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The Historical Security Council of 1967

Membership of the Historical Security Council of 1967 Membership of the Historical Security Council of 1967

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Ethiopia
  • France
  • India
  • Japan
  • Mali
  • Nigeria
  • USSR
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Due to the nature of this year’s virtual conference the AMUN Secretariat has decided to limit topics for our Security Council simulations. The topics presented in this briefing are the topics that your simulation directors have decided are the most pressing to maintaining international peace and security as of the simulation start date of 4 January 1967. 

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Introduction Introduction

Key international security concerns at the beginning of 1967 revolve around the situations in Africa, including Southern Rhodesia, the Congo and South Africa. Peacekeeping questions are a major concern; the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) operation between

Egypt and Israel and the Soviet Union’s unwillingness to pay for certain peacekeeping operations, have both been subjects of Council discussion. The war in Viet-Nam is also a significant underlying factor in world politics, although it has received limited formal attention in the Security Council. Continued disputes over recognition issues between the two Chinas is also an issue. Additionally, the Cold War struggles between the United States and the Soviet Union are a constant undercurrent in the world of international politics, with many developing States stressing their non-aligned status and forming a power bloc within the United Nations to combat the increasingly polarized world around them.

The brief synopsis presented here offers 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 reignition 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 Southern Rhodesia The Situation In Southern Rhodesia

On 11 November 1965, the territorial government of Southern Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom, sparking intense political conflict. Ian Smith, a white former fighter pilot of British descent, was the driving force behind the declaration of independence and took control of the government as Prime Minister. The declaration directly violated the 1961 decolonization agreement signed by the United Kingdom and Southern Rhodesia, which required that the territory achieve majority rule prior to independence. 

Southern Rhodesia had been a self-governing territory of the United Kingdom for over 40 years. Despite never comprising more than three percent of the population, white Europeans dominated the government and would have had to relinquish power under a legally-independent Rhodesia. On 12 November 1965, the Security Council passed Resolution 216, condemning Southern Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence, calling on all Member States to refrain from recognizing the regime in Southern Rhodesia and from providing it with any assistance. One month later, in Resolution 232, the Council imposed mandatory economic sanctions against Rhodesia.

In April 1966, following months of failed diplomatic efforts, the United Kingdom requested a Council meeting to approve its blockade of the Joanna V, a Portuguese oil tanker attempting to make a delivery to the Rhodesian government via the port of Beira in Mozambique. In response the Council passed Resolution 221 on 9 April, allowing the United Kingdom to use force if necessary to prevent the delivery of the oil. The resolution also granted the United Kingdom the right to detain the Joanna V, should delivery succeed. Before the oil tanker incident, the Council had granted broad latitude to the United Kingdom in attempting to find a diplomatic solution to the problems caused by its former colony; bringing this issue before the Council marked a new escalation in the conflict.

Several African governments requested that the Council take much stronger steps to remove the Smith government from power, up to and including the authorization of the use of force under the terms of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Extending the use of force beyond embargo enforcement was not supported by the United States, France or the United Kingdom, which instead stood behind the continued use of sanctions, political pressure and negotiations. 

On 10 May 1966, 32 African States requested a Council meeting to renew discussion on Rhodesia, noting that Council actions had been ineffective in removing the minority government and again asking that the Council consider authorizing a use of force intervention. The request stated that economic sanctions were clearly failing; not all States were enforcing the sanctions, and some States were still investing in Rhodesia. In discussions on the issue, the Soviet Union specifically accused the United Kingdom of trying to reach an agreement with the Smith regime at the expense of the black Rhodesians. A resolution sponsored by the African bloc and reflecting its concerns failed by a vote of six in favor, one opposed and eight abstentions. Similar discussions continued throughout the year on these issues, leading up to an eventual request by the United Kingdom for another Council meeting in December. The United Kingdom was prepared to call for additional measures against Southern Rhodesia, including stronger economic sanctions.

