A record of seven years service in the cause of the United Nations, as the first Secretary General renders his report. In...



A record of seven years service in the cause of the United Nations, as the first Secretary General renders his report. In the archives of history, this is a Must. Readers and students of the contemporary international political scene will find it an important ""refresher"". One wonders how many general readers will find their tragic apathy to the function of the United Nations in today's world penetrated? There is little fire in the writing, but the earnest, idealistic, dedicated quality of the great Norwegian who took the buffets of those years is evident in every line. His aim is an impersonal one; he wants better understanding of the work and achievements of the United Nations in the cause of peace. He accepted the post and entered upon his task with high hopes; the hard realities of world politics hit him when the Iran situation threatened to burst into flame; when the Soviet countered with charges against the British in Greece; when Syria and Lebanon came into sharp issue with France. The veto power (some 50 Soviet vetoes in these years) came to be a prime issue, and with the Churchill speech at Fulton the issues were drawn. The Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the North Atlantic Treaty followed. He discusses the organization of the Secretariat, the enlistment of a wide range of talents -- which all made the investigations the more heartbreaking in his final years. The choice of a final headquarters and the building came in those years. And through it all, Lie held to his faith in possible tolerable co-existence, until successive disillusionments destroyed that faith. He discusses the economic aspects, the work of specialized agencies, the aid to underdeveloped areas. He gives some space to the Palestine problem, the cause of partition, the ultimate recognition of the state of Israel. The Berlin blockade- and the airlift- were followed by one of several journeys to Moscow -- and he learns more of the Soviet mind. Czechoslovakia- the Balkan dilemma -- the varying findings in Greece (using American aid for artificial trimmings) and Turkey (where every forward step is consolidated) -- all this came from his trips. Then the issue of China and representation in the UN. Up to the holocaust of Korea he sided with those who wanted recognition- and even now wonders whether it might have avoided Korea and Indochina. In final chapters he presents a 20-year Peace Program, with ten specