Old Trouble in New Hebrides - A TLIAD

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Morraw, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Morraw ME

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    The Republic of Vemerana. Small, poor, and technologically disadvantaged, this minor island-nation is one of the least understood or well-recognized countries that exist on Earth today, however, like so many other states that have 'graced' the world with their presence over the years, this small collection of Melanesian islands boasts a long, proud, and intricate history that ties together strands of all mankind's past. Colonialism, nationalism, modernisation, and commercial opportunities have all played their part in both the independence and post-war formation of the government and nation that we know today as Vemerana, personal rivalries, beliefs, intrigue, and international meddling also playing large roles in the cast that would bring together such an 'unusual' state. For the previous thirty years since its declaration of independence in early-1980, immediately prior to the official sovereignty of its sister state in Vanuatu (though few would claim their relationship is anything close to sororal), the Pacific state that we'll be focusing our attentions on over the next day-or-so have been under the influence of many men and many nations over the last few years; France, Britain, America, and Australia being amongst dozens of nations that have, since its independence, attempted to push and prod this this state this-way-and-that.

    However, despite their vast connections to the rest of the 'western world', Vemerana remains technologically backwards, socially unequal, and economically mismanaged; these marks of its current history being only three of far more stains of the nation's colonial past (the nation's leading ideology of 'traditionalism' also playing a role in this situation). Indeed, just two weeks ago, the government of France had been criticised in official United Nations documents due to its "clear and consistent history of meddling in internal Vemeranan affairs"; an overview of neo-colonialism that has often defined and distinguished this recently independent state from its more fiercely sovereign neighbours in Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. From accusations of vote rigging in the 2011 general elections to arguments that an international power saw to the assassination of their first president, these 'common allegations' of French or British overextending their reach on the islands have been the only news from Vemerana to break out of their minuscule state in recent years.

    As a result, we here at the World Register have decided to compile a small, but informative report on how a state built around tradition and Ni-Vanuatu nationalism could be drawn away from the road to independence and back to the comfortable but unfeeling wing of neo-colonialist agencies in France, Britain, and America. Furthermore, it will be our duty to attempt to present the short but fascinating story behind the first years of this oft-neglected republic and piece together just how the first and most popular of the 'Presidents in Luganville' managed to win and maintain independence during that destinctive decade known as the 1980's, only to lose it so fast. Readers, I'll ask you to prepare for a brief, but interesting dive into one of the most remote and poor, but also captivating nations that have arose in recent history. This, my readers, is the intriguing and proud history of Vemerana, in only four short updates.

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    Jeanne Harmes. 2011. The short by captivating history of Vemerana. www.worldregister.com.au/reports/2011/Vemerana. [Accessed 17 October 2013].
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  2. Thande a special man who knows these things Donor

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    Well, this is an interesting and original idea for a TLIAD.
     
  3. St. Just STOP BUMPING STOP BUMPING STOP BUMPING THREADS

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    Color me interested!
     
  4. Xenophonte Quod natura non dat, Salmantica non præstat.

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    Interesting :)
     
  5. Morraw ME

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    The year was 1980, and the old regime was dying. For seventy-four years, the islands known then as the New Hebrides had been governed jointly by the great imperial powers of France and the United Kingdom; a long-lived but fast-dying ‘condominium’ that saw both republic and kingdom share the great wealth of the islands together and equally. What these states failed to do however, is to pass the native borne wealth 'mined' from the islands resources back to the natives peoples who had lived there for centuries; the mass transfer of the island's produce (primarily coconuts) were primarily shipped away to the home countries of the condominium whilst the Melanesians and Polynesians who called these islands home struggled bellow the poverty belt, despite the build up of new (albeit highly expensive) services such as hospitals and police-yards, as well as even the most meagre housing. For seventy-four years, the natives of these islands had been trampled upon by the unforgiving boot of the colonialist mentality of both Great Britain and France, but now, in the dying days of colonialism, the lights were slowly being switched off for this old and unequal system of governance. Very soon, the men and women of New Hebrides would be able to chose their own destinies.

