“The question of a union between Somaliland and Somalia has been one for the Somalis themselves. It has in fact been agreed as a free action on the part of two independent states.”
Remarks by Ambassador Sir Pierson Dixon, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations at the Security Council Meeting on the application of the Republic of Somalia to membership in the United Nations, which was held in New York, on Tuesday, 5 July 1960, at 3 p.m., as a draft resolution S/4363 submitted by Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom were introduced.
“My delegation is happy to share with the delegation of Italy and the delegation of Tunisia the honor of sponsoring the application of the Republic of Somalia for membership in the United Nations. This is an occasion which may well go down to history as unique in the annals of the United Nations. We have on more than one occasion welcomed into the Organization’s former Trust Territories. We have many times welcomed States which have graduated from dependence to independence.
But today we are concerned with the uniting of Somaliland, a former British protectorate – which itself celebrated its independence on 26 June-and Somalia, which has been administered by Italy as a Trust Territory and reached independence on 1 July. On that same day, 1 July, the two independent states of Somaliland and of Somalia freely entered into a solemn partnership: the Republic of Somalia.
There seems to me to be ample cause here for satisfaction. The two constituent parts of the Republic of Somalia have our warmest congratulations on the way in which they have advanced to independence. As the representative of one of the two administering Powers concerned, I can speak with very genuine feeling when I say how gratified we are that this important development has taken place in an atmosphere of mutual interest and goodwill between the administering and the administered, founded in a common aim: independence.
The decision of these two independent nations to fuse their identity into one is also a matter in which their leaders and people can be assured of our best wishes for success. It is, of course, an arrangement which affects Somaliland and Somalia only, and we are confident that the new State will retain the most friendly relations with all its neighbors. Her Majesty’s Government recognized the new State on 1 July and Her Majesty was represented at the ceremonies of independence by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. John Profumo, who presented his credentials to President Aden Abdullah Osman that afternoon.
I was much moved by the statement we have just heard from the representative of Italy. In laying down its trust, which it has discharged on behalf of the United Nations with such skill and devotion, the Government of Italy can do so in the knowledge that it has left the United Nations and the people of Somalia deeply in its debt. During the ten years of Italian trusteeship, my Government has watched with increasing admiration the work of the Italian Government and the Somali people in developing the Trust Territory.
My delegation has been able during that time to observe from close quarters in the Trusteeship Council the inspiring progress which has been made. We have had the privilege of knowing some of the dedicated people who have played a prominent part in this chapter of United Nations history. In particular, I should like to mention Hajji Farah Ali Omar, who represented the Government of the former Trust Territory on so many occasions here in New York, and. of course, the Prime Minister for a number of years, Mr. Abdullahi Issa, whom we remember from earlier days in the United Nations.
I should also like to recall on this occasion the arduous work which has been done by the members of that unique United Nations body, the Advisory Council in Mogadiscio, the representatives of Colombia, the Philippines, and the United Arab Republic, who have served this Organization and the new State so devotedly. Special thought is due to the memory of Kamal Eddin Salah, who tragically lost his life in the service of the Council.
To these men, together with the Italian administrators who have contributed so much, Ambassadors Fornari, Martino, Anzilotti, and di Stefano, our proceedings today are a tribute.
The special relationship forged between the United Nations and the people of Somalia-a relationship bound up with the history of this Organization itself – will not, I am confident, be allowed to rust away. I am sure that, on the contrary, in the matter of economic, social, and educational aid to the Republic of Somalia, this Organization has a most important role to play in the future in cooperation with the leaders of the newly independent State.
My delegation was happy to see Mr. Stavropoulos in Mogadiscio at the moment of independence as the representative of the Secretary-General, and we hope that appropriate arrangements will be made to ensure that the advice and the assistance of the United Nations are available to the new State.
We are dealing today with the application for membership of the Republic of Somalia, but I hope that it will be thought appropriate if I speak particularly of that part of the Republic with which we in the United Kingdom have had long and friendly connexions and which is less familiar to the United Nations than the former Trust Territory.
It was in 1827 that the first treaty between a Somali tribe and the United Kingdom was signed. By 1887 a series of treaties guaranteeing British protection to various Somali tribes had been signed, and the Somali Protectorate was administered by the United Kingdom until 26 June 1960. I should like to give a brief sketch of some of the main aspects of this land – that is, the land with which we have had special connexions.
Somaliland lies on the southern shores of the Gulf of Aden. Along the coast are flat maritime plains which rise steeply to the highlands, comprising a great mountain range and extensive plateau areas more than 2,000 feet above sea-level, which provide the principal pastures of the country. The population of the former Somaliland, mainly nomadic, is estimated at about 650,000 persons – almost one-third of the population of the new Republic.
