UN / DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD

14-Jun-2005
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, former UN Under-Secretary-General Sir Brian Urquhart comments on the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld. UNTV

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STORY: UN / DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD

TRT: 4.00

SOURCE: UNTV

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CH 1 ENGLISH / NATS
CH 2 ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: RECENT / ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE

SHOTLIST:

UNTV - Archives

1. Ariel shot, United Nations headquarters (1950's)
2. (1953) SOUNDBITE (English) Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1946 to 1952:
"Dag Hammarskjöld, I wish you from the bottom of my heart, welcome to New York and to United Nations headquarters. You are going to take over the most impossible job on earth. I wish you all the luck and all the best."

UNTV - 6 JUNE 2005, New York City

3. Wide shot, World Chronicle studio
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir Brian Urquhart, Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, United Nations:
"There was huge prejudice over the Secretary General taking a part in politics and poor Trygve suffered a great deal from that. Hammarskjöld right at the beginning did something that everybody thought that it was impossible which was to get the 17 American airmen who's come down in China during the Korean war and being condemned as spies by the Chinese courts. He got them out and this was not a small thing because this was a tremendous road going on in Washington there were demands for nuclear strikes on the Chinese mainland and that kind of thing. And when; the United States was deeply shocked that the Secretary General would talk to communists I remember, but when he pointed out that it was rather difficult to deal with people if you didn't talk with them and I think that they were extremely impressed that what an independent person could do."

UNTV - Archives
5. Various shots, Dag Hammarskjöld meeting with dignitaries around the world

UNTV - 6 JUNE 2005, New York City

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir Brian Urquhart, Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, United Nations:
"Hammarskjöld was a person with a great sense of mission, he was somebody who thought that the UN was not taking over the way it should, that the Charter was a document of enormous historical importance and he became this kind of charismatic, extremely active international leader."

UNTV - Archives

7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations from April 1953 - September 1961:
"The Secretary General cannot serve on any other assumption than that within the necessary limits of human frailty and honest differences of opinion. All member nations honor their pledge to observe all articles of the charter."

UNTV - 6 JUNE 2005, New York City

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir Brian Urquhart, Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, United Nations:
"When he showed the advantages of this the United States with great wisdom accepted absolutely that an independent Secretary General was what they wanted even if they quite often disagreed with him and I think it was a very important step forward. Hammarskjöld was an intellectual a highly intellectual person which meant that he could arise in his head a very complex situation like the Middle East, like Suez for example and figure out a whole number of steps that he could take and alternatives if they got blocked, and how much effect they would have on different sides, and whether the opposition that they would arise would be greater than the support and so on, he could do this in his head and it that usually he was ahead of the game and surprised people a great deal by an ostensible knowledge of sometimes quite archaic situations."

UNTV - Archives

9. Various shots, Dag Hammarskjöld in Security Council and General Assembly

UNTV - 6 JUNE 2005, New York City

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir Brian Urquhart, Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, United Nations:
"He also had I think a very interesting long term view of what the UN should become, I mean he called it, I think it's the best definition of the UN ever, he called it "a venture in progress, towards an international community living in peace under the laws of justice", which sounds extremely simple but it actually covers the whole thing and he thought the UN was an experiment, it was finding its way, it must makes progress by case law , by setting a precedent for doing something new. For example
11. Wide shot, World Chronicle studio

UNTV - Archives

12. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations

STORYLINE:

"There was an enormous prejudice over the Secretary General taking part in politics, and Hammarskjöld right at the beginning did something that everybody thought was impossible," Sir Brian Urquhart told the UN's World Chronicle in a recent interview to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 100th Anniversary of Dag Hammarskjöld.

According to Urquhart, Dag Hammarskjöld was not well known when he first took up his role as United Nations Secretary-General, but his first success was negotiating the release of seventeen American airmen captured by China during the Korean War. That established him in the eyes of the international community, as a master of crisis diplomacy.

Sir Brian said that Dag Hammarskjöld was passionate about the goals of the United Nations; he was an intellectual in action who had an extremely well-thought-out, ambitious, long-term view of the new Organization-into which he managed to incorporate his brilliant resolution, through quiet diplomacy, of critical, short-term problems.

Within his first year, Dag Hammarskjöld had re-organized the Secretariat, considerably reducing its budget and shaping it into a viable, functioning organization. He established new relations with Member States, particularly the members of the Security Council, demonstrating what the UN was capable of doing for them. He pioneered peacekeeping operations.

This became extremely important, during the cold war for resolving or at least containing, dangerous regional disputes which risked triggering a wider conflict between the nuclear powers. Brilliant and courageous, he displayed such a capacity for leadership that the press took to trumpeting the slogan, "Leave it to Dag".

This was a rather dangerous notion; perhaps, as it presupposed that the UN Secretary-General actually had power; whereas in fact it was Hammarskjöld's ability to conduct behind-the-scenes quiet diplomacy, a technique which he all but invented, that made him so effective. Additionally, his rugged independence ended up alienating him from two of the major powers, the Soviet Union and France, during the Congo crisis.

Urquhart said that Dag Hammarskjöld had a very interesting long term view of what the United Nations should become. He called it a, "venture in progress, towards an international community living in peace under the laws of justice." He went on to say that Hammarskjöld thought of the UN as an experiment, that it was finding its way and that it must by legal measures, continue to set precedents.

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 10 April 1953 until 18 September 1961 when he met his death in a plane accident while on a peace mission in the Congo. He was born on 29 July 1905 in Jönköping in south-central Sweden.

Sir Brian Urquhart joined the United Nations at the very inception of the Organization, retired 41 years later as Under-Secretary-General, after a career which saw direct association with the formative and innovative years of international peacekeeping.

He has continued to be an active and articulate commentator on issues related to the United Nations as writer, scholar and thinker; his published works include a biography of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.
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