December 6 In Cairo, an emergency meeting of the Arab League admits the United Arab Emirates as its 18th member. A communiqué condemning Iran's actions over the Tunb islands is sent to U Thant, the United Nations secretary general.
The UN Security Council reviews the United Arab Emirates' application for membership of the UN and, following normal procedure, refers it to committee for consideration.
James Treadwell becomes the first British ambassador to the UAE in a ceremony at Al Manhal Palace. His despatch to London notes: "The whole ceremony was dignified and it was faultlessly carried out.
"Their success was the more remarkable in that the President's wish to accept my credentials was made known to them only one day before the event."
Sheikh Zayed sends his Rolls Royce to Treadwell's house at 11.15am and with an escort of police cars and 10 outriders they set out for the palace. The anthems of Britain and Abu Dhabi are played because the country does not yet have a national anthem.
In a statement to the UK House of Commons, the foreign secretary, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, announces: "I am glad to tell the House that the United Arab Emirates was formally established last Thursday, 2nd December. The Ruler of Abu Dhabi was sworn in as President. Her Majesty's Government had, on the previous day, terminated the special relationship with the six emirates who are members of the union. As previously agreed with the Ruler, Her Majesty's Government also terminated the special relationship with Ras al Khaimah, which had decided not to join the union.
"Also on 2nd December, Her Majesty's Government concluded with the union a Treaty of Friendship, on the same lines as the treaties concluded recently with Bahrain and Qatar. We welcome this new relationship. We hope the union will shortly be accepted into the United Nations.
"We have signed new treaties of friendship with all these states and they inherit satisfactory arrangements for their defence. These are solid and noteworthy achievements, on which can be built co-operation for the future, both between these Arab states themselves, and I hope between them and Iran. The situation now achieved represents a reasonable and acceptable basis for the security and future stability of that area."
December 7 The committee of the UN Security Council unanimously recommends that the United Arab Emirates is admitted to the United Nations.
"I left Abu Dhabi on the day of the signing [of the provisional constitution]; I was on the plane," Adnan Pachachi recalls. "I presented the formal request of the United Arab Emirates to becoming a member of the United Nations.
"I left in the morning on December 2 and got to London on midday, then left for the US in the afternoon and got there early evening.
"I started working immediately the following day in the early morning. I went to the UN and met U Thant [UN secretary general] and handed him the application requesting membership, which he of course transmitted to the president of the Security Council.
"I had left the UN only a couple of years before so I had a lot of my former colleagues there, and I must say I had a very generous welcome."
A UK foreign office cable from Treadwell states that the following countries have recognised the UAE: Libya, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Japan, the United States, Oman, Syria and Kuwait.
It adds that nothing has been heard from Saudi Arabia or Iraq and that Mohammed Habroush al Suwaidi, a Minister of State, is in Cairo to present the UAE's application to join the Arab League while Pachachi, a Minister of State, is in New York to submit the application to the UN.
December 9 At the 26th session of the United Nations, in Item 27 of the agenda, the General Assembly admits the United Arab Emirates to the UN.
The communiqué from U Thant to Sheikh Zayed reads: "I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that at its meeting today the Security Council adopted unanimously Resolution 304 (1971) recommending to the General Assembly the admission of the United Arab Emirates to membership of the United Nations. The General Assembly will consider this recommendation at its current session.
"I wish to take this opportunity to add my personal congratulations to the many statements made in the Security Council supporting the applications of your country."
December 10, Noon The flag of the United Arab Emirates is raised outside the United Nations General Assembly in New York for the first time.
The first cabinet of the United Arab Emirates is formed in Abu Dhabi.
December 16 49 countries have now recognised the United Arab Emirates.
December 22 The Trucial Oman Scouts are offically disbanded at their headquarters in Sharjah and other garrisons, although they continue to function as a force for some time. According to Abu Dhabi News: "Soldiers dressed in red and white headdress swore an oath of allegiance to the new state. Defence Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum flew between garrisons by helicopter to be present at each parade."
The new Union Defence Force is 1,700 strong, with a command of 33 British officers, under Col Edward "Tug" Wilson.
Abu Dhabi News adds: "It is understood that a new emblem of a perched hawk will replace the present crossed daggers."
