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The Formation of International Organizations and India: A Historical Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 February 2010

Abstract

As the clash of aspirations increased among European countries, a European ‘civil war’ started in 1914, which engulfed the whole world. With all the terrible destruction and loss of life, it was felt that an international organization must be established to avert war in future. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the British government succeeded in gaining separate representation for its dominions, including India. This created a rather anomalous situation, since a dependency of a foreign power, a colony which could not control its internal affairs, was accepted as a sovereign state by an international treaty. Europe had hardly recovered from the First World War in the late 1920s when it drifted towards a second holocaust in 1939. India became a founding member of the United Nations in 1945, even though it was still under British rule, participating in the historic founding conference. But Indian national public opinion was neither very hopeful nor enthusiastic about the conference on the new international organization. Not only India, which was not even independent at that time, but Asian countries as such played a very small and insignificant role in the formulation of the UN Charter.

Type
ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law 2010

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References

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8 India's position changed only after the First World War, when its tremendous contribution to the war effort led it to become a member of the British Imperial Conference in 1917, something earlier strongly opposed by the white British dominions. D. Verma, India and the League of Nations (1968), 1–9. It may also be mentioned that India had already become a member of such international organizations as the Universal Postal Union in 1876, the Conference of the International Union for the Publication of Tariff Customs in 1890, and the International Telegraph Conference in 1912. Ibid., at 10.

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26 Quoted in Poulose, supra note 14, at 207.

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36 L. Oppenheim, International Law, A Treatise (1928), I, 195.

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38 Quoted in ibid., at 36.

39 A. Keith, A Constitutional History of India (1933), 468.

40 Quoted in Verma, supra note 8, at 39.

41 Bal Gangadhar Tilak even wrote a letter to Georges Clemenceau, the president of the Peace Conference, outlining India's prospective role as a leading Asian power in post-war world affairs. Ibid., at 270.

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46 Anandabazar Patrika (Calcutta), 23 June 1921, also quoted in India and the United Nations, supra note 42, at 7.

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52 J. Nehru, The Discovery of India (1946), 429.

53 Ibid., at 430–2.

54 For details of the participation of Indian troops see R. Majumdar, H. Raychaudhuri, and K. Datta, An Advanced History of India (1999), 949 ff.

55 Nehru, supra note 52, at 457.

56 Ibid., at 476–7.

57 See L. Goodrich and E. Hambro, Charter of the United Nations: Commentary and Documents (1946), 306.

58 Ibid., at 305.

59 Ibid., at 307.

60 Ibid., at 308 ff.

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63 It was not easy for the British government to select members of the Indian delegation because of serious criticism coming from Indian national leaders. See another article by Professor M. S. Rajan, ‘India and the Making of the UN Charter – II (from British Sources)’, (1999) 36 International Studies 3. The articles complement each other.

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65 9 March 1945, quoted in Rajan, supra note 63, at 434.

66 T. Bahadur Sapru, H. Kunzru, Right Hon. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri, C. Rajagopalachari, quoted in ibid.

67 The Hindu, 13 April 1945, quoted in Rajan, supra note 63, at 435.

68 One year later she led the Indian delegation to the UN General Assembly, and was elected president of the General Assembly's eighth session in 1953. Ibid.

69 British Commonwealth Meeting, 4 April 1945, quoted in ibid., at 437.

70 Quoted in Rajan, supra note 61, at 438–9.

71 Quoted in ibid., at 438–9.

72 Quoted in ibid., at 140.

73 Ibid., at 441.

74 Report of the Conference of the United Nations in San Francisco, 3 August 1945, quoted in ibid., at 443–5.

75 Quoted in Rajan, supra note 61, at 449; see also ibid., at 40.

76 A. Lall, ‘The Asian Nations and the United Nations’, in N. Padelford and L. Goodrich (eds.), The United Nations in the Balance (1965), 365.

77 Rajan, supra note 63, at 455. Professor Rajan does not agree with Arthur Lall that India's role in the UNCIO ‘was disappointingly and disproportionately small’.

78 The Hindu, 27 June 1945; also quoted in ibid., at 456.