    Throughout the preceding decade, independence talks between Ni-Vanuatu nationalists and the 'condominium powers' were becoming a more and more common occurrence on the island as expectations towards freedom were growing far more apparent. The expansion of industry since the end of the Second World War had prompted a large population boom in the region that continued unabated throughout the 1950's, 1960's as the general growth of business and new products maintained an equilibrium of 'peace' between European settlers (who had came primarily for commercial opportunities) and the native population that lived there. However, as equality between the two peoples began to drift further and further apart throughout the course of the '70's, nationalistic, tribalistic, and generally anti-colonialist began to simmer underneath the decline of what both Melanesians and Polynesians believed to be the 'death of their traditions and culture'. By 1970, European business interests (primarily French) owned approximately 30% of all land on the island despite boasting a European populace of only 2.1%, and as more indigenous land began to be cleared throughout the remainder of the decade to grow their lucrative coconut crop, the clamber and cry for independence and self-rule began to grow even louder; two rival political movements being formed out of their push for sovereignty.

    The first of these movements was that of Vanua'aku Pati; the first modern political party in New Hebrides founded in 1970 (originally named the New Hebrides National Party). Centered primarily on the more southern Melanesian islands of the condominium, the 'Pati' was first and foremost a left-wing socialist, anti-colonialist movement that focused on breaking off the condominium and forming their own republic, free from European interference. With the focal point of its message being centred on independence (first and foremost), the Vanua'aku Pati strived year after year to push both the French Republic and United Kingdom towards a unilateral withdrawal from the islands and a shift back to native rule; however, this did not mean they were traditionalists. Far from it in fact, the Pati was the brainchild of Walter Lini, a popular and persuasive Anglican priest Walter Lini who believed that the New Hebrides would ultimately have to side with (but not be subject to) a world power after independence in order to see the greater modernisation of the state; his plans usually being Anglophone in nature due to his connections within the British government.

    The second of these important autonomist movements was that of the Nagriamel Customs Union; a far less politically engaged movement that marched under the banners of traditionalism and 'simple independence'. With their focus geared not towards modernisation of the condominium's government or organisation (independence being far less emphasised than in the Vanua'aku Pati), Nagriamel had instead centered themselves to the traditional, village-centered way of life for the ni-Vanuatu people, their power-base being largely contingent on the poor and destitute Melanesians on the more northern islands in the New Hebrides, particularly the island of Espiritu Santo. Led by the mysterious, sixty year-old becapped figure known as Jimmy Stevens (having been dubbed 'Moses' by his traditionalist followers), he espoused respect for all the vast tribal customs across every island in the condominium, including those which believed in the 'outlandish' cult of John Frum (a cargo cult that sprang up in the 1930's and 1940's), as well as just general independence from the British and French. However, despite his best intentions regarding his homelands as well as his own strict code of conduct, the influential Stevens had often found himself torn between competing factions that wished to gain internal and wide-spread support on the so-called 'expensive islands' at the cost of his own Melanesian support base; the French (who wished to retain the condominium for as long as possible) being the first and foremost among many to pursue control over the man they dubbed 'Moses'.

    Between 1976 and 1979 as independence talks continued to ramp up underneath the firmament of French and British resistance, two 'coup' attempts on the islands attempted to break off those two great powers violently, both times being led by Stevens-like traditionalists who clambered for no further international 'occupation' of their islands, both attempts dying off early. Indeed, during this three years period, as political movements and parties began to rise and fall at a greater and greater rate, both the Vanua'aku and Nagriamel began to become more and more loud and 'radical' in both their calls for independence. Indeed, whilst the Pati moved away from soft-socialism and pro-British support towards stronger forms of the ideology coupled with weaker Anglophila, all whilst Steven's and his Nagriamel movement began to call for not simply the independence of the New Hebrides, but also that of his main support base; the French dominated island of Epiritu Santo.

    Steven's (having been part-European, part-Melanesian, and part-Polynesian descent), was initially weary of taking a separatist stance in regards to Epiritu Santo, however, due to the constant pushing and prodding by the increasingly more influential France which had thrown their full support behind Stevens in an attempt to retain nominal control over the northern islands (Epiritu Santo being planned to serve as a 'ideological buffer' between the New Hebrides and their larger colony of New Caledonia in an attempt to stem all independence-related discussion from moving between the islands.

