quotations about the United Nations

If all the diplomats were kicked out, the UN could be turned into the finest bordello in the world and do just as much, if not more, for international harmony.



Tags: F. Paul Wilson

More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.

KOFI ANNAN, "Message for the New Millennium", December 31, 1999


And our enduring strength is also reflected in our respect for an international system that protects the rights of both nations and people -- a United Nations and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights; international law and the means to enforce those laws. But we also know that those rules are not self-executing; they depend on people and nations of goodwill continually affirming them.

BARACK OBAMA, Address to European Youth at Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium, March 26, 2014


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The whole basis of the United Nations is the right of all nations--great or small--to have weight, to have a vote, to be attended to, to be a part of the twentieth century.

ADLAI STEVENSON, attributed, The Stevenson Wit and Wisdom


Tags: Adlai Stevenson

In short, habit, indifference and certain beliefs can combine to explain war or render it admissible or justifiable. An emphatic voice must therefore be raised in defence of peace. The United Nations is the place par excellence where this appeal has resounded with a power that has continued to amplify as it progressed towards universality.

B. G. RAMCHARAN, Keeping Faith With the United Nations


The heroes of the world community are not those who withdraw when difficulties ensue, not those who can envision neither the prospect of success nor the consequence of failure--but those who stand the heat of battle, the fight for world peace through the United Nations.

HUBERT H. HUMPHREY, speech in New York City, November 17, 1965


I hope the United Nations will ever remain the supreme forum of peace and justice, the authentic seat of freedom.

POPE JOHN PAUL II, address to the U.N. General Assembly, October 1979


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We prefer world law, in the age of self-determination, to world war in the age of mass extermination.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, The Uncommon Wisdom of JFK: A Portrait in His Own Words


Tags: John F. Kennedy

For the first time since World War II the international community is united. The leadership of the United Nations, once only a hoped-for ideal, is now confirming its founders' vision.... The world can therefore seize this opportunity to fulfill the long-held promise of a new world order.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, State of the Union message to the nation, January 29, 1991


Tags: George H. W. Bush

The United Nations is designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members. We shall not realize our objectives, however, unless we are willing to help free peoples to maintain their free institutions and their national integrity against aggressive movements that seek to impose upon them totalitarian regimes.

HARRY S. TRUMAN, message to a joint session of Congress, "Truman Doctrine", March 12, 1947


I am convinced that the United Nations provides the best road to the future for those who have confidence in our capacity to shape our own fate on this planet.

KURT WALDHEIM, The Challenge of Peace


On the one hand, the United Nations is an international actor acting independently of its membership, pursuing collective goals and regulating the behavior of states. On the other, it is not much more than elaborate standing conference machinery, based on nineteenth-century thought, and is controlled by states.

N. D. WHITE, The United Nations System: Toward International Justice


War! Huh? What is it good for? Well, for start? It sorts out who is the strongest out of the two countries. Also, you get to see some amazing explosions. But, there is some people out there who not only don't enjoy the war, but they try to spoil the fun for everyone else. And those chickens is called the 'U.N.' Me went to New York to meet these player-haters.

SACHA BARON COHEN, "War", Da Ali G Show, February 28, 2003


This organization is created to prevent you from going to hell. It isn't created to take you to heaven.

HENRY CABOT LODGE, New York Times, January 28, 1954


The United Nations is being reborn, its peace-making potential is expanding and faith in its ideals and principles is becoming stronger.

VLADIMIR PETROVSKY, attributed, The Future Role of the United Nations in an Interdependent World


The UN is not just a product of do-gooders. It is harshly real. The day will come when men will see the U.N. and what it means clearly. Everything will be all right -- you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction, and see it as a drawing they made themselves.

DAG HAMMARSKJOLD, Time Magazine, June 27, 1955


The United Nations is primarily a political organization, irrespective of the areas of work it is involved in. Everything at the United Nations depends on the political will of Member States. To be more accurate, it is the political will of some of the Member States, namely, those that have the most influence, due to their advanced stage of economic development and the high level of their assessed contribution to the budget of the United Nations. The successes of the United Nations, which should not be downplayed, have occurred when the national priorities of the most influential Member States coincided with international priorities.

KAMIL IDRIS & MICHAEL BARTOLO, A Better United Nations for the New Millennium


The United Nations cannot do anything, and never could; it is not an animate entity or agent. It is a place, a stage, a forum and a shrine ... a place to which powerful people can repair when they are fearful about the course on which their own rhetoric seems to be propelling them.

CONOR CRUISE O'BRIEN, New Republic, November 4, 1985


The plain truth is the day is coming when no single nation, however powerful, can undertake by itself to keep the peace outside its own borders. Regional and international organizations for peace-keeping purposes are as yet rudimentary; but they must grow in experience and be strengthened by deliberate and practical cooperative action.

ROBERT MCNAMARA, address before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Montreal, Canada, May 19, 1966


The United Nations represents not a final stage in the development of world order, but only a primitive stage. Therefore its primary task is to create the conditions which will make possible a more highly developed organization.