Go ndeonófar suim nach mó ná £396,100 chun slánaithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1964, le haghaidh Tuarastail agus Costais Oifig an Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha, agus Seirbhísí áirithe atá faoi riaradh na hOifige sin, lena n-áirítear Deontas-i-gCabhair.
Le cead an Cheann Comhairle, agus de réir an nóis atá ann le blianta anuas, tá sé ar intinn agam an Meastachán le haghaidh Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus an Meastachán le haghaidh Comhar Idirnáisiúnta a thógaint le chéile.
£594,100 atá sa Mheastachán le haghaidh Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Is £550 de laghdú glan é i gcomórtas le Meastachán 1962-63. Cé go bhfuil soláthar breise £8,600 ann faoi trí Fho-Mhírcheann le chéile, tá £7,600 de laghdú ins na suimeanna atá ag teastáil le haghaidh Tuarastal, Pá agus Liúntas agus Seirbhísí Faisnéise, agus is mó de £1,500 an méid a ceaptar a gheobhfar faoi Leithreasa-i-gCabhair.
Tá an méadú £4,100 sa tsoláthar le haghaidh Taistil agus Fochostas bunaithe ar an gclaonadh caiteachais atá ann faoi láthair. Séard is mó is cúis leis an méadú ná go bhfuil costas taistil agus aistrithe tí agus costas postais, teilegrafa agus nuachtán do mhisiúin taidhleoireachta agus oifigí consulachta na Roinne thar lear ag dul in airde.
£19,000 atá sa tsoláthar le haghaidh Aíochta Oifigiúla. Is £4,000 de mhéadú é sin ar mheastachán 1962-63. Mar sin féin in ainneoin go bhfuil praghsanna na seirbhísí agus líon na gcuairteoirí tábhachtacha in Éirinn ag dul i méid, ní dóigh liom go mbeidh aon bhreis chaiteachais ar fiú trácht air ann i 1963-64, mar gur caitheadh tuairim is £19,000 faoin Fho-Mhírcheann so gach bliain le dhá bhliain anuas.
Tá laghdú £1,850 sa Mheastachán— £30,000—le haghaidh Seirbhísí Faisnéise. Is chun dhá scannán ar Éirinn a dhéanamh agus chun leabhrán faisnéise ar Éirinn a fhoilsiú atá £19,250 den tsoláthar so. Soláthraíodh £20,600 le haghaidh na scannán agus an leabhráin i 1962-63, ach thóg an obair thosaigh níos mó ama ná mar a ceapadh agus níor caitheadh ach £3,100 as soláthar 1962-63.
Maidir leis an Meastachán le haghaidh Comhar Idirnáisiúnta, tá laghdú glan £76,880 ann, ach i dteannta an Mheastacháin bhunaidh i 1962-63 bhí Meastachán Forlíontach ann mar gheall ar cheannach bhannaí de chuid na Náisiún Aontaithe. Mar sin, is mó de £31,020 é ná an Meastachán bunaidh glan i 1962-63. Séard is mó is cúis leis an méadú so ná go bhfuil breis soláthair le haghaidh caiteachais á dhéanamh ag Comhairle na hEorpa, ag an Eagras um Chomhar agus Forbairt Eacnamaíochta agus ag na Náisiúin Aontaithe. Tá an chuid eile den tsoláthar breise ann mar gheall ar ár ranníocanna le haghaidh Fórsa Éigeandála na Náisiún Aontaithe i Gaza agus imtheachtaí na Náisiún Aontaithe sa Chongó agus mar gheall ar ár ranníocanna breise le haghaidh Ciste Dídeanaithe na Náisiún Aontaithe agus Ciste Speisialta na Náisiún Aontaithe.
This year there is a small increase in the Grant-in-Aid for Cultural Relations with other countries. A sum of £14,000 is provided in the Estimate which is an increase of £500 over the corresponding provision made for last year. Deputies are, I am sure, conscious of the national importance of disseminating abroad a wider knowledge of our culture. This activity is not only important for our international political relations, but also our tourist and export industries.
In administering the Grant-in-Aid, I have, of course, the benefit of the advice of the Cultural Relations Committee which is composed of members of recognised competence in their various fields. I wish again to express my appreciation of the generosity with which the members of the committee are putting their time and knowledge at the disposal of the State.
Provision of £30,000 is being made under Subhead E to give effect to the activities of the Information Section of my Department. This sum is £1,850 less than that provided for in last year's Estimate. Of the total of £30,000, more than £24,000 is required by three items—commissioning of films, publication of an information booklet, and the Weekly Bulletin of the Department.
