Malaya's First Year at the United Nations: As Reflected in Dr Ismail's Reports Home to Tunku Abdul Rahman

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Review

S Thayaparan. Malaysiakini, 7 Jan 2019.

Mohamed Tawfik Ismail and Ooi Kee Beng's book about Malaya's first year in the United Nations - specifically Malaya's first permanent representative to the UN and first ambassador to the United States, Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman - is a more than just a compilation of notes from a bygone era. 

Malaya's First Year at the United Nations: As Reflected in Dr Ismail's Reports Home to Tunku Abdul Rahman is, without a doubt, a useful rejoinder of what actual nation-building is, at a time when political operatives were playing for stakes higher than just political survival - the creation go a nation. 

The authors do more than just compile notes from Ismail - Tawfik's father - to then-prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. What they manage to do is construct a convincing narrative of the nascent foreign policy of this country. 

The book is a basic guide to the international political scene of the time and Malaya's tentative steps in this arena, informed by the work of Ismail and others. 

Meticulously researched, the side notes, appendices and bibliography of Malaya's First Year at the United Nations fills in the blanks to Ismail's sometimes mundane notes on the grind of networking and establishing a presence among international powers and the slowly fading colonialists of the era. 

From the start, the authors make it clear that Ismail's basis of foreign policy - supported by numerous sources - was that of an independent line. Malaya's "stand on international problems should not be influenced by the policies of other countries big or small" - a policy which made sense, but would be difficult to maintain in the treacherous world of Cold War politics."

About the Publication

Dr Ismail's writings and speeches, and his letters to the Tunku, covering a variety of foreign policy issues, are a valuable asset in understanding the unique role he played in the nation's history. He was without doubt the primary architect of Malayan (Malaysian) Foreign Policy. - Tengku Tan Sri Dato' Seri Ahmad Rithauddeen, Former Foreign Minister of Malaysia
          
           Not only was Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman Malaysia's first ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the United Nations, he was also Foreign Affairs Minister in 1959-60. Later, as long-time Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and occasionally Acting Prime Minister, he played a decisive role in making neutrality the pillar of Malaysia's foreign policy.
           This important collection of notes he wrote to the Tunku in 1958 and of his speeches made in 1957-58 at the UN are being published for the very first time. It gives us a window into his seminal thinking and makes us understand the contribution he made to Malaysian nation-building in the early years. Tawfik Ismail and Ooi Kee Beng deserve kudos for compiling these into one volume and for providing elaborate footnoting that presents the reader with an intriguing picture of the Cold War year of 1958. The book is a "must read" for the diplomatic corps and Malaysian foreign policy analysts. - Johan Saravanamuttu, Former Political Science Professor and Dean, Science University Malaysia (USM)
          
          
          
          

Contents

PDF e-book files for this publication are available as detailed below.

Malaya's First Year at the United Nations: As Reflected in Dr Ismail's Reports Home to Tunku Abdul Rahman [Whole Publication] 5.90 USD
20.00 USD
Preliminary pages
1. CONFIDENTIAL NOTES BY THE AMBASSADOR
2. Epilogue
Appendices
Appendix 1: Ismail's inaugural speech during the general debate at the 12th Session
Appendix 2a: Ismail's contribution to the general debate at the 12th Session
Appendix 2b: Ismail's contribution to the general debate at the 12th Session (continued)
Appendix 3: Malaya's aide memoire handed over to the American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles by Dr Ismail on 26 May 1958
Appendix 4: Ismail's contribution to the general debate at the 13th Session
Bibliography
Index

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