Make your own free website on


            Because of the traditional neutrality of the country, Switzerland became the favored site of international conferences and the headquarters of many organizations. The main office of the International Red Cross was established there in 1863, as was that of the League of Nations following World War I (1914-1918). Switzerland was a league member but, after maintaining neutrality and harboring political refugees during World War II (1939-1945), the country refused to join the United Nations (UN) on the grounds that certain obligations of membership were incompatible with Swiss neutrality. It did, however, become a member of many agencies affiliated with the UN, and it has maintained a permanent observer at UN headquarters. Switzerland also served on the neutral nations’ commission supervising the 1953 truce agreement in Korea, and it contributed money to UN peacekeeping efforts in Cyprus. 

            In a March 2002 referendum, a majority of Swiss voters backed the government’s campaign to become a full member of the UN. A previous referendum on membership, held in 1986, was overwhelmingly rejected. Supporters of UN membership—including business and labor groups— argued that Switzerland should participate more fully in global affairs. The country is expected to formally submit its UN membership application in late 2002.

            In 1948 Switzerland joined the Organization for European Economic Cooperation. It became a founding member of the European Free Trade Association in 1959 and in 1963 joined the Council of Europe. Switzerland became a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an international trade organization that was replaced in 1995 by the World Trade Organization (WTO). WTO headquarters are in Geneva.

Check these out:

Swiss Alps Vineyard
Swiss Alps Vineyard

Laax, Switzerland in Winter
Laax, Switzerland