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PEACEKEEPING BY UNARMED BUFFER FORCES:
PRECEDENTS AND PROPOSALS
 (1)

Gene Keyes

Published in Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research
Volume V, Numbers 2 & 3, Fall, 1978, p. 3-11

Reformatted in HTML by Gene Keyes, cc 2008-03-23
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The presence of a body of regular World Guards or Peace Guards, intervening with no weapons whatsoever between two forces combatting or about to combat, might have considerable effect. . . . As an example, if a few thousand of such World Guards had been parachuted into Budapest during the five or six days Hungary was free, the outcome of that struggle might have been quite different.

—Salvador de Madariaga and Jayaprakash Narayan (2)

Buffer Action is hereby defined as the deployment of unarmed military force between belligerents before, during, or after active hostilities. As will be shown in this paper, the concept is conjectural, but not unthinkable. Mass nonviolent buffer action by civilians has occurred; it has worked.

"Buffer Action" is one of ten possible military functions for unarmed services. (3) The latter are defined as those forming an entire military command without weapons, but otherwise well-equipped for mobility and logistics; trained to accept casualties, never inflict them. The political origin of unarmed services may be any of these five:
1) Unofficial Bodies
2) National Government
3) International Bodies
4) The United Nations
5) A World Government
If we can conjure up an unarmed military service of some tens of thousands of crack soldiers who could truly fulfill the SAC slogan "Peace is our Profession," then their foremost function must be buffer action. This would seem the most natural, the most inherent mission of all for a military instrument whose purpose is to prevent or extinguish warlike hostilities, wherever they may arise. The idea is so obvious that it has indeed cropped up a number of times since at least 1931, but only in an offhand or rudimentary manner. The most apposite such proposal is the Madariaga/Narayan "Peace Guard" idea of 1960, cited above and later in this paper; yet even that was merely a skillful sketch of less than two pages.

Since then, there have been at least three major instances where the bodily interposition of some thousands of unarmed persons between armed combatants has succeeded in halting the warfare: 1) Boghari, Algeria, September 1962; 2) Aden, South Yemen, November 1967; and 3) Tsinghua University, Peking, July 1968. These will be described below.

The buffer action principle has also been illustrated in miniature by incidents in Kashmir where UN Observers had driven jeeps between firefights to stop them. Without specifying the date or locale, Lt. Col. D.J. Goodspeed mentioned such an occurrence:
One observer who had witnessed a confrontation between an Indian and a Pakistani patrol jumped into his U.N.-marked jeep as the two groups started shooting at each other and drove into the path of fire with the U.N. flag flying from his vehicle. Both patrols ceased firing, and with the arrival of more observers the fighting stopped. (4)
David W. Wainhouse, noting that there had been a "few cases" of that type in Kashmir, said they were "considered by the Commanding General to be excessive zeal." (5) He quoted a "high officer" of that UN operation as saying:
"Interposition is not a function of peace observation. The UN wants no dead heroes. On the other hand, a fire-fight has a habit of spreading and when an observer sees one, he ought to call upon the nearest responsible officer—even if it is only a platoon commander—to stop the fight." (6)

Early proposals

On September 18, 1931, Japan's appetizer for World War II was served as 15,000 Japanese soldiers occupied points in Manchuria to restore "law and order". By January  3, Japan had taken the entire province, whereupon "Manchukuo" declared independence from China on February 18, 1932. (7)

During this same period, Gandhi was in England (Sept. 18 to Dec. 5, 1931) for a Round Table Conference on India. His visit was a publicity sensation, and he lectured constantly on nonviolence. (8) For the first time, he even raised the possibility of mass nonviolent action being used to counter armed invasions. (9) Speaking to a Swiss questioner on December 8, he urged that "a living wall of men, women, and children" be thrown up against an invading or transiting army. (10) He had probably made similar off-the-cuff proposals to English audiences.

