Derek Boothby joined the United Nations in 1978 as an arms control specialist in the Department for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). With prior experience from serving as a career officer in the British Royal Navy, he worked on issues of nuclear non-proliferation, conventional arms limitations and verification. In March 1991, following the end of the war in Kuwait and Iraq, Mr. Boothby helped establish and organize the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) under Security Council resolution 687 (1991) (S/RES/687(1991)), which had implemented United Nations weapon inspections in Iraq. As Deputy Director of Operations, he took part in and led several inspections until he led a chemical weapons investigation in Azerbaijan in July 1992. In 1993, he became the Director of the Europe Division in the Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA). In February 1996, Mr. Boothby was appointed as second-in-command of the 7000-strong United Nations Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES), where he served until he returned to his post as Director, Europe Division in 1997.
Although he was retired at the time of the interview, Mr. Boothby continued to serve as an independent consultant on international political and security affairs. Conducted on 16 July 1998, the interview focuses on Mr. Boothby's experiences in the establishment of UNSCOM and the early weapon inspections in Iraq.