How Significant was Lester Pearson’s Role in the Suez Crisis of 1956?
A - How Significant was Lester Pearson’s Role in the Suez Crisis of 1956? introduction. Plan of the Investigation This investigation assesses the question: how significant was Lester Pearson’s role in the Suez Crisis of 1956? In order to evaluate Lester Pearson’s significance, the investigation evaluates his role throughout the Suez Crisis. It will assess his reasons for working with the United Nations, the path to the peace treaty Pearson presented to the United Nations, and the effects of the peace treaty passed by the United Nations.
In the Suez Crisis, Lester Pearson’s significance is evaluated by his own personal written memoirs and historical evaluations written by foreign historians such as Anthony Gorst, Lewis Johnman and Barry Turner. The sources Four Faces of Peace written by Pearson and Suez 1956 written by Barry Turner will then be evaluated for their origins, purposes, value and limitations. B. Summary of the Evidence The Suez was a conflict that began with the head of the Egyptian’s ruling council Gamal Abdel Nassar declaring that the Suez Canal was to come under exclusive Egyptian control.
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However, the “Suez Canal was not like any other waterway. Built by the French and long administered by the Angelo-French company, the canal was seen as “Europe’s lifeline. ” The Suez Canal was the route by which Middle East oil was delivered to “energy hungry economies” such as Britain and France. In the eyes of many, Egypt was not to be trusted and Nasser was never to be trusted. Thus further lead to the invasions lead by the French and British army along with Israel which was considered “the largest amphibious fighting force since the end of the Second World War. The invasion was especially scary from the world because it could lead to a third world war. In terms of peace, many were apprehensive.
The UN was under fierce pressure to bring the situation under control and help find a solution. However, the UN had deployed several observer missions in Egypt, their functions were limited to observing and monitoring ceasefires after an agreement had been concluded. Lester Pearson did not agree with the method of UN. He believed “the UN was to have to take the responsibility to bring the fighting to an end. This brought many in the UN under pressure, but the idea of a peace treaty was not conveyed. Lester Pearson was “determined to advocate a policy at the Assembly and do everything he could to have it adopted, which would end the fighting before it spread. ” As shooting continued, despair for a resolution became an alternative. Lester Pearson was the foreign affairs minister of Canada in 1956; he worked in providing a resolution for the UN to bring the fighting to an end.
He worked four days without stopping in order to present a resolution on November 3rd, 1956. Calling for a UN police force, the resolution from Pearson included a plan for setting up a United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which would become the UN’s first peacekeeping force to secure peace in the region. Under Pearson’s collaboration with the Secretary-General, all shooting stopped at midnight on November 6th; by the 15th the first UN troops arrived in the Canal Zone. The resolution provided peace which many were unable to do for many years.
The resolution Lester Pearson presented was against his crown; the British Empire. Lester felt his actions were mandatory, and it provided a treaty that could be carried out for many years under the collaborations of nations involved. Pearson’s resolution not only stopped cease fire, but it withdrew tensions brought on by many countries. On November 4th, 1956, as Pearson was working on his resolution, the Security Council was called into an emergency session and refused to consider a Soviet proposal for Soviet and United States intervention.
The Soviet proposal lead to a demand by the Asian and Arab members of the Assembly to “brand the United Kingdom and France as aggressors under the Charter and to invoke sanctions against them. ” This pressured Pearson into quickly developing his full resolution as it came into action 2 days later on November 6th, and ended all proposals and demands by foreign nations as the Advisory Committee passed the detailed resolution with a vote of 64 to 0. Pearson’s role not only ended the shooting, but ended foreign tensions as they increased.
C. Evaluation of Sources. The origin of Source A is a primary source called Four Faces of Peace written by Lester Pearson in 1964. Its purpose is to highlight the life of a famous Canadian known as Lester Pearson. Its value is that it a first person novel written by Lester Pearson, which provides his own knowledge on his life experiences such as the Suez Crisis of 1956. The limitation of this novel is that it only encounters the experiences and opinions of Lester Pearson as it only provides his background knowledge on certain topics, and does not include the actions or opinions of others.
If a historian wanted to learn further about topics present in this book, they would have to go beyond this document. The origin of Source B is a primary source called Suez 1956 written by the journalist Barry Turner in 2006. Its purpose is to educate the reader on conflicts between Egypt and three other nations in 1956, which lead to invasions of Egypt and a universal conflict that includes the United Nations. Its value is that it shows there were problems between Egypt and Israel that lead to the involvement of Britain and France due to an Egyptian controlled Canal.
The limitation of this book is that it does not fully show the process of a peace treaty and does not recognize the UN as a key factor in solving the Suez Crisis. D. Analysis Lester Pearson’s significance in the Suez Crisis can be considered as unimportant or quite significant in the resolution of Suez Crisis. Many believe he did not impact seize fire in the Canal as negotiations began before the peace treaty was in action.
However, if Pearson’s role was miniscule between Egypt and other countries, Pearson’s treaty would not be considered a great accomplishment in the eyes of many Canadian’s. In the initial days of the crisis, Pearson’s role did not seem to be significant for two reasons: he had not yet joined the UN in providing a peace treaty, and it was not expected of him as a Canadian Foreign Minister to become involved with such a world known Crisis, and at that time, President Eisenhower proposed a resolution of seize fire to the UN and it had already passed.
Eisenhower’s resolution was ignored by all countries in the canal and Pearson saw this as an opportunity as he began his plead to the General Assembly. Pearson’s resolution passed with 57 affirmative votes and 19 abstentions as it considered effective because it seized-fire. Pearson’s intervention was recognized as significant in the eyes of Dr. Gunnar John a member of the General Assembly as he stated Pearson is “a man who contributed more than anyone else to save the world. As many saw Pearson’s role as significant, it is believed that Mohamed Heikal was the true significance behind the Suez Crisis of 1956. Mohamed Heikal “eased the way for an agreement into improving relations between Egypt and Britain. ” Unlike Pearson, it was considered his job actually improved the situation while Pearson’s treaty only seized fire. Heikal’s actions were considered a success in improving the relations between two stricken countries.
However, it was believed that Pearson was the critical reason in stopping seize-fire which stopped an invasion on the track to disaster. This further proves the significance of Pearson’s role, comparing him to someone who is as well considered significant. For some members of the General Assembly, they believed Pearson’s role was able to be done by anyone, and it was already on its way to becoming accomplished before the involvement of Pearson.
With help of President Eisenhower, many believe that he was the man who inspired Pearson since he presented a resolution that seizes fire and it was approved by the General Assembly before Pearson presented his own resolution. However, in Pearson’s written memoir, he indicates he presented the resolution to provide a “world of peace” and it was his own inspiration that lead him to provide a resolution for the United Nations. In the view of contradicting sources, it is likely that Pearson’s role was as significant as he claimed.
E. Conclusion. During each and every stage of the crisis, Lester Pearson’s intervention caused a great deal of relief. As he was overshadowed in the first couple of months, it was President Eisenhower under pressure to provide a resolution. However, it was Lester Pearson who proposed the effective treaty and seized fire in a canal where chaos was rising and the UN was trying to fortify it’s position in world safety, it may be said that the Suez Crisis was a “victory for the United Nations and for the man who contributed more than anyone else to save the world at the time. ”