Case 332 - The Withdrawal from UNESCO: International Organizations and the U.S. Role
Joel H. Rosenthal
In December 1983, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz sent a letter to Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, notifying him of the United States' intention to leave UNESCO by the end of 1984 unless the organization adopted serious reforms. A year later, Sec. Shultz confirmed Washington's withdrawal, leaving it and London, which followed the American lead, outside an organization they had done so much to create nearly 40 years earlier. This case study analyzes how such a promising vision of the potential of multinational cooperation went sour, and assesses the roles ideology, domestic U.S. politics and policy disagreements within the Reagan administration played in the decision to withdraw.