China, meanwhile, had launched a complete boycott of Japanese goods, an effort centered in Shanghai, the chief commercial city. On January 28, 1932, Japan retaliated with a military attack on Shanghai (upstaging the last, futile, World Disarmament Conference in Geneva, which began Feb. 2). The Shanghai fighting peaked in mid-February, at which point, on February 25, 1932, a letter appeared in the London Daily Express, signed by three noted church people: the woman preacher A. Maude Royden, Canon H. R. L. "Dick" Sheppard, and Dr. A. Herbert Grey. It urged that
men and women who believe it to be their duty should volunteer to place themselves unarmed between the combatants. . . . We have written to
PEACE & CHANGE, Vol. V, Nos. 2 & 3, Fall, 1978   p.3


the League of Nations offering ourselves for service in such a Peace Army. (11)
Gandhi had already been re-imprisoned, but his recent influence was obvious in the three clerics' proposal. In its minuscule way, their letter was historic, raising for the first time the idea of establishing a weaponless "peace army" for the logical function of buffer action between warring parties. The Manchester Guardian commented editorially two days later, saying:   
The suggestion that such an army might suitably interpose itself between the forces of two peoples at war is both intelligent and apt. (12)
League Secretary-General Eric Drummond replied on March 1:
It would be far from my thought to "dismiss such an offer as fantastic," but I fear that it is not constitutionally open to me to lay these offers before the Council of the League of Nations otherwise than on the formal demand of one of the States which are Members of the League. I am, however, immediately making known the proposal to press correspondents at present in Geneva. (13)
Time magazine snickered:
Not in Shanghai but in London an English lay preacher started a movement to enlist Occidentals willing to go to Shanghai and heroically interpose themselves between the fighting Orientals until enough Occidentals had been killed to produce peace. His Majesty King George has decorated for valor on the Western Front an officer who was promoted until he became Brigadier-General Frank Percy Crozier, retired. Last week in London the first distinguished Occidental to volunteer to give his life at Shanghai for Peace was General Crozier. (14)
And not only General Crozier; 800 others volunteered, and there developed an organization called "The Peace Army," existing mostly on paper from 1932 to 1940. Its council included such noted pacifists as Royden, Sheppard, Rev. Donald Soper, and General Crozier; but their real attention was to be diverted to a later (and less useful) British pacifist effort called the Peace Pledge Union. The Peace Army languished as little more than a religious discussion group; earnest but negligible. A description in its News Sheet #14 makes the 1938 Annual Retreat sound like a Sunday school picnic—for all twenty-seven of them. (Two members did visit perennially troubled Palestine for a few months of social service work, and one of them, Hugh Bingham, died there.)

Along with the Royden-Grey-Sheppard proposal, a short book by Henry Brinton, The Peace Army, appeared. (15) I surmise it was written before their letter, and published afterward. Brinton says he was in consultation with Grey and Canon C.E. Raven; the foreword is by Crozier, Grey, Raven, Royden, and Rev. E. Leyton Richards.

The book itself is mostly a Christian pacifist commentary on the world situation; only Chapter VII briefly brings forth the idea of a "Peace Army", which in Brinton's version would be British-organized. He draws a "most unlikely" example of war between France and Germany, and in very sketchy detail suggests how a British Peace Army would intervene. It would be "equipped with every means of defense, but no weapons of attack. . . , specially recruited and specially trained. . . , with as much publicity as possible." Its size is not specified, but "thousands" are implied. (16)

England could deploy the Peace Army during the early phase of a crisis between two countries. Brinton foresaw three possible outcomes: an immediate cathartic slaughter of the unarmed troops, leading to peace in the subsequent revulsion and revolt; or a static frontier patrol stretching out the negotiations and cooling the war-fever; or hostilities erupting after the peace army had been emplaced, with unpredictable results. (17)

Two other unarmed buffer-force proposals were also made by Britishers a quarter century later. In April 1956, a few months before the Suez War and the birth of the (armed) UNEF, Henry Usborne, MP, had written to The Manchester Guardian urging that the UN Secretariat recruit a voluntary corps of 10,000 unarmed persons to hold a two-kilometer DMZ along the Arab-Israeli borders. (18) Pacifists even wishfully thought he might be floating a trial balloon for Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd, or else Krishna Menon, India's Ambassador to the UN. (19)

In 1958, a book by former MP Sir Richard Acland proposed among other things that Britain, discarding nuclear weapons, take the initiative in forming a world police force for eventual adoption by the UN. It would be internationally manned, by covert recruitment where necessary, and have 5,000 to 15,000 members. (20) An unarmed component of the force would parachute into trouble spots
without anyone's permission or request. It will be in effect, a "U.N. Observer Corps" with at least four advantages over anything the world has seen as yet. It will be always in instant well-trained readiness; it will be sufficiently numerous to do a thorough job, it will be equipped for mobility and self-maintenance anywhere; lastly (and most important. . . ) it will not be under anyone's veto. (21)
In addition, the force would be available for disaster relief missions between political crises.


