First of all, I wish to express my gratitude for the trust you have so kindly placed in me by electing me President of the twenty-seventh session of the General Assembly.
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Following is the text of a statement by Stanislaw Trepczynski, Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, on being elected today as President for the twenty-seventh session of the general Assembly:
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Background: First of all, I wish to express my gratitude for the trust you have so kindly placed in me by electing me President of the twenty-seventh session of the General Assembly. I consider this honour you have conferred upon me primarily as an expression of the international regard in which the peaceful policy of the Polish People's Republic and that of the community of socialist countries, with which my country acts in concert and with perseverance to strengthen peace in the world, are held. I also consider my election to be a tribute paid to the Polish delegation to the United Nations for its past activities. I can assure you that I shall discharge the high responsibilities just placed upon me in keeping with the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter in order to help in successfully carrying out the important tasks which lie before the General Assembly.
I am all the more aware of my responsibilities as I am called upon to succeed, in this capacity, the eminent representative of the great Asian continent, Mr. Adam Malik, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, who spared no effort to ensure that the previous session was an effective and fruitful one.
In performing my duties, I count on the willing co-operation of all delegations, and especially on close collaboration with the Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly and the Chairmen of the Main Committees who are soon to be elected by the Assembly. I also know that I can count fully on you, Mr. Secretary-General, whom we all hold in the highest esteem -- that I can count on your unfailing assistance and your co-operation, as also on your highly competent colleagues.
During the 27 years of its existence, the United Nations has participated in some memorable and lasting achievements of the contemporary world. The scope of these achievements has often exceeded the hopes of the founders of the Organization. One illustration is the progress of nations towards an independent existence, a development that is unprecedented in the history of mankind. Further illustrations are the effective struggle waged against the spectre of another world war, the tremendous headway made at the international level in social and economic relations, the incredible conquest of space that has been accomplished in a context of peaceful co-operation.
The noble actions undertaken in our Organization have always been accompanied by a faith and trust in the possibility of fulfilling the great purposes set forth in the United Nations Charter.
We may note with satisfaction that the opening of our debates is taking place at a time when signs of a good augury have appeared on the international horizon. In the interim since the previous session, we have witnessed events which have awakened many justified hopes. Statesmen -- who bear a particularly heavy responsibility -- have been equal to their task and have made the historic attempt to bridge the gap that existed between their nations and to settle the disputes which constituted a heavy burden for the world. Agreements have been signed which may mark decisive turning-points in the development of international relations. Preliminary but extremely important work has been done to ensure that notions such as negotiations, renunciation of the use of force, limitation of the armaments race, international co-operation and peaceful coexistence -- notions which have hitherto re-echoed too often as mere elegant platitudes -- begin to acquire some real substance.
The European continent, whose history has been a succession of endless wars -- and the last of them almost resulted in a world-wide conflagration and exacted a toll of 50 million human lives -- is witnessing, for the first time, the possibility of eliminating armed conflicts forever and of basing coexistence on the principles of peace, security and mutually advantageous co-operation. Taking the renunciation of the use of force and respect for territorial integrity as their starting-point, representatives of European and North American States are preparing to sit down together at the conference table, in order to solve, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the problem of regional security and co-operation in Europe.
In my capacity as a representative from the European continent, I wish to emphasize strongly that We Europeans, by finding solutions for the problems connected with our own peace and our own security, cannot be prompted in any case by selfish motives. Quite the contrary, we must be interested in ensuring that the favourable development of the situation in our continent proceeds concurrently with a positive turn of events in other parts of the world. It behove us to further this aim and, if our peace-making efforts and our co-operation bear fruit, to share them with all those who are in need of them.
Unfortunately, the favourable climate has not yet permeated all the regions of the world. I am thinking particularly of Indo-China, where blood continues to flow, where innocent people are dying -- women and children, whose modest belongings are being destroyed -- where the monuments of ancient civilizations are being turned into ruins. This war cannot be justified any longer on logical grounds by any stretch of the imagination; it violates every rule of ethics. If it is true that no one wants this war, and if the statesmen who are responsible for it wish to cease ignoring world opinion, we have the right to expect it to be stopped, once and for all.
In the Middle East region, too, there are still no signs of a lasting peace on the horizon. The United Nations has committed its authority to help settle this long-standing dispute. We have a right to demand that the will and the decisions of our Organization be respected, decisions which, if fully complied with, should bring about the solution so earnestly desired, and not only by the population of that region.
The immensity of the tasks confronting our Assembly obliges us to reflect on the great problems facing the world of today, on the solution of which its fate and future image depend; because concern for the welfare and future of mankind must always underlie our debates and motivate all the decisions adopted at the different stages of the work of the United Nations.
