§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the functions, present membership and annual cost of the United Nations Military Staff Committee; what part it has played in the United. Nations peace-keeping operations; and what consideration has been given to its abolition, or reduction to a care and maintenance basis, in the interests of economy.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts
The Military Staff Committee was established under Article 47 of the United Nations Charter to advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to the Council's military requirements for the maintenance of peace and security, the employment and command of forces placed at its disposal, the regulation of armaments and possible disarmament. Because of the inability of Council members to agree on general principles, the Military Staff Committee has not been able to make progress in its work.
The Committee is in practice composed of representatives of the Chiefs of Staff of the five permanent members of the Security Council. The United Kingdom representatives are officers in the United States for other duties. It is not possible to distinguish the annual costs, but these are not large.138W
Political difficulties have prevented the Military Staff Committee from playing an active part in peacekeeping operations so far, but circumstances might change, perhaps as a result of the work of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.
Since the Military Staff Committee is established by the United Nations Charter, its abolition would involve amendment to the Charter. No consideration has been given to its abolition.