James O.C. Jonah spent more than three decades serving the United Nations Secretariat. He first entered the service in 1970, as political adviser in the Office of the Secretary-General. Following this he served as Assistant-Secretary-General for Personnel Services, then the Office for Field Operations, External Activities and, finally, for special political questions. Mr. Jonah on retired from the Secretariat in 1992 as Under-Secretary-General for political affairs. In 1996 he became Sierra Leone's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and in 1998 was appointed Minister of Finance, Development and Economic Planning.
Still working at the Secretariat at the time of the interview on 21 August 1990, Mr. Jonah shared his experience while serving as political adviser in the Office of the Secretary-General during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. Also, Mr. Jonah discusses then United States Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger's attitude towards the United Nations during this war.