When presenting last year's Estimate, I dealt at some length with the commissioning of two films dealing with economic development and social progress in Ireland and the publication of a high quality information booklet. I had hoped that both projects would be completed before the end of the last financial year. However, this did not prove to be the case. The working out of the definitive treatments for the two films and the drawing up of the contracts with the producing firms in each case have been unavoidably protracted. It is, therefore, necessary to renew most of last year's provisions, viz. £12,800. We expect to have all the outstanding preparatory matters disposed of in the near future and the making of the films completed before the 31st March, 1964.
Work on the publication of the new information booklet intended for distribution mainly by our diplomatic and consular offices abroad is now at an advanced stage. The booklet will present basic facts about Ireland to foreign readers in an attractive format with photographs, coloured reproductions, graphs and a map and should meet the need for a comprehensive small handbook on Ireland. The final text is now in the hands of the printer and publication is expected during the summer months.
The Weekly Bulletin continues to be one of the most important media available to my Department in the carrying out of its information functions abroad. It has a circulation of about 11,000 copies. It is distributed to numerous newspapers and journalists, libraries and universities, government departments, people in public life and friends of Ireland abroad, and enables them to keep abreast of developments of significance in Ireland. I am satisfied that over the years it has contributed greatly to the formation of a broader and more accurate picture of Ireland and of Irish life and culture.
The remainder of the money being provided under Subhead E is to service the many aspects of information work carried out by the headquarters staff of my Department and by the offices abroad. Last year I pointed to the growing interest in many countries in Ireland and Irish affairs, and in the intervening twelve months there has been, I am glad to say, no sign of an abatement in this regard. More and more material in the form of books, and pamphlets, films, slides and photographs, magazines, memoranda, gramophone records are needed to meet this growing demand for information on every aspect of Irish life but particularly on the social, economic and cultural sides.
There has also been a marked growth in the number of visiting foreign journalists, radio, TV and film publicists, on whose behalf the Information Section of my Department makes arrangements and supplies material to facilitate them in the carrying out of their assignments. These visits have resulted in the appearance throughout last year of many informative feature articles and supplements on Ireland. The publishers have been leading newspapers, journals and magazines in Britain, the United States, and most Western European countries.
The value of all these information activities is considerable in helping to add to the good name of Ireland abroad and to lessen the currency of the misconceptions about our country which are numerous and of long standing.
In recent years, we have had the pleasure of welcoming annually an increasing number of eminent public personalities from other countries whom, of course, we are very pleased to have visiting us. Similarly, the number of international groups coming here to participate in or hold conferences in this country continues to be maintained at a high level. Increased provision has had to be made in the estimate for this subhead because of the extra hospitality obligations involved. These developments are very desirable as, apart from giving us an opportunity of paying our respects to our visitors, they help to promote a more intimate knowledge abroad of our country and our people and have a stimulating effect on trade and tourism.
In the current year, we expect to see a continuation of these trends and among the international conferences already scheduled I might mention the following:—
National Union of Journalists.
British Diabetics Association and the Irish Opthalmological Society Joint Congress.
British Geriatric Society.
World Convention of International Federation of Agricultural Producers.
British Federation of Master Printers Conference.
Institute of Fuel Drying Congress.
British Pharmacology Society Conference.
International Competitions for Apprenticeships.
Council of Europe Sponsored Conference on Geography Text Books.
Postal History Conference.
International Youth Hostels Federation and Rally.
World Assembly of National Federations of Pax Romana.
College of Teachers of the Blind Conference.
In the Council of Europe during the past year, notable progress was made towards achieving the aim of its Statute. Significant contributions, in social, cultural and technical co-operation, were made both by the Committee of Ministers and the Consultative Assembly.
There have been important increases both in membership and activities. Switzerland was invited to join the Council and will probably sign the Statute this year.
Another highly important and most welcome development was the association of the Holy See in the cultural activities of the Council. The decision to invite the Holy See to participate was taken unanimously by the Committee of Ministers and, on December 10th, 1962, a representative of the Holy Father deposited the Holy See's instrument of accession to the European Cultural Convention. The wisdom and experience of these new members of the Cultural Council will be of great benefit to it in its work.
