an international non-governmental organization consisting of national parliamentary groups sharing the organization’s aims and desiring to participate in its work. It was founded in 1889 by pacifist parliamentarians in several countries for the purpose of propagandizing the idea of arbitration in resolving international disputes. As of Jan. 1, 1974, it included parliamentary groups from 72 states, including the Soviet Union and other socialist countries.
In accordance with its charter, adopted in 1922, the union strives “to promote personal contacts between members of all parliaments … and unite them in common action … to strengthen and develop representative institutions, as well as to promote work on behalf of peace and international collaboration.” The union’s decisions are not binding. However, inasmuch as they express the views of representatives of the legislative organs of most countries of the world, they have some influence on world public opinion, governments, and other international organizations.
The union has consultative status A at the UN. Its highest body is the annual conference, convened by prior agreement in the capital of one of the member countries. Between conferences the organization is headed by the Interparliamentary Council, consisting of two representatives of each national parliamentary group. The president of the council, elected for a four-year term, directs the council and the Executive Committee, the administrative organ. The Executive Committee consists of 11 members, ten of whom are elected by the conference from among the council members for four-year terms.
The basic work of examining various questions and drawing up conference draft resolutions is done by standing study committees. There are committees for political questions and international security and disarmament, parliamentary and legal questions, economic and social questions, and problems of education and science, as well as a committee for non-self-governing territories and ethnic problems. By decision of the council other standing or ad hoc committees or subcommittees may be formed.
The union’s secretariat—the Interparliamentary Bureau—is in Geneva. It is headed by a secretary-general appointed by the council for a four-year term. The official organ is the Bulletin Interparlementaire, published quarterly in English and French. The union also publishes official conference reports.
Within the union, the Association of Secretary Generals of Parliaments promotes the exchange of views and prepares recommendations for improving the work methods and organization of parliaments. The International Center for Parliamentary Documentation, financed by the union, was established in 1965.
The parliamentary group of the USSR has been a member of the union since 1955.
REFERENCEShvetsov, V. L. Mezhparlamentskii soiuz. Moscow, 1964.
V. L. SHVETSOV