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The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

  • Richard N. Gardner

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), held in Geneva from March 23 to June 16, 1964, was a diplomatic event of major importance—and aturning point in the evolution of international organization. It was the largest and most comprehensive intergovernmental conference ever held, involving 2,000 delegates from 119 countries. It was the first major conference in which the lines were drawn sharply on a North-South rather dian on an East-West basis. And, what is of more lasting significance, it gave birth to continuing machinery that has already had a profound impact both on international institutions and national policies.

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1 Cordier, Andrew W. and Foote, Wilder (ed.), The Quest for Peace (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965), p. 189.

2 Eric Wyndham White, Executive Secretary of GATT, in a letter to the author dated August 16, 1956.

3 Towards a New Trade Policy for Development (United Nations Publication Sales No: 64.11.B.4 [UN Document E/CONF.46/3]) (United Nations, 1964), p. 100. This report is also contained in Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva, 23 March-16 June 1964 (United Nations Publication Sales Nos: 64.11.B.11–18 [UN Document E/CONF.46/141, Vols. I–VIII]) (United Nations, 1964) (hereinafter cited as UNCTAD Proceedings), Vol. II: Policy Statements, pp. 1–64.

4 Ibid., p. 100.

5 UNCTAD Proceedings, Vol. I: Final Act and Report, Annex A.V.I (Institutional Arrangements) (hereinafter cited as Institutional Arrangements), paragraphs 30 and 31. These paragraphs and the other paragraphs of the Institutional Arrangements contained in the Final Act of the UNCTAD Conference were subsequendy embodied, with the same numbering, in General Assembly Resolution 1995 (XIX), December 30, 1964, which formally created the continuing UNCTAD machinery.

6 Towards a New Trade Policy for Development, p. 116.

7 Department of State Bulletin, 05 8, 1967 (Vol. 56, No. 1454), p. 709.

8 UN Document A/C.2/L.937, December 9, 1966, p. 5.

9 UN Document TD/B/103/Rev.1, September 6, 1966, p. 14.

10 Ibid., p. 4.

11 Ibid., p. 15.

12 See note 6 above.

13 UN Document A/C.2/L.908, November 30, 1966, p. 9.

14 For further discussion of the policy issues examined in this section see the essay in this volume by Isaiah Frank, “The Role of Trade in Economic Development”; Johnson, Harry G., Economic Policies Toward Less Developed Countries (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1967); Gardner, Richard N., In Pursuit of World Order (rev. ed.; New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966), Chapters 5–7; and Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Law and Policy-Making for Trade Among “Have” and “Have-Not” Nations (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y: Oceana Publications, 1968), which contains a discussion between Dr. Prebisch, Professor Stanley D. Metzger, and the author.

15 UN Document E/CONF.46/C.4/L.9/Rev.I, May 23, 1964.

16 Institutional Arrangements, paragraph 25(a). The Secretary-General appointed twelve persons to the Special Committee, which met at UN Headquarters during October 1964. The author served as the United States member.

17 “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries made at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development,” UNCTAD Proceedings, Vol. I: Final Act and Report, p. 67.

18 General Assembly Resolution 1995 (XIX), paragraph 25.

19 Ibid., paragraph 32.

20 Ibid., paragraph 25(11).

21 For another analysis of the coordination problem, based on 25 years of personal involvement, see the excellent essay in this volume bu Walter M. Kotsching, “The United Nations as an Instrument of Economic and Social Development”.

22 Money is usually the best coordinator. See the essay in this volume by Karl Mathiasen, “Multilateral Technical Assistance.”

23 Statement to the Fourth Committee of UNCTAD, United States Delegation Press Release, May 7, 1964.

24 Institutional Arrangements, paragraph 3 (d).

25 Ibid., paragraph 20.

26 Ibid., paragraph 23.

27 Ibid., paragraph 26.

28 Ibid., paragraph 28.

29 This decision did not only reflect the desires of developing countries. The Soviet Union and France, for political reasons, both wanted UNCTAD in Geneva.

30 General Assembly Resolution 2152 (XXI), November 17, 1966, paragraph 27.

31 General Assembly Official Records (21st session), Supplement No. 5, paragraph 20.

32 UN Document A/C.2/L.908, November 30, 1966, pp. 14–15.

33 Ibid., p. 5.

1 Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization at Columbia University, New York. He served from 1961 to 1965 as United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and was Vice Chairman of the United States delegation at the first UNCTAD Conference.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
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