As Deputies may recall, the Council of Europe undertook an immense programme of cultural activity when the Council of Cultural Co-operation was set up in 1961. That programme is now being carried out with vigour, especially in the field of education. The Higher Education Committee, for example, is studying the setting up of new universities; the Out of School Committee discussed adult education and sports questions, and in 1963, the programme of the General and Technical Educational Committee will concentrate on teacher training, modern language teaching, road safety education, pupil guidance and civic and European education. In addition, the Third Conference of European Ministers of Education which was held in Rome with the assistance of the Council of Europe, discussed topics such as the educational needs of children over the next four decades, investment in education, the role of the humanities and educational research.
One of the most important achievements last year was the expansion of activity in the legal field. For some time now, the European Committee on Crime Problems has been concerned with prison and penal matters including juvenile delinquency. Following a resolution adopted by the European Ministers of Justice at their second Conference which was held in Rome under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers decided to set up an ad hoc committee of senior officials to determine in what sectors the legal programme of the Council can be expanded, with particular reference to the drawing-up and conclusion of multilateral European treaties unifying or harmonising the provisions of current or future municipal law. Special attention will also be paid to the question of unifying the conceptions and principles on which the law is founded.
It is, therefore, gratifying to note that the work of the Legal Committee of the Assembly, which met in Dublin last June, has been of great value to the Council and that our representatives have played an active part in it. The Assembly was addressed at its session in Strasbourg in January of this year by our Minister for Justice, who spoke on the proposed expanded legal programme of the Council of Europe. Moreover, the European Ministers of Justice have accepted the Government's invitation to hold their third conference in Dublin, probably next year.
Much progress has also taken place in the social field. A new scheme for the award of fellowships to personnel in social welfare work has recently gone into operation. Social service administrators, members of the staffs of social services and social workers will be given an opportunity to increase their technical knowledge and experience by studying in European countries, and to participate in studies and research of common European interest.
As regards the scheme of medical fellowships Deputies may recall that in 1961 Irish nationals obtained 17 of the 114 Fellowships available. Last year was also a highly successful one in this field and Irish candidates obtained 14 Fellowships, the highest number awarded in any country. In addition, an Irish national has been appointed as one of three experts holding joint medical fellowships to study the harmful effects of noise on health.
A further item in the sphere of public health was the signing of the European Agreement on mutual assistance in the matter of Special Medical Treatments and Climatic Facilities.
Other Council of Europe Conventions signed during the year were the European Agreement on travel by Young Persons on collective Passports between Member Countries of the Council of Europe, and the European Convention on the Liability of Hotelkeepers concerning the property of their guests. The Government hopes to be in a position to ratify the latter Convention and the European Agreement on the Protection of Television Broadcasts in the near future.
During the year, the council continued its studies in matters such as copyright, patents, consular relations, "pirate" broadcasting, and road safety. New and important initiatives in nature conservancy, air pollution and the harmful effects of noise on health were undertaken. In these activities, which aim at the harmonisation of legislation and procedures between the member countries, Irish representatives have fully cooperated.
We are continuing to participate actively in the work of the OECD. A significant development last year was the inauguration, in co-operation with the OECD Scientific and Technical Personnel Committee, of a study of the long-term needs for education resources in Ireland.
In November last, I attended the OECD Ministerial Council meeting when the work of the organisation during its first year was reviewed, with particular reference to progress made towards the fulfilment of the target of a 50 per cent over-all increase in gross national product of member countries in the decade 1960-1970. For the individual country this means an average annual growth of 4.1 per cent. In the first three years of the decade our annual growth has averaged 4.5 per cent.
An important event last year was the issue by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees of a Report to Ireland which explains in detail how the money collected in Ireland during the World Refugee Year has been spent for the relief of refugees in many parts of the world. The voluntary contributions of our people were used to help clear the refugee camp at Falkenburg, towards the construction of housing for Armenian refugees in Greece, for instructions in camps in Italy, for the relief of Algerian refugees in Morocco and Tunisia, for famine relief in the Congo and for vocational training for young Arab refugees in the Near East.
A total of £71,000 approximately was collected which reckoned on a per capita basis places Ireland eighth on the list of contributing countries. At the request of the Government, the collection was organised by the Irish Red Cross Society. I know that Deputies will wish to join with me in paying tribute to the Chairman and members of the Irish Red Cross Society for the magnificent way in which they carried out the task entrusted to them.
In the past year, the United Nations faced a further series of crises. In spite of the difficulties, however, it helped significantly in the maintenance of international peace and security. It also made some worthwhile contributions to the growth of international understanding and although many of the most urgent international problems remain unresolved, I feel that if these are approached in good faith and with the same spirit of restraint and accommodation shown in some of the debates at the United Nations over the past year, there is hope for the gradual evolution of a world order of law and law enforcement based on justice in the conduct of international relations.
