Oscar Schachter considers himself as the first United Nations staff member to be given a permanent appointment. Serving as the Organization's legal advisor, from 1946 to 1953 in the temporary location in Hunter College, his assumption may not be far from the truth. Mr. Schachter served as an assistant legal counsel in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) from 1944 to 1946 prior to joining the Secretariat in 1946. He became Director of the General Legal Division in 1953, and from 1966 to 1975, served as Director of Research at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), simultaneously holding a post in Columbia University's faculty, where he taught until shortly before his death.
Conducted while Mr. Schachter was serving as an honorary editor for the American Journal of International Law, these two interviews deal with his experiences serving as a legal adviser and then Director of the General Legal Division in the newly formed United Nations. In both interviews, given on 11 October 1985 and 14 March 1986, Mr. Schachter describes the different personalities involved in the Organization at the time, evaluating the first three Secretaries‑General (Trygve Lie, Dag Hammarskjöld, and U Thant) and their abilities in crisis management.