Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


The United Nations finds itself financially strapped as U.S. payment of UN obligations becomes a pawn of domestic politics

This essay is based on a speech delivered at United Nations Headquarters on Sept. 12, 1996 as part of the UN Department of Public Information conference for Non-Governmental Organizations. Portions of this speech were also delivered on March 28, 1996 at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, D.C. and subsequently were published as part of those proceedings under the title "The United States' Financial Veto." A fully cited version is available from the author.

The United States owes at present some 73 percent of the considerable sums of money that member states now owe the United Nations. The U.S. debt stands roughly at $1.6 billion. Why is the United States, the world's richest and most powerful nation, the UN's leading "deadbeat?"