Winter-Spring, 1995: The UN regular budget gets off to a good start with major contributions in the early months, but soon begins to slip as many countries fail to make assessment payments. The United States, in spite of substantial arrears from 1994, pays only token sums in these early months, including just $37 million to the regular budget. Peacekeeping assessments also pile up. By June 30, the UN has a total of $2.7 billion in outstanding assessments and the US has jumped into first place with an outstanding debt of $1.2 billion (vs. $559 million for Russia). The regular budget is quickly running out of cash.
Winter, 1995: The US Congress cuts funds to UNIDO, a Vienna-based UN specialized agency that promotes industrial development in poor countries. The former US contribution of about $25 million had been approximately a quarter of the agency budget. The US contribution for 1995 is slashed to $8 million, amid rumors that the US will withdraw completely from the organization in 1996. Reports from Washington suggest that the US may also withdraw from other UN agencies and funds -- possibly the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO). Earlier plans by the Clinton administration to re-join UNESCO are quietly scrapped.
Spring, 1995: The Council on Foreign Relations announces cancellation of an advertised book entitled An Agenda for Funds, devoted to financing the UN. The three authors, including Enid Schoettle, a top US intelligence official responsible for "Global and Multilateral Issues," were to have addressed "especially the thorny issue of targeted withholding by the United States to achieve UN reform." In response to questions, the Council offers no explanation of the cancellation, though some observers speculate that shifting strategies of the Clinton administration may have led to scuttling the book. In May, Douglas Bennett, Asst. Secretary of State for International Organizations, leaves the administration to become president of Wesleyan University and his post was not filled. Bennett is widely reported to be disillusioned with Clinton administration policy.
May 19, 1995: United Nations Development Programme Administrator James Gustave Speth writes an article for the International Herald Tribune calling on the rich countries of the OECD to stop cutting their multilateral development assistance. Criticizing the view that open markets and private investment will take care of global development problems, he points to the doubling of the gap between the riches and the poorest in the past thirty years. He goes on to say that "as we approach the turn of the century, the economic, environmental and political crises that many developing countries confront have taken on an urgency and a magnitude unparalleled in history. The list of countries in or near crisis is growing, spreading like a metastasized cancer."
June 22, 1995: The Secretary General, speaking to the GA Working Group on the Financial Situation, says: "It is my duty . . . to tell you that the financial crisis is deepening." He goes on to say that "The prospects for the coming months are quite bleak." He announces that payments due to troop-contributing countries will be halted, so that the organization can conserve cash for its regular operations. (UN officials point out that this step endangers troop-contributing countries' future participation in peacekeeping missions. It also reduces the likelihood that poor countries can afford to pay their regular contribution to the Organization, since government budgets run out of cash when the peacekeeping reimbursements do not come through.) The SG reminds the Group of various previous proposals and he says: "We must find some combination of measures that can improve this deplorable situation."
July 3, 1995: Senator Nancy Kassebaum (Republican) and Representative Lee Hamilton (Democrat) -- leading members of the US Congress who claim to be "friends of the UN" --publish a joint article in the Washington Post National Weekly Edition (p. 28) calling for "bold reform" of the UN which would radically reorganize and downsize the organization. They also sharply criticize UN world conferences.
August, 1995: In a letter to all governments, US Secretary of State Warren Christopher proposes a radical restructuring and downsizing of the United Nations. A ten-page document accompanying Christopher's letter spells out some of the US proposals, which include elimination of major UN programs and the merger of others, leading to a substantially smaller organization.