Assembling the Force

While construction was under way in the Sinai, the Director General began the equally demanding task of assembling the Force by negotiating the terms of participation of those countries that would supply contingents.

 

At the time of the signing of the Protocol, the United States had assured the Parties of the participation of a civilian observer unit, an infantry battalion and a logistics unit. Agreements were then negotiated with Fiji, Colombia and Uruguay. Fiji and Colombia, both having past experience in Middle East peacekeeping with the United Nations, agreed to supply infantry battalions. Uruguay offered a motor transport and, subsequently, an engineering unit. Thus, the MFO could count on, at a fairly early stage, the three infantry battalions needed to man the Observation Posts and Check Points and Sector Control Centers in Zone C, the observers to monitor Treaty provisions throughout the four Zones, logistics support, and transport.

Teams of U.S. diplomatic, financial, legal and military officials held discussions with representatives of various European Community and British Commonwealth nations during late 1981 and early 1982. These discussions eventually led to agreements with Italy to provide and man three coastal patrol vessels; with Australia and New Zealand for a combined helicopter squadron; with France for an air transport unit; with the Netherlands for military police and communication units; and with the United Kingdom for a headquarters unit. 

 

These agreements also provided for officers from each nation to serve on the Force Commander's multinational staff. In October, 1981 the Force Commander joined the Director General in Alexandria, Virginia, at the MFO's temporary headquarters. During the months of December, 1981 and January, 1982 military officers of various Participating States began arriving in Virginia. Later most of these officers formed the nucleus of Force Commander Bull-Hansen's staff in the Sinai.