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Historical Security Council 1948

Members Members

Syrian Arab Republic
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
United Kingdom
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United States of America

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Introduction Introduction

The 2018 American Model United Nations Historical Security Council (HSC) will simulate world events beginning on 1 January 1948. In 1948, Trygve Lie was the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Harry S. Truman the United States President and Josef Stalin the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Republic of China was officially represented at the United Nations, and the Kuomintang-led Republic of China still had a presence in mainland China.

The key international security concerns at this time revolve around situations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The end of World War II caused concerns about international peace, heightened conflict between the Eastern and Western political blocs, political overreaching in the administration of post-war Germany, and the post-war military and economic strain of colonial powers to administer their territories, where resistance to colonial authority has been building. There is increased violence between Arab and Jewish populations in Palestine after the General Assembly passed the Partition Resolution in November 1947. Heightened aggression between Pakistan and India over the area of Jammu and Kashmir has also seen increased attention at the United Nations.

The brief synopses presented here offer merely introductory coverage of prominent international issues that can direct representatives’ continued research and preparation. For each topic area, representatives should consider the following questions, which should assist them in gaining a better understanding of the issues at hand, particularly from their country’s perspective:

  • How did this conflict begin?
  • Is this a new conflict or a re-ignition of a previous conflict?
  • How have similar situations and conflicts been peacefully resolved?
  • What State and regional actors are involved in this conflict? If there are non-State actors involved in a conflict, are there any States supporting them? If so, which ones?

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The Situation in Palestine The Situation in Palestine

With the end of World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain became the administrative mandatory of Palestine under the League of Nations in 1923. Under the Palestine Mandate, Great Britain administered both Arab and Jewish territories and populations. Both groups had significant expectations. The Palestinians expected the future establishment of Palestinian state and a judicial system that guaranteed Palestinians their rights. The Jewish people in Palestine expected the British to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, in accordance with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Arab nations viewed the idea of a Jewish State, among other issues, as a betrayal of the Palestine Mandate, and massive Jewish-Arab violence broke out and intensified during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. The 1937 Peel Commission, a British Royal Commission of Inquiry tasked with determining the causes of unrest in the Palestine Mandate, released a report recommending partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Great Britain retaining control over Jerusalem and Bethlehem. However, World War II broke out before this could be accomplished.

On 28 April 1947, Great Britain asked the United Nations to convene a Special Session of the General Assembly to discuss the question of the future government of Palestine and proposed the formation of a special committee to help address the issue. The General Assembly met and agreed that a special committee was needed. The United Nations Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) was established through Resolution 106 (S-1) on 15 May 1947. Representatives from UNSCOP went to Palestine to assess the situation and delivered their report to the General Assembly on 3 September 1947. This report recommended partitioning Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Motivated by post-war exhaustion, on 26 September 1947, the British announced their intention to withdraw from Palestine and have all British troops out of Palestine by 1 August 1948, regardless of whether or not a decision had been made by the General Assembly on Palestinian governance.  The General Assembly passed Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947, adopting the UNSCOP Partition Plan. The Resolution and Partition Plan were accepted by the Jewish community but rejected by the Arab nations who did not want to share their homeland. Protests and fighting have broken out as a result of the political upheaval. As a result of the increased violence, the British announced that they will end their mandate on 15 May 1948. The United Nations Security Council is faced with mounting conflict, tension and a potential humanitarian crisis.

Bibliography Bibliography

  • Morris, Benny (2008). 1948 The First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press.

UN Documents UN Documents

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The Situation in Greece The Situation in Greece

Greece gained independence in 1923 after the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the First World War and the end of Greco-Turkish War. Given its strategic location and the recent political upheavals of these wars, various political and military factions have vied to control Greece. In 1944, several Greek political parties and resistance groups signed the Plaka Agreement calling for parties to cease fighting. But by 1946, civil war erupted between the Royalist Army; National Liberation Front (EAM) and its military branch known as the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS); the Communist Party of Greece (KKE); and the Provisional Democratic Government (DSE). The United States pledged its support for the Greek Royalist government while the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Albania supported some of the communist groups inside Greece, with Albania and Yugoslavia harboring some separatists groups within their borders. As a result of the fighting and possible cross-border incursions from the separatists groups in Albania and Yugoslavia, the Security Council passed resolution 15 on 19 December 1946, which sent a Commission of Investigation consisting of representatives from members of the Security Council to investigate alleged border violations along the northern borders of Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. The Security Council should assess what actions from the United Nations, if any, are appropriate.

