Volume #27 - 122.|
UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY FORCE
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
May 12, 1960|
UNEF – POLICY RE WITHDRAWAL
You may recall that as a result of heightened tension along the borders of Israel and the United Arab Republic during February, consultations regarding the safety of the United Nations Emergency Force were undertaken between this Department, the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, and our Permanent Representative in New York. It was agreed that an approach should be made to the United Nations authorities and that any discussions with these authorities should be based on the following three principles:
(1) There can and should be no thought of unilateral withdrawal of the Canadian component from UNEF.
(2) The withdrawal of UNEF should be considered only in the event of large scale hostilities which either place the Force in physical danger or render it incapable of discharging the functions assigned to it.
(3) There can be no question of using the Force in any active combat role.
It was further agreed that the approach to the United Nations should be in two stages. The first step would be a conversation between Mr. Charles Ritchie and Dr. Bunche for the purpose of obtaining confirmation from the Secretary-General’s office of the existence and status of plans for the safety of the Force. The second step would be a discussion between Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Hammarskjöld of the main issues involved in implementing those plans.
Mr. Ritchie accordingly saw Dr. Bunche and from their conversation, during which the distinction was established between redeployment, which might entail limited withdrawal from certain localities, and evacuation, which would mean entire withdrawal from the UNEF area, it emerged, first, that Dr. Bunche assumed that General Burns had turned over to his successor, General Gyani, the redeployment plans which had been drawn up last year. Dr. Bunche did not have detailed knowledge of these plans because they were regarded as being the responsibility of the UNEF Commander. (General Burns did in fact confirm to us independently that such plans had been formulated and that on leaving his UNEF Command he had left them with his Chief of Staff.) Secondly, some provisional planning had been done in the United Nations Office of General Services for evacuation of UNEF from the area by chartered commercial air transport. However, the U.N. Secretariat was careful, for public presentation purposes, to deny the existence of prepared evacuation plans. Thirdly, in the Secretary-General’s view, evacuation of UNEF from the area would require a political decision by either the General Assembly or the Security Council. Dr. Bunche also explained that in his and the Secretary-General’s view the effective operation of UNEF under its present terms of reference was based on two important principles and that if either principle were jeopardized the problem would have to be immediately referred to the General Assembly or the Security Council. The two principles mentioned by Dr. Bunche were, first, that UNEF could not share occupation of a given piece of territory with other military forces and, secondly, that UNEF should not be used in a combat role. In conclusion, Dr. Bunche suggested, and Mr. Ritchie agreed, that it might be advisable if the Secretary-General were to take the initiative in having these questions discussed informally in the UNEF Advisory Committee.
It is suggested that Mr. Ritchie should now pursue the question with the Secretary-General. His approach would be based on a clear understanding of the three principles set out in paragraph (1) above and would revolve around questions of how and in what circumstances withdrawal and evacuation plans would be likely to be implemented. From the point of view of the Canadian Government, it would probably be desirable to give formality to our approach to the Secretary-General on this subject. Accordingly, an Aide Mémoire has been drafted which Mr. Ritchie could leave with the Secretary-General. The Aide Mémoire is based on one submitted by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, when this subject first came under discussion. The present revision sets out the political principles which we consider should govern the understanding with the United Nations and takes into consideration points made by General Burns and Mr. Charles Ritchie. The text has been agreed to by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff.
Attached for your signature, if you approve, is a telegram asking Mr. Ritchie to proceed with his discussion with the Secretary-General and giving the text of the Aide Mémoire.101
101 Note marginale :/Marginal note: