JEAIL > Volume 3(1); 2010 > Notes & Comments
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2010

UN Collective Security and the Transitional Period: A Myth over the Founding and Aims of the United Nations

Klaus Schlichtmann
Japan Women's University
Nakakayama 452-35, Hidaka-shi, Saitama-ken, 350-1232 Japan.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the 2004 Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, "A more secure world: Our shared responsibility" (under the heading "A more effective United Nations for the twenty-first century") stated: "The United Nations was never intended to be a utopian exercise. It was meant to be a collective security system that worked." However, several authors in recent years have asserted that the victorious powers merely wanted to maintain the status quo and their privileged positions, and never intended the system to work and give up those privileges. This paper, however, argues the contention that the UN was never designed to function effectively, is a myth, and it does not take into account important aspects and innovations that presented decisive new developments that originated with the United Nations. Thus the international court, which had in the interwar period been an institution outside the framework of the League of Nations Covenant, became an integral part of the UN system, making it more closely resemble a government with legislative, executive and judicial functions. Even more prominent, concerning the executive branch, the Security Council, unlike what had been the case with the League Council, opened itself to instigate members to delegate powers for its effective functioning. This was a most significant innovation that would allow for democratic process in the organization and defence of peace. Finally, a new principle in international law, i.e. the concept of a "transitional period" for world organization, was conceived.

Keywords : Dumbarton Oaks, San Francisco Conference, United Nations Reform, disarmament, Article 106 of the Charter, collective security, Transitional Security Arrangements.

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