Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 26, 2020
The United States joins with the international community today to commemorate the signing of the United Nations Charter. This is an appropriate moment for reflection on the aspirations of the international community when this document was signed, how far we have come since, and yet, how far we have to go.
In San Francisco during the summer of 1945, the United States was proud to sign the Charter as a founding member of the United Nations, and to become its host country. Seventy-five years on, we remain proud to have been among the Charter’s original signatories. In the years since its founding, the UN has, at times, risen to the occasion, helping to mitigate conflicts and saving lives through peacebuilding and humanitarian action. Despite these achievements, the UN has yet to realize its full potential.
President Trump and I have spoken many times about the great potential of the United Nations. As Member States, we deserve a United Nations that is professional, transparent, and rules-based. If we are to rely on UN institutions, they must be worthy of our trust and demonstrate that they are truly working for the common good. Multilateralism is not an end unto itself. Rather, it should be used as a tool for sovereign states to resolve conflict and promote peace and stability in the world.
Seventy-five years later, we must not stray from the UN’s founding document. The ideals reflected in the Charter endure because they were built on principles that transcend our differences: faith in fundamental freedoms and human rights; the dignity and worth of every person; and equal rights for all. Indeed, they were inspired by the principles that animate the founding documents of the United States. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to uphold these founding values and call on the UN to do the same.
But we cannot merely profess this commitment to the Charter and its principles. We must each demonstrate it through action, stewardship, and accountability. That is why we will continue to focus our efforts on UN reform, integrity, and transparency. The global community deserves a United Nations that is efficient, fair, transparent, and rules-based in everything from its financial decisions to its elections for leadership positions in UN agencies to promoting truly sustainable development. UN institutions that don’t live up to this standard should be reformed or shuttered.
The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically thrown into sharp focus the need for efficient, effective, and independent UN institutions. It has taught us that effective global responses to shared challenges—most especially public health crises—require the free flow of information, transparency, and accountability.
Whether in response to public health, international security, or humanitarian and development challenges, the United States has and will continue to lead in upholding the principles of the Charter.
Mr. President, I want to close by expressing our gratitude to all those who have sacrificed over the past 75 years to make the aims of the Charter the lived reality of our brothers and sisters around the globe. Among these individuals, none are more deserving of our admiration and thanks than those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and who put their own lives in danger on behalf of others in numerous missions, including peacekeeping missions. May this institution honor their memories by recommitting itself to the values they died to uphold.