Pearson's Peacekeepers

Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67

Table of contents

Foreword: Pearson’s Ambiguous Legacy / Robert Bothwell


1 Prelude to Suez

2 The Steep Hill of Suez

3 Blessed Are the Peacekeepers . .. Even the Canadians

4 Let the Fun(ding) Begin: Financing UNEF, 1956-1963

5 Ad Hoc Ad Infinitum: Financing UNEF, 1963-1967

6 Peace by Piece: UNEF on the Ground

7 The Forgotten Army

8 Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen: The Withdrawal of UNEF, May-June 1967





Pearson’s Peacekeepers describes Canada’s role in the first peacekeeping effort mounted by the UN and uncovers the realities and challenges that lie beneath the Canadian peacekeeping mission.


In 1957, Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for creating the United Nations Emergency Force during the Suez crisis. The award launched Canada’s enthusiasm and reputation for peacekeeping. Pearson’s Peacekeepers explores the reality behind the rhetoric by offering a detailed account of the UNEF’s decade-long effort to keep peace along the Egyptian-Israeli border. While the operation was a tremendous achievement, the UNEF also encountered formidable challenges and problems. This nuanced account of Canada’s participation in the UNEF challenges perceived notions of Canadian identity and history and will help Canadians to accurately evaluate international peacekeeping efforts today.