Precedents

We now turn to three large-scale examples where impromptu buffer action has in fact snuffed out civil-war confrontations. These precedents could be suggestive for international peace-keeping procedure, given, for instance, a suitable UN instrument. They do not illustrate military buffer forces, but civilians acting en masse: spontaneously in Algeria; and with authoritative guidance and military direction in China,

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and perhaps Aden also.

The Boghari Incident

This took place on the weekend of Saturday-Sunday, September 1-2, 1962, the second and third days of a five-day civil war between rival elements of the Algerian revolution: Ben Bella's exile "regular" army versus regional guerrilla forces who had taken over Algiers and the surrounding territory.

The Ben Bella forces, directed by Chief of Staff Boumedienne, were marching from Oran in three columns from the west and south to re-take Algiers. The guerrillas of Wilaya 4 (an autonomous military district) were ready to do battle in Algiers and several outlying towns, including Aumale, and Boghari. The latter is 75 miles south of Algiers, and had a population of about 9,000.

The seven-year struggle against France (and then the Secret Army Organization) had just ended earlier that year, and the populace was visibly war weary. On August 31, a crowd of 20,000 union members had demonstrated in Algiers denouncing both factions and threatening a general strike in case of civil war. (22-g)

Reports from Boghari differ, but piecing them together indicates that one or two brief clashes occurred there between perhaps 400 guerrillas and 6,000 motorized regulars, before they were stifled by buffer action. "The guerrillas were entrenched on a steep rocky ridge overlooking the road," wrote Henry Tanner in The New York Times. Ben Bella's forces had reached Boghari on Saturday evening, September 1. In Tanner's account:
The advancing column and its commanders initiated negotiations. The Willaya 4 men told them that they were determined to shoot it out unless a political compromise involving immediate elections was worked out at the level of the Political Bureau in Algiers.

At one point someone started to fire. The cannons, mortars, and automatic weapons sputtered. The exact toll in the shooting was not known. But it was put at one dead and seven wounded. Each of the two commanders says the other side did the shooting. (22-c)
At this point, according to Alex Joannides of Reuters,
A crowd of war-weary men and women created a human barrier between the opposing forces. When the soldiers pressed forward, the civilians forced them to embrace each other and fraternize.

The crowds shouted, "We want no more bloodshed." (22-e)
Andrew Borowiec's AP report, as well as Tanner's, show that this event may not have taken place until the next morning, Sunday, September 2, when they say a second outbreak of shooting occurred. "But then," as Borowiec told it,
thousands of Moslem civilians clamoring for an end to the fighting poured into the streets between the opposing forces, and the commanders of both sides ordered a cease-fire.

The civilians included the local Boghari population and Moslems trucked in by Wilaya 4 guerrillas from Algiers. They carried banners and chanted slogans declaring "Seven years of war is enough" and "no Algerian must shed blood of his brothers." (22-b)
Borowiec also said that there had been "spontaneous civilian anti-war  indemonstrations scores of towns and villages," and that along Highway 14, women lay in the road to stop the motorized columns.

Sanche de Gramont gave this account in The New York Herald Tribune:
. . . men of the Wilaya 4 stood facing troops of the regular army within sight and range of each other. But the advance was stopped by a reluctance on both sides to open fire, and by crowds of Moslems who crowded the main roads in Gandhi-style resistance. . . .

[In Boghari] There was an extraordinary spectacle, with lines of armed soldiers profIled against two parallel ridges of bare mountains, facing each other across the plain, observing each other with field glasses, and withholding their fire. (22-d)
Compare this account from Aumale, a "control normal" town, so to speak, which had no such reports of civilian buffer action. James Wilde in Time magazine wrote:
Though the regulars were plainly holding back their superior firepower at Boghari, heavy fighting took place near mountainous Aumale, about 60 miles east, where determined guerrillas could have stopped Ben Bella's forces for months if they had wished. In all, more than 100 men died and 400 were wounded before the single day's fighting ended in an uneasy truce. (22-h)
My synopsis does not go into the labyrinth of Algerian politics and the aftermath. Suffice to say that the guerrillas pulled out of Boghari on September 3; Ben Bella himself surreptitiously entered Algiers, where there was additional fighting, and arranged a political settlement on Tuesday, September 4.


The Aden Affair

Adam Roberts, in The Technique of Civil Resistance, mentioned a similar situation that happened during a war in the former federation of Southern Arabia in 1967. He wondered if the civilian demonstrators had been coerced by one of the sides; but in any case, buffer action appears to have prevailed, according to the following news item quoted by Roberts from Reuters and UPI reports out of Aden in The Guardian, London, November 6, 1967:
More than two thousand demonstrators—including elderly people, women, and children—stopped heavy fighting between rival nationalist groups here tonight, when they marched through battle-torn streets screaming for a ceasefire.