Bibliography Bibliography

  • Woodhouse, C.M. (2003). The Struggle for Greece 1941-1949. Ivan R. Dee.
  • Meisler, Stanley (1995). United Nations: The First Fifty Years. The Atlantic Monthly Press.
  • O’Ballance, Edgar (1966). The Greek Civil War:1944-1949. Fredrick A. Praeger Publishers.
United Nations Documents

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The Situation in Berlin The Situation in Berlin

After World War II, the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union signed the Potsdam Agreement, which divided Germany into four temporary occupation zones that would function as one economic unit. These zones were located roughly around the current locations of the Allied and Soviet armies and split Germany among the two global blocs. It also divided Berlin into four sectors: French, British, American and Soviet. Located 100 miles into the Soviet Sector, Berlin became the seat of the Allied Control Council, which was to govern Germany until the conclusion of a peace settlement. The Allied Control Council consisted of a commander for each sector, who exercised supreme control in his respective sector, but matters that concerned Germany as a whole could only be decided by agreement of all four members. German trade and civilian industries were severely limited to restrict potential military development. Berlin quickly became the focal point of the British, United States, French and Soviet efforts to re-align Europe to their respective visions. By controlling access to Soviet-controlled areas of Berlin, the the Soviets want to expand their control over Berlin and establish a larger Communist domain. Additionally, the USSR is diverting German industrial and natural resources as reparations for WWII. On the other hand, France wants strict limitations to severely impede rebuilding Germany’s infrastructure, economy and industry as punishment for its actions in WWII. In November 1947, the Control Council met in London to create a treaty laying out the post-War structure Germany would take; they failed to agree. However, prior to the London Conference, Soviets grew concerned with an unspoken threat of Germany’s division and inclusion of West Berlin in the Western Bloc by the United States and the United Kingdom. As the Council continues to keep informed of the situation, it should consider whether the situation is improving or deteriorating and whether the Council should become involved.

Bibliography Bibliography

  • Davidson, W. Phillip (1958). The Berlin Blockade: A Study in Cold War Politics. Princeton University Press.
  • Parrish, Thomas (1998). Berlin in the Balance: The Blockade, The Airlift, The First Major Battle of the Cold War. Addison-Wesley.
  • Naimark, Norman (1997). The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949. Belknap Press.
  • Jack, Raymond (1947). U.S. Aides Criticize Paris on Germany: Declare War Fears of French Mask Attempt to Become European Economic Hub. New York Times. 17 August.

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The Situation in Kashmir The Situation in Kashmir

Following World War I, the British government passed the Government of India Act. This Act gave the Princely States greater local and regional power, while the British took responsibility for central administration. The Princely States were not directly governed by the British Raj. Rather, in many areas of India, the local Hindu or Muslim prince signed treaties with the British. Under the terms of the treaties the British would take control of the foreign and military affairs of the state, but the prince would retain control over domestic affairs. The British hoped the princes would view the Indian nationalist and independence movements as a threat and take steps to reduce their influence. However, nationalist and pro-independence movements, such as the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, saw their influence and power grow during the interwar period. Following World War II, the British government, facing a devastated homefront, large debts, and economic conditions that called for austerity; realized the renewed Indian independence movement was a threat to continued control of India and decided to grant India independence within the Commonwealth.

Elections for an interim government in the summer of 1946 led to riots in northern India after Muslim-aligned parties failed to secure a majority of the seats. The British government made two announcements regarding the status of India on 13 February 1947. The first was that the British Raj was to be partitioned into two states—India and Pakistan. The second was that Britain would leave India by June 1948. In the overnight hours of 14 and 15 August 1948, Britain partitioned the British Raj into the separate states of Pakistan and India, allowing the Princely States to individually choose whether to join India, Pakistan or themselves be partitioned.

The Princely State of Punjab was partitioned along religious lines. After the partition, Muslims attempted to migrate to the Pakistani side of the partition,  Hindus to the Indian side. The mass migration was accompanied by widespread violence and massacres on both sides. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have died. Thousands of refugees fled to the neighboring Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir (“Kashmir”). Due to the violence and upheaval, Kashmir postponed a decision on whether to join India, Pakistan or accept partition. Pakistan announced its intention to have the United Nations address the issue of violence in Kashmir, but did not get enough support in the General Assembly to do so.

As a result of the influx of Hindu and Muslim refugees, along with the postponement of the decision of which state to join, Kashmir experienced widespread violence and rioting from all involved parties. The Prince of Kashmir requested assistance from the Indian government to keep order. The Indian government agreed to provide assistance if Kashmir agreed to the Instrument of Accession. In exchange for Indian assistance in quelling violence, the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir would become part of India. The Prince of Kashmir agreed, and the Instrument was signed on 26 October 1947. Pakistan, however, rejected the Instrument, considering it to have been forced upon Kashmir by India. Both countries sent troops into Kashmir while simultaneously claiming the other country sent in troops first.

