At AMUN Black Lives Matter

Return To: 2021 Handbook

The Historical Security Council of 1973

Membership of the Historical Security Council of 1973 Membership of the Historical Security Council of 1973

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • China
  • France
  • Guinea
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Sudan
  • United Kingdom
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian Federation)
  • United States of America
  • Yugoslavia (Serbia)

Introduction Introduction

The early 1970’s saw changes in the nature of the Cold War inside and outside of the United Nations. After tension over Berlin, Cuba and the Congo in the early 1960’s, the President of the United States of America, Richard Nixon, and the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, pursued a series of policies known as détente to lower the temperature of the Cold War and the risk of nuclear war. Two prominent examples of détente were in answering the question of the representation of China in the United Nations and the pursuit of arms control agreements.

In 1971, the Security Council voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China as the representative of China in the Security Council, with the Republic of China no longer recognized by the United Nations. Additionally, in May 1972 Nixon and Brezhnev engaged in the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks, with both parties agreeing to limit the size of their country’s nuclear arsenal. In a further sign of reduced tensions, the United States and the parties in Vietnam signed the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 1973, bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

The decolonization of European empires in the previous years began to have major effects on the issues discussed at the United Nations. Newly independent countries were becoming more assertive in bringing issues of concern to the attention of the United Nations and organized themselves as the Non-Aligned Movement. The presence of the People’s Republic of China in the Security Council changed the relationship between the Soviet Union and the Non-Aligned Movement, with China claiming the Soviet Union was not using its influence to support the concerns of the Non-Aligned Movement. These accusations cooled relations between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. In response to the changes in the United Nations and its own foreign policy goals, the United States of America announced it would use its veto on the Security Council more liberally to prevent the passing of resolutions it considered bad or did not address the concerns of the United Nations.

As the United Nations enters 1973, the organization faces many challenges. Although Cold War tensions have been somewhat reduced due to the policies of détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, the United Nations was frequently sidelined in favor of bilateral talks. This emphasis on bilateralism over multilateralism could be seen in the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks and the Paris Peace Accords. At the same time, the Non-Aligned Movement was pressing the United Nations to take up contentious issues in the Security Council. This is the atmosphere on February 1, 1973, in which representatives will begin their deliberations in the Security Council.

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?

Top ↑

The Situation in Southern Rhodesia The Situation in Southern Rhodesia

Continuing the trend of decolonization after the Second World War and following successful independence movements for French African colonies, other colonial states, especially of the British empire in Africa, achieved independence in the 1960s. Among these was the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which was dissolved in 1963, leading to the creation of Malawi and Zambia in 1964 and Southern Rhodesia the following year.

While a territory of the United Kingdom, Rhodesia amended its constitution in 1961 to segregate voting roles by education, income and property requirements. While not segregated explicitly on racial grounds, voting requirements for the “A Role” meant that, in a state that was 95 percent Black, 50 members of the Legislative Assembly were always white and 15 members were always Black.

The United Kingdom had a policy of “No independence before majority rule” (NIBMAR); a United Kingdom colony needed to adopt policies that ensured majority rule before the government would entertain colonial independence. The Rhodesia government led by Prime Minister Ian Smith, attempting to preserve its white-minority rule, issued a unilateral Universal Declaration of Independence in 1965 to form Southern Rhodesia.

The declaration was resolved by the Security Council as illegal and seen as such by the international community at large. In response, Rhodesia received significant international attention at the United Nations, especially for its minority-rule regime and policies. The Security Council adopted resolutions endorsing economic sanctions on Rhodesia, barring all trade and support; however, South Africa and Portugal continued to violate the oil and petroleum stipulations of the trade embargo, undermining the will of the Council. Talks between the British and Rhodesian governments continued on and off for several years but did not make the headway hoped for by the affected African States.