Police said that South Arabian troops directed the demonstrators to the streets in the Sheikh Othman district where the nationalists were
PEACE & CHANGE, Vol. V, Nos. 2 & 3, Fall, 1978   p.5



fighting with mortars, grenades, and automatic weapons—and as a result the fighting stopped.

Up to that point the fighting had gone on for the third day in spite of ceasefire orders from the leaders of both the National Liberation Front and the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen in Cairo and from the South Arabian Army. It was so heavy that the police dared not leave the suburb's police station to remove dead and wounded from the streets.

At least 59 people are known to have been killed in three days' fighting, and about 200 have been injured. (23)

The Tsinghua Ordeal

William Hinton's book Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University provides a detailed case history of one of the most remarkable applications of mass nonviolent action since the heyday of Gandhi's campaigns in India—and it occurred in Maoist China, at the behest of central authorities. (24) Hinton, of course, and all the participants themselves, regard the episode as a vindication of Mao Tse-tung Thought, not of nonviolence.

Here I draw upon Hinton's book to recount this astounding example of buffer action against internecine violence. I do not attempt to narrate all the politics involved, nor to duplicate Hinton's relatively objective exploration of the Maoist theological intricacies which led to pitched battles. My focus is only on the actual battle scene where tens of thousands of unarmed workers halted the student bloodshed.

The mini-war was between two ultramontane Maoist student factions at Tsinghua University in Peking, called the "Regiment" and the "4s". Both had wielded great influence nation-wide in promulgating early phases of the Cultural Revolution, especially Regiment leader Kuai Ta-fu, who in Hinton's account towers as one of the strongest and most unscrupulous personalities of the entire episode. After months of doctrinal rivalry and one-upmanship, by spring 1968 the Regiment and 4s barricaded themselves into various campus buildings where they carried out a mutual siege that last from April 23 to July 28. Their increasingly dangerous weapons ranged from spears and slingshots to machine guns and poison gas, dynamite and grenades, home-made cannons and mines. Most of the 12,000 students had been displaced by the fracas, which in the end was waged by about 200 Regiment die-hards, 100 of the 4s, and 100 footloose brawlers who joined either side. Until the battling was smothered by buffer action, ten students had been killed and many injured; moreover, each belligerent side captured "POW's" from the other and tortured them.

Meanwhile, the central authorities could not simply step in to "halt student unrest". There was worse turbulence in other areas of China at the time, and the Tsinghua Factions themselves mirrored intrigues at the highest level. Each side was apparently backed by rival elements in the Central Committee. Hinton also implies that outright suppression of the students might have undermined Mao's own position vis-a-vis highly-placed pseudo-Maoist ultra-Ieftists. (25) And whatever the students' excesses in manslaughter and mayhem, they were widely regarded as misguided Maoist zealots who had to be rescued from themselves.

"Central authorities" is only a convenient term I use to describe which grouping in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution finally restored order to Tsinghua. According to Hinton, Mao himself may have proposed, and certainly supported, the idea of mobilizing upwards of 30,000 Peking-area workers to intervene nonviolently between his crazed disciples. Workers at the Hsinhua Printing Plant (who had overcome a similar ordeal among themselves) were the ones otherwise credited with the initiative.
When someone suggested a massive intervention by the factory workers of Peking they applauded the idea. The suggestion may have come from the commanders of the 8341 Army [Mao's own headquarters unit, the guard detachment of the Central Committee] . . . and was immediately taken up by the plant's revolutionary committee, by the 8341 Army Work Team, but the Peking Municipal Revolutionary Committee and Party Committee, and by the Central Committee. (26)
On July 26, the Printing Plant's revolutionary committee decided to proceed with the plan, and that night hundreds of delegates from 60 factories met. After debating till 3:30 a m., they unanimously agreed to have contingents march on the university at 11:00. a.m. that same morning, July 27. The "Headquarters Committee" chairmen—the commanders of the operation—were Chang Wan (8341 Army Work Team), and Lu Fangch'ien (Peking Garrison Command).

The workers, styled as a "Propaganda Team", were organized into seven columns averaging 4,000 each, and a "Direct Regiment" of 2,000: ca. 30,000 men and women from 62 factories, plus nearby rural communes. Upwards of another 30,000 workers showed up on their own.

