30 Pub. Cont. L.J. 525 (2000-2001)
What if the United Nations Sued the United States: A Hypothetical Case Analyzing the UN Charter as a Government Contract

handle is hein.journals/pubclj30 and id is 535 raw text is: What if the United Nations Sued the United
States?: A Hypothetical Case Analyzing the
UN Charter as a Government Contract
I. Introduction                                                    525
II. Background                                                      526
III. The UN Treaty: An Enforceable Contract with the U.S.
Government                                                       531
IV. The UN's Claim Under the Tucker Act                              533
A. The UN's Best Strategy                                        533
1. Procedural Argument                                       533
a. Jurisdictional Options for the UN                       533
b. Possible Alternative to the Tucker Act                  534
2. Substantive Argument-The United Nations Argues
Breach of Contract                                         535
B. The United States' Defense                                    537
1. Lack of Jurisdiction                                      537
2. Self-Executing Treaty?                                    538
C. Remedy-Unlikely Congressional Halt on Money if
Awarded by Courts                                             540
V. Conclusion                                                       542
I. Introduction
The domestic and international political battle created by the United
States' refusal to pay to the United Nations (UN) over one billion dollars in
unpaid membership dues raised loud public controversy.' This Note will ex-
Rita Y. B. Carlson is a third-year law student at The George Washington University Law
School in Washington, D.C., and Senior Notes Editor of the Public Contract Law Journal.
1. This refusal lasted from 1997-1999. It was the longest-running refusal by the
United States to pay arrears to the United Nations. See Joseph R. Biden Jr., Biden:
House Should Release UN Arrears Hostage, (visited Jan. 15, 2000) at http://
foreign.senate.gov/-foreign/minority/prews/99/11/1999BO3C44.html [hereinafter Bi-
den, House Should Release UN Arrears]; Joseph R. Biden Jr., Biden: U.S. Set to Pay Dues
to United Nations (visited Jan. 15, 2000) at http://foreign.senate.gov/-foreign/
minority/press/00/12/1999C15B11.html [hereinafter Biden, U.S. Set to Pay Dues].
Conflicts within Congress over withheld UN dues have been a recurring controversy.
President Reagan was praised in 1988 for healing a longstanding administration breach
with the United Nations when he directed that $188 million in withheld dues be paid.
See Lou Cannon, U.S. to Pay Dues, Debt to U.N.; White House Offers Olive Branch, Praise
for Fiscal Reforms, WASH. POST, Sept. 14, 1988, at Al.
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