The economy is principally pastoral. Animal husbandry is much the most important single source of wealth and there is considerable export trade in animals on the hoof and skins. There is also an agricultural industry of increasing importance.
Her Majesty’s Government, during its period of responsibility for the Somaliland Protectorate, sought to help to develop the basic framework of services and facilities necessary for communications, for production, and for social well-being. In addition to an annual grant-in-aid for the budget of the Protectorate, it contributed considerable sums to development. In the last four years alone, some £2.5 million was made available.
It would, I think, be appropriate to mention here that Somaliland already has firsthand experience of some aspects of the work of the United Nations, since the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund have helped in making surveys there in connexion with particular diseases. We very much appreciate this assistance.
These have been the sinews of nationhood which we have helped to develop during our period of responsibility. Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom has drawn great satisfaction from the fact that the political evolution of the Somaliland Protectorate has resulted largely from the initiative of the people of Somaliland themselves, who have shown themselves so ready and able to assume the responsibilities of statehood.
It may be useful to the Council if I briefly describe the course of recent steps which led to the attainment of nationhood last week. Executive and Legislative Councils were established in the Protectorate in 1955 and first met in May 1957. The first elections were held in March 1959.
The Secretary of State for the Colonies had announced on 9 February 1959, in the Legislative Council, that an unofficial majority would be introduced in both the Executive and the Legislative Councils in 1960 and that thereafter such further constitutional steps as were necessary would lead to early self-government.
A new Constitution was accordingly introduced early this year, providing for an almost entirely elected Legislature. In the elections on 17 February, Somali candidates were returned, in a heavy poll, for all the elected seats, and a coalition under Mr. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal held all but one seat. The way ahead was clear.
In his speech to which I have just referred, the Secretary of State for the Colonies recognized the deep desire expressed by many Somalis in the Protectorate for a closer association with Somalia. He stated that if, after Somalia became independent, both territories wished to explore this possibility, Her Majesty’s Government would arrange for negotiations to take place.
On 6 April, the Legislative Council adopted unanimously a motion calling for union with Somalia and for independence by 1 July, the date on which the Trust Territory of Somalia was to attain independence.
The elected ministers then asked to pay an early visit to London to discuss independence, a request which we warmly welcomed and which led to the Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference early in May this year. Despite the obvious difficulties in making the necessary arrangements within so short a period, Her Majesty’s Government agreed to undertake constitutional measures to make possible the independence of the Protectorate by 1 July. The date fixed upon was 26 June.
On that day Her Majesty’s Government ceased to have any governmental responsibility in the Protectorate, and Somaliland formally assumed full sovereignty under the executive direction of a Council of Ministers and the Prime Ministership of Mr. Egal. I should like here to pay a tribute to the leadership which he has shown during this vital period in the history of his country.
This was a most happy outcome, and Her Majesty’s Government is confident that its relations with the Somali people will continue on the present friendly basis. Its concern has been to grant independence to Somaliland in accordance with the wishes of the people of Somaliland. The question of a union between Somaliland and Somalia has been one for the Somalis themselves. It has in fact been agreed as a free action on the part of two independent states.
I turn briefly to the future. Her Majesty’s Government had given certain undertakings with regard to assistance to Somaliland. These have been transferred to the Somali Republic, following the uniting of Somaliland with Somalia, and always subject, naturally, to the wishes of the Republic. Her Majesty’s Government will further contribute to the Republic an additional annual sum which had been promised to Somalia before the decision on union was reached.
Her Majesty’s Government has also made arrangements, for an interim period, for the continued services of United Kingdom personnel to assist the Somali authorities, at their request. The Italian Government will be giving even more substantial aid to the Somali Republic and we are gratified to see this and other evidence of the continued close association of Italy with the Somali people.
There is good reason for optimism, about the outlook for this new State. Although it is clear that the Republic of Somalia faces formidable economic problems, I am confident that, with the help of the world community, these can be solved.
Moreover, the evidence before us shows that the apparatus and habits of democratic government are well established there. The statesmanlike approach of the leaders of the Republic to the intricate arrangements involved in its establishment bears witness to their skill in government and to their sense of responsibility.
We welcome their wish to join this Organization and to subscribe to the purposes of the United Nations, and I am thinking particularly in this connexion of the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations among nations, and the achievement of international co-operation in solving international problems.
It is a source of great contentment to us in the United Kingdom that our long association with the people of the former Protectorate should have reached so happy a culmination. We look forward with every confidence to an equally happy association with the Republic and are confident that it will soon be playing a full and valuable part in the fraternity of nations.
In conclusion, I warmly commend to my fellow representatives the draft resolution which, with the Governments of Italy and Tunisia, we have submitted to the Security Council and am confident that it will meet with their unanimous support.”
From the official records of the 871st Meeting of Security Council on the admission of Somalia to membership in the United Nations, 5 July 1960, New York
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