Late December Customs formalities between Dubai and Abu Dhabi are lifted after Julian Walker, now a consular official, organises a meeting in Abu Dhabi between Sheikh Zayed and a group of leading Dubai merchants. Abbas Tarabeeli, a former editor at Al Ittihad, recalls: "When I had to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, we left Al Maqta Bridge and our passports had to be in our hands.
"At Saih Shuaib [the Dubai border] there were customs where our baggage was checked. There was the fenced border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which stayed even after the unification."
December 29 The US consul general in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, tells Ras al Khaimah that its appeal for American support if the emirate becomes an independent state has been turned down.
Ras al Khaimah also learns that a new oilfield off its coast does not contain enough oil to finance the emirate as an independent state.
January 11 Ahmed al Suwaidi, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed al Mulla, Minister of Gulf Affairs, and Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed al Mualla, Minister of Health, visit the Ruler of Ras al Khaimah to obtain his signature on a certificate of inclusion for the union.
January 24 Sheikh Khalid, the Ruler of Sharjah, is killed in an attempted coup by a cousin and former ruler. He is succeeded by his brother, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.
February 11 Ras al Khaimah is admitted into the United Arab Emirates on the same terms it rejected in December 1971, but with the Ruler saying he has received assurances from the other leaders that the country will not abandon its claim to the Greater and Lesser Tunbs. A confidential report to the British foreign secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home from Sir Geoffrey Arthur notes: "Ras al Khaimah's admission to the UAE has been greeted with great relief in the Gulf."
April 4 The United Arab Emirates joins UNESCO.
Recognition from Cairo to Tokyo
Egypt recognises the UAE “The Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt has taken note of the declaration by the Government of the United Arab Emirates as a sovereign Arab State, and wishes it continuous progress and prosperity. Having the firm belief that the independence of the United Arab Emirates is a factor of realising stability and peace in the Arab Gulf area, the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt is certain that the New Arab brotherly nation will contribute to the march of the Arab nation towards its welfare, dignity and prosperity.”
Japan recognises the UAE “The Ambassador of Japan presents his compliments to Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and, under instructions from his Government, has the honour to inform the latter that the Government of Japan recognised the United Arab Emirates on 3rd December, 1971.”
In the four years that pass between Britain's decision to leave the Gulf and the creation of the United Arab Emirates, life for many has already changed beyond recognition. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are already becoming cities with rapidly growing populations. Oil revenues are transforming the local economy. Telephones, electricity, hospitals and clean water have begun to lift the burden of decades of poverty.
Abu Dhabi's designation as the capital of the new federation means that it will soon outstrip Al Ain as the emirate's largest centre of population. Where there were once simple 'arish homes, concrete apartment blocks are rising, along with offices housing everything from government institutions to banks and supermarkets. Within a year, the city's first international hotel, the Hilton, will open. Newly paved roads are choked with traffic almost as soon as they are built.
In Dubai, the first deep-water berths at Port Rashid are already in business, signalling the start of the city's transformation as a global centre of trade and commerce. The city's first traffic signals are installed on Al Fahidi Street. Modern airports now connect the country directly to the great cities of the world.
The Rulers of the new federation see its creation as just the start of the task of nation building. In the months and years to come there will be many challenges. In early 1972, some territorial disputes are still unresolved, including between Sharjah and Fujairah. The arrival of union troops, who swiftly end the dispute and see that the wounded recieive treatment, was a statement of intent by Sheikh Zayed that the old ways of settling disputes now belong in the past.
To some outsiders, the federation seemed a fragile thing. A frank assessment by British diplomats in February 1972 notes that: "It is hard to escape the conclusion that the union's survival for a reasonable period of time is against the odds."
Zaki Nusseibeh, who has spent four decades serving the country, recalls: "British diplomats in the Foreign Office secretly felt that a successful union was a 'pipe dream' and there were doubts in the Arab and foreign media that this would prove to be a lasting agreement.
"I remember clearly one foreign journalist, who I'd taken to meet Sheikh Zayed, remarking that the leaders 'must be dreaming' if they think that the agreement would last."
Four decades later, such pessimism seems absurd. The last word should go to Sheikh Zayed, addressing his people on the first anniversary of the nation's founding: "In being proud with what we have achieved during the last few months, we still feel that we are on the beginning of a long and arduous path. We look forward to achieving more security, progress and development in the future.
"Our belief in the Almighty and our belief in ourselves and in the capabilities of our citizens and their loyalty to the state makes us confident that we will be able to achieve in our bright future much more than what we were able to achieve in our brief yesterday."