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Rep. Ron Paul's Special Order Speech - 9/18/00

AMERICA'S ROLE IN THE UNITED NATIONS (House of Representatives - September 18, 2000)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, over a half a century has transpired since the United States of America became a member of the United Nations. Purporting to act pursuant to the treaty powers of the Constitution, the President of the United States signed, and the United States Senate ratified, the charter of the United Nations. Yet, the debate in government circles over the United Nations' charter scarcely has touched on the question of the constitutional power of the United States to enter such an agreement. Instead, the only questions addressed concerned the respective roles that the President and Congress would assume upon the implementation of that charter.

On the one hand, some proposed that once the charter of the United States was ratified, the President of the United States would act independently of Congress pursuant to his executive prerogatives to conduct the foreign affairs of the Nation. Others insisted, however, that the Congress played a major role of defining foreign policy, especially because that policy implicated the power to declare war, a subject reserved strictly to Congress by Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

At first, it appeared that Congress would take control of America's participation in the United Nations. But in the enactment of the United Nations' participation act on December 20, 1945, Congress laid down several rules by which America's participation would be governed. Among those rules was the requirement that before the President of the United States could deploy United States Armed Forces in service of the United Nations, he was required to submit to Congress for its specific approval the numbers and types of Armed Forces, their degree of readiness and general location, and the nature of the facilities and assistance including rights of passage to be made available to the United Nations Security Council on its call for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.

Since the passage of the United Nations Participation Act, however, congressional control of presidential foreign policy initiatives, in cooperation with the United Nations, has been more theoretical than real. Presidents from Truman to the current President have again and again presented Congress with already-begun military actions, thus forcing Congress's hand to support United States troops or risk the accusation of having put the Nation's servicemen and service women in unnecessary danger. Instead of seeking congressional approval of the use of the United States Armed Forces in service of the United Nations, presidents from Truman to Clinton have used the United Nations Security Council as a substitute for congressional authorization of the deployment of United States Armed Forces in that service.

This transfer of power from Congress to the United Nations has not, however, been limited to the power to make war. Increasingly, Presidents are using the U.N. not only to implement foreign policy in pursuit of international peace, but also domestic policy in pursuit of international, environmental, economic, education, social welfare and human rights policy, both in derogation of the legislative prerogatives of Congress and of the 50 State legislatures, and further in derogation of the rights of the American people to constitute their own civil order.

As Cornell University government professor Jeremy Rabkin has observed, although the U.N. charter specifies that none of its provisions `shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State,' nothing has ever been found so `essentially domestic' as to exclude U.N. intrusions.

The release in July 2000 of the U.N. Human Development Report provides unmistakable evidence of the universality of the United Nations' jurisdictional claims. Boldly proclaiming that global integration is eroding national borders, the report calls for the implementation and, if necessary, the imposition of global standards of economic and social justice by international agencies and tribunals. In a special contribution endorsing this call for the globalization of domestic policymaking, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote, `Above all, we have committed ourselves to the idea that no individual shall have his or her human rights abused or ignored. The idea is enshrined in the charter of the United Nations. The United Nations' achievements in the area of human rights over the last 50 years are rooted in the universal acceptance of those rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Rights. Emerging slowly, but I believe, surely, is an international norm,' and this is Annan's words, `that must and will take precedence over concerns of State sovereignty.'

Although such a wholesale transfer of United States sovereignty to the United Nations as envisioned by Secretary General Annan has not yet come to pass, it will, unless Congress takes action.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1146, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act is my answer to this problem.


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