The United Nations is not, of course, something which exists apart from its members. It is only as strong and effective as its members permit it to be. It is, however, an instrument which its members can use to ease the tension between the great powers and to promote international peace, respect for the fundamental rights of peoples and progress for all nations. Through its social and economic programmes, the Organisation can materially assist the social structures and economies of countries in course of development. In the General Assembly the greatest contribution which smaller states can make to the future of the United Nations and the cause of world peace is to exercise their new-found responsibility with moderation and restraint and assist in the development of a healthy world opinion which few nations can afford to ignore consistently. Rather than promoting their own interests as their sole concern, small states have most to gain by the development of the rule of law throughout the world and of international machinery to enforce it.
Through our membership of the Security Council last year, the Government had the responsibility of facing decisions on a number of critical international situations on which we might not normally have had to take decisions.
Last October, the world faced an acute crisis in Cuba which threatened to upset the delicate balance of power and lead to nuclear war. The wisdom and restraint with which the President of the United States handled the situation and the intervention of the United Nations for which he called, led to the removal of the Russian missiles and thus eased the threat to the American continent and to world peace. The United Nations played a significant and essential role in bringing about this desirable result. The Security Council met as the United States navy and the Russian ships were steaming towards each other in the Atlantic. Both the United States and Russia had tabled motions demanding that the other side should first abandon its position and that afterwards negotiations should be entered upon. In our intervention, we suggested that negotiations should be commenced immediately and we supported the call to the Secretary-General to use his good offices to effect a peaceful settlement of the crisis. The Secretary General's intervention was accepted unanimously. Without his able and unremitting endeavours of the following days, backed by the moral authority of the United Nations, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the two great powers to negotiate directly and to reach a peaceful settlement of the crisis.
The dispute between Pakistan and India on the question of Kashmir, which Pakistan raised in the Security Council last year, was a difficult problem for the Government involving as it did two countries with which we have diplomatic relations and strong ties of friendship.
When the question of Kashmir was put on the agenda of the Security Council, it soon became clear that the majority of members favoured the tabling and passing of a resolution which would mark their deep concern at the continuation of the dispute and strongly urge both parties to enter into negotiations at once in order to arrive at a peaceful settlement. All the nonpermanent members of the Security Council, with the exception of Rumania, entered upon discussions with a view to drafting an appropriate resolution. The resolution which our delegation finally tabled attracted only two negative votes — those of Rumania and the Soviet Union — out of eleven. In our opinion, it went as far as possible to meet the preoccupations of India and Pakistan while fulfilling the duties and responsibilities imposed by the Charter upon members of the Security Council.
I am glad to note that, following American and British mediation, talks have since been held on Kashmir between India and Pakistan and I trust that these discussions will continue until an amicable settlement is reached.
It was with dismay that we learned of the attacks which commenced last September by the forces of Peiping on the Indian Border. In a message to the Taoiseach, Mr. Nehru gave a summary of the Chinese operations and expressed the hope that his country could count on our sympathy and support in the difficult situation which it faced. The Taoiseach conveyed to Mr. Nehru an assurance of the fullest sympathy of the Irish Government and people with the Government and people of India in their struggle against aggression.
Through our membership of the Security Council last year we also had the opportunity of congratulating six new states on the achievement of their independence and of welcoming and supporting their applications for membership of the United Nations. These states, namely, Burundi, Rwanda, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Algeria and Uganda, were subsequently admitted to the Organisation, bringing its total membership to 110. We look forward to the prospect of friendly and fruitful co-operation with these new states in the work of the United Nations and wish them every success in the tasks which they face in the years ahead.
In the Congo, the situation has taken a dramatic turn for the better in recent months and its political independence and its territorial integrity seem now reasonably secure. The Secretary-General now finds himself in a position to effect an immediate reduction of 7,000 men in the United Nations force and he intends to withdraw them all as rapidly as the situation allows. At present we have 868 men in the Congo. Upon their repatriation in a few weeks time, they will be replaced by contingents totalling approximately 500 men.
The Irish troops in the Congo for the past year continued to live up to their high reputation, acting throughout in a manner which justifies our pride in them. As we would expect, they have comported themselves at all times with honour and forbearance and I should like again to pay tribute to them for the high standards they have maintained and for their loyal devotion to duty. During the operations in Katanga last January, it was a source of gratification that Irish troops were given a warm welcome by all sections of the population when they entered Kipushi.