The United States’ and United Kingdom’s tacit support for the Rhodesian government significantly complicated the issue. Starting in 1971, the United States resumed chrome trade with Rhodesia in full violation of the 1968 UN trade embargo. In July 1972, the United States abstained in a 14-0 Security Council vote to condemn “all acts violating” the economic sanctions against Rhodesia, considering United States actions to be outside of these sanctions. In September the United Kingdom vetoed an African-sponsored resolution on Rhodesia, which called for stronger economic sanctions and a direct settlement of the Rhodesian issue.

By 1972 the lack of change in the government’s policies regarding formal discrimination against Black Africans was the focus of attention for the United Nations. Many African states and Black athletes threatened to boycott the 1972 Munich Olympic Games if Rhodesia was allowed to participate. Ultimately, the International Olympic Committee conceded and barred Rhodesian athletes from participating in the games.

The ongoing problems in Rhodesia also created regional economic problems. The economy of Zambia, which relied upon trade with Rhodesia, suffered significant disruption from the attempts to divert trade in accordance with international sanctions brought against Rhodesia. Succeeding years saw wide fluctuations in the price of copper, Zambia’s major export, and a sustained drought that required heavy agricultural imports. There was also additional political stress between the two states over rebel activity. The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) were operating out of border regions in Zambia, waging a guerilla campaign against Rhodesian troops and officials.

In response, on 9 January 1973, Rhodesia closed its border to traffic with Zambia, stating it would stay closed until assurances could be made that Zambia would no longer permit terrorists to operate from within its borders. These closures had harsh economic impacts on Zambia, which relied heavily  on railroads through Rhodesia for much of its trade. Moreover, in a letter to the President of the Security Council, Zambia alleged that Rhodsian forces, reinforced by 4,000 South Africans, had committed “numerous acts of subversion and sabotage.” The details of these acts have not yet been shared with or discovered by the Security Council.

Top ↑

Bibliography Bibliography

Top ↑

United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

Top ↑

The Situation in the Middle East The Situation in the Middle East

Following the decisive victory by Israel against multiple Arab states in the Six Day War of 1967, conflict continued between Israel and Egypt, despite a United Nations brokered ceasefire. These hostilities became known as the “War of Attrition” and were characterized by frequent exchanges of artillery fire and clashes between warplanes over the Suez Canal. After three years of the “War of Attrition,” Egypt and Israel agreed to the Rogers Plan—a proposal by United States Secretary of State William Rogers— which established a more comprehensive ceasefire agreement between Israel and Egypt over the Suez Canal.

Following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in the Six Day War, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) established themselves in Jordan. The PLO used Jordanian territory to attack Israel; which prompted frequent armed Israeli incursions into Jordan to attack PLO bases. The frequent Israeli incursions into Jordanian territory to attack the PLO contributed to the souring of relations between Jordan and the PLO. Further, the revolutionary political beliefs of the PLO put them at odds with the more conservative Jordanian monarchy, with the Jordanian government fearing a potential coup attempt by the PLO. In September 1970, the Jordanian army forced the PLO leadership and its fighters out of the country in a series of clashes known as “Black September”.

The PLO subsequently established itself in southern Lebanon, taking advantage of Lebanon’s instability to create a “state within a state” and began attacking Israel from this new territory. The Israeli government responded by attacking and subsequently occupying parts of PLO controlled territory in Lebanon. In 1972 the Security Council condemned the Israeli attacks and presence in Lebanon in Resolutions 313, 316 and 317. The Israeli government stated it was acting in self defense in response to PLO attacks and that the Lebanese government was unable or unwilling to prevent the PLO from attacking Israel. In September 1972, Arab terrorists attacked the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, killing 11. The Israeli government responded with large airstrikes against PLO bases in Syria and Lebanon. In the Security Council, a resolution condemning Israeli attacks was vetoed by the United States, after the Soviet Union and China vetoed amendments that would have included a condemnation of the PLO’s attacks on Israel. The United States stated any resolution condemning Israel’s attacks against the PLO must also condemn the PLO, while the Soviet Union stated that it was inappropriate to equate the actions of a terrorist group with a state attacking another state. The Israeli government pledged it would hunt down those responsible for the Munich attacks.

