Fonds AG-031 - Field Service and Successor Bodies (1948-1982)

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Field Service and Successor Bodies (1948-1982)


  • 1936 - 1988 (Creation)

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Field Operations Service had its source in 1948 with the creation of the United Nations Guard. Over the years, it expanded its functions. Since 1982, the new Office of Field Operational and External Support Activities is responsible for the administrative and logistic support of special missions, peace-keeping operations, relief operation missions and such other field missions as the Secretary-General may decide and, in co-operation with the Department of Public Information, for providing briefing on current developments, especially in the political field, to Information Centres (see ST/SGB/185, 20 January 1982).

On 28 September 1948, the Secretary-General proposed the creation of a United Nations Guard consisting of 800 men, of this, 300 were recruited for duty in 1948 (Document A/656).
It was found essential for a mission to have international protective personnel available 80 "that they could proceed with the necessary confidence and authority to arrange for the free movement of Observers and other personnel in troubled areas" (UN Yearbook 1948-49, Page 419) without using local police or national military.

In 1949, it was decided to install two new units -a United Nations Field Service and a Field Reserve Panel (later renamed to a Panel of Field Observers). The Field service would consist of 300 men. They would be part of the Secretariat. Their main functions would be provision of land and air transport for missions, the maintenance of radio communications with UN mission personnel, premises, supplies, records and archives, maintenance of order during meetings, operations and maintenance of transport equipment and performance of guard duties at Headquarters. On 22 November 1949, the General Assembly passed the resolution that the United Nations Field Service may be established, administratively, it would belong to the Department of Conference and General Services. At this time, Field Service personnel were appointed to operate the radio links in Palestine, Greece and India, and also constituted the Security Force at Government House in Jerusalem.

In 1950, United Nations Field Service, later renamed United Nations Field Operations Service (FOS), became part of the Department of Administrative and Finance services.

In 1952, when it was found impracticable to combine Headquarters security Guards with the Field Service, Field Service and Headquarters force were continued separately (A/CN.l/Rl02). At this time, Field Operations Staff counted between 103 and 119.

In 1954, FOS was transferred out of the Administrative and Finance Services and became part of the Office of General Services (ST/AFS/SGB/97).
On 15 January 1982, the Office for Field Operational and External Support Activities was established as one of the Offices of the Secretary-General (ST/SGB/185). However, on 15 April 1987, OFOESA became Field Operations Division within the Office of General services. The following listing shows the changes of the Organization within the various Field Service bodies, the service Chiefs, (this information was taken from the Telephone Directory in 1948-1986), and the Symbol within the Archival Group.

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Records consist primarily of administrative, personnel, and country files, which show a country's participation in and contribution to a mission, ca. 1948-1983, for each United Nations field operation or mission. Included are photostatic copies of 29 separate I-HJK demarcation line maps for the Palestine area and military approval signatures; general administrative files, 1949-1955; administrative files concerning the United Nations Service Medals (Korean Medals), 1950-1956; United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC)/United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) country and administrative files (list A), 1959-1962; ONUC administrative files including a manual of procedures for the Leopoldville Finance Office and Field Offices as of 1 January and ONUC casualty file, 1963- 1964, comprising cable and memo notifications to Headquarters and Delegations; ONUC administrative country and finance files, 1963-1964; UNEF administrative country files (List B), 1963-1964; UNEF strength reports (List B), 1963-1965; UNEF supply and logistic country files, 1965; and ONUC administrative country files for 1965.

Fonds consists of the following Sub-fonds:
AG-031-003 United Nations Field Operations Division
AG-031-002 United Nations Field Operations Service
AG-031-001 United Nations Field Service

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