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The UN and Decolonisation in Namibia

  • Richard Dale
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)

Abstract

‘Today’, wrote an Egyptian diplomat, ‘the whole world is basically decolonised. The only major exception in this regard is Namibia, with which the United Nations has been plagued since its establishment.’1 The purpose of his chapter is to explore the nature of this particular plague. How did it get on the United Nations agenda, what United Nations institutions were involved, why is it still lodged on the agenda, and what are the prospects for removing it from the agenda? In the course of this exploration, we will concern ourselves with the elements of continuity between the League of Nations and the subsequent United Nations. How did the two international organisations differ in terms of how their members and officials dealt with Namibia? How were they similar? The emphasis will be upon organisational structure and the ambient political pressures impinging upon the League and the United Nations.

Keywords

Security Council Colonial Rule Special Committee Advisory Opinion United Nations General 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Mahmoud F. El-Said, ‘The United Nations and Namibia: Implications for Institutional Development of the Organization and the Creation of Norms of International Behavior.’ PhD diss., City University of New York, 1986, p. 38.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    In our view, the exemplar in this field is Miles E. Kahler, Decolonization in Britain and France: The Domestic Consequences of International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Here we have in mind Bruce M. Russett’s notion of responsiveness in his Community and Contention: Britain and America in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 1963), pp. 27–31.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kenneth W. Grundy explores this topic in his brief study, The Militarization of South African Politics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Solomon I. Slonim provides a thoughtful survey of the League mandates system and its application to Namibia in his South West Africa and the United Nations: A Mandate in Dispute (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), pp. 39–58.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The standard work in the field, Quincy Wright’s Mandates under the League of Nations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930)Google Scholar
  7. should be read in conjunction with Robert L. Bradford’s classic account, ‘The Origin and Concession of the League of Nations’ Class “C” Mandate for South West Africa and Fulfilment of the Sacred Trust, 1919–1939.’ PhD diss., Yale University, 1965.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    For a discussion of the political economy of the League mandates system, consult Mervat F. Hatem, ‘The Political Economy of International Political Organizations: The League of Nations and the United Nations.’ PhD diss., University of Michigan, 1982, pp. 46, 71–7, 82 and 213.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    For an insightful analysis of the work of both courts, consult Isaak I. Dore, The International Mandate System and Namibia (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1985), pp. 61–117. Justice Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice includes an excellent tabular comparison of the mandates and trusteeship system in his dissenting opinion in International Court of Justice, Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders: Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) Notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970), 232, n. 12.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Inis L. Claude, Jr. ‘Implications and Questions for the Future’, International Organization, vol. 19, no. 3 (summer 1965), p. 844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    John Strachey, The End of Empire (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1964), pp. 140 and 142.Google Scholar
  12. Professor J. Leo Cefkin discusses the subject in ‘International Legitimation and Southern Africa: Principles and Practice.’ Paper prepared for delivery at the sixty-fourth annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2–7 September 1968, particularly pp. 13–18.Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    For his claim of authorship, consult Mourumba Kerina, Namibia: The Making of a Nation (New York: Books in Focus, 1981), pp. 238–40.Google Scholar
  14. For the implications of the name change, see J. H. P. Serfontein, Namibia? (Randburg: Fokus Suid Publishers, 1976), pp. 5–7Google Scholar
  15. William U. Crowell, ‘The Evolution of South African Control over South West Africa (Namibia).’ PhD diss., St John’s University, 1975, pp. 317–18.Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    See John Dugard, ‘The Revocation of the Mandate for South West Africa’, The American Journal of International Law, vol. 62, no. 1, (January 1968), pp. 78–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 15.
    Leon Gordenker, ‘The United Nations and Its Members: Changing Perceptions’, International Journal, Toronto, vol. 39, no. 2, (spring 1984), p. 311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. John Flint, ‘Planned Decolonization and Its Failure in British Africa’, African Affairs, London, vol. 82, no. 8, (July 1983), p. 394.Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    Geiss M. Rocha, In Search of Namibian Independence: The Limitations of the United Nations (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1984), p. 117d.Google Scholar
  20. 19.
    Alden C. Small explores this topic in a sophisticated and detailed manner in his ‘The United Nations and South West Africa: A Study in Parliamentary Diplomacy.’ PhD diss., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1970.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    For further details, see Khalil Makkawi’s ‘The Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly’, PhD diss., Columbia University, 1968Google Scholar
  22. Robert B. Lane’s ‘The United Nations Committee on South West Africa, 1953–1961’, MA. thesis, The American University, 1964Google Scholar
  23. Robert E. Jones’s ‘Anti-Colonialism at the United Nations: The Origins and Policy of the United Nations Special Committee on Colonialism, 1960–1967’, PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 1974.Google Scholar
  24. 27.
    United Nations, Security Council, Report of the Secretary General Submitted Pursuant to Paragraph 2 of Security Council Resolution 431 (1978) concerning the Situation in Namibia. Document S/12817, 29 August 1978, pp. 6–9 (paras. 26, 30, 32, and 41–2).Google Scholar
  25. There are reasons for believing that, in the future, funding could be a vexing problem. David Brook’s ‘The 1986 Financial Crisis at the United Nations’, International Studies Newsletter, vol. 13, no. 6, (August 1986), pp. 10–12, is suggestive of the future budgetary austerity of the organisation which would adversely affect UNTAG.Google Scholar
  26. 30.
    See Willem Steenkamp, Borderstrik! South Africa into Angola (Durban: Butterworths Publishers, 1983), pp. 145–63.Google Scholar
  27. 31.
    See especially Sanford J. Ungar, ‘Namibia: The Last Buffer’, The Atlantic, vol. 2541, no. 6, (June 1983), pp. 24, 26, 28, 30–32, and 34.Google Scholar
  28. 32.
    Philip H. Frankel, Pretoria’s Pretorians: Civil-Military Relations in South Africa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 104.Google Scholar
  29. 33.
    Reginald H. Green and Kimmo Kiljunen, ‘The Colonial Economy: Structures of Growth and Exploitation’, in Reginald Green, Kimmo Kiljunen, and Marja-Liisa Kiljunen, (eds), Namibia: The Last Colony, (Harlow, England: Longman 1981), p. 45.Google Scholar
  30. 34.
    This synopsis is based upon Donald L. Sparks and Roger Murray, Namibia’s Future: The Economy at Independence, Special Report no. 197, London: The Economist Intelligence Unit, 1985, pp. 22–35Google Scholar
  31. El-Said, ‘The United Nations and Namibia’, note 1, pp. 99–102; and Allan D. Cooper, US Economic Power and Political Influence in Namibia, 1700–1982 (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1982), pp. 61–126.Google Scholar
  32. 35.
    David Soggot, Namibia: The Violent Heritage (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1986), p. 280.Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    Slonim, South West Africa, note 5, pp. 125–40 and 173–6 and I. William Zartman, Ripe for Resolution: Conflict and Intervention in Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 152–219.Google Scholar
  34. 37.
    Consult Gerhard Erasmus, ‘White South Africans and the United Nations’, International Affairs Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 3, (1985), pp. 26–40.Google Scholar
  35. 38.
    Jeffrey Davidow, A Peace in Southern Africa: The Lancaster House Conference on Rhodesia, 1979 (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1984), pp. 21–23, 26, 67–69, 73, 88, 92, 98; and William Gutteridge, ‘Namibia: A Role for the Commonwealth?’, Round Table, London, no. 285, (January 1983), pp. 71–80.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David P. Forsythe 1989

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  • Richard Dale

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