The U.S. ambassador to Sweden says the United States is taking a more realistic stance toward the United Nations, thanks to the Reagan administration.
Gregory Newell, speaking to BYU students Friday, said the United Nations should not be viewed as a legislature but as one part of the U.S. role in foreign affairs."The United Nations' proper role is not that of a world government," he said. "It is a meeting place for sovereign states."
Newell began his term as ambassador in 1985. Before that he was assistant secretary of state and was involved in the Reagan administration's decision to withdraw its support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
UNESCO had served as a socialist political sounding board, according to Newell.
He said one of the United Nations' major problems, that of extraneous politicization of technical U.N. programs, was exemplified in the UNESCO effort.
He offered four suggested strategies the United States should take toward the United Nations. "We must categorically deny any regulatory abilities to the United Nations."
The United States should also insist that use of U.N. funds be consistent with the amount of sacrifice an area may have taken to get those funds. The United Nations should be used as an additional forum and should be viewed as only part of the U.S. role in foreign affairs, he said.
Newell, speaking to BYU students for the first time as a BYU graduate, is planning to leave his post in Sweden to enter the private sector in Washington, D.C.
He recently graduated from BYU after 21 years as an undergraduate student. In the early 1970s, he began his work in Washington and stayed there since.
One of his first government jobs was as a field representative for President Richard Nixon in 1972. He later became a staff assistant to President Gerald R. Ford in 1975.
Newell said the United States should continue to participate in the United Nations and should not accept lethargy as inevitable.
"Though there have been problems, there have been more than a few shining examples," he said.