Before working with the United Nations, Joe Sills worked in the international division with Morgan Guarantee Trust Company in New York. In 1973, he became vice president of the United Nations Association. Mr. Sills came to work at the United Nations Secretariat as Deputy Director of the Press and Publications Division, Department of Public Information in 1981. That same year he simultaneously held the role of Spokesman for the President of the General Assembly, Ismat Kittani. In 1982, Mr. Sills became Associate Spokesman for Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, alongside Francois Giuliani. In October of 1992, he was appointed as Spokesperson for Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Gali. He served at his post until the last year of the Secretary-General's tenure in 1996, when he transferred to a post in Washington, D.C.
Retired at the time of this interview, conducted on 15 April 2005, Mr. Sills discusses his experiences in working in the United Nations. He focuses the majority of his discussion on Secretaries-General Pérez de Cuéllar and Boutros-Gali—their elections, their relationships with the press and how they dealt with crises.