fifty years ago November 29, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (November 29, 1971): Swiss thinking on joining U.N.

Berne, Nov. 28: The Swiss Government plans to set up a special committee to recommend whether this neutral country should finally join the United Nations. Government officials said the nation’s seven-member Cabinet stated its intention to set up the consultative committee in a 100-page report on Swiss-U.N. relations over the past two years. The report will be presented to Parliament here early in December. Although Switzerland has stayed out of the U.N., it is a member of several specialised U.N. agencies, including the International Labour Organisation and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The U.N.’s European headquarters is in a Swiss city — Geneva — as are the head offices of the several of the world organisation’s agencies. Switzerland’s neutrality has prevented it from applying for full membership of the European Economic Community (E.E.C.) though it was a founder member of the more purely commercial European Free Trade Association (E.F.T.A.). After exploratory talks earlier this year, Switzerland and the E.E.C. are soon to begin formal negotiations on special trading arrangements between them. At the same Cabinet meeting which approved the text of the U.N. report, the seven Ministers unanimously agreed that Swiss relations with the E.E.C. should be given priority over the question.

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