Some comments on the genesis of the UN Charter
Some comments on the UN Charter (from Yearbook of the United Nations 1946-1947)
…The Preamble has the same validity as the Purposes and Principles. The report of the Rapporteur of the Committee I/1 contains the following remarks:
“The provisions of the Charter, being in this case indivisible as in any other legal instrument, are equally valid and operative…It is for this reason, as well as to avoid undue repetition, that the Committee did not find it necessary to mention again in each paragraph relevant dispositions included in other paragraphs of the same chapter or other chapters. It was, nevertheless, unavoidable at times to make some repetitions.
May the explanation given above dispel any doubts as to the validity and value of any division of the Charter, whether we call it “Principles”, “Purposes,” or “Preamble.” It is thus clear that there are no grounds for supposing that the Preamble has less legal validity than the two succeeding chapters [Purposes and Principles].
The term “sovereign equality” according to the report of the Rapporteur of Committee I/1, means:
(1) that States are juridically equal;
(2) that each State enjoys the same right inherent in full sovereignty;
(3) that the personality of the State is respected as well as its territorial integrity and political independence; and
(4) that the State should, under international order, comply faithfully with its international duties and obligations.
The second principle is that “all Members in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.” The words “in good faith” were added by the Commission I, upon the suggestion of the Colombian delegation.
The third principle is that “all Members should settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” This followed the wording of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, except the words “and justice”, which were added upon the proposal of the Bolivian delegation.
The fourth principle is that “all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The words “against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State” were not in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals; they were inserted upon the demand of several delegations which thought there should be a more specific guarantee in the Charter against any violation of territorial integrity and political independence. A New Zealand amendment that “all Members undertake collectively to resist any act of aggression against any Member” gained considerable support but failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority.