United Nations


General Assembly
Security Council

Distr. GENERAL  

30 January 1996


Fiftieth session  Fifty-first year
Agenda item 10

Letter dated 18 January 1996 from the Permanent Representative of
France to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

  Following  the  issuance  of  your  Supplement  to  an  Agenda  for  Peace
(A/50/60S/1995/1),  the President of  the Security Council, in his statement
of 22  February 1995, invited Member  States to  present further reflections
on  United  Nations  operations  in  the  area  of  international  peace and

  Attached is  France's contribution to  the consideration of this important
question (see annex).

  I  should  be  grateful if  you  would  have  this  letter  and its  annex
circulated as  a document of the  General Assembly, under  the item entitled
"Report of the Secretary-General  on the work of  the Organization", and  of
the Security Council.

(Signed)  Alain DEJAMMET


Supplement to An Agenda for Peace

Aide-memoire by France

  France  welcomed the issuance  on 3  January 1995 of the  Supplement to an
Agenda  for  Peace  by the  Secretary-General  of the  United  Nations.   It
believes that this report, which takes  into account the experience acquired
over the past two  years, makes a valuable contribution to the discussion on
this subject.

  Pursuant  to the  invitation extended  by  the  President of  the Security
Council in his  statement of 22 February 1995,  and by way of  supplementing
the  aide-memoire issued by  France following  the publication  of An Agenda
for   Peace,  the   French  Government  wishes  to   present  the  following
reflections on United Nations operations in  the area of international peace
and security.


  In  his Supplement  to an Agenda  for Peace, the  Secretary-General of the
United Nations, speaking  in the context of United Nations operations in the
area  of  international  peace  and security,  draws  a  distinction between
preventive  diplomacy and  deployment,  peacemaking (by  diplomatic  means),
peace-keeping   (stricto   sensu),  post-conflict   peace-building  (chiefly
through  disarmament  of  the  parties  and  restoration  of  political  and
economic structures and the social fabric) and enforcement action.

  France fully endorses this list of  categories.  However, it would propose
adding to  the list  in  order to  reflect  more  accurately the  nature  of
operations that are  deployed before a conflict  has ended and are  intended
to  restore  peace or  moderate the  conflict by  methods that  involve both
securing   the  parties'  consent   (principally  through  negotiation)  and
constraint (to ensure that safe  areas or the free  movement of humanitarian
convoys are respected, for example).

  The usefulness of such a category, of which Operation Turquoise in  Rwanda
is one example, leads us to stress the following points.

  The  fundamental   difference  between   operations  of   this  type   and
conventional  peace-keeping operations  is that  the former  are  undertaken
before the  conflict has ended  or while  it is  in its final  stages, which
means that at least one of the parties believes that its interests are  best
served  by a  prolongation, rather  than an  ending, of  the conflict.    An
operation aimed  at ending the conflict  cannot, therefore,  be neutral, any
more  than can one aimed at moderating the conflict, for the latter seeks of
necessity to modify the behaviour of at least one of the adversaries,  which
in most cases means  simply preventing it from using whatever strategies  or
tactics it considers most appropriate (by  creating safe areas, banning  the
overflight  of certain  areas, or  organizing  the  return of  refugees, for

   It is clear from  the outset that, by thwarting  the plans of one or more
parties  to the conflict, such operations are unlikely to enjoy the parties'
consent.  This  can only be obtained gradually, through negotiation but also
by assistance to the population (medical  assistance, civil engineering  and
so forth); at the same time,  the operation must be prepared to use force to
impose conditions  that are not yet  accepted, beginning,  perhaps, with the
very  presence of  United  Nations troops.    The decision  to  launch  such
operations must therefore  be based on  Chapter VII  of the  Charter of  the

United Nations.   The  deployment of  troops as  well as the  protective and
combat equipment  they require  must be planned  for in a  manner that  will
permit the use of force.

  Thus  operations of  this type contain  the risk of  escalation, which, if
not overcome, can change  the nature of an  operation, making it  a coercive
military action (peace enforcement).   Such a development must  not be ruled
out on principle; however, the political  cost (particularly the  withdrawal
of certain contingents)  and the technical difficulties (change in  military
deployment)  must  be reckoned.    Accordingly,  peacemaking  and  conflict-
moderation missions must be extremely disciplined  and skilled when they use
force; above  all,  they must  enjoy,  to  the extent  possible,  undisputed
military superiority.

  Given that  the Organization's military  resources are limited, it follows
that  the  number of  such  operations cannot  be  greatly increased:    the
decision rests, and must rest, with the Security Council.

  Having their basis in  the power of intimidation but equally in the effort
to secure  consent, such operations must  be neutral  rather than impartial.
The terms  of their mandate may thwart  the military goals or methods of one
party  more than  those  of  the other,  yet the  United Nations  force must
ensure  that these  terms are  equally respected  by all:   the  force  must
remain an arbitrator and must ensure that it is perceived as such.

  Such operations  are highly sensitive  and must be  carried out by  troops
that are well prepared.   Combat training and  a knowledge of  the operation
environment are vital  to such preparation.  However, basic training must be
supplemented by  training in negotiating techniques  so that  the force, and
senior personnel in  particular, are really equipped  to deal with  a number
of different authorities.


  The current  timetable for mounting  a United Nations  force is  often too
long.  The most  typical example is  UNAMIR II, which could not  be deployed
until six  months  after its  creation  by  a Security  Council  resolution.
France suggests that  this situation  be improved  by actually  implementing
and refining the system of stand-by  arrangements and by establishing  rapid
deployment units within this system.

 A.  Implementation and refinement of the system of
    stand-by arrangements                        

  The system of  stand-by arrangements, which was put  in place in 1994,  is
not yet fully operational,  for its effectiveness depends on the speed  with
which the United Nations  Secretariat can use  it to mount a cohesive  force
suited to the operation  in question, and  thus on the accuracy of  the data
available to  it. The  Secretariat, therefore, should continue  to encourage
States to become part  of this system while  also requesting States that are
already  participants  to make  their  offers  more  specific by  submitting
detailed  volumetric   descriptions  of  the   resources  proposed.     Such
descriptions should  also mention the timetable  for the  deployment of each
unit (so  as to  avoid, for  example, having  a  combat unit  arrive in  the
theatre of operations far in advance of the necessary support units).

  In addition,  it is difficult to  create a viable  command structure in  a
vacuum:   it would therefore  be desirable for countries having the capacity
to  do so  to  propose  command units  comprising a  general staff  to which
officers from other contributor States  would be assigned.   France can have
units of this type  standing on four days'  notice; some unit  members could
also help  to staff the Situation Centre in the  Department of Peace-keeping

B.  Establishment of rapid deployment units

  Such measures,  however, may  not be  sufficient; the  system of  stand-by
arrangements is  designed to allow for  deployment within  two months, which
is too  long in cases where  any delay will aggravate  the situation on  the
ground and reduce the chances for carrying out a successful operation.

  In this  light, the French Government  feels that  the proposal concerning
the  establishment of a rapid  reaction force put forward  by the Secretary-
General  of the  United Nations  in his  report entitled  "Supplement to  an
Agenda for Peace" is  of particular interest.  France is aware, however,  of
the political and  technical difficulties  such a  project would  encounter,
and it  therefore proposes  that rapid  deployment  units should  be set  up
within  the system of  stand-by arrangements.   The  first characteristic of
these units is that it would take only a short  time to deploy them, ranging
from two to  10 days.  The concern  for effectiveness in implementing such a
system  also  requires  that  the  proposed   troops,  together  with  their
protective and  combat  equipment, be  of  high  quality, that  the  command
structures  be pre-planned and  that the  exercises, which  could be carried
out  at  the  general  staff  level  and,  on  the   ground,  through  troop
mobilization manoeuvres, be organized jointly by  the United Nations and  by
States that have offered to contribute rapid deployment units.

  At the  meeting held  by the  Security Council  at the  level of Heads  of
State and Government on  31 January 1992,  France had announced that it  was
prepared to contribute  to the United Nations,  within less than two  weeks,
up to  two  contingents of  1,000  troops  each.   In  the context  of  this
commitment,  it now  announces  that  it will  soon submit  a report  to the
Secretariat describing these units in detail.

      OF THE UNITED NATIONS                     

  Despite  the considerable efforts  made by  the United Nations Secretariat
to  improve  the services  concerned,  including  the  Department of  Peace-
keeping Operations, the effectiveness of United Nations operations is  still
being  limited  by  the  inadequacy of  the  Organization's  military  staff
capacities in the areas of both planning and command, and the most  pressing
need appears to concern the definition  of military operations in fulfilment
of the  mandate  established by  the  Security  Council.   These  capacities
should be  reinforced  by increasing  the  resources  of the  Department  of
Peace-keeping Operations and setting up specific teams for each operation.

A.  Development of planning capacities

  In order  to be fully effective,  military planning must  set as its  goal
not only to enforce political decisions (the Council's mandate) but also  to
help to prepare them.

  It is  therefore desirable  to continue  to develop  an early  operational
planning  capacity  in  the  Department  of  Peace-keeping  Operations.   To
strengthen  the  effectiveness of  such  planning,  it  would  be useful  to
envisage  the  elaboration of  deployment  scenarios  as  soon  as a  crisis
develops which is likely to lead to a United Nations operation.

  France envisions  the systematic deployment on  the ground,  from the time
when an operation begins  to be seriously considered,  of a team composed of
members of the Planning Cell of  the Department of Peace-keeping  Operations
and of a planning element comprised of a  unit that would be furnished  by a
country to show its  particular interest in the  operation.  This team would
help those who would be  in charge of the force, namely, the future  Special
Representative  of the  Secretary-General and,  where possible,  the  future
military commander of the  operation.  The team would formulate a concept of
operations which would be annexed to the report submitted by the  Secretary-
General to  the Security  Council and  would help to  clarify the  Council's


  In this context, the  Government of France is  contributing to the  United
Nations a planning unit which can be deployed within 48 hours.

  Once  the  resolution  establishing an  operation has  been  adopted, this
unit,  which may be  reinforced as  needed by future commanders  of the main
national detachments,  would ensure  the overall  military  planning of  the
operation by  preparing, in  particular, a detailed  military directive  and
the initial order of operations.

  Finally, after  the operation has  been set up,  it would  normally be the
responsibility  of the  Planning  Cell of  the  Department  of Peace-keeping
Operations  to adapt the  operation to  the changing  military and political
situation, a task which could involve  the preparation and translation  into
military terms  of new  Security Council  resolutions modifying  the initial
mandate,  up to  the planning  of withdrawal.   It  may well  be  necessary,
however, in  the case  of  large  and complex  operations, to  have  further
recourse to a planning unit.

  In the  event that rapid  deployment units are to be  used, this team will
be reinforced  where necessary,  in order  to plan the  deployment of  these
units, by the commanders of national  contingents that have been contributed
to the  United Nations  in this  context or  by other  officers representing
contributor States.

B.  Improvement of command structures

  The  establishment  of an  effective  planning  system should,  in itself,
improve the command of the force.

  It  is  important, none  the  less,  to  strengthen  the effectiveness  of
command staffs,  especially for the largest  and most  delicate missions, by
establishing them more  quickly and limiting their necessary  heterogeneity.
This is  the reasoning  behind our  proposal for  command  units (see  II.A.
above), which would be particularly useful  in cases where rapid  deployment
units are used.

  The Situation  Centre within  the Department  of Peace-keeping  Operations
should continue to be strengthened.  France proposes that the staff of  this
centre  be  reinforced  by  representatives  of States  contributing  to  an
operation,  at their request,  and this  would make it possible  at the same
time to  give  these States  more rapid  and precise  information about  the
evolution of the situation  on the ground  and to improve the  Secretariat's
follow-up capabilities.

  It would  be helpful to specify the  nature of the  authority of the force
commander  (and, ultimately,  the  Secretary-General) over  national  units.
France  feels that  this authority  should  be  closely akin  to operational
control.  The  rules of engagement  for each  force should  also be  clearly
spelt out.

  Lastly, the many incidents and difficulties  that have occurred have shown
how important it is  to harmonize the action  of the civilian component with
that of the military component of  the operations, avoiding both overlapping
and a too  rigid separation of  duties (where  the civilian component  would
be,  in  particular,  solely   in  charge  of   administrative  duties   and

  The  desirable command structure  obviously depends  on the  nature of the
missions  to be accomplished.   Experience  seems to  recommend, however, on
the  one hand, the  systematic designation,  for all  operations of whatever
size,  of a special  representative of the Secretary-General having complete
authority over  the various components  of the operation  and, on the  other
hand, at  least for  peacemaking and  conflict-moderation operations,  which

almost  inextricably  link  military  tasks  (even  including  combat)  with
negotiation  and  humanitarian  aid  activities,  an  integrated   structure
involving close cooperation between civilians  and military personnel at all
levels of command, including logistics.

* * *

  In  conclusion,  France  is  aware  that  the  success  of  United Nations
operations in the area of international peace and  security is also based in
large part on the quality of the troops engaged in these interventions.   It
supports the training  programme for mobile peace-keeping training teams, in
which  it intends to  participate actively  by assigning  French officers to
these  teams and hosting training courses in France.  It is also prepared to
open its  specialized  training centres  to  foreign  trainees and  to  help
States at  their request to establish  national training  centres in liaison
with the competent United Nations bodies.



This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org