Angry over Israel’s actions in the Six day War, the Arab League adopted the Khartoum Resolution, which called for “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” The Khartoum resolution resulted in a complete breakdown of communication between the parties and complicated any future peace processes. In an effort to circumvent this agreement and bring a more lasting peace to the region, in 1967 the United Nations Secretary-General, U Thant, acting under the authority of Resolution 242, authorized Swedish diplomat Gunnar Jarring to serve as an intermediary between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Although Egypt and Israel both indicated a willingness for peace, peace talks never occurred. As a precondition for talks, Egypt insisted Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 borders as described in Security Council Resolution 242; Israel refused to accept the precondition on grounds of national security and the continued military threat from Arab states.

The topic of negotiations surfaced again in 1972. In July, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat expelled all Soviet military advisors from Egypt and nationalized all former Soviet military facilities in Egypt. The Soviet Union complied with Sadat’s request, and the last Soviet advisor left Egypt in August 1972. Sadat’s move was seen as an attempt to move Egyptian foreign policy away from the policies of Sadat’s predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Western leaders also saw it as an opening for new peace negotiations between Egypt and Israel, now that there was reduced Soviet influence. The United States took the initiative and proposed to serve as an intermediary, with the Rogers Plan serving as a framework for peace talks. The Israeli and Egyptian governments both expressed a desire for peace, but talks stalled along the same lines as Jarring’s attempt to facilitate talks. Egypt again demanded that Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders as a precondition for talks, and Israel again refused to withdraw due to security concerns. Despite the apparent deadlock, multiple observers have noted Egypt and Israel have refrained from ceasefire violations over the Suez Canal; an indication Israel and Egypt are hoping to avoid conflict.

Top ↑

Bibliography Bibliography

Top ↑

United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

Top ↑

The Situation in Cyprus The Situation in Cyprus

In 1960 Cyprus was granted independence from the United Kingdom. In recognition of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities on the island, a power sharing agreement between the two communities was written into the constitution. Greece, Turkey, the Cypriot government and the United Kingdom (which maintained sovereign military bases on the island) signed multilateral agreements to guarantee the constitution and to work to restore it in the event of a breach. To prevent revanchist claims or separatist movements, the constitution expressly forbade the partitioning of Cyprus, or its entering into a union with another country. In late 1963, the Greek Cypriot President, Archbishop Makarios, proposed amending many of the power sharing agreements written into the constitution, claiming the existing structure of the power sharing agreements made government impossible. The smaller Turkish Cypriot community in the north of the island saw this move as threatening their rights, and violence broke out between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. Acting under their treaty with Cyprus, the United Kingdom dispatched troops to the island to maintain order and prevent a conflict between Greek and Turkish troops stationed on the island under the treaty. In recognition of the potential for escalation, the parties referred the issue to the United Nations.

On 4 March 1964, in Resolution 186, the Security Council authorized the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order. In its time on the island, UNFICYP has primarily served as observers, negotiators and mediators preventing and deescalating communal conflict. Due to the unresolved political disputes and the potential for escalation if UNFICYP personnel are withdrawn , UNFICYP has been repeatedly extended since 1964. In response to a report from the Secretary-General, the Security Council passed Resolution 324 on 12 December 1972, and extended UNFICYP’s mandate to 15 June, 1973.

Top ↑

Bibliography Bibliography

Top ↑

United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

Top ↑

The Situation in Namibia The Situation in Namibia

Following World War I, South Africa was given control of the former German colony of South West Africa as a Mandate territory. As the Mandatory power, South Africa was expected to help South West Africa achieve self-government and eventual independence. South Africa failed to fulfill expectations and maintained direct rule over South West Africa, insisting the limits set by the League of Nations lapsed when the League disbanded. This resulted in the United Nations General Assembly passing Resolution 2145 in 1966, which stated South Africa had failed in its Mandatory responsibilities, the Mandate was terminated and the United Nations assumed jurisdiction over South West Africa. South Africa disregarded the General Assembly Resolution by ignoring the United Nations’ authority and instructions.

