In 1944, Galo Plaza Lasso was selected as Ambassador to the United States. In 1945, he was part of the Ecuadorian delegation at the Inter-American Conference on War and Peace, Chapultepec, Mexico and at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco. Mr. Plaza returned to Ecuador and in 1948, where he won the presidential election. He served as President from 1948 to 1952. After his term, President Plaza distinguished himself in the service of international organizations, especially the United Nations.
In 1958, he presided over the meetings of the Special Committee of the Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL), which laid the foundations for the Latin American common market. In the same year, Mr. Plaza, headed the successful mission of United Nations observers sent to Lebanon. In 1960, Mr. Plaza presided over the committee charged by the United Nations to deal with the evacuation of Belgian military bases in the Congo. From May 1964 to the end of 1965, Mr. Plaza served as the personal representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and as mediator in Cyprus, a mission which turned out to be successful in the face of extremely difficult circumstances.
The interview was held on 28 March 1984 and focused on Mr. Plaza's involvement with the United Nations — the missions to Lebanon, Congo, as special rep to Cyprus, as well as how his role as President of Ecuador was affected by his experiences with the United Nations. Mr. Plaza also discusses the early years of the Organization and the first four Secretaries-General (Trygve Lie, Dag Hammarskjöld, U Thant and Kurt Waldheim).