They brought copies of the Red Book, Mao posters, and two Central Committee cease-fire orders issued in July for other strife-torn areas. Their mission was three-fold: 1) propagate the July orders; 2) demand a halt to the violence, the turning in of all weapons, and the dismantling of fortifications, booby-traps, etc.; and 3) "Talk with both factions, support neither, and demand a big alliance between the two." (27)

The columns were deployed to the various buildings on campus, where they read aloud from their Red Books, and shouted in unison "their extraordinary slogan, 'Use reason not violence, use reason, not violence, lay down your weapons and form a big alliance.' " (28)

The 4s surrendered without difficulty, but the

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Regiment, spurred on by Kuai Ta-fu, assaulted the peacemakers both verbally and physically, suspecting them to be anti-party dupes. A rainy, muddy ordeal ensued for the next 24 hours, in which five workers were killed, 731 seriously injured, and 143 taken prisoner, many beaten. In the face of all that, Hinton reports, "no group of workers had counter-attacked, no students had been harmed. . . "
The extraordinary discipline shown by thousands of ordinary workers in the course of twenty-four hours of extreme provocation had little if any historical precedent. (29)
The start of the Regiment's attack was a barrage of hurled objects and slingshot missiles. Workers, and People's Liberation Army soldiers, tried to outdo one another in gaining front rank positions for meeting the projectiles head on. At another point, Regiment spear-carriers especially set upon women textile workers; male workers tried to have the women move back, but the women stood their ground. In all instances, the workers, though outnumbering the attackers by as much as 500 to 1, "flatly refused to raise even a finger in their own defense. . . " (30) Many were stabbed with spears, and grenades were also used against them. One group was trapped on a blockaded ground floor, where a grenade was thrown down the stairs into their midst:
Wang Sung-lin, a worker from Machine Tool Factory No.2, threw himself on it. The grenade exploded under his stomach, rupturing him badly. . . . a spearman rushed at him . . . and speared him through the chest. . . . He died only a few hours after his wife bore him a new child. (31)
Two other workers were injured—one fatally—in grenade shielding attempts. Two were killed by spears and a fifth by gunshot.

At the command post, Lu Fang-ch'ien and Chang Wan were beset by constant casualty reports and demands for retaliation. " 'There are so many workers out there bleeding and dying! Can we just let them stab us and blast us, and blast us and stab us again?' " (32) As Lu told Hinton,
"Some hotheads wanted to strike back. I got very angry myself. As the reports flowed in of more wounded and more killed, I cursed and pounded my fist on the table, but in the end I had to calm down, because we had come for propaganda work and not for fighting. . . . we had to stick to one idea and one idea only: 'Use reason, not violence, use reason, not violence.'

"Some of us had directed battles in wartime, but never had we seen anything like this, never. . . .

"What we depended on really was the workers' loyalty to Mao Tse-tung. They had a deep understanding of Mao's strategic plan. With 30,000 people one can't rely on the consciousness of a few for there are always those who have lost contact with headquarters. They still have to stick to their orders no matter what the provocation. And they stuck, in the main, throughout that terrible day and night. They didn't strike back. They didn't counterattack. And that's because we had done a lot of educational work. Together we had studied the PLA's 'Five-Won't Policy' over and over again. " (33)
After the first three deaths, the commanders contacted Kuai for cease-fire talks; Kuai stalled and detained their negotiators. He finally assented to a cease-fire to begin at 2:00 a.m. on the morning of July 28. Simultaneously, he arranged for a last round of attacks to be mounted, smuggled himself and many of his fighters out of the campus, and appealed to Mao and the Central Committee to halt the "sinister hand" which was manipulating "110,000 hoodwinked workers". (34)

By mid-morning on July 28, the remaining battlers had slipped away, or been escorted out under People's Liberation Army safe conduct. Mao himself summoned Kuai and other ultras for a meeting that evening where he dressed them down and said that he was the "sinister hand", but even that left Kuai unchastened and defiant. Kuai was still a force to be reckoned with at this point; soon afterward he became the leader of the Big Alliance. (By 1971, however, his political downfall had begun.)

The bulk of the workers columns withdrew on July 28, leaving behind a Workers Propaganda Team of several hundred who after a year of intensive effort succeeded in knitting together the Big Alliance between Regiment and 4s which had been the object of the intervention.

The staunch nonviolent discipline of the workers, and of their People's Liberation Army leadership, illustrates the character which would be required of a professional military buffer action force. It re-confirms that nonviolent action is not a peculiarly Gandhian tool, but one which can also be useful in an avowedly Leninist-Maoist context (or revolutionary ones like Algeria and Aden). The Tsinghua experience further suggests that nonviolent buffer action can be a suitable instrument even when, as in the UN, the higher authorities are themselves antagonists. In Peking, the political impetus for this ad hoc formation came from the top levels of "legitimate" political authority, among a welter of mortally competing "lines", also at the top levels.

