A Review of: “Sovereignty and Standby: the 1964 Conference on Un Peacekeeping Forces”

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A REVIEW OF: “SOVEREIGNTY AND STANDBY: THE 1964 CONFERENCE ON UN PEACEKEEPING FORCES”

John Macfarlane’s article Sovereignty and Standby: The 1964 Conference on UN Peacekeeping Forces details a 1964 meeting of 23 UN member-nations in Ottawa, Canada. The purpose behind the meeting was a focus-group discussion regarding the creation of either a standby force of military peacekeepers or some form of permanent military force, consisting of contributed military units from participating countries. The need for something beyond the last-minute, ad-hoc forces that had been used in Egypt in 1956, the Congo in 1960, and Cyprus in 1964.1 The organization of the conference and it’s stated goals of improving on the current system of military force contribution was spearheaded by the Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Lester B. Pearson.2 Prior to the conference, Pearson identified four main topic areas to discuss: improved training, reaction time, efficient coordination, and financing.3 Three study groups were formed to address the aforementioned issues and attempt to formulate a semblance of international agreement.

The first group was tasked with developing possible strategies in standardization of operating procedures. The group was led by General Mohamed Kittani of Morocco and debated the use of these forces, indoctrination of these forces, as well as improved training for these forces. Some delegates to the study group insisted that any standby or permanent UN military contingent be used for defense only and that their training and indoctrination should be implemented by UN sanctioned trainers in order to standardize their peacekeeping training while refocusing their skillset to aiding the civil government as well as internal security initiatives. The single issue that received overwhelming support was the improvement of training however, many delegates felt that the Canadian emphasis on rapid deployment was detrimental to the quality of the...
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