UN – Kashmir

United Nations Security Council Resolution 39, adopted on January 20, 1948, offered to assist in the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir Conflict by setting up a commission of three members; one to be chosen by India, one to be chosen by Pakistan and the third to be chosen by the other two members of the commission. The commission was to write a joint letter advising the Security Council on what course of action would be best to help further peace in the region.

The commission was to “investigate the facts” and to “carry out directions” given by the Security Council. The investigations were to address the allegations made by India in its letter of 1 January 1948, regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Secondly they were to address, when the “Security Council so directs”, other issues raised by Pakistan in its submission on the 15 January 1948. The Pakistani allegations were wide-ranging: that India was attempting to undo the partition of India, that it was carrying out a campaign of ‘genocide’ against Muslims in East Punjab, Delhi and other areas, that it forcefully and unlawfully occupied Junagadh, that it obtained the accession of Jammu and Kashmir by ‘fraud and violence’, and that it threatened Pakistan with direct military attack.

Negotiations and aftermath

The resolution was moved by Belgium, as the Chair of the Council. It was largely influenced by the special British delegation headed by Philip Noel-Baker, the British Cabinet minister for Commonwealth Relations, sent to the United Nations for handling the Kashmir dispute. The resolution passed by nine votes, with Ukraine and the Soviet Union abstaining.

The British delegation also sought to persuade India to accept an impartial administration in Kashmir under the auspices of the UN. The administration was to be headed by a “neutral” Chairman and Kashmir was to be under a joint military occupation under a neutral Commander-in-Chief appointed by the UN. The United States did not support these far-reaching proposals.

The British delegation intended that the UN commission would be subordinate to the Security Council, whereas the real work of formulating a settlement would be carried out in New York. Hence, despite the urgency of the situation, no moves were actually made to create the commission until after the Resolution 47 was passed by the Council in April 1948. A further eleven weeks passed before the commission could be formed and able to arrive in the Indian subcontinent. The UN diplomat Josef Korbel later had words of criticism for the delay in forming the UN commission. During the winter months, the fighting had reduced to small skirmishes. Korbel opined that the arrival of the commission before the fighting renewed in the summer months could have had a dampening effect. When the commission eventually got down to work, the political and military situation was quite different from what it had been in January–April 1948.

It was later discovered that a contributory factor for the delay was Pakistan’s failure to nominate its representative on the UN commission until 30 April 1948.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 122 was adopted on the 24 January 1957 and concerned the dispute between the governments of India and Pakistan over the territories of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the first of three security resolutions in 1957 (along with resolutions 123 and 126) to deal with the dispute between the countries. The resolution declares that the assembly proposed by the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference could not constitute a solution to the problem as defined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 91 which had been adopted almost six years earlier.

Resolution 122 was passed by 10 votes to none, with the Soviet Union abstaining.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 123 was adopted on February 21, 1957 after the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir intensified. The council requested that the President of the Security Council visit the subcontinent and, along with the governments of India and Pakistan, examine any proposals which were likely to contribute to the resolution of the dispute. The council requested that he report back to them no later than April 15, and the resulting report formed the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 126, which was adopted in December of the same year.

The resolution was adopted by ten votes to none; the Soviet Union abstained.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 126 was adopted on 2 December 1957. It was the last of three resolutions passed during 1957 to deal with the dispute between the governments of India and Pakistan over the territories of Jammu and Kashmir. It followed a report on the situation by Gunnar Jarring, representative for Sweden which the council had requested in resolution 123. It requests that the governments of India and Pakistan refrain from aggravating the situation, and instructs the United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan to visit the subcontinent and report to the council with recommended action toward further progress.

The resolution was passed by ten votes to one, with the Soviet Union abstaining.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 91, adopted on March 30, 1951, noting a report by Sir Owen Dixon, the United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan, stating that the main point of difference of preparing the state of Jammu and Kashmir for the holding of a plebiscite were as follows; the procedure for and extent of demilitarization, the degree of control over the exercise of the functions of government necessary to ensure a free and fair plebiscite.

The Council accepted Sir Dixon’s resignation and expressed its gratitude to him for his great ability and devotion. The Council then instructed Sir Dixon’s replacement to proceed to the subcontinent and, after consultation with the governments of India and Pakistan, to effect the demilitarization of the State of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan and called upon the parties to co-operate with the UN Representative to the fullest degree in effecting the demilitarization.

The Council then instructed the new UN Representative to report to them within three months and, if he had not effected the demilitarization or obtained plans to do so, the Representative would report to the Council those points of difference which would have to be resolved for demilitarization to be carried out. The Council then called upon the parties to accept arbitration upon all outstanding points of difference, should the UN Representative fail to achieve a full agreement, by an arbiter or a panel of arbiters to be appointed by the president of the International Court of Justice. It was also decided that the Military Observer Group would continue to supervise the cease-fire in the state.

The resolution was adopted eight votes to none, with three abstentions from India, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

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