Principality of Liechtenstein Becomes 160th, and Smallest, Member of U.N.

From a Times Staff Writer

The Alpine principality of Liechtenstein Tuesday became the 160th and smallest member of the United Nations.

The 61.7 square mile nation, squeezed between Switzerland and Austria, was so impoverished after World War I that the reigning prince had to dip into his personal fortune to buy food for a population reduced to less than half the 28,000 of today.

The Liechtenstein family could afford it--they are second only to the British royal family in the possession of priceless art works. The current ruler, Prince Hans-Adam II, owns property throughout the world,including a Texas ranch which drew congressional criticismas one of the major recipients of U.S. agricultural subsidies.


Liechtenstein emerged after World War II as a European leader in converting its economy from agriculture to high tech industry and international finance nurtured by low taxes.

Hans Brunhart, the chief of government and foreign minister who spoke for the new member after the Assembly voted by acclamation for admission, alluded modestly to Liechtenstein’s new prosperity when he referrred to its participation in the new European bank for the reconstruction of Eastern Europe.

It was not known whether Europe’s other ministates, The Vatican, Monaco, San Marino and Andorra are preparing to seek admission to the United Nations.

By precedent set within the predecessor League of Nations which refused to admit them, the ministates did not apply to join when the new world body was formed.

However, the wave of independence following the breakup of Europe’s colonial empires brought African, Asian and West Indian ministates into the U.N. ranks. One of these, the former British Caribbean possession of St.Kitts and Nevis, with 36,000 inhabitants, lost its lost place in population with the admission of Liechtenstein.