January 10th: a doubly whammy

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
From the movie U.N. Me
January 10th is the anniversary of the League of Nations being ratified in 1930 and the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1946. Needless to say, unless you're a fan of transnational corruption, those two portents should be enough to convince you to start nothing important on this day. Let's face it, even if you don't believe in astrology why take the chance?

The New York Times covered the first UN General Assembly with their article UNO Opened; Attlee Asks World Unity.

The first order of business was selecting the body's first President. Curiously, the Soviet Union and the United States conspired to derail the election of Paul-Henri Spaak, the Belgian Foreign Minister. In his place the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. maneuvered to get the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, elected to the position instead. After much confusion, and some dodgy parliamentary tactics by the Russians, Lie lost the election to Spaak by a vote of  28 to 23.

The above linked NY Times article describes the shenanigans: 
As soon as Mr. Gromyko had left the rostrum, Foreign Minister Wincenty Rzymowski of Poland asked to be recognized and he then seconded the Russian nomination. When he had finished, D.Z. Manuilsky, the Ukrainian People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, striking, white-maned figure with a booming voice, moved that Dr. Lie be elected by acclamation despite the fact that the rules of the Assembly call for elections by secret ballot.

After another short speech for Dr. Lie by Gustav Rasmussen, Danish Foreign Minister, the temporary-president called for a vote on whether to decide the issue by secret ballot, but immediately Mr. Gromyko rose again and asked for a vote on the motion to elect Dr. Lie by acclamation.
Some confusion attended those motions during which Mr. Manuilsky voted both for the secret ballot and for the election of Dr. Lie by acclamation, but finally fifteen delegations voted for a secret ballot and only nine voted in favor of putting Dr. Lie in by acclaim. The United States abstained on both those votes.

In the second balloting that followed, although M. Spaak had never been formally nominated on the floor, he received twenty-eight votes to twenty-three for Dr. Lie, the United States voting with the Russians for the Norwegian.

Read the rest of it at UNO Opened; Attlee Asks World Unity.

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