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Evaluating the UN

I appreciate the opinion-page article on the United Nations "The UN on a Roll," Dec. 3. However, the author refers to "the UN's bloated, patronage-filled bureaucracy" and cites no authority.Having been associated with the UN system (as an US diplomat, an UN system official, and a professor) for 46 years, I believe that the Secretariat is not "bloated." And, even though the overall quality and high motivation of staff has declined somewhat since the early years, the Secretariat is not "filled" with patronage appointments. I also reject the author's insistence that the Secretariat needs to be more responsive to "social, economic, and environmental" problems. Members of the international staff have been more responsive than most governments. Many complain that the Secretariat is too sensitive and ready to act on world problems. John E. Forbes, Asheville, N.C.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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