Ian Berendsen served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific and Italy before he started working in the United Nations as a Political Affairs Officer in the Trusteeship Division in 1947. He then acted as Principal Secretary for several United Nations Missions: to Togoland in 1955, Western Samoa in 1959, and Tanganyika in 1960. From 1960 to 1961, he represented the United Nations in the Congo.
Conducted on 4 May 1990, Mr. Berendsen discussed his experiences as the representative of the United Nations in Elisabethville. He shared his insight on Congolese politician Moise Tshombe, the murder of Patrice Lumumba and the removal of Belgian military forces from the Congo.