United Nations: Bill Collector at Work

Bearing a handsomely engraved Burmese silver bowl for Nikita Khrushchev, U.N. Secretary-General U Thant flew into Moscow last week on a matter of principal: $54,768,188 in back payments that Russia owes the world organization.

In the era of the billion-dollar budget, the amount was trivial enough. But behind it lurked the threat of an ugly showdown at the U.N. next fall. Most of the debt is on assessments voted by the General Assembly to pay for U.N. peace-keeping forces in the Congo and the Gaza Strip. Russia claims the assessments were illegal, has...

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