National Geographic : 1951 Feb
Flags of the United Nations BY ELIZABETH W. KING Paintingsby Irvin E. Alleman, Betty Haynes Baker, and CarlottaGonzales Lahey A MED FORCES campaigning in Korea have fought for the first time in his tory under a common symbol, the Flag of the United Nations (page 221). This blue flag, with a globe outlined in white in the center, was devised by Secretariat members for the special Balkan Commission investigating incidents on the Greek-Yugoslav border in 1947. On October 20 of that year it was adopted as the official UN emblem (page 215). When the United Nations moved to end aggression in Korea by force, Trygve Lie, Secretary-General, sent the Commander in Chief an already historic UN flag (page 215). It was the emblem flown by the late Count Folke Bernadotte and Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner, during their negotiation of peace in Palestine for UN. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, first commander of UN forces, acknowledged receipt with these words: "I accept this flag with deep emotion. It symbolizes one of the greatest efforts man has ever made to free himself. The Far East Command will do its best to uphold this noblest of ideals." UN Flag Flown "Concurrently" President Truman requested General Mac Arthur to fly the UN flag "concurrently" with the flags of the nations whose forces had joined the international effort to restore peace. Over his Tokyo headquarters General Mac Arthur placed the UN flag at the right of the Flag of the United States, in the position of honor, to signify his position as commander of the combined UN forces. In the United States the Stars and Stripes fly in the position of honor in conformity with the flag code adopted by Congress in 1942. This practice accords with regulations for flying the UN flag as outlined in the Secre tary-General's Bulletin of July 28, 1950: "The manner and display (of the UN flag) shall conform in so far as possible to the laws and customs applicable to the display of the na tional flag of the country in which the display is made." Fighting men of the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries repre sented in Korea have flown the United Nations Flag as well as their own cherished symbols. Headed by this international banner of peace and co-operation, the principal flags of the 60 member countries of the United Nations are presented herewith in 180 paintings by National Geographic staff artists. They ap pear in alphabetical order, beginning on page 221. The presentation is the first complete collection of its kind to be published in the six years since UN was born. Flags of New Nations Shown Some of the flags reproduced represent brand-new nations, notably Indonesia (page 227). Infant among new countries is that 3,000-island Republic, to which the Nether lands transferred sovereignty on December 28, 1949. Most recent member of the UN, Indo nesia was admitted on September 29, 1950.* Other comparative newcomers are the Phil ippines (page 219) and Israel, formerly a mandate of Great Britain under the name of Palestine. Lebanon and Syria used to be a French mandate. Iceland was united with Denmark. India, Pakistan, and Burma all were embraced in the British Empire till after World War II. One of the newest flags is that of the President of India; it was first raised on January 26, 1950. Until recent years, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were so little known to the Western World that accurate information on their flags was unobtainable when the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC published "Flags of the World," by Gilbert Grosvenor and William J. Showalter, with 808 paintings, in September, 1934. Now, of course, they are included. In all, this series shows national emblems for 13 countries not represented as independ ent nations in the 1934 compilation. Unfamiliar to most people are the flags of the Ukrainian and White Russian Soviet So cialist Republics. They are shown because these subdivisions of Russia have membership and votes in the UN. Publication of flags of the United Nations marks a further step in The Society's authori tative presentation of national flags over a pe riod of more than 30 years. First in the series was the widely acclaimed Flag issue of October, 1917, with more than 1,100 paintings illustrating 14 articles on flags of the world by Gilbert Grosvenor and Byron McCandless. *See "Republican Indonesia Tries Its Wings," by W. Robert Moore, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1951.