But above all, the Tsinghua intervention shows that massive nonviolent buffer action is entirely possible in situations of the utmost severity, given a substantial body of troops well motivated and well led, and a mandate sufficiently authoritative that it can be understood by all parties involved—belligerents, bystanders, and the buffer soldiers themselves.


An Unarmed UN Peace Guard: the Madariaga/Narayan Proposal

Whether viewed in itself, or alongside subsequent events such as those described here, the 1960

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Madariaga/Narayan proposal for an unarmed UN Peace Guard seems a classic worthy of renewal. There have been over a dozen "peace army" buffer force ideas, many of them casual or inadequate; but this one especially ought to receive careful attention. (35) Though published in several sources, it has lain regrettably unnoticed since then. (36)

Originally in the form of a letter presented to Dag Hammarskjold, (37) their proposal was so pithy that it deserves to be quoted directly, because a paraphrase could hardly touch more bases in fewer words. They began with an analysis of the political difficulties hampering UN use of armed force, and continued:
It follows that an international police should be unarmed. The presence of a body of regular World Guards or Peace Guards, intervening with no weapons whatsoever between two forces combatting or about to combat, might have considerable effect. They would not be there as a fanciful improvisation, but as the positive and practical application of a previously negotiated and ratified Additional Charter binding all United Nations members. This Charter should ensure:
(1) Inviolability of the World Guards;

(2) their right to go anywhere at any time from the day they are given an assignment by the United Nations;

(3) their right to go and intervene in any conflict of any nature when asked by only one of the parties thereto or by third parties or the Secretary General.
The World Guards would be parachutists. They should be able to stop advancing armies by refusing to move from roads, railways, or airfields. They would be empowered to act in any capacity their chiefs might think adequate for the situation, though they would never use force. They should be endowed with a complete system for recording and transmitting facts, utilizing such equipment as television cameras and broadcasting material. Their uniform should be simple, clear, and appealing . . . . (38)
Madariaga and Narayan never got a reply from Hammarskjold. (39) Yet given the efficacy of unarmed mass buffer action in the instances cited here, their proposal warrants revival and further study. Almost every sentence suggests a chapter title, a seminar, a paper, or a commission report.

How many Peace Guard effectives would be necessary? How many would be possible? 10,000? 100,000? What would it cost? How to recruit? Where to be based? How to begin? While I am not intending here to produce the specifications for a buffer action force, I do want to start the bidding at a significant order of magnitude. One "peace army" in the military sense would require four corps, some 120,000 personnel, with equipment and facilities to match. By making "Police Action" a separate concept from "Buffer Action", I emphasize that the latter is intended to meet major hostilities that could not be dealt with by the comparatively limited numbers and mandate of the former. (40)

Still another function for an Unarmed Service is "Rescue Action," which may be defined as the employment of military capability for saving lives and setting up disaster relief in times of natural or man-made catastrophe, sudden or gradual, large or small, military or civilian; generally in environments or conditions not manageable by local or civilian authority. There are numerous operational precedents, including the Berlin Airlift; the multi-nation response to such emergencies as the 1970 Peruvian earthquake and the Sahel famine; the hospital ship S.S. HOPE; various coast guard and air-rescue services, etc. Hence, another model for an Unarmed Service is a "Rescue Command" whose political parent might be any of those mentioned at the outset. (41) It too should be large and logistically strong. Conceivably a Buffer Action Force and a Rescue Command could be drawn from the same personnel or units to some extent.

Thus, in 1960, the late Commander Sir Stephen King-Hall proposed an "International Rescue Organization" (IRO), with three airborne brigades of 10,000 men and women apiece, deplayed on three continents and other worldwide bases. (42) Each would have 25 large aircraft and 10 other transport planes; three ships (15,000 tons, 30 knots); plus helicopters and hovercraft. Recruitment would be from all nations for 5 , 10, and 15 year periods. The force would engage in exercises, good-will visits, and highly-publicized annual maneuvers in different areas of simulated emergencies. Like Acland, King-Hall suggested that Britain instigate, then internationalize, the IRO; he also mentioned that one wing of it could develop into a standing UN peace force.

