With an extensive background in the Foreign Service, Jonathan Dean entered the United Nations in 1962, first serving as Consul and Principal Officer in Elisabethville, Katanga and then as Deputy Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs, Department of State. He was deputy United States negotiator for the 1971 quadripartite agreement in Berlin. From 1973 to 1981, he was deputy United States Representative before becoming Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Warsaw Pact force reduction negotiations in Vienna.
The former president of the United Nations Association of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, Mr. Dean was an adviser on arms control and international security issues to the Union of Concerned Scientists at the time of the interview. Conducted on 21 February 1990, the interview focuses on the time that Mr. Dean was working in the Congo as Principal Officer during the Tshombe secession and the United Nations peacekeeping intervention.