The Secretaries-General of the Organization With AM-APN--UN at 40 Bjt
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ After the United Nations’ peacekeeping machinery became frozen by Cold War, the secretaries-general of the organization assumed roles that went well beyond their administrative duties as described in the charter.
For example, Javier Perez de Cuellar, a former Peruvian diplomat who now holds the post, has launched U.N. investigations into the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war and won temporary agreement from both sides to halt attacks on civilian areas. He has pursued intercommunal peace on Cyprus and guided talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan toward ending the Afghan crisis. Earlier, he attempted to mediate between Britain and Argentina in the Falklands conflict.
Though he has met with only marginal success, he has managed to keep his ″good offices″ alive and remains an acceptable broker, if or when the adversaries are ready to negotiate seriously.
Such activism has its pitfalls.
Trygve Lie, a blunt-speaking Norwegian who served as the first United Nations chief, quit in 1953 under Soviet pressure because of his active support for the U.N. war effort in Korea.
His successor, Dag Hammarskjold, an intellectual Swede, ran afoul of both the Soviets and the French because of his handling of the U.N. peacekeeping operation in the Congo. Hammarskjold died in a 1961 air crash while attempting to mediate between the warring factions in the Congo.
U Thant, a Burmese, drew fire when he ordered the U.N. peacekeeping force to withdraw from the Sinai in 1967, setting the stage for the third Arab- Israeli war.
During the Vietnam War, U Thant irked the Johnson Administration when he made an unsolicited attempt to arrange peace talks between Washington and Hanoi.
Kurt Waldheim, an Austrian who preceded Perez de Cuellar, caught flak from President Nixon when he urged a halt to U.S. bombing of North Vietnam to avert destruction of dikes.
On a January 1980 trip to Tehran to try to win the release of 52 U.S. hostages, Waldheim was forced to flee from an angry mob at a cemetery.