Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on United States Participation in the United Nations

February 2, 1983

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit herewith a report of the activities of the United States Government in the United Nations and its affiliated agencies, as required by the United Nations Participation Act (Public Law 264, 79th Congress). The report covers calendar year 1981, the first year of my Administration.

During this first year we devoted much time and effort to making our participation in the organizations of the United Nations system more effective and to rendering the system more efficient. We have urged the United Nations and its affiliated agencies to slow budget growth, define priorities, upgrade personnel, and purge debate of irrelevant and divisive rhetoric. We have pursued these changes in order to strengthen the United Nations and help it realize its enormous potential for maintaining international peace and security and for contributing to the economic and social betterment of the world's peoples.

The year 1981 saw the United Nations constructively engaged in a number of important areas. United Nations peacekeeping forces have helped prevent serious fighting in Cyprus and the Golan Heights; the United Nations General Assembly called for an end to Soviet and Vietnamese aggression in Afghanistan and Kampuchea; and several United Nations organizations and agencies continued their valuable humanitarian and technical work around the world. The year also saw the election of a new United Nations Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, an experienced and able international diplomat.

At the same time, the United Nations' 1981 performance left much room for improvement. Extreme United Nations resolutions on the Middle East and Southern Africa often increased tensions rather than promoted solutions. The General Assembly called for the Government of El Salvador to negotiate with the guerrillas opposing it, discounting in advance the value of elections which proved a resounding success. Resolutions on arms control were often propagandistic and worked against the goal of genuine, balanced, and verifiable arms reductions. The General Assembly approved an unjustifiably large biennial budget in the face of United States opposition.

My Administration will continue to work strenuously and constructively to defend United States interests in the United Nations setting and to make the Organization itself increasingly more responsive to global problems and needs.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 2, 1983.

Note: The report is entitled ``United States Participation in the UN -- Report by the President to the Congress for the Year 1981'' (Government Printing Office, 393 pages).