Departmental Bulletin Paper Britain’s Post-War Empire and “The UN Containment Policy”

HANZAWA, Asahiko

This primary sourced article tries to show that the policy of “UN containment” lay central in the official mind of the architects of the British Empire during the formative and early years of the UN (before the Suez Crisis of 1956). Since the British were far from disposed to hastily relinquish their imperial hegemony, the UN, which they thought could hamper their favoured “orderly decolonisation” policy, had to be managed at all costs. Just as the League of Nations with its Mandate system was used to reinforce the European imperial order, so was the UN colonial system. The international organisation, the British expected, could be a tool for maintaining the legitimacy of colonial rule. Whether or not such intentions proved to be successfully realised in hindsight, this strategy necessitated a close tie with the United States. The onset of the Cold War was apparently advantageous for the British in this respect as it fostered Anglo-American relations though the US anti-colonial stance often frustrated the British.

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