But buffer troops as delineated in this paper would require an additional kind of specialized training. To die with honor and grace would be their hallmark; heavy casualties must be an explicit contingency. They are not merely an observer group tallying cease-fire violations; nor a UN patrol with host-country consent. By its very definition, buffer action is intended to cause a severe moral and physical impediment to the will and mobility of armed forces closing with one another—or hostile to the buffer force itself.

Therefore, as with other ideas and functions for Unarmed Services, we must stress adequacy of size and equipment as well as clarity of principle and purpose for a buffer force. As Madariaga and Narayan say, it cannot be a "fanciful improvisation", but would be one of many simultaneous recourses in world politics. Consider a buffer force in terms of the five political origins cited earlier:

Unofficial Bodies: One such was the 1932 "Peace Army" of Maude Royden. Another was the abortive "World Peace Brigade" of 1962-64: a "fanciful improvisation" headed by Narayan, among others.

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Both groups were far too diminutive even to attempt buffer action, and it is difficult to foresee how any nongovernmental organization could command any fraction of the resources, and access to a trouble spot, essential for an effective buffer force.

National Government: This is a less likely but more eligible political parent. Brinton's 1932 proposal called on a (then) Great Power, Britain, to field a nonviolent buffer force between other warring nations. A similar challenge for Britain was made by Acland in 1958, and King-Hall in 1960. Indeed, the UK has had plenty of counterproductive experience with violent buffer forces in Palestine, Cyprus, and Ulster; even the 1956 Suez invasion was disguised as a buffer action. If the UK could rectify its tradition in this field, and offer unarmed forces to the Commonwealth or the UN, it could again become a Great Power, of a nonviolent sort.

International Bodies: An unarmed standing buffer force at the command of, and for the respective territories of, the OAS, the OAU, NATO, the Arab League, the British Commonwealth, or the European Community, is not excessively speculative. We could even imagine a "Scanadian" force assembled as a world public service by a consortium of Canada and the four Nordic Council countries.

The United Nations: Except for the usual political potholes and chasms, the UN is the obvious natural or adoptive parent for a buffer force.

A World Government: Finally, a buffer action force may also be viewed as the most appropriate peacekeeping instrument for civil war situations in some future World Government.

In this paper I have not attempted to dwell on the feasibility of instituting an unarmed buffer force, such as the "World Peace Guard", but rather have sought to illustrate that the principle of buffer action is tenable. It has already been enacted in several diverse situations. Where there is a political will to quench a war, unarmed buffer action might be one of the military ways.


NOTES
1. This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Sept. 7, 1977, Chicago.

2. Salvador de Madariaga and Jayaprakash Narayan, "Blueprint for a World Commonwealth" in Perspectives on Peace 1910-1960 (N. Y.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Praeger, 1960) pp. 47-64, esp. pp. 60-63. (Earlier version, "Toward the Ideal Federation", The New Leader, July 18, 1960, pp. 17-20. Reprinted as "A World Peace Guard", Fellowship, May 1, 1961, pp. 4-5).

3. In other manuscripts I have described these all at greater length. Gene Keyes, "Force Without Firepower: A Survey of Ideas for a Doctrine of Unarmed Military Service" (Unpublished senior thesis, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 1971) 337 pp. Condensed version presented as paper at Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association, August 31, 1974 (28pp.). [Published in 1982 in CoEvolution Quarterly (later, Whole Earth Review), #34, 1982 Summer) p. 4-25.]

4. Lt. Col. D.J. Goodspeed, ed., The Armed Forces of Canada 1867-1967: A Century of Achievement (Ottawa: Canadian Forces Headquarters, Directorate of History; Queen's Printer, 1967) p. 245.

5. David W. Wainhouse, et al., International Peace Observation: A History and Forecast (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1966) p. 566.

6. Ibid., p. 564.

7. Henry L. Stimson, The Far Eastern Crisis: Recollections and Observations (N.Y.: Council on Foreign Relations, Harper, 1936) pp. 31 ff.

8. Louis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (N, Y,: Collier, 1969; orig. 1950) pp. 284-94.

9. This was a rather late development in Gandhi's thinking, as I have noted in another paper: Gene Keyes, "Nonviolent Common Defense: The Biography of an Idea" (Paper to be presented at Annual Meeting of Canadian Peace Research and Education Association, May 1978, London, Ontario.)

10. Gandhi, M.K., Nonviolence in Peace & War, Vol. I, 1962 ed., Mahadev Desai, ed. (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1962; orig. 1942) p. 117.

