The UN and the Falklands Crisis

  • J. E. Spence


For the student of the United Nations, the Falklands crisis offers a valuable case study of the strengths and weaknesses of that organisation as an agency for promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes through its role as a ‘third party’ concerned to act impartially in mediation of a conflict between two member states. At first sight the failure of the United Nations, despite several resolutions of the Security Council and the ‘good offices’ of the Secretary-General, to avert the outbreak of armed hostilities between Britain and Argentina in late April 1982 and, once begun, to achieve a ceasefire appears a confirmation of its weaknesses rather than a vindication of its strengths as an independent and effective crisis manager. Thus in the Falklands dispute — it could be argued — the UN did little more than mirror the conflict in an institutionalised setting, providing through the mechanism of the Security Council a propaganda forum for the warring parties and their supporters and exercising little, if any, influence on the course of the dispute and its eventual outcome.


Security Council Falkland Island United Nations Security Council Good Office Negotiate Settlement 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    J. Pearce, ‘The Falkland Islands Dispute’, The World Today, 38 (1982) 161.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Ibid., 161.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    P. Willetts, ‘Latin America, the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement’ in Latin America and Caribbean Contemporary Research, II, 1982–3 (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1984).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
  5. 6.
    Sir Anthony Parsons, ‘The Falklands Crisis in the United Nations, 31 March–14 June 1982’, International Affairs, 59 (1983) 169–78. This is an invaluable source for discussion of all the key issues involved and my debt to it will be obvious.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 7.
    Ibid., 169–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.
    Ibid., 170.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, The Battle for the Falklands (London: Pan Books, 1983) p. 204. This is the most detailed account of the crisis available and the author acknowledges his debt to both authors.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Philip Windsor, ‘Diplomatic Dimensions of the Falklands Crisis’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 12 (1983) 90. This point is made explicitly in an earlier draft of this paper which the author very kindly allowed me to see.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 18.
    Alan James, ‘Kurt Waldheim: Diplomats’ Diplomat’, The Yearbook of World Affairs, 37 (1983) 94.Google Scholar
  11. 32.
    Phil Williams, ‘Miscalculation, Crisis Management and the Falklands Conflict’, The World Today, 39 (1983) 147.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    Ibid., 148.Google Scholar
  13. 34.
    Ibid., 148.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© G. R. Berridge and A. Jennings 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Spence

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