In recent years the General Assembly, which is the principal organ of the United Nations, and one in which all member states of the organization are represented on the basis of sovereign equality, has often met under the dark clouds of crises or acute differences between the East and the West. During 1961 the General Assembly was being rocked by the Congo crisis in which a real likelihood of extinction, and of an armed and direct confrontation between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers in the heart of Africa, was possible.
In 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union stood frighteningly close to war, and the world fearfully close to destruction.
President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev looked into the abyss and stepped back from it. Regardless of doctrinal disputes about the possibility or otherwise of co-existence, they were determined, as statesmen and human beings, not to put the dispute to the arbitrament of the sword. They did not want nuclear war. At that moment of truth, each recognised that he could not impose his will or his own terms on the other. Both realized that the two super states whose destinies they guide must recognize the limits of their power.
This year, in sharp and welcome contrast, the General Assembly convened in circumstances of lesser world tension and even in an atmosphere of hope and goodwill generated by the conclusion of the treaty to prohibit nuclear tests in the atmosphere, under water and in outer space. The distinguished statesmen who led their countries’ delegations to the 18th session of the General Assembly have all voiced a degree of hope and confidence for the future of peace that has been conspicuously lacking in the past.
President Kennedy and Foreign Minister Gromyko made constructive and concrete proposals in order to contribute to a further amelioration of the situation. The spirit which animated their approach to the problem of general and complete disarmament has led to an agreement between them not to place in orbit weapons of mass destruction.
It is the firm position of my Government that an early end must be put, by treaty, to underground nuclear weapons tests and also to further spread of nuclear weapons under international inspection and control. Unless these and other measures of nuclear disarmament are taken, the Test Ban Treaty, although welcome in itself, may turn out to be only illusory, dissipating the fear of nuclear war from the minds of men.
In the past, Pakistan had made constructive proposals for certain initial measures of disarmament. We see no reason why the present equilibrium between the East and West, at least in regard to the quantum of the armed forces of each side as well as of their conventional armaments, should not be set at significantly lower levels of forces and weapons.
The cold war is not the only expression of tension in this world and the nuclear race is not the only arms race.
In Africa, the death-spasm of colonialism and the obstinate pursuit of the false doctrine of racial superiority kindle the embers of old fears and hates. In the Caribbean, which last year brought the world to the brink of catastrophe, there is yet no peace but only a precarious truce. But it is in Asia, with its stormy history, that peace is perhaps the least secure. This vast and ancient continent, inhabited by more than half of the population of our planet, continues to be the scene of great convulsions which may well change the destiny of mankind.
Is it not time to take a new look at the state of this largest of all continents and to devise an approach that looks beyond the policies of maintaining the status quo and is in accordance with the right of self-determination of peoples? For the well-being of the teeming masses of Asia and for the sake of the peace of the world, it is imperative to find just solutions to the disputes that divide Asian nations.
For more than a year, relations between Pakistan and India have been further aggravated by the expulsion of tens of thousands of Muslim citizens of India from their homes in the states of Assam and Tripura across the border into East Pakistan. This problem is being discussed by the two Governments through diplomatic channels. It is our sincere hope that it will be resolved in accordance with law and the principles of justice.
It is a cardinal principle of the foreign policy of Pakistan to live in peace and friendship with all its neighbours, without exception. With some of them we have had differences. We have been largely successful in composing them. We have concluded boundary agreements with Burma, Iran and the Peoples’ Republic of China which have resolved border disputes on the basis of mutual accommodation and friendship. India remains the only exception.
Pakistan bears no ill will to the people of India. With the people of India, the people of Pakistan have shared a common history for nearly a thousand years. During this long period they have influenced each other in many ways. These facts are central in our awareness. They inform our policy towards our neighbor. We are ever ready to continue the search for a basis of peaceful and honourable co-existence through an equitable settlement of all our mutual differences, of which by far the most important is Kashmir.
The general consensus in the United Nations is that if war and violence are to be banished, then ways must be found to solve international disputes peacefully. The world we live in is passing through a period of transition and conflict. There are disputes between nations, there are struggles against domination, there are problems created by racial discrimination and by the existence of economic imbalances between nations.
The bitter legacy of these ideas will, we hope, disappear with the final disappearance of colonialism. In the newly independent countries of Africa one sees today men of all races working together in mutual respect and to mutual advantage.
