Views on UN effectiveness

Congratulations to Earl Foell for his article ``UN at 40: redesigning a peace machine'' (June 25). He is right to cite the ways in which the UN facilitates world harmony. The bureaucratic and attitudinal reforms he recommends would no doubt increase the UN's effectiveness. But his reforms do not go far enough. The structure of the UN must be changed so that it can really fulfill its original function of preventing war. For almost 40 years, the World Federalist Association has advocated forming an international organization strong enough and representative enough to bring about world disarmament, make binding laws on matters of international concern, adjudicate disputes, and, when necessary, call on a standing peace force (as already called for by the UN Charter). The UN could become that organization if it were not enfeebled by a Security Council veto, a weak and unrepresentative General Assembly, and a nearly powerless World Court.

Although a strengthened UN frightens many, safeguards could be established through fair and democratic voting procedures and rigorous checks and balances such as exist in our own federal government. Scott L. Hoffman, President World Federalist Association of Greater Boston, Boston

The editorial ``United Nations at 40: challenge continues,'' June 25, makes one mention of a key point that warrants more emphasis. It noted that in 1945 one of the Monitor's columnists said that the crux of the UN is ``goodwill, good faith, honest motives,'' etc.

We are aware of the UN Charter defects of the ``Big Five'' having veto powers and of the lack of enforcing powers for Security Council decrees. The UN will prevent wars only if political leaders of all nations demonstrate ``good faith and honest motives'' by adhering to their commitments as Charter signatories -- refraining from illegal military aggressions and respecting the sovereignty of all nations. Perhaps the US public should insist that our political leaders cease the practice of illegal interventions (Chile, Grenada, Nicaragua, etc.) and then arouse world public opinion to influence the political leaders of other nations to follow suit. John Burton Washington, N.J.

It was a pleasure to read June 10 Zeev Schiff's lucid exposition of the options Israel has to protect its northern border [``Israel's border'']. He clarified the choice between support for the South Lebanon Army and for the Shiites so well that his lack of attention to the obvious third choice stands out even more sharply -- enlarging the area under UNIFIL jurisdiction to include the border area with Israel.

The Israeli government has dismissed this option on the grounds that UNIFIL, a United Nations force, tends to side with the Arabs and, in any case, would be too weak and inefficient to keep guerrillas from approaching Israel's northern border. In UNIFIL's case, both Arab groups and the Israeli Army have prevented the UN force from functioning with full effectiveness.

There is no reason that UN troops would be so prejudiced against Israel's cause that they could not perform their peacekeeping duties in an objective manner if given the chance. Let's give the UN a chance to carry out the duties assigned to it by the world community. William N. Dale US Ambassador (ret.) Chapel Hill, N.C.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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