United Nations

Interview with: William Epstein

22 October 1990 Pt. 1 (30: 31)
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22 October 1990 Pt. 2 (30: 1)
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22 October 1990 Pt. 3 (31: 9)
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22 October 1990 Pt. 4 (12: 18)
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22 October 1990 Pt. 5 (29: 15)
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22 October 1990 Pt. 6 (6: 55)
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(Canada, 1912 – 2001)
International Civil Servant

William Epstein was nominated to serve as the Jewish expert on the Special Committee on Palestine of the United Nations General Assembly (UNSCOP). In 1947 UNSCOP drew up a plan to partition the disputed territory into two states with Jerusalem declared an international territory. Although rejected by the Arab world, the plan was approved in 1948 by the General Assembly leading to the proclamation of the State of Israel.

Following this, Mr. Epstein became director of the United Nations Disarmament Division and represented Secretary-General U Thant at the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament from 1962 to 1973 and at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. From 1965 to 1967, Mr. Epstein represented the Secretary-General at the Commission for the Denuclearization of Latin America. After his retirement in 1972, he continued to be affiliated with the United Nations by becoming a senior fellow at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), a consultant to the Secretary-General on disarmament and arms control and; in 1999, as an adviser to Ambassador Richard Butler, head of the Special Commission in charge of eliminating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (UNSCOM).

The focus of these interviews, conducted on 22, 23and 25 October 1990, is the Arab-Israeli Crisis. In the first two interviews, Mr. Epstein discussed the establishment of the State of Israel. The third interview continued the topic and Mr. Epstein specifically discussed the rise of tensions during the Suez Crisis of 1956.


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