During the debate, other States criticized the United Kingdom’s enforcement efforts. Further, a number of speakers criticized the United Kingdom’s refusal to use force, as it had been partially authorized to do at its own request. Significantly, the western powers were also beginning to realize that the situation was becoming more intractable as time went on. The African States on the Council sponsored an amendment to the draft resolution being debated at the Council’s December session, which noted that the situation constituted a threat to international peace and security. This direct quotation of Chapter VII was included in the text of the final resolution. Referencing Chapter VII had been staunchly opposed by the United Kingdom and its allies in past discussions but gained more traction here, with those formerly opposed agreeing to abstain. On 16 December 1966, the Council passed Resolution 232, which increased sanctions on the Smith Government. Although language was included in Resolution 232 defining the situation as a threat to international peace and security, no official authorization of force has been granted, leaving the situation in an uneasy status-quo.

Bibliography Bibliography

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The Question of Palestine The Question of Palestine

Throughout 1966 the Security Council discussed actions taken by Israel, Syria and Jordan since the 1949 General Armistice Agreements. Repeated border incursions and military incidents led to heightened tensions in the region throughout the year. Syria and Jordan frequently accused Israel of violating the Armistice Agreements by attacking their territories. Israel accused Syria of continued attacks from the Golan Heights and both Syria and Jordan of conducting military activities across various border regions. Israel also accused both countries of harboring and supporting pro-Palestinian terrorists, who frequently conducted terrorist activities across the borders into Israel.

On 25 February 1966, a military coup in Syria returned Nureddin al-Atassi to power. From February to October, Israel alleged that Syria had attacked Israeli settlements from fortified positions in the Golan Heights. In response Israel conducted military reprisals, while Syria argued that the original attacks were fabrications and that subsequent Israeli attacks were clear violations of the 1949 Armistice Agreements.

On the Israeli-Jordanian border, a number of smaller border incursions culminated in a 13 November invasion of southern Hebron by Israeli forces. Israeli forces attacked a number of villages in this region in what Israeli officials called reprisals for Jordanian cross-border incursions and sponsorship of pro-Palestinian Fatah forces.Jordan called the invasion an unprovoked attack. Resolution 228, passed on 28 November, criticized the large scale and carefully planned military action into Jordanian territory by Israeli armed forces and censured Israel for its actions. It was the only formal Council action on the region during 1966, though the Council called Israel, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to speak several times as hostilities occurred throughout 1966.

Several other issues contributed to the heightening of tensions surrounding the Palestine issue. On 19 May a sale of military jet fighters and bombers by the United States to Israel was, for the first time ever, publicly disclosed. Additionally, on 4 November, Syria and Egypt concluded a mutual defense treaty, which also provided for joint control of armed forces in case of war or aggression against either party. Furthermore, the Soviet Union, aligned with Syria since the 1956 Suez Crisis, has maintained an active political presence in the region. Most of their political pressure has been focused on aligning the other Arab states to act against Israel, including Jordan, since they have a significant Palestinian-Arab population. However, Arab unity was shaken by a 7 December call by Syria—to Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs within Jordan—for the ouster of King Hussein of Jordan. This call was accompanied by an offer to provide arms to any parties involved in the uprising.

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Bibliography Bibliography

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UN Documents UN Documents

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The Situation in Cyprus The Situation in Cyprus

The United Nations Security Council first became involved in Cyprus in 1964 with the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on 4 March. The United Nations sent Peacekeeping troops to Cyprus in response to escalating violence between Greek and Turkish factions, which began on  21 December 1963. These factions had been fighting over Cyprus since it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1959. Compromises in the development of the constitution angered both Greek Cypriots, who were in favor of reuniting with Greece, and Turkish Cypriots, who were in favor of dividing the island between the two groups. In addition to establishing UNFICYP peacekeeping efforts, Security Council Resolution 186 recommended that the Secretary-General appoint a mediator to aid and oversee formal peacekeeping efforts. However, the chaotic situation in Cyprus has prevented any substantive talks from happening between the factions. In December of 1966, the Security Council passed Resolution 231 extending the UN peacekeeping force until June 1967. 

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Bibliography  Bibliography 

  • Ehrlich, Thomas (1974). Cyprus: 1958-1967.
  • Nicolet, Claude (2001). United States Policy Towards Cyprus, 1954- 1974: Removing the Greek-Turkish Bone of Contention.
  • Richmond, Oliver, and James Ker-Lindsay (2001). The Work of the UN in Cyprus: Promoting Peace and Development.
  • Solsten, Eric (1993). Cyprus: A Country Study.

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