July 5, 2018
By Chuck Doran and Elena Meth
If you follow MWI’s Negotiation & Mediation Blog or want to improve your mediation or negotiation skills, you’ve probably read about how important it is to identify interests as part of a successful negotiation. Hugh Mackintosh Foot (who later was known as Lord Caradon after he was granted a life peerage in 1964), teaches us the importance of building trust and reframing positions to interests when negotiating.
Lessons from the Six-Day War
For lasting only six days, the Six-Day War was complex in both its causes and content. After nearly two decades of rising tensions between Israel and other Arab nations in the Middle East, Israel decided to launch an air strike on Egypt. Egypt threatened to “destroy” the new Israeli state, and in response, Israel claimed it had ample justification to go to war. The war was escalated by the fact that both Israel and the Arab states were being supplied with weapons by France and the SovietUnion, respectively, as well as rumors that Israel was preparing to nuclearize. After the 6 days of fighting which resulted in as many as 24,000 casualties, the involved countries agreed to a ceasefire. Realizing that the countries of the region were likely to go to war again, the UN intervened, and over five months after the fighting stopped, the UN reached a formal resolution to help ease tensions and attempt to prevent, or at least delay, future Middle Eastern conflict. UN Security Council Resolution 242 was drafted by Lord Caradon, the British Representative to the United Nations, in what has come to be known as a classic example of trust building and interest-based negotiating.
Though Resolution 242 only prevented fighting until 1973, the agreement is still highly regarded for its visionary goals and intricately constructed language. Rather than placing the blame for the conflict solely on Israel and forcing them to make harsh concessions regarding the land they had acquired, Caradon focused on ensuring substantive gains for both sides based on their respective interests and prioritizing establishing a base level of mutual trust and respect. Specifically, Caradon called for “… respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of every State in the area …” and “… (Every State’s) right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” Arthur J. Goldberg, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, commented that the phrasing was unique because it forced “[the involved] countries to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty” which they had never done in the past. By shifting the focus of the negotiation to how each country viewed the other, Caradon created new grounds for agreement or at the very least a space for productive discussion. In the end, Egypt and Syria were returned their land and Israel gained Middle Eastern recognition of its legitimacy as a state. Lord Caradon’s Agreement is still viewed with such high regards because it unpacked the true interests of the involved parties from a situation with limited and tense lines of communication. He successfully articulated what each side really wanted from a resolution, and as such was able to re-frame the entire conflict.
Great Britain, Spain, and Gibraltar
Around the same time, Lord Caradon was involved with an equally complex matter concerning the independence of Gibraltar. In 1960, the United Nations passed Resolution 1514 which stated that “all peoples have the right to self determination” and that to hold colonies was a violation of the United States Declaration of Human Rights. Prior to this, Great Britain and Spain had been in disagreement over who should have the right to own Gibraltar. Spain claimed that due to its geographic proximity, it had a right to the isthmus, but a Treaty from the early 1700’s gave Great Britain permanent rule over the territory. Almost a decade after Resolution 1514 passed, Great Britain and Spain were still arguing, and Gibraltar had yet to decolonize, though perhaps not for the reason you’d think. Gibraltar enjoyed being a British colony and wished to stay in its control; Spain, however, was adamant that the people of Gibraltar integrate into Spanish society. To resolve this, in 1968 the UN stepped in and drafted Resolution 2353, stating that Gibraltar’s colonial status was incompatible with Resolution 1514, and that Great Britain must terminate its ownership immediately. Lord Caradon, though a British citizen and longtime member of Government, stepped in to advocate for the people of Gibraltar. Lord Caradon expressed to the UN “there are two basic principles which we cannot betray: first, the principle that the interests of the people must be paramount; and second, that the people have the right freely to express their own wishes as to their future.” As a result of his intervention, Gibraltar continues to exist peacefully as a territory of Great Britain. This statement, aside from its literal context, is useful when thinking about negotiations. In any negotiation, parties need to strike the balance between being mindful of their counterparts interests while also feeling comfortable expressing their own.
Lord Caradon’s successes teach us how employing thorough listening and understanding, even if it takes a little longer, can provide clarity to even the most seemingly irresolvable strife. Lord Caradon’s involvement also serves as a constructive model of how a neutral can assess and help to resolve a dispute, especially if the parties are having difficulty understanding each other’s core interests. Because he was not personally involved in these conflicts, Lord Caradon was able to credibly serve as a neutral mediator to assist in these negotiations.