11. "Peace Army", folder of leaflets and bulletins of A. Maude Royden's attempt, in Great Britain document group at Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

12. "Turning Both Cheeks" (Manchester Guardian, February 27, 1932). Reprinted by The Peace Army, ibid.

13. "Peace Army", loc cit., n. 11 above.

14. "China-Japan: Shanghai Gestures" (Time, March 7, 1932) p. 21. Crozier was a general-turned-pacifist who had "sent his book, A Word to Gandhi, with a note, 'Mr. Gandhi will be surprised to fmd in a military man an admirer of his.'" Quoted in D.G. Tendulkar, Mahatma: Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, vol. III, 1930-1934 (Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of
PEACE & CHANGE, Vol. V, Nos. 2 & 3, Fall, 1978   p.9


Information and Broadcasting, Publications Div., 1961; orig. 1951) p. 116.

15. Henry Brinton, The Peace Army (London: Williams & Norgate, 1932) 88 pp. (Esp. chap. VII, pp. 71-78.)

16. Ibid., p. 73

17. Ibid., pp. 73-74.

18. "Send 10,000 Unarmed Men: MP Urges UN Peace Force for Arab-Israeli Border" (Peace News, April 13, 1956) pp. 1, 8.

19. "Does Whitehall Want Peace Army?" (Peace News, April 20, 1956) pp. 1, 6.

20. Acland, Sir Richard, Waging Peace: The Positive Policy We Could Pursue if We Gave Up the H-Bomb (London: Frederick Muller, 1958) 161 pp.

21. Ibid., pp. 94-95

22-a) Michael Goldsmith, "Ben Bella's Regulars and Guerrillas Battle 75 Miles from Algiers" (Washington Post, September 2, 1962) p. 1. (Dateline Algiers, Sept. 1, AP.)

22-b) Andrew Borowiec, "Rivals Battle Two Hours in Casbah" (Washington Post, September 3, 1962) pp. 1, 19. (Dateline Algiers, Sept. 2, AP.)

22-c) Henry Tanner, "March on Algiers Halts" (New York Times, September 3, 1962) p. 5. (Dateline Boghari, Sept. 2.)

22-d) Sanche de Gramont, "Gunfire in Casbah" (New York Herald Tribune, September 3, 1962) p. 1. (Dateline Algiers.)

22-e) Alex Joannides, "Two Columns are Pushing on Algiers" (Washington Post, September 4, 1962) p. 1. (Dateline Algiers, Sept. 3, Reuters.)

22-f) "Ben Bella Orders Move on Algeria" (Chicago Daily News, September 4, 1962) p. 4. (Dateline Algiers, UP!.)

22-g) "No More Bloodshed" (Peace News, September 7, 1962) p. 1.

22-h) "Algeria: The One Day War" (Time, September 14, 1962) p. 37.

23. Adam Roberts, The Technique of Civil Resistance (Stockholm: Research Institute of Swedish National Defense, 1976) p. 94.

24. William Hinton, Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University (N.Y.: Monthly Review Press, 1972) 288 pp.

25. Ibid., pp. 152, 192, 208.

26. Ibid., p. 189.

27. Ibid., p. 191.

28. Ibid., p. 187.

29. Ibid., p. 187.

30. Ibid., p. 197.

31. Ibid., p. 202.

32. Ibid., p. 203.

33. Ibid., p. 204. Unfortunately, Hinton only mentions two of the "Five-Won'ts": "'When hit, don't hit back; when cursed, don't curse back.'" Gandhi would be proud.

34. Ibid., p. 209.

35. These ideas are traced in Keyes' thesis op. cit., n. 3 above.

36. Madariaga and Narayan, op. cit., n. 2 above.

37. Salvador de Madariaga, letter to me, April 1, 1969.

38. Madariaga and Narayan, op. cit., n. 2 above.

39. See n. 37 above.

40. Keyes, op. cit., n. 3 above. In that work, "Police Action" was used to discuss duties of UN peacekeeping forces and peace observers as we know them today, but which I do not describe as "Buffer Action" in the more drastic sense used here. Except for so-called "Model I" Observer teams, eschewing arms is not yet a deliberate policy and strategy of UN peacekeeping.

41. Keyes, op. cit., n. 3 above; and "Proposal for a Canadian Forces Rescue Command" (paper presented at Annual Meeting of Canadian Political Science Association, June 1977, Fredericton, New Brunswick)."

42. Commander Sir Stephen King-Hall, Common Sense in Defense (London: K-H Services Ltd., 1960) pp. 40-41.
PEACE & CHANGE, Vol. V, Nos. 2 & 3, Fall, 1978   p.10-11


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