Reagan Likely to Tell U.N. of Foreign Policy Progress
President Reagan will make his last scheduled appearance before the U.N. General Assembly today and is expected to use the forum to stress his foreign policy achievements.
His speech to the General Assembly’s 43rd session also may be used to launch a diplomatic initiative--a proposal to reconvene the 25 original signers of a 1925 convention against the use of chemical weapons to reinvigorate the ban. But White House officials said that the main thrust of his talk will probably be a review of improving superpower relations.
Although Reagan has addressed the General Assembly every year since he took office--a record for U.S. presidents--his aides have been highly critical of the United Nations from the beginning of his presidency.
Charges Against U.N.
Joined by congressional Republicans, the Administration accused the organization of maintaining a bloated bureaucracy, wasting its money and permitting domination by the Soviet Bloc, leftists from the Third World and enemies of Israel.
Reagan curtailed U.S. funding, bringing protests from Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who complained that the action would make the world organization unable to meet its payroll. But the Administration changed course earlier this month and announced that it would free $188 million in blocked U.S. contributions.
The White House attributed its change to reforms within the organization, including budget and personnel cuts, and to the success of U.N. negotiations for withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and on a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq War. U.N. backers have conceded that peacekeeping efforts progressed slowly until Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Reagan reached agreement that the Afghan and Persian Gulf conflicts must end.
12-Week Annual Session
The General Assembly formally opened its 12-week annual session last Tuesday, electing Foreign Minister Dante Caputo of Argentina as president and adopting a 161-item agenda that includes much old business. One item is new this year, however: the first debate on Korea, with representatives from both North and South Korea taking part.
For the next three weeks, the main business will be speeches from heads of state or lesser-ranking officials. Eleven heads of state are scheduled to appear.