By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
October 24 is United Nations Day, or as Barbara Marx Hubbard calls it, “Global Oneness Day.” It has also been labeled “Alger Hiss Day,” in recognition of the Soviet spy and State Department official who played a major role in founding the world body. Don’t expect the major media to remind us of that fact.
One of the best sources of information on the role of Alger Hiss in the U.N. is the important new book, Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason, by Christina Shelton.
The Shelton book notes, “Following Yalta, preparation for the establishment of the United Nations was Hiss’s primary mission.” Hiss was appointed acting secretary-general of the U.N. founding conference and was involved in staffing the U.N. by selecting people for employment in the world body. “About fifty showed up as permanent employees and a couple of hundred in part-time assignments,” Shelton says of Hiss’s efforts.
One of Barack Obama’s fundraisers was Anthony Lake, a former Clinton official who had publicly questioned whether Hiss was guilty of espionage-related charges. Obama appointed him Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Obama’s U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice, has been strongly criticized for lying about the nature of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. She blamed the murders of four Americans, including the Ambassador, on a spontaneous reaction to a film attacking Islam, rather than an al-Qaeda terrorist affiliate which claimed responsibility for the assault.
Almost as controversial, the Obama State Department has announced that “observers” from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), an ad hoc organization under the United Nations Charter, have been invited to monitor U.S. elections on November 6.
On the 2007 anniversary of the U.N., I wrote about a State Department document on the founding of the world organization, “The United States and the Founding of the United Nations, August 1941 – October 1945,” which ignored Alger Hiss’s role. I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out why.
It took several years for the State Department to release the documents, which I have now posted. The material consists of 215 pages of internal State Department documents which explain how the role of communist spy and State Department official Alger Hiss in founding the U.N. was covered up during the 60th anniversary of the world body. There is no smoking gun, in the sense of the documents showing a controversy over some official working to get a mention of Hiss’s name in the report and other bureaucrats objecting to it. Instead, the documents include several drafts of the report, “The United States and the Founding of the United Nations, August 1941 – October 1945,” which examines minor controversies over mostly trivial matters.
The material constitutes an indictment of the State Department’s failure to acknowledge, let alone explain, how a communist assumed a major position of authority and power in the State Department and then used that influence to create a world organization that has been exploited for anti-American purposes ever since.
Ironically, while the U.S. State Department ignored Hiss’s role, the U.N. itself published a report about its founding that relied upon the observations of Hiss (without of course noting his role as a Soviet agent).
Although Hiss’s role in founding the U.N. is not mentioned by the major media when writing or airing contemporary stories about the world body, the facts do sometimes get noticed. When Hiss died in 1996, The New York Times noted, “By the time the charge [of being a Soviet spy] surfaced in the late 1940’s, Mr. Hiss had accompanied President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference, played an important role in the founding of the United Nations and left the Government to become president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.”
There are significant differences between the two major political parties about the importance and significance of the U.N.
The Democratic Party 2012 platform declares that the United Nations has been “a centerpiece of international order since the mid-20th century” and that “American leadership was essential to forging the architecture for international cooperation after World War II…” The Republican Party 2012 platform declares, “Since the end of World War II, the United States, through the founding of the United Nations and NATO, has participated in a wide range of international organizations which can, but sometimes do not, serve the cause of peace and prosperity. While acting through them, our country must always reserve the right to go its own way. There can be no substitute for principled American leadership.”
Mitt Romney has recognized how Russia, the successor state to the Soviet Union, uses the U.N. for its own purposes. In the final presidential debate, he called Russia “a geopolitical foe” which continues “to battle us in the U.N. time and time again.” He has urged the defunding of the U.N. Population Fund and wants to pull out of the U.N. Human Rights Council.
On the other hand, the Council on Foreign Relations, which once included Alger Hiss as a member, has noted that Obama is a frequent “advocate for the organization.”
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is one of the largest blocs of nations at the U.N. It includes 56 Islamic states promoting Muslim solidarity in economic, social, and political affairs. Russia is an OIC observer state.
The OIC has called for critics of Islam to be silenced, on the grounds that such criticism constitutes “Islamophobia.” Obama told the U.N. in September that “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
Mitt Romney has declared that the Obama administration “has distanced itself from Israel and visibly warmed to the Palestinian cause,” an approach that “has emboldened the Palestinians,” who are now “convinced that they can do better at the U.N.—and better with America—than they can at the bargaining table with Israel.”
Romney added, “I have studied the writings and speeches of the jihadists. They argue for a one-state solution—one all-dominating radical Islamist state, that is. Their objective is not freedom, not prosperity, not a Palestinian state, but the destruction of Israel. And negotiating and placating such jihadists will never, ever yield peace in the Middle East.”
On the other hand, Romney seemed to be endorsing the U.N.-sponsored International Criminal Court (ICC) when he said in the debate, “I’d make sure that [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention.” Romney said his statements about destroying the state of Israel “amount to genocide incitation.”
Article 25(3)(e) of the so-called Rome Statute, which created the ICC, outlaws the incitement of genocide.
A Romney senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, later said Romney was referring to the “World Court,” the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, a body that doesn’t have the ability to indict anybody. Another Romney adviser, John Bolton, who served as Ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush, has been a strong critic of the ICC and announced the Bush policy that the United States did not intend to become a party to the treaty.
As a result, several media organizations have correctly noted that Romney’s position on cooperating with the United Nations has become a subject of much confusion.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.