    Ultimately, Stevens began to buckle under the greater and greater pressure of the Fifth Republic and French business-owners on the islands who had secretly supported the independence of a 'weaker state' in order to maintain control over their coconut plantations, despite Nagriamel's opposition to foreign ownership of native land. Very soon, Steven's message had shifted away from respect for all tribes, land, and customs across the New Hebrides to simply the independence of his new 'homeland', his more persuasive (albeit strangely erratic) mannerisms drawing more and more discontent poor from the northern islands into his movement.

    On November 14, 1979, the sixth general elections, also known as the 'independence elections' due to the public belief that freedom would soon be upon them (the French (unwillingly) and British signing an agreement to hand over sovereignty of the islands to its native peoples). In the election, over a dozen parties and independents ran for the seats of power (and presumably the first governing role of the new state when independence would officially be declared), the old Vanua'aku Pati took the leading nationalist role throughout the course of the voting cycle whilst the Nagriamel movement ran a half-hearted campaign that flipped-flopped from calls for a traditional focus on the islands to independence of both Melanesian and Polynesian states. Ultimately, the Walter Lini-led Vanua'aku Pati would come out on top during the balloting; the left-wing movement gaining 62.3% of the popular vote as they were swept into the autonomous parliament on the back of 26 (out of 39) seats, the Steven's-led Nagriamel having been butchered on the final day as his movement (which had been running candidates through a number of different parties) picked up only three seats; a crushing defeat that led to 'Moses' making half-hearted calls that the ballots were made to be "skewed in favour of Vanua'aku".

    In Europe, such a large victory for a socialist, nationalist government in the condominium that was on the threshold of independence was unacceptable. For the new Thatcher-government in Britain, the initial thought of the Vanua'aku Pati as simply a 'socialist party' was strong enough for talks to be raised in Thatcher's ministry of pushing back the date of independence in an attempt to garner more influence within their government, all before such plans were shelved after Lini made subsequent (and secret) promises to London that he was willing to help support British-centric growth on the islands, as well as protect all British assets that currently were stored in the two largest cities (Port Vila, the capital and largest on the islands, and Luganville, the French dominated capital of Espiritu Santo.

    The French were far less accepting of such a situation. Almost immediately following the crushing electoral loss in the New Hebrides, Paris began to make diplomatic manoeuvres towards the saddened Jimmy Stevens through their Resident Commissioner to the islands (Jean-Jacques Robert), the co-commissioner of the condominium beginning to initiate a pre-planned operation with the reluctant support from Nagriamel for the formation of a breakaway state in the advent of independence for the soon-to-be-dubbed 'Vanuatu'. Very soon, they were joined by not only the powerful French 'coconut barons' that dominated Espiritu Santo, but also almost all the traditionalist tribal leaders that populated the island's interior, as well as covert monetary support (to the tune of $250,000) from the American libertarian organization known as the Phoenix Foundation (which supported break-away states such as Abaco and Minerva throughout the 1970's in pursuit of forming a 'tax-free haven').

    The stage was set, the pawns in position, with only the major players left to make the first move.

    As Morris Davis, the only President of Minerva had put it;

    “The people will soon be free to do as they damn well please!”

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    Page 1 of 4

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    Jeanne Harmes. 2011. The short by captivating history of Vemerana. www.worldregister.com.au/reports/2011/Vemerana. [Accessed 17 October 2013].
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  6. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

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    Subscribed!
     
  7. The Oncoming Storm Well-Known Member

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    Interesting!

    I can remember hearing about the New Hebrides on BBC News at the time not knowing what was really going on. Please keep going! :D
     
  8. NCW8 Being Analogue in a Digital World Donor

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    Likewise ! I hope that the Prince Philip Movement gets to play a role.


    Cheers,
    Nigel.
     
  9. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

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    A Coconut War timeline? Damn, this is gonna be good.

    You do realize you've just made the New Hebrides a potential Cold War flashpoint, don't you?
     
  10. St. Just STOP BUMPING STOP BUMPING STOP BUMPING THREADS

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    Good update- I had never heard of the Coconut War before...
     
  11. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

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    They're at the opposite end of the archipelago from Espiritu Santo, so probably not, although Prince Philip as God-Emperor of Tanna would be... would be... all right, I have no words for what it would be.
     
