeal to individual Europeans to sign this letter, and give it their active support.
Dr John Habgood Archbishop of York Dr John Bickersteth Bishop of Bath and Wells Dr Eric Kemp Bishop of Chichester Dr John E Taylor Former Bishop of Winchester, Lord Fenner Brockway Lord Grifford, QC Lord Jenkins of Putney Lord Hugh Scanlon Ron Todd, General Secretary, TGWU Zhores Medvedev Raymond Williams Alan Plater