According to the dominant narrative, the right of self-determination became relevant as a matter of law only after the 1960s or even only in the early 1970s. However, by reviving a seemingly forgotten episode in the legal history of self-determination, this article shows that during the UN Security Council’s second year of operation, in 1947, the United Kingdom invoked the right of self-determination of another people, the Sudanese, as their legal entitlement, in its effort to counter Egyptian claims on the Sudan. Giving a strong voice to primary sources, this article narrates how British officials in the Sudan managed to promote the idea of Sudanese self-determination in London, even if only to serve, not challenge, their own colonial power and behaviour. They were so successful in doing this that the British Government, despite the UK's strategic and colonial interests, ultimately invoked self-determination as part of its legal argumentation in the Security Council.

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