How Significant was Lester Pearson’s Role in the Suez Crisis of 1956?
A. Plan of the Investigation
This investigation assesses the question: how significant was Lester Pearson’s role in the Suez Crisis of 1956? In order to evaluate Lester Pearson’s significance, the investigation evaluates his role throughout the Suez Crisis. It will assess his reasons for working with the United Nations, the path to the peace treaty Pearson presented to the United Nations, and the effects of the peace treaty passed by the United Nations. In the Suez Crisis, Lester Pearson’s significance is evaluated by his own personal written memoirs and historical evaluations written by foreign historians such as Anthony Gorst, Lewis Johnman and Barry Turner. The sources Four Faces of Peace written by Pearson and Suez 1956 written by Barry Turner will then be evaluated for their origins, purposes, value and limitations.
B. Summary of the Evidence
The Suez was a conflict that began with the head of the Egyptian’s ruling council Gamal Abdel Nassar declaring that the Suez Canal was to come under exclusive Egyptian control. However, the “Suez Canal was not like any other waterway. Built by the French and long administered by the Angelo-French company, the canal was seen as “Europe’s lifeline.” The Suez Canal was the route by which Middle East oil was delivered to “energy hungry economies” such as Britain and France. In the eyes of many, Egypt was not to be trusted and Nasser was never to be trusted. Thus further lead to the invasions lead by the French and British army along with Israel which was considered “the largest amphibious fighting force since the end of the Second World War.” The invasion was especially scary from the world because it could lead to a third world war.
In terms of peace, many were apprehensive. The UN was under fierce pressure to bring the situation under control and help find a solution. However, the UN had deployed several observer missions in Egypt, their functions were limited to observing and monitoring ceasefires after an agreement had been concluded. Lester Pearson did not agree with the method of UN. He believed “the UN was to have to take the responsibility to bring the fighting to an end.” This brought many in the UN under pressure, but the idea of a peace treaty was not conveyed. Lester Pearson was “determined to advocate a policy at the Assembly and do everything he could to have it adopted, which would end the fighting before it spread.” As shooting continued, despair for a resolution became an alternative.
Lester Pearson was the foreign affairs minister of Canada in 1956; he worked in providing a resolution for the UN to bring the fighting to an end. He worked four days without stopping in order to present a resolution on November 3rd, 1956. Calling for a UN police force, the resolution from Pearson included a plan for setting up a United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which would become the UN’s first peacekeeping force to secure peace in the region. Under Pearson’s collaboration with the Secretary-General, all shooting stopped at midnight on November 6th; by the 15th the first UN troops arrived in the Canal Zone. The resolution provided peace which many were unable to do for many years.
The resolution Lester Pearson presented was against his crown; the British Empire. Lester felt his actions were mandatory, and it provided a treaty that could be carried out for many years under the collaborations of nations involved. Pearson’s resolution not only stopped cease fire, but it withdrew tensions brought on by many countries. On November 4th, 1956, as Pearson was working on his resolution, the Security Council was called into an emergency session and refused to consider a Soviet proposal for Soviet and United States intervention. The Soviet proposal lead to a demand by the Asian and Arab members of the Assembly to “brand the United Kingdom and France as aggressors under the...
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