  12. Morraw ME

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    Following the November elections in the New Hebrides, violent and fiery events leading up to the Coconut War began to increase at a greater and greater speed than any time in the archipelago's past (including a failed series of traditionalist uprisings in 1974). In early December, the Moderate Party (the second largest political party in the parliament at the time), Nagriamel supporters, French business owners, as well as two representatives from the Phoenix Foundation met in Luganville to discuss future plans regards the push for independence; Jimmy Stevens, despite being one of the chairmen of the talks, falling under French persuasion once again after they proposed they it should be him to lead the provisional government (despite his original intention to stay as far away from 'conflict' as possible) in the advent of independence, this position backed by the other major factions at the time under the belief that each would be able to win over and 'control' Stevens' actions. The Moderates and French colonists on the island promised their support of the movement for sovereignty if only to further their own personal interests, all whilst the representatives of the Phoenix Foundation promised an initial investment of over ten million dollars if Espiritu Santo was to free itself from the grasps of Port Vila (acting under the assumption that the new-found government would be able to be 'bought out' and influenced by private American business). On December 28, 1979, the final agreement between all representatives had been signed in secret, putting all their actions down in the annals of time as they crossed the Rubicon towards war.

    On January 16 the following year, the organization for independence (now dubbed 'Vemerana' by the members of the previous month's meeting) came together for the first time in public to reveal themselves and their 'intentions' to the world in front of a crowd of thousands. Broadcast from Luganville, Jimmy Stevens (clothed in a military-esque uniform supplied by the French) declared to the New Hebrides his plans for the "autonomy and utmost respect for tribes, beliefs, and peoples on the islands", attempting to soften the initial blowback that would come from an all-out declaration of independence by claiming that this new political movement would primarily strive for the rights of 'minorities' on all the islands (this including the tribes, French business community, and marginalised parties). Raising the flag Vemerana (a simple green star on a sea-blue background) over the city, his unenthusiastic ralling cries were nevertheless met with cheer from the poor and despondent crowd that had gathered around him. Ten days later, on January 26, Stevens marched on Britain and France's co-owned District Agency in Luganville (followed by approximately two-hundred of his supporters, the majority being bushmen and Nagriamel members), closing and barring the entrance with namele leaves before the local law enforcement arrived to disband the group.

    Nevertheless, tensions continued to rise as France continuously worked behind the scenes in the pursuit of their final goal for the Melanesian regions of the New Hebrides. On February 10, Jimmy Stevens, Walter Lini, and number of other parliamentary leaders met with the heads of the French central government in Paris to discuss the 'post-independence situation in Vanuatu', the outward façade of the talks masking their true intentions; putting pressure on Lini and his government in order to extract political concessions. Bernard Stasi, the Minister for Overseas France, used post-independence aid and the date of independence as a bargaining chip with both Lini and Stevens, he fought with the Vanuatuans in regards to changes to the constitution (to ensure greater political autonomy for France's primary native supporters on the islands, the Melanesian tribes), as well as political representation for the minor French business community in Luganville. Despite Stevens taking the Frenchman's side, the majority of the other politicians rebuked Stasi's offers, outraged at the suggestions and lack of British representation in the talks; Lini refusing to deal with the French government on any soil other than the New Hebrides.

    This rebuke was the final straw that broke France's back; their diplomatic channels towards maintaining their influence over the islands going to the wayside as their government quickly moved towards absolute support for Vemerana and a push for the independence of Espiritu Santo. Recalling their primary allies back to Paris one last time, the government laid out a carefully constructed plan that would combine the diplomatic power of France, the financial capital of the Phoenix Foundation, and the manpower and popularity of Jimmy Stevens and Nagriamel. With the confidential talks being carried out throughout February and April, the independence-minded groups came to the last agreement before they would begin the push for sovereignty; France would pursue all diplomatic channels with the aim of Espiritu Santo's independence (including official recognition) in exchange for French being named the official language of the new state. Furthermore, economic concessions were granted to both French and (to placate the libertarian organization) American business interests, the Phoenix Foundation receiving the promises from Bernard Stasi that the new currency would be pegged to gold and silver, as well as limited taxation (the trade-off being almost solely American investment in the nation's new infrastructure and government organisations).