The right to live in a world of peace and security is the guiding idea in the United Nations Charter. Human life is something of inestimable value which should be and is protected by international and national law. Nevertheless, in various corners of the earth, wars are still being waged and human beings are still dying, while wanton violence is being wrought upon innocent victims. The power of modern means of annihilation is growing, and methods of extermination are becoming more and more cruel and massive in scale. A realistic evaluation of the prevailing situation compels us to take cognizance of the fact that the state of security of the world continues to be inadequate and that the overriding duty -- that of freeing the world from the spectre of war and the organized forms of mass murder -- has not been fulfilled. That is why the efforts made to halt the relentless armaments race, to settle incipient disputes only by peaceful means, to achieve general disarmament and, equally, general security -- efforts to which expression is given in the Declaration on the Strengthening of International Security adopted by our Assembly two years ago -- should be applied with even more firmness and energy.
World opinion today is conscious of the fact that modern civilization involves a threat to the biological balance of our natural environment and that its development, unless properly controlled, not only threatens the vegetable and animal world but also constitutes such a danger that the life of the rivers, seas and oceans will soon be destroyed and the earth will become sterile and the air unbreathable. To remedy this, to prevent irreversible phenomena that endanger human existence from occurring, it is absolutely necessary to abide by the code of behaviour which the situation requires. Safeguarding the environment calls for wisdom and foresight from all of us, a sense of subordinating individual interests to the general welfare of mankind, international solidarity and -- what is particularly important -- concerted action by all.
The satisfactory development of mankind does not, however, depend solely on compliance with the laws of nature; it depends to no less an extent, and perhaps even primarily, on universal respect for the rights and principles which protect men against the harmful activities of other men.
Every human being has the right to be free from the yoke of colonialism.
This assertion may sound paradoxical on the threshold of the last quarter of this twentieth century, which has witnessed the irreversible end of the era of the great colonial empires, and at a time when most of the countries which were regarded as overseas possessions have attained their independence and are taking part in this Assembly as sovereign States. The fact nevertheless remains that even today, millions of human beings are subject to colonial oppression and exploitation and human lives are sacrificed in the struggle for legitimate rights. There still exist regions in which legalized racism persists. This is incompatible with the idea of elementary human rights, with all the principles set forth in our Charter. It is our duty to act in full concert in order to eliminate these phenomena, which are unworthy of the twentieth century.
Every human being has the right to be protected from starvation.
Yet, despite the achievements of contemporary science and despite advances in technology, despite the magnitude of the efforts that have been made -- and, indeed, of the successes already gained in some parts of the world -- hunger continues to be the lot of millions of people, from the day they are born to the day they die. A condition of chronic undernutrition is contrary to our concept of human dignity. It is a condition which makes it impossible for millions of human beings to develop their creative energy for any other purpose than keeping themselves alive. Will not the twentieth century at last find ways of overcoming this cruel scourge of our history?
Every human being has the right to enjoy the fruits of social and economic development.
Our consciences have long since rejected the view that come are born to live in poverty while others are born to live in abundance. The existence of economically less developed societies is the result of past exploitation of the weaker countries by the more powerful ones. Healthy world development requires that the effects of the historical injustices of the age-old domination of colonialism should be speedily and effectively wiped out. Co-ordinated action by States within the framework of the Second United Nations Development Decade should play an important role in this respect.
Every human being not only has the right to creature comforts, but should also benefit from the advances in conditions of social progress.
Development of the human personality means that every individual and every society must be assured the opportunity of enjoying a fair share of worldly goods, that all must be assured decent and just working conditions, the fullest possibilities of intellectual development and of access to education and knowledge, respect for the estimable convictions of humanis???ic idealism, and the right to democratic participation in national affairs. Although the twentieth century has given the world many splendid achievements in the struggle for the realization of human rights, and although the spirit of progress has gone from strength to strength, too many of the human race still continue to live their lives in the belief that their rights are trampled on by those more powerful than themselves, that their rights are illusory or unattainable. It is our business to throw open the road to universal social progress, and we must not, on any account, lose sight of that duty.
One important task of our Organization should be to help enable all peoples to share in the benefits of science and technology.
In this field also, mankind cannot be divided into haves and have-nots. We are living in the age of scientific and technological revolution. Scientific research on a vast scale makes it possible to wrest from nature her secrets, to a degree never before achieved. It is therefore incumbent on us to devise such principles and such forms of scientific and technical international co-operation as would truly place science and technology at the service of all mankind and of its peaceful purposes. For it is only then, when all nations -- regardless of geographical regions and political systems -- have full access to the accomplishments of the human intellect, that we shall be able to achieve a more rapid and more harmonious development of mankind.
