Experts Pessimistic About UN Future, Predicts Decline to 'Debating Society'

Winthrop Starts Forums

Four experts on world affairs presented a bleak picture of the prospects and future of the United Nations at the first Winthrop House Forum last night.

Melvin Croan '53, instructor in Government, Rupert Emerson '22, professor of Government, Frank B. Freidel, professor of History, and Stanley H. Hoffmann, associate professor of Government, agreed that the United Nations has deteriorated into "an international debating society and a sounding board of world opinion."

Not Salvation of World

Hoffmann asserted, however, that "although the United Nations cannot be the salvation of the world, it can perform some useful peace functions in areas like the Congo", Freidel envisioned the U.N. becoming primarily "an educational, institution for the emerging nations of Asia and Africa."

In his formal speech, Croan maintained that the Soviet Union uses the United Nations primarily as a propaganda forum and "a mirror of the changing balance of power in the world."


He stressed that the Communists "are anxious to exploit every area of the U.N. which will advance the Soviet Cause," but will tolerate "no exploitation of the U.N. against the Soviet Bloc."

Although the U.S.S.R. is not intent on completely destroying the United Nations, Croan said, "we cannot be optimistic about the organization's future, except, perhaps, as a sounding board of international opinion."

Attempts to Exploit U.N.

Emerson asserted that the 50 emerging nations of Asia and Africa are, like the Soviets, attempting to exploit the United Nations "as their instrument" against the Western colonial powers.

He warned that the interests of these new nations "are similar to those of the USSR in many cases," and noted a growing tendency by the Afro-Asian nations to drift leftward and operate as a block.

Freidel maintained that "we cannot expect much in the future from the United Nations." He claimed that the organization was doomed to failure because of the great struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Although Americans have always had an extremely idealistic view of the capabilities of the U.N., Friedel said, "the Kennedy Administration at last seems to be moving away from the use of the United Nations as an effective part of its foreign policy."

The Western European Bloc "has had nothing but losses and abuse from the United Nations and can hope to get little else in the future," Hoffmann asserted in discussing the attitude of those nations toward the U.N.

Hoffmann said that the "United Nations is dead on the issue of collective security," but expressed a conviction that the organization can be effective "in restoring peace in areas like the Congo, where the Cold War is not already raging."

David E. Owen, Master of Winthrop House and the moderator of the panel, announced before the speeches started that Mark Bonham-Carter, the grandson of former British Prime Minister Asquith, will be a guest of Winthrop House for the next three weeks.