In South Africa alone, the doctrine of discrimination is proclaimed as the official philosophy of the state. The rulers of that unhappy country, blind to the evidence of their eyes, deaf to the appeals of the world and ignoring the march of history, have attempted to halt its course. South Africa could become the hope of Africa: its rulers have chosen to make it the shame of the world.
The interests of the people of South Africa, be they white, black or brown, and of the peace and tranquility of Africa and of the world, demand that effective measures be taken to check the inhuman policies of South Africa and to avert disaster.
All over the world one sees colonialism giving way to a relationship between nations based on equality and mutual self-respect. The colonial systems are in the process of dissolution and it is the duty of all peace and freedom-loving states to accelerate that process. Pakistan endeavors and hopes that before long the remaining non-self-governing territories in Africa, in Asia and elsewhere will free themselves from colonial bondage, aided and comforted by the United Nations.
It is our profound conviction that nothing is so repugnant to the principles and purposes of the United Nations than the continuance of colonial rule of which Kashmir forms an important part.
In this context, I had the opportunity to invite the General Assembly to take note of a historic event which took place in May this year. Heads of state of thirty-two African countries met in Addis Ababa and pledged themselves with remarkable unanimity to take active measures in order to liberate the remaining dependent territories in that continent. The conference adopted a Pan-African charter and established a consultative machinery.
Pakistan hails this event as the manifestation of Africa’s urge to political unity and the consciousness of a Pan-African community. A historian of antiquity has observed that out of Africa there always comes something new. Asia, which is yet lacking in this kind of continental consciousness, cannot but applaud the peoples of Africa for setting us an example.
Only a few days ago, the world was given yet another proof of the living reality of African solidarity. King Hassan and President Ben Bella, with the good offices of President Keita, were able to agree upon a cease-fire between Morocco and Algeria, and to seek a peaceful settlement of their border dispute. Here is a shining example for Asia to follow. We wish Godspeed to free Africa in its march towards continental unity.
Eight years ago, in the beautiful city of Bandung, 29 independent states of Asia and Africa met together in what President Soekarno called “the first inter-continental conference of the so-called coloured races in the history of mankind.” The Bandung Conference enunciated ten principles of international conduct, including the elimination of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations, to guide them in their international relations. Since 1956, more than a score of dependent peoples have emerged as independent and sovereign states. We believe that, with their distinctive experience, these new emerging states have a rich contribution to make to the problems which continue to face the peoples of Asia and Africa. Old disputes persist and new frictions have arisen.
The time has come, therefore, in our judgment to convene a second Asian-African conference to review the conclusions reached by the first and to revitalize and renew its pledges which still remain unfulfilled. We have no doubt that a second Bandung conference will not fail to make a valuable contribution to world peace.
The main cause of this inequitable distribution of wealth has been the colonial system organised for the political subjugation, economic exploitation and moral degradation of one people by another.
Almost all the underdeveloped countries are producers of raw materials or agricultural commodities, on the export of which they depend for the import of goods and services to sustain and develop their economies.
The problem of stabilizing the terms of trade between the industrialized countries and the producers of agricultural commodities and raw materials, and the expansion of the trade of the underdeveloped countries, therefore, calls for an urgent solution.
The forthcoming Conference on International Trade and Development, which will be held in Geneva next year, will, we hope, make an important contribution towards finding solutions to these problems. Its success will depend on the attitude taken by the industrialized countries in dealing with the problems of the developing countries. We would expect that their own enlightened self-interest will prevail over monopolist tendencies and pressures from groups unable to look beyond short-term advantages.
The United Nations is often criticized for its inadequacies. Pakistan has had its share of disappointment. Nevertheless, seeing the United Nations at work in the Congo and in West Irian, who would deny that this Organization is a living force and an influence in the affairs of the world?
The World Organization was conceived as an alternative to world hegemony, to the domination of one or more super power over all others. It is inconceivable that in the era of the United Nations sovereign states will acquiesce in an order imposed by the strength of a great power or even that the shape of the world will be decided by the contest of exclusive ideologies or ways of life. We shall do well to remind ourselves, while we are preoccupied with short-term objectives, of the ultimate goal towards which the United Nations must move, if mankind is to be saved from self-destruction and permitted to realize the promise of man’s high destiny implicit in the Quranic concept of man as the Vicegerent of God on earth.