On 2 November 1947 India announced it would hold a referendum in Kashmir, under the auspices of the United Nations, once order was established. Pakistan rejected the Indian position, claiming the establishment of order was a cover to drive Muslims out of Kashmir to create a Hindu majority in the referendum. Despite the presence of Indian and Pakistani forces, violence continued between Hindu and Muslim civilians, alongside reports of violence involving Indian and Pakistani aligned militant groups. A meeting between India and Pakistan in early December left the status of Kashmir unresolved. India insisted on its earlier position of turning the issue over to the United Nations once order was established. Pakistan insisted that both the referendum and the violence be turned over to the United Nations. As of 20 December, India is preparing to send military forces into Kashmir to remove Pakistani forces. The Council should consider the impact this conflict is having on the international community, the citizens and what options the Security Council has for involvement.

Bibliography Bibliography

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The Situation in Asia The Situation in Asia

The Dutch East Indies were occupied by Japanese forces during World War II. During the war, the Japanese government permitted limited expressions of Indonesian nationalism and developed plans to grant independence to Indonesia. The Japanese Prime Minister informed Parliament of those plans on 7 September 1944, with a constitutional congress to plan for an independent Indonesia formed in May 1945. Following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, however, the Dutch government announced its intention to reclaim possession of Indonesia. But on 17 August 1945, with the assent of the Japanese government, Indonesian nationalists announced Indonesian independence.

British troops arrived in Indonesia in September 1945 to disarm surrendering Japanese forces, repatriate them and begin the process of transferring control of the Dutch East Indies back to the Dutch. Sporadic violence occurred between the British forces and the nascent Indonesian government and escalated when Dutch forces returned. Throughout 1946, the British and American governments lobbied the Dutch government to agree to the Linggadjati Agreement with the Indonesian Republic. The agreement conceded autonomy to the Indonesian republic in parts of Indonesia, and both parties agreed to work together toward an Indonesian-Dutch federation by 1949. During negotiations British troops were withdrawn and both parties signed the agreement on 25 March 1947.

Despite signing the agreement, Indonesian and Dutch negotiations broke down and on 21 July 1947 the Dutch launched Operation Product (referred to by the Dutch as a “police action”) in which the Dutch armed forces took control of key ports, cities and oil fields. The Indonesian forces abandoned the cities and began a guerrilla campaign against the Dutch forces. In response to Operation Product, Australia and India brought the issue of the Dutch “police action” before the United Nations Security Council on 30 July 1947. On 1 August 1947, the Security Council passed Resolution 27, which called for a cease-fire and urged both parties to resume negotiations. On August 25 1947, Resolution 30 was passed, which encouraged the parties to preserve the cease-fire and called for a Commission of Observers to report on the progress of the cease-fire. Resolution 31 permitted Indonesia and the Netherlands to each select a representative for the Committee of Good Offices, with one joint representative. The Dutch chose Belgium as their representative with Indonesia selecting Australia. The United States was selected as the joint representative.

Sporadic conflict between Dutch forces and Indonesian guerrillas continued despite the cease-fire. The Security Council attempted to remind the parties of their obligations to support a cease-fire with Resolution 32, passed 26 August 1947. In October, the Secretary-General convened the Committee of Good Offices at the request of the Security Council to report on the situation in Indonesia. The Committee reported that neither side was working in good faith toward maintaining the cease-fire and that both sides engaged in violations of the cease-fire. In response, the Security Council passed Resolution 36, which expanded the role of the Committee of Good Offices to assist the Dutch and Indonesians in implementing the cease-fire and to observe Resolution 27. Furthermore, both parties were to restrict military forces to areas the parties controlled as of 4 August 1947. Despite the actions of the Security Council, violence continued as Indonesian guerillas launched machine gun and mortar attacks on Dutch patrols and Dutch “police actions” were increasingly accompanied by airplanes.

Under mounting international pressure, Indonesia and the Netherlands agreed on 8 December 1947 to negotiate aboard the USS Renville. The Dutch proposed the creation of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (RUSI) without the involvement of the current government of Indonesia. Indonesia expressed concerns about the continued Dutch military presence and “police actions” along with the accompanying economic turmoil. On 25 December 1947, the United States proposed a plan where the Dutch would return to the areas they controlled prior to the July “police action” while the Indonesian government would regain control of the civilian administration. The Indonesian government accepted the proposal, but as of 1 January 1948 the Netherlands has yet to respond. The Council should consider what actions, if any, are appropriate for the Council, the parties and/or the international community to take.

Bibliography Bibliography

  • House, Jonathan M. (2012). A Military History of the Cold War, 1944-1962, University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Indonesia Reports Assault on Town (1947). New York Times. 31 August.
  • Java Negotiations Opened Amicably (1947). New York Times. 8 December.
  • Kratoska, Paul H. (2001). South East Asia, Colonial History: Independence through Revolutionary War, Routledge.
  • Rosenthal, A.M. (1947). Progress On Java Reported to U.N. New York Times. 6 December.
  • van Panhuys, H. F. (1980). International Law in the Netherlands: Vol III, T.M.C. Asser Institute.
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