In response to South Africa’s disregard to Resolution 2145, the Security Council passed a number of resolutions condemning South Africa’s continued control of South West Africa, by then known as Namibia. However, the multiple resolutions passed by the Security Council did not compel or prompt any action from the United Nations itself.

In 1971, the International Court of Justice issued an Advisory Opinion on the status of Namibia, in response to a request from the Security Council. In the Advisory Opinion, the International Court of Justice stated that the South African presence in Namibia was illegal, that South Africa was obliged to withdraw and that Member States should refrain from any actions implying the South African presence was legal. In recent years the newly independent African Member States have pressed the Security Council to take stronger action on what they see as South African colonialism in Namibia, with the Soviet Union often taking up their case. In 1972 the Security Council passed additional resolutions condemning the South African presence and calling for periodic reports by the Secretary-General on South Africa’s compliance with previous resolutions. The most recent resolution, Resolution 323, called for the Secretary-General to report back to the Security Council on April 30, 1973.

Top ↑

Bibliography Bibliography

Top ↑

United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

Top ↑

The Situation in Viet-Nam The Situation in Viet-Nam

Conflict in Viet-Nam has been ongoing since the 1950s; the first battle between the Viet Cong, supported by the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam (DRV) and the Republic of Viet-Nam (RVN) occurred on 26 September 1959. The RVN and DRV are colloquially known as South Viet-Nam and North Viet-Nam, respectively. As of the present date, North Viet-Nam controls significant territories within South Viet-Nam, gained via the Easter Offensive between 30 March and 22 October 1972. After the Offensive, all forces were exhausted, and when peace negotiations resumed in Paris, all sides were willing to make concessions.

The Security Council, with particular pressure from the United States, has not voted on a resolution concerning the situation in Viet-Nam since 1964, when the Security Council deplored an incursion by South Viet-Nam forces into Cambodia.

Negotiations have progressed into the Paris Peace Accords, signed on 27 January 1973 by North Viet-Nam, South Viet-Nam, the Republic of South Viet-Nam (representing Viet Cong forces) and the United States. The Accords effectively end the United States’ involvement in the Viet-Nam War. Additionally, the Accords call for the establishment of the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS), composed of Canada, Hungary, Indonesia and Poland to oversee the ceasefire.

Top ↑

Bibliography Bibliography

Top ↑

United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

Top ↑

Admission of New Members Admission of New Members

Chapter XIV of the Rules of procedure of the United Nations General Assembly outlines the process by which a State becomes a Member of the United Nations. After an application of membership is received by the Secretary-General, and if the Security Council recommends the application State for membership, the General Assembly considers whether the applicant is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter. The most recent State to be recommended for admission by the Security Council was the United Arab Emirates, on 8 December 1971.

The Secretary-General received Bangladesh’s application for membership on 8 August 1972. China, citing that it believed Bangladesh had not implemented resolution 307 (1971), exercised its first veto on 23 August 1972, blocking Bangladesh’s admission. China has signalled further attempts at compromise will also be vetoed.

Recently, the United Kingdom agreed to recommend to its Parliament that independence be granted to the Bahamas on 10 July 1973, while the head of the Federal Republic of Germany’s observer mission at the United Nations said at a news conference on 22 November 1972 that he anticipates both the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany to be admitted as Members of the United Nations at the 28th session of the General Assembly.

Top ↑

Bibliography Bibliography

Top ↑

United Nations Documents United Nations Documents

 

Support AMUN to accelerate the development of future leaders

AMUN is a non-profit that continues to grow with the help from people like you!
DONATE