Lord Gladwyn was made a Counsellor within the Foreign Office of Great Britain in 1943. It was in this position that he attended numerous international conferences, including the Yalta Conference, the Conference at Dumbarton Oaks and the Conference on International Organization in San Francisco—which ultimately led to the birth of the United Nations. In 1945, Lord Gladwyn served as the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations and was appointed as Acting United Nations Secretary-General from October 1945 to February 1946. In 1946 he returned to London to serve as Deputy Foreign Secretary and as the Foreign Office's United Nations Adviser. He was appointed as the United Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1950 to 1954 and the United Kingdom's Ambassador to Paris from 1954 to 1960.
From 1965 to 1988, Lord Gladwyn served as Deputy Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords and spokesman on foreign affairs and defence. He was serving in this capacity when these interviews were conducted on 21-24 June 1983 and 24 October 1985. Both interviews centre on the conferences leading up to the establishment of the United Nations and the first years of the organization. The second interview goes in depth into the personalities involved and the elections of the first two Secretaries-General.