    Meanwhile, whilst talks between the would-be independence seekers were finalising in Paris, the situation in the New Hebrides was growing more and more chaotic the closer as the perceived independence date grew ever closer. Despite supporting each other in Paris, the New Hebrides parliament quickly devolved following their meeting with the French as members of the Moderate Party began to fight back against Walter Lini and his plans to further centralize the government in response to 'French provocations', the British supporting the move if only to distance their condominium 'ally' from the archipelago post-independence. Violence flared as traditionalists on Espiritu Santo and Moderates on the main island (Efate) began to clash openly with those supporters of Walter Lini and his Vanua'aku Pati, militias (a growing site following the 1979 election) ravaging small settlements as riots began to break out in both Luganville and Port Vila. Just as Stevens arrived back in Espiritu Santo on May 15 in order to take personal control of his Nagriamel and Vemerana 'soldiers' that were beginning to assemble in the bushlands, seventeen of Walter Lini's political cadre were captured by a Moderate militia on the island of Tanna for ten days before being rescued by a British Mobile Unit, the firefight that followed causing concern in London. Over the following few days after the hostage rescue, Moderates entered into a dormant period whilst they regrouped in hopes that the British wouldn't pursue any action that would see further escalation on the islands, and after a week, tensions ignited for one last time as the entirety of the New Hebrides went up in the flames of conflict after Moderate, Nagriamel, and general Vemerana militias broke out in riots across Espiritu Santo. The so-called 'Coconut War' had begun.

    Throughout the month of May, Stevens attempted to act reserved in his control over his soldiers, simply sending them to break shops in down town Luganville and scare off British and Vanua'aku Pati supporters off Espiritu Santo as he further mustered the Melanesian tribes of island (most of them equipped with simply bows-and-arrows) with promises of their 'freedom' from the influence of the Polynesians to their south. Rallying around him, these men and women began to perform more and more violent acts outside of their leader's line of site as he carefully attempted to stop Lini and the British sending soldiers to the island for as long as possible (the French working frantically backstage in a similar attempt). However, on May 28 on the urging of his deputies, Stevens was persuaded to break the policy of not attacking condominium buildings and colonial offices after he sent a small squad of Nagriamel bushmen and Moderate supporters (the party now throwing their strength behind the man they called 'Moses') to the British Resident Commissioner's office in Luganville as they took siege of the compound overnight, residents inside the building being forced to flee as Stevens' army swarmed the buildings in a violent frenzy. The following day, the British commander for Espiritu Santo (Job Dalesa) was captured by a Moderate milita in the bush whilst the Nagriamel Customs Union set up blockades of vital roads across the island as Luganville's Pekoa Airport was seized by another contingent sent by Stevens; it was time for Lini and the central government to act.

    Ordering that the approximately 2,000 civil servants, Vanua'aku supporters, and British settlers be evacuated from the island as he sent request after request to the British government in London to respond the provocations of Stevens in the form of a Mobile Unit that could fight him back. Surprising however, due to the persuasions of the French Resident Commissioner Jean-Jacques Robert (who had been expending diplomatic capital tirelessly over the previous month) managed to persuade Thatcher and her ministers that French government (which maintained a larger presence on the island) would be able to hold back the line against the rebels, all whilst Lini, at the request of the disbelieving British Resident Commissioner Andrew Stuart, began to set up an economic and goods blockade of Espiritu Santo to wear-down Stevens' resolve. However, due to the fact that now both the British and the French (despite Commissioner Robert's promises) refused to act against the rebels, coupled with the fact that the New Hebrides 'military' consisted of a few transport ships, the soon-to-be sovereign nation could not directly fight back against the growth of Stevens and his independence movement, only wait, their failure to act promptly seeing Stevens meet with his supporters in Luganville and, on the stroke of midnight of June 1, 1980, declare the official independence of the provisional Republic of Vemerana.

    The following weeks were the most bloody of all in the Coconut War. Firstly, two days after the announcement of independence (today recognized as one of Vemerana's national holidays), France established diplomatic relations with the new state in an effort to bolster its legitimacy, and whilst the government in Paris initially refused to extend complete recognition of the new state, fearing that the British would see through their clandestine efforts over the preceding months and act on the situation. However, this attempt at subverting British participation in the conflict would ultimately fail, but not the French government's own hand, but at the hand of the Moderates; for a week after they extended a hand to Vemerana, a Moderate militia advanced over the highlands of Tanna in an attempt to rescue the contingent of men that had been caught by the British Mobile Unit only a few weeks earlier. Entering into the island's capital (Isangel) under the cover of the morning's darkness, they stormed the police station in which their comrades were being held, dynamite and automatic weapons entering use as the small Anglo-Ni-Vanuatu law enforcement attempted to hold them off. In the ensuring disaster that was the Raid on Isangel, seven police officers and defenders of the station were shot down as fifteen militia members were killed in self-defence, and whilst the raid was successful to the point in which the prisoners caught weeks earlier managed to escape amidst the smoke and gunfire, one of the primarily leaders of the Moderates, Alexi Lolu, was mowed down as the attackers attempted to retreat back across the island. That evening, a message was sent out via ham radio after Moderate leaders convened in the wake of Lolu's death, announcing to the world that they would "no longer take up arms in a pointless, bloody, and futile conflict", ending their relationship with Jimmy Stevens as they subsequently made peace with the central government of Walter Lini.

    The news caused uproar in both London and Paris; in Britain primarily, there were calls to finally acknowledge the situation in the New Hebrides and take military action to see peace restored to the region, all whilst the French ministries for their territories entered into a brief period of chaos as the withdrawal of Moderate support threatened to reveal their participation in the conflict and incur the wrath of the international community. On the evening of June 10, Walter Lini again requested that Thatcher government respond to the conflict by sending another unit of armed forces to Espiritu Santo, London responding with immediacy as they promised a continent of 200 men that could easily overthrow the Stevens-controlled Vemerana in 'less than a week', an action that led the French to mobilize their own armed forces that were already present (and, to the international community, suspiciously unharmed) on Espiritu Santo in an attempt to calm the situation in order to divert attention away from the islands. However, it would be a day later on June 11 before such a decision was reverse; the French, having become aware that their counterparts intentions of sending 200 soldiers to the New Hebrides, the swiftly ordered their guards to stand down as swiftly as they had mobilized, Commissioner Roberts sending a claim to both Commissioner Andrew Stuart and the British government that the situation on Espiritu Santo itself was of a "calm and peaceful character". This message granted the French momentary breathing space as the sending of the 200-men unit was put on hold whilst the French overseas ministers began exerting the full extent of their diplomatic capital to counter Andrew Stuart's arguments that the islands needed a British presence, claiming that Commissioner Robert's assertions were lies.

    Throughout the next week, as both French and British forces remained on heigh alert in regards to the New Hebrides, Jimmy Stevens and his new government was swiftly overseeing the complete occupation of the largest island in the archipelago, shipments of equipment and (poor-quality) second-hand weapons being sent in by the Phoenix Foundation as they easily by-passed the Walter Lini-executed blockade. With claims coming from both sides that the situation was peaceful or violent, the western nation's of the condominium began to enter unofficial negotiations as the violence of the islands began to die down, the Vanua'aku-led government in Port Villa still being unable to mount a successful counter-offensive against the growing numbers of the de facto Vemerana Armed Forces, all whilst Stevens wasn't prepared to send his men over the water to occupy the other islands claimed by the new Republic. Instead, the President decided to settle his troops down on the island and prepare for a long period of defence as he solidified his 'victory' over the island, his army of traditionalists and bushmen patrolling the streets of Luganville in stolen British uniforms whilst the United Kingdom and France steadily oversaw talks over the archipelago's future grow into an official discussion on July 3.

    Despite efforts by the Lini-government to receive support from the Australia or Papua New Guinea during this delicate period of time, the two nations refused to accept any deal with Port Villa due to the confused state of both France and Britain's position over their own condominium. As the talks continued between the two countries, it would be decided that the official independence date for the islands (July 30) would be pushed back indefinitely much to the irritated compliance of Lini and the Vanua'aku Pati, their own people beginning to discontent with the situation to their north. Throughout July, August, and September, this situation continued unabated as a number of foreign actors (the most notable of which being the United States and the United Nations) stepped in-and-out of the talks as France attempted a number of underhand diplomatic offerings to the British in exchange for Vemeranan independence, the British initially refusing to give any ground to their partners of the condominium before a number of important aspects of the independence could be discussed. Indeed, whilst the British were unconcerned with seperating the New Hebrides into two nations, Thatcher and her government still felt it was in their best interests to maintain a strong and centralized pro-British government in Port Villa rather than two weak nations (one under the boot heel of the French).