The United Nations operation in most of the Congo has now largely turned from the maintenance of order to the provision of an extensive programme of economic and technical assistance. During the emergency period of the past few years, United Nations staff were moved in to fill posts in hospitals, airports, telecommunications centres and food distribution points throughout the Republic. Today the major emphasis is on training the Congolese themselves to take over all essential services and it is hoped that by the close of 1964 the Congolese will be in a position to assume most of the administrative and technical responsibilities for the normal running of their country.
The movement towards national independence and freedom in Africa is one of the great historic facts of this century and the sympathy of the Irish people for this movement is widely appreciated. It is our earnest hope that the final phases of this evolution will take place peacefully and that the rule of law, rather than the rule of force, will finally determine the emergence of all the peoples of Africa to national and democratic freedom. Perhaps the two most urgent questions considered by the General Assembly last year were those of Ruanda-Urundi and Southern Rhodesia. In June, the Assembly adopted a resolution supported by Belgium endorsing the emergence of Rwanda and Burundi as two independent and sovereign States. The resolution called on the Belgian Government to withdraw its troops and provided for the grant of special United Nations technical assistance to the new States. The small number of Belgian troops which were retained in the territories to facilitate the transitional arrangements were withdrawn by the end of August and both countries were subsequently admitted to membership of the United Nations. It is a source of gratification that the independence of these two States was achieved in an atmosphere of order and stability and that tribal violence, which it was feared might erupt after their independence, did not in fact occur.
On the question of Southern Rhodesia, we supported a resolution in the General Assembly calling for the suspension of the Constitution of December, 1961, cancellation of the general elections to be held under that Constitution, the convening of a conference to formulate a new Constitution for Southern Rhodesia and the extension of political rights to the whole population without discrimination. We did so in the belief that, if serious disturbances are to be avoided in the area, it is essential that the franchise should be widened to allow all races to play their part in its future development. We realise, however, that major political changes can only be brought about with the exercise of care and patience. The situation in Southern Rhodesia continues to cause serious concern and will no doubt be the subject of further discussions in the United Nations.
One of the successes of the session was the endorsement by the Assembly of the agreement concluded by Indonesia and the Netherlands concerning West New Guinea. The role played by the Secretary-General in facilitating talks between the parties was an important element in resolving the problem. One of the unique features of the agreement is that the United Nations has been entrusted with executive authority over a vast territory for the first time in its history. As Deputies will be aware, the Government acceded to the request of the Secretary-General that two Irish officers should participate in the United Nations Observer Group sent to the territory to report on the operation of the cease-fire between the two parties and to negotiate locally in case of violations.
With the emergence of a large number of independent countries particularly in Asia and Africa, the United Nations has been devoting more attention to economic questions designed to reorganise world economy on a basis of just partnership between the economically advanced and the new and developing nations. We are now entering a new year in the United Nations Development Decade and already a number of important proposals have been adopted including the World Food Programme, the proposed United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the intensification of the United Nations technical assistance and preinvestment programmes. We are co-operating in this work by responding to the extent of £300,000 to the appeal for funds for the World Food Programme, also by maintaining our voluntary contribution to the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and by increasing our subscription for the current year to the United Nations Special Fund. We also participated in the conference held in Geneva in February last under the auspices of the United Nations at which scientists, technologists and representatives of Governments discussed the application of recent scientific and technological progress for the benefit of less-developed areas.
I regret to state that the threatening crisis in the finances of the United Nations continues. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the emergency peace-keeping operations in the Middle East and in the Congo have been saved from collapse only by the revenue from the United Nations bond issue. As Deputies are aware, Ireland contributed a sum of 300,000 dollars to this issue. Up to the 1st March last, some 125 million dollars worth of bonds had been purchased out of a total of 200 million dollars authorised.
During the Assembly session, I thought it well to devote most of my statement in the general debate to the danger of the disruption of the United Nations through the failure of many member States to meet their due shares of the cost of implementing the decisions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. I emphasised that it was quite wrong and altogether inadmissible that we should be asked to recognise a financial veto by means of which the permanent members of the Security Council could later nullify decisions of the Council upon which they refused to exercise a voting veto, or by means of which they are in a position to defeat decisions of the appropriate majority of the Assembly when such decisions are in the course of implementation. To cede such an uncovenanted veto to the major powers or to any group of powers would, of course, not only introduce an element of constant uncertainty into the operations of the United Nations but would bring the Organisation into dishonour.
