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The Birch Log
January 8, 2014

The United Nations:
How the U.S. Entered, and Why the U.S. Should Leave

by John F. McManus
fitzgerald griffin foundation

APPLETON, WI — When World War II was drawing to a close, diplomats from 50 nations unanimously approved the United Nations (U.N.) Charter at a two-month-long conference held in San Francisco. The document was forwarded to Washington, D.C., for ratification by the United States Senate in July 1945.

Much about the Charter should have raised serious concerns, especially its very short Article 25 that reads: "The members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter." In other words, when the U.N. says "Jump!" the U.S. leaders can either veto the Security Council's decision or ask "How high?" On the basis of Article 25 alone, no Senator who swore an oath to support the Constitution should have accepted the Charter.

Moreover, the Charter's Article 43 states: "All Members of the United Nations… undertake to make available to the Security Council on its call… armed forces, assistance, and facilities" to carry out whatever mission the Security Council decides. Over the years, very few member nations have complied with this portion of the Charter. But the United States has regularly done the organization's bidding by supplying the forces and equipment deemed needed for U.N.-directed action.

Most who have studied the Charter conclude that no Senator should have tied our nation to a document granting such powers. But the overwhelming attitude of the American people in mid-1945, few of whom had read the Charter, was based on the belief that "something new" had to be tried. The war in Europe had ended in May, but the struggle in the Pacific continued for several more months. The American people, sick of war, were easily led to accept anything that might avoid another. Promoters of the U.N. repeatedly stated, "We had World War I and World War II, and we don't want World War III. Something new has to be tried."


the United Nations Participation Act (UNPA) ... gave the President power, without congressional acquiescence, to send U.S. troops wherever the U.N. wanted them to go.

This attitude swayed many, including members of the U.S. Senate who, in late July 1945, approved the Charter by a lopsided vote of 89 to 2. North Dakota's Senator William Langer registered one of the "no" votes, saying in a speech to his colleagues, "The U.N. would have the authority to send our boys all over the world." The other negative vote came from Senator Henrik Shipstead of Minnesota, who saw great danger and warned, "Control of the war power must remain in Congress." These two men had carefully read the Charter and correctly perceived that our nation should not approve it.

Later in the pivotal year of 1945, passage of another major piece of legislation, the United Nations Participation Act (UNPA), won congressional approval. The UNPA gave the President power, without congressional acquiescence, to send U.S. troops wherever the U.N. wanted them to go. House opponents of this measure were led by Jessie Sumner (R-Ill.), who correctly noted, "This measure gives congressional authority for surrendering the American people to an all-powerful world government." She was joined by Frederick Smith (R-Ohio), who summarized, "This measure… provides that the power to declare war shall be taken from Congress and given to the President. Here is the essence of dictatorship." How right he was!

However, on December 20, 1945, the House approved the UNPA by a vote of 355 to 15. The Senate followed with its approval one day later. From that day forward, there have been no congressional declarations of war as required by the U.S. Constitution.

President Truman labeled the 1950-53 Korean War a "police action," rather than a war requiring congressional approval. In our nation's subsequent wars in Vietnam, Iraq (twice), and Afghanistan, along with skirmishes in Bosnia, Somalia, and elsewhere, Congress has been bypassed and the Constitution ignored.

U.N. ...continues to amass power in virtually every phase of human existence.


Instead, U.N. Security Council resolutions and membership in the body's "Regional Arrangements" (see the Charter's Articles 51-54 where such pacts as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization [SEATO] derive their authorization) have been referenced to send U.S. forces into battle — always under U.N. oversight.

It was 1949 when NATO was paraded before the American people as a much-needed pact to block further advances by the USSR. The Soviets had already swallowed up numerous central and eastern European nations. But NATO's chief proponent, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, made clear that everything about the pact was "subject to the overriding provisions of the U.N. Charter." He added that it constituted a "measure for strengthening the United Nations." When President Truman was pressed about his sending of troops to Korea in 1950 without a declaration of war by Congress, he told reporters that if he could send troops to NATO — which he had done — he could send them to Korea.

Focusing only on what membership in the U.N. has meant regarding the use of our nation's military, we see that the Korean War was openly under U.N. jurisdiction. It has never been settled, even though an armistice of sorts has been in existence since 1953. Tens of thousands of American forces remain in Korea and serve under an overall and openly acknowledged "United Nations Command." U.S. military officers lead our troops while knowing that they are subservient to the world body's direction.

The Vietnam War, fought under the authority of SEATO, ended in defeat for the United States. This agonizing struggle turned out to be the first war that our nation ever lost. At a critical point during the Vietnam encounter, President Lyndon Johnson matter-of-factly stated in January 1967: "We are in Vietnam because the United States and our allies are committed by the SEATO treaty to act to meet the common danger of aggression in Southeast Asia." But the fighting was restricted by the incredible "Rules of Engagement" controlling how our forces were permitted to conduct their operations. These rules were finally published in the Congressional Record in 1985.


...the Korean War was openly under U.N. jurisdiction. It has never been settled, even though an armistice of sorts has been in existence since 1953.

The first U.S. invasion of Iraq in 1991 was arranged by President George H. W. Bush with authorization supplied by the U.N. Security Council. The second action against Iraq (2003) occurred after President George W. Bush obtained similar Security Council authorization. The ongoing action in Afghanistan is being conducted by NATO, whose chief official is a citizen of Holland.

Space prevents enumerating details about the U.N.'s enormous and growing clout in an array of areas other than war. But let it be said that the world body continues to amass power in virtually every phase of human existence.

House bill H.R. 75, known as The American Sovereignty Restoration Act, has been introduced in Congress by Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.). Its first provision calls for repeal of the UNPA. If enacted by Congress, the U.S. would be out of the U.N. in two short years. The measure deserves backing by all who value the independence of our nation and freedom of the American people.

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John F. McManus is President of The John Birch Society.

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