International Policing

November 21, 1947

Report Outline
Palestine Problem and Joint Police Action
World Organization and World Policing
Plan for United Nations Military Force
Special Focus

Palestine Problem and Joint Police Action

Instruments for Enforcing Palestine Settlement

Partition of Palestine may confront the United Nations, for the first time, with the necessity of employing force to carry out a decision of the world organization. The plan for division of the Holy Land into independent Jewish and Arab states contemplates formation of native armed militia to maintain order in the transitional period while the British are withdrawing and before attainment of full independence. However, in the light of bitter Arab hostility to partition, there is grave doubt that warfare between Jews and Arabs can be prevented and the settlement enforced without outside military intervention.

If open defiance of the authority of the United Nations does in fact develop in Palestine, the Security Council will not be prepared to take independently, under Art. 42 of the Charter, “such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.” Arrangements for making armed forces available to the Security Council for that purpose are still far from completion. That fact, however, does not necessarily mean that the peace can be breached with impunity. For until arrangements for arming the United Nations have come into force, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, France, and China are bound by Art. 106 of the Charter to “consult with one another and as occasion requires with other members of the United Nations with a view to such joint action on behalf of the organization as may be necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.”

Art. 106 in effect makes the great powers temporarily the policemen of the United Nations, and the Palestine case may afford an early test of their ability to act jointly in that capacity. The American government presumably would not send troops to Palestine without the consent of Congress, but if the need for joint police action should arise, Congress could not easily withhold such consent in view of the obligations placed on this country by Art. 106.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Nations