Every human being also has the right to live and develop within the culture in which he was born and which is the end-product of the creative values that took shape simultaneously with the history of his own people.
In an age of unprecedented development of information media, of tremendous flow of ideas and of artistic achievements, concern for preserving the characteristics peculiar to the different cultures becomes a serious problem for mankind. It is essential that modern man should not lose his individual values. We do not want to see in him an amorphous particle of the mass of humanity. Still less do we want societies and nations to become masses devoid of personality, or all the great values inherent in their distinctive cultures to be lost. We should take care to ensure that the development of new forms of coexistence protects the natural cultural milieu, which is quite as essential to man as the biological environment.
The world of today is more than ever a world of youth -- the world of young people and of their young nations. This in itself is a hopeful sign. Yet on every hand we hear the voice of uneasiness. There is anxious talk of the problems of youth, of the symptoms of moral and ideological crisis, of a collapse of traditional standards and authority. Does not this oblige us to give these problems the serious consideration they merit? Will not the crisis of confidence between the generations disappear when we build a better world in which sentiments of social justice and of fidelity to the highest ideals become a virtue, and a world which abides by the noble rules of peaceful competition where experience and wisdom do not clash with warm hearts and youthful enthusiasm?
Enriching international life in all of its many aspects, carrying out the commitments which will ensure an equitable development of human relations and the solution of existing problems -- all this can be attained only through an organized collective effort by all peoples an all States. All must make their constructive contribution to this -- the smallest peoples and States in concert with the largest Powers in the world.
I have the honour to represent a country which does not occupy a large place on the map of the world and whose material resources are not of the greatest. The most precious heritage of a people whose history has been as tempestuous as that of the Polish People could only be the qualities of mind, knowledge and talent of its finest individuals. We are proud, therefore, that the name of Nicholas Copernicus -- who "made the sun stand still and the earth move" ad whose 500th birthday anniversary we shall celebrate next year -- as well as the names of Frederic Chopin and Marie Curie-Sklodowska appear among those of the most eminent creators of the civilization, science and culture of all mankind. In the history of every continent, the Poles have left lasting monuments to their work and the labouring hands of millions of Polish emigrants have increased the wealth of many nations.
My country owes its existence, its freedom, its independence, its present dynamic development to great effort on the part of its people, but also to tremendous sacrifices. This unites us with the many peoples of the different continents for whom the struggle for freedom was a struggle for national existence. In good or bad times throughout their history, in fighting for their rights, the Polish people were also serving the cause of other nations, and on our banners there always appeared the device: "For your freedom and ours". It was under such banners that the Polish national heroes Kosciuszko and Pulaski fought here, on American soil, just as many other Polish patriots and soldiers whose tombs are scattered throughout the world have fought over the centuries.
During the last war, my people and their capital were destined, at the will of the barbarians, to be wiped from the face of the earth, like ancient Carthage. Yet, by tremendous effort, we rose from the ashes and are successfully resolving, within the framework of socialism and in a manner unprecedented in our history, the problems posed by the life and future of our people.
Today, your President, the representative of the Polish People's Republic, wishes to assure you, distinguished representatives, of his country's respect for and attachment to the ideals and principles underlying the Charter of the United Nations.
I am convinced that the United Nations has created a vast and fertile field for fruitful international co-operation, and every country -- in accordance with the principles of full equality -- is called on to make its contribution, to enrich the substance and the spirit of our Organization's activities with whatever is most constructive in its national personality. There is still an enormous amount to be done and an infinite need for international solidarity and co-operation.
I am confident that the desire for progress in international relations and in the development of our Organization -- and the desire to make it fully universal -- will guide the work of our Assembly, of every delegation and of each one of us. Let us not forget that the strength which emanates from this collective and individual desire for the universal good -- in other words, for international order, peace and detente based on respect for international law including compliance with the United Nations Charter -- also constitutes an instrument for effective action. The climate which will prevail among us all, during this session, should therefore be conducive to the attainment of major international goals, should expedite a positive solution of the many urgent problems of concern to mankind, so that peace, co-operation, and social and economic progress may overcome prejudice, violence and injustice throughout the world.
I should like to express the conviction that the deliberations of the twenty-seventh session will lead to the constructive results so ardently desired by all mankind. May this truly be a session of achievements.
I am sure that these ambitious objectives will also be fully served by the wisdom of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to whom our Assembly wishes full success in the exalted task he has undertaken.
Allow me, in conclusion, to wish all of you who will be participating in the work of the twenty-seventh session of the General Assembly that the outcome of your efforts may be a fruitful one.