WHY THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT OWE
DUES TO THE UNITED NATIONS (House of Representatives -
September 18, 2000)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the
House, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Bartlett)
is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland. Mr. Speaker, I want to talk for
a few minutes this evening about U.N. dues. I am not going
to talk about the proposal of the U.N. to levy taxes on the
countries of the world, including ours, which frightens a
number of our people. Indeed, that is frightening. I am not
going to talk about the proposal that the U.N. have its own
army, and I know that there are those and some of them from
our country in the past and at present who genuinely feel
that the world would be a safer place if the U.N. had the
largest army in the world and, therefore, could keep the
peace. I am frightened by that prospect, and I know a number
of our people are.
I am not going to talk about U.N. resolutions which once
they are made have the effect of law, which have the effect
of setting our laws aside and actually sometimes have the
effect of setting our Constitution aside. Of course, that
should be unthinkable but it has happened and we need to
talk about that, but I am not going to talk about that
because I am sure that others will this evening.
I am also not going to talk about whether the U.N. is
effective or not, whether it really meets the promise that
we held for the U.N. when it was established a number of
years ago. I am not going to talk about whether the U.N.
should be expanded or not. I understand they want 10 new
floors on their building. They are already a monstrous
bureaucracy. I am not sure being a bigger one would make
them more effective.
I am not going to talk either about whether it is in our
vital national security interests to continue to be a part
of the U.N. That needs to be debated. I hope it will be
debated across the countries; and others, this evening, I am
sure will cover that subject. I am also not going to talk
about whether 25 percent dues and 31.5 percent for
peacekeeping is a fair share for the United States. I do not
think we have 25 percent of the vote or 31.5 percent of the
vote. As a matter of fact, when one looks at our vote, the
U.N. has threatened to remove our vote because we have not
paid our dues; that is, our vote in the General Assembly.
Let us just look at that vote for a moment and what it
would mean if we did not have a vote in the General
Assembly. We have less than 1 percent of the vote cast in
the General Assembly, and there are a number of countries,
we could easily name 15 or 20 countries, that if we vote yes
they vote no and some of those countries have less citizens
than the District of Columbia, and so they can cancel our
vote in the U.N. What does our vote mean in the General
It means very little, obviously, if it can be cancelled
by a half dozen countries that have no more population than
the District of Columbia.
The only vote in the U.N. that has any importance for us
is our vote on the Security Council of the U.N. and they
cannot remove that vote for not paying dues.
What I do want to talk about is a lonely fight that I
waged here for several years to keep us from paying dues
that we had already paid a number of times over. What I am
talking about is the enormous cost of peacekeeping
operations which we have borne. Three agencies of the
government have looked at these costs, the CRS,
Congressional Research Service; GAO, the Government
Accounting Office; and the Pentagon.
They have all reached essentially the same conclusions,
that we have spent about $19 billion on peacekeeping
activities since 1992. Now, we have been credited with $1.8
billion of that against U.N. dues, so a precedent has
already been made, that if we spend money on an authorized
U.N. peacekeeping activity that those monies that we have
spent there are in lieu of dues; that is, they could replace
dues. They only did that, though, with $1.8 billion. There
is about another $17 billion that is still out there that we
have received no credit for.
All I wanted was a very simple thing, which was an
accounting of the dues that we owe. I was not arguing
whether 25 percent was too much or 31 percent of
peacekeeping was too much; my only argument was that we
needed to get credit for what we have spent on legitimate
peacekeeping activities. I think that most Americans when
they hear that argument say, well, of course, it makes
sense, that if we are sending our military there, if we are
using our resources there in the pursuit of a U.N.
resolution, an authorized U.N. activity, that we should be
given credit for the monies that we spend doing that. We
have been given credit for $1.8 billion, but what about the
other roughly $17 billion?
Mr. Speaker, that needs to be accounted for before we pay
another dime in U.N. dues.