I suggested in my statement to the Assembly that there were three possible ways of making certain that the implementation of the decisions of the United Nations would at all times be assured of adequate financial support. These are, first and foremost, the payment by members of their annual assessments promptly; secondly, an increase from time to time in the Working Capital Fund to a sum in keeping with the level of the annual budget; and thirdly, the granting of power to the Secretary-General to borrow in any financial year up to the full amount of the cost of implementing the decisions of the United Nations in that year.
During its discussion on financial matters, the General Assembly adopted a number of other important resolutions. It accepted the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of July 20th, 1962, to the effect that expenditures for United Nations operations in the Congo and in the Middle East constitute expenses of the Organisation within the meaning of Article 17 (2) of the Charter. That paragraph provides that "the expenses of the Organisation shall be borne by the Members as apportioned by the General Assembly".
Deputies will recall that Ireland made both oral and written submissions to the International Court of Justice to the effect that assessments on member States for the Middle East and Congo operations are obligatory. The Assembly also adopted the resolution setting up a Working Group of Twenty-One to study special methods for financing peace-keeping operations involving heavy financial commitments such as those for the Congo and the Middle East. A special session of the General Assembly is to be convened in May to consider the financial situation of the Organisation in the light of the report of the Working Group. It is to be hoped that the work of the special session together with the reduction of the Organisation's commitments for its military operations in the Congo and the appointment of Mr. Eugene Black, the former President of the World Bank, as the Secretary-General's special financial adviser, will result in placing the finances of the United Nations on a more secure basis than at present.
At the last session of the Assembly, a resolution which we co-sponsored on the question of technical assistance to promote the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law was adopted unanimously. At present we are represented by the Permanent Representative at New York on committees established by the Assembly to improve the work of the Organisation and to organise a Year of International Co-operation. Last year, Ireland was again elected to membership of the Statistical Commission of the Economic and Social Council for a further four-year term and our representative, the Director of the Central Statistics Office, was reelected Chairman of the Commission.
Under the auspices of the United Nations, several officials of our State Departments and State-sponsored bodies, recruited through my Department, are assisting the Governments of underdeveloped countries in the building up of their public administration and economic structure. Over the years the services of a number of Irish professional men, in particular doctors, have likewise been put at the disposal of those countries through the specialised agencies of the United Nations. We also co-operate with the UN and the OECD in providing training facilities in Ireland for officials of the underdeveloped countries. In all this work for underdeveloped countries, I feel we are but trying to maintain the great tradition of service and devotion established under immense difficulties by Irish missionaries, teachers, doctors and nurses in various parts of the world.
The unanimous election of U Thant as Secretary-General of the United Nations, without any conditions and with an implicit rejection of the "troika" concept of the office, was one of the major achievements of the United Nations during the past year. As Acting Secretary-General, U Thant had firmly upheld this concept of his office and proved himself, by his diplomatic skill and dedication to the principles of the Charter, a worthy candidate to succeed the late Mr. Hammarskjoeld. It was a source of gratification that he found it possible to visit Ireland last July in the course of his visit to European countries.
During the last session of the General Assembly, I again emphasised that we are opposed to all nuclear tests but more especially those causing radioactive fallout. Most members of the Assembly were deeply anxious that the nuclear powers should negotiate agreements between themselves which would end all tests as quickly as possible and that a climate of fruitful negotiation should be created between these powers. Therefore, we joined with these states in supporting a resolution recalling the urgent need for the suspension of nuclear tests and urging the EighteenNation Committee on Disarmament at Geneva to seek the conclusion of a treaty to this end with effective and prompt international verification. While three of the nuclear powers have since suspended nuclear testing on a voluntary basis, the Geneva Committee has not made sufficient progress on the problem of international inspection and verification to warrant undue optimism.
One of the items on the Geneva Committee's agenda is the question of preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons which was the subject of Irish resolutions in the UN since 1958 and of one unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 1961. Proposals for dealing with this problem in the first stage of disarmament negotiations are now included in the separate disarmament declarations of both the United States and the Soviet Union. This agreement by the great powers on the desirability of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons gives hope for the conclusion of an agreement between the nuclear and the non-nuclear states to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons before the situation gets completely beyond control.
In conclusion, I think it would be fair to say that the United Nations has strengthened its position in world opinion by its achievements over the past year and that Ireland has loyally contributed its share to the good work. The Organisation can rightly claim to have done much for the reduction of tension between the major powers. It can face its future tasks with confidence if all its members, large and small, contribute according to their means and continue to promote the spirit of restraint and accommodation.