UNITED NATIONS SECURITY FORCE IN WEST NEW GUINEA
UNSF (3 October 1962 - 30 April 1963)
UNSF was established in October 1962 to maintain peace and security in the territory under the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority established by agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands. UNSF monitored the ceasefire and helped ensure law and order during the transition period, pending transfer to Indonesia
- Historical background
- Arranging a ceasefire
- Establishment of UNSF
- Establishment of UNTEA
- Activities after the creation of UNTEA
- Transfer of administration to Indonesia
- Secretary-General's observations
- Implementation of the 1962 agreement
The territory of West New Guinea (West Irian) had been in the possession of the Netherlands since 1828. When the Netherlands formally recognized the sovereign independence of Indonesia in 1949, the status of West Irian remained unresolved. It was agreed in the Charter of Transfer of Sovereignty C concluded between the Netherlands and Indonesia at The Hague, Netherlands, in November 1949 C that the issue would be postponed for a year, and that "the status quo of the presidency of New Guinea" would be "maintained under the Government of the Netherlands" in the mean time. The ambiguity of the language, however, led the Netherlands to consider itself the sovereign Power in West New Guinea, since this would be a continuation of the "status quo". Indonesia, on the other hand, interpreted the Dutch role there to be strictly administrative, with the implication that West Irian would be incorporated into Indonesia after a year.
Arranging a ceasefire
To pave the way for the arrival in West Irian of UNTEA and UNSF, a ceasefire between Indonesian and Netherlands forces had to be enforced. The memorandum of understanding concerning the ceasefire C presented on 15 August 1962 in a note to the Acting Secretary-General from the representatives of Indonesia and the Netherlands C requested that the Secretary-General undertake immediately some of the functions outlined in the main agreement, so as to effect a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible. Such action would constitute an "extraordinary measure", because the General Assembly would not be voting on the establishment of UNTEA and UNSF until it convened in late September.
Establishment of UNSF
With the cessation of hostilities, the next step was to ensure the maintenance of law and order in the territory. In addition to supervising the observer team, General Rikhye had been charged with making preliminary arrangements for the arrival of UNSF.
Article VIII of the Indonesian-Netherlands agreement stipulated the role and purpose of such a force:
The Secretary-General would provide the UNTEA with such security forces as the United Nations Administrator deems necessary; such forces would primarily supplement existing Papuan (West Irianese) police in the task of maintaining law and order. The Papuan Volunteer Corps, which on the arrival of the United Nations Administrator would cease being part of the Netherlands armed forces, and the Indonesian armed forces in the territory, would be under the authority of, and at the disposal of, the Secretary-General for the same purpose. The United Nations Administrator would, to the extent feasible, use the Papuan (West Irianese) police as a United Nations security force to maintain law and order and, at his discretion, use Indonesian armed forces. The Netherlands armed forces would be repatriated as rapidly as possible and while still in the territory will be under the authority of the UNTEA.
Establishment of UNTEA
UNSF was created to uphold the authority of UNTEA. Whereas groundwork for the arrival of UNSF troops had been laid in West Irian prior to the General Assembly's recognition of the agreement, it was not until Assembly resolution 1752 (XVII) was adopted that personnel associated with UNTEA were dispatched. This resolution, which would make the United Nations directly responsible for the administration of the western half of New Guinea, was approved by a vote of 89 to none, with 14 abstentions.
Activities after the creation of UNTEA
The agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia entrusted to UNTEA a number of broad powers: to "administer the territory"; to appoint government officials and members of representative councils; to legislate for the territory, subject to certain qualifications; and to guarantee civil liberties and property rights.
Transfer of administration to Indonesia
In accordance with article XII of the agreement, the UNTEA Administrator transferred full administrative control to the representative of the Indonesian Government, Mr. Tjondronegoro, on 1 May 1963. The ceremony was performed in the presence of the Chef de Cabinet as the Secretary-General's personal representative for the occasion, and the Indonesian Foreign Minister. At that time, the United Nations flag was taken down.
On the completion of UNTEA, the Secretary-General declared that it had been a unique experience, which had once again proved the capacity of the United Nations to undertake a variety of functions, provided that it received adequate support from its Member States. He also announced that, in consultation with Indonesia, he had decided in principle to designate a few United Nations experts, serving at Headquarters and elsewhere, to perform the functions envisaged in article XVII of the agreement, in so far as the article required that the Secretary-General advise, assist and participate in arrangements which were the responsibility of Indonesia for the act of free choice. Those experts would visit West Irian as often as necessary and spend as much time as would enable them to report fully to him, until he appointed a United Nations representative to preside over them as a staff.
Looking to the future, the Secretary-General stated that he was confident that Indonesia would scrupulously observe the terms of the 1962 agreement, and would ensure the exercise by the territory's population of their right to express their wishes as to their future.
In accordance with the Indonesia-Netherlands agreement, the Secretary-General on 1 April 1968 appointed a representative, Mr. Fernando Ortiz-Sanz, to advise, assist and participate in arrangements which were the responsibility of Indonesia for the act of free choice, on retaining or severing ties with Indonesia.
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