    Further compounding the issue was that of Commissioner Stuart's (rightful) belief that the French government was largely behind the rebellion on Espiritu Santo, and despite keeping the claim and evidence (such as the notable lack of Vemeranan attacks on French residencies, settlers, or military outposts, as well as the establishing of de facto relations between the two governments) strictly between himself and his government, it ultimately exasperated the tensions between London and Paris as distrust over the other's motive became interwoven with the discussion. During this time, minor outbreaks of violence and rioting began to spring up with occasional ferocity in the Lini-controlled regions of the New Hebrides, the static nature of this 'Coconut War' and the subsequent talks compounding any attempts to try and begin implementing his own policies (the first and foremost being the unification of all the islands in independence), a situation that struck a cord with many discontent members of society in the New Hebrides.

    It wouldn't be until late-September in which the United Nations stepped into the discussion on a full time basis, overlooking the situation with a 'careful' eye as they looked back on the history (much like us here at the World Register are doing right now) of the region in order to discern a susceptible and bi-partisan solution to Jimmy Stevens and his almost-unrecognised Republic, issues compounding the UN's problems primarily being the 'rivalry' between the European powers over influence in the islands. As the months continued to drag on, Vemerana continuing to receive large shipments of armanents whilst Lini attempted to work out a solution in his government's favour, there wouldn't be any diplomatic movements in regards to the islands before the monumental behind-the-scenes efforts of the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser broke forth in the March of 1981. Having travelled and met with both Jimmy Stevens and Walter Lini in January, Fraser had begun to expend extensive efforts in regards to the islands in an attempt to reach a formal ceasefire agreement (despite the 'official' fighting ending in August), the subsequent document they produced today marking an end to the Coconut War as it proclaimed a year-long 'peace deal' that would see Stevens granted the reigns of law-and-order for Espiritu Santo under Australian, French, and British oversight, whilst Lini and his government would continue to oversee governance of his portion of the archipelago on the promise that the western nations would seek to reimburse the not-yet independent state for any losses, all in exchange for not ordering any military action against Vemerana.

    This deal would ultimately prove to be the deciding document of both 'nations' futures. As the UN continued to look over Franco-British negotiations that were closing in on a final deal regarding the New Hebrides was slowly drawing to a close, the British government no longer willing to expend so much capital on the islands following Fraser's interjection and peace deal. As the French continued to work behind the scenes with their silent allies in order to minimise the risk of any 'discovery' of their involvement (particularly in the planning stages of the insurrection), the UN drafted compromise after compromise between the western nations and the two men who 'controlled' the New Hebrides (Stevens' government officially joining the negotiations following the deal with Australia), each one pointing the region towards a definite end, despite the growing internal tensions within both Luganville (discontent Bushmen under Stevens' control growing restless with the lack of any independence for fulfilment of promises) and Port Villa (the Vanua'aku Pati and their own supporters beginning to abandon Lini due to the nature of the 'separation negotiations').

    Finally, in the August of 1981, after a year of separation, intrigue, and political squabbles over the remains of the condominium, the UN announced to the world that a final decision had been reached and agreed to regarding the New Hebrides. Amongst the many stipulations that the World Register will get into on the next update, the first and foremost of them all would be that of the opening statement of section 1.1 of the document, the line having read;

    "In accordance to the agreement of August Fifteenth, Nineteen Eighty-One, this document hereby recognizes the legitimacy and diplomatic sovereignty of both the Republics of 'New Hebrides' ('Vanuatu') and 'Vemerana'."
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    Page 2 of 4

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    Jeanne Harmes. 2011. The short by captivating history of Vemerana. www.worldregister.com.au/reports/2011/Vemerana. [Accessed 17 October 2013].
     
  13. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Kew Gardens, NY
    I was wondering why Papua New Guinea wouldn't intervene as in OTL, but you gave the answer.

    I assume the next part will be where Jimmy Stevens learns that he's supposed to be a puppet and decides not to go with that program.