Proposals for a new effort by the United Nations Security Council to resolve the Kashmir dispute under the joint sponsorship of the United Kingdom and the United States had been under informal discussion in London and Washington since the fall of 1950. An impetus to these discussions was the report to the Security Council on September 15, 1950, by Sir Owen Dixon of Australia, United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan, that no agreement had been reached between India and Pakistan for the demilitarization of the State of Jammu and Kashmir or on other preparations for the holding of a free and impartial plebiscite, and requesting the formal termination of his position (U.N. document S/1791).
Sir Owen had been appointed U.N. Representative by the Security Council on April 12, 1950, in accordance with a resolution of March 14, 1950 (S/1461). This resolution took note of the following earlier United Nations efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute:
- The Security Council Resolutions of January 20, 1948 (S/654) and April 21, 1948 (S/726), which established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), of which the United States was a member.
- The UNCIP Resolutions of August 13, 1948 (S/995), and January 5, 1949 (S/1196), both endorsed by the Security Council. The former resolution provided inter alia for a cease-fire, a truce agreement, and an unfettered plebiscite. The latter resolution set down the conditions and basic principles of the proposed plebiscite.
- The nomination by the U.N. Secretary General on March 21, 1949 of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U.S.N., as Plebiscite Administrator for Kashmir in accordance with the UNCIP Resolution of January 5, 1949. As of early 1951 Admiral Nimitz had not taken up his functions, pending agreement between India and Pakistan with respect to conditions for demilitarization and a plebiscite.
- The efforts of General A.G.L. McNaughton of Canada, President of the Security Council for December 1949, who negotiated informally with representatives of India and Pakistan. His final report to the Council (S/1453, February 3, 1950), which included a plan for demilitarization, was accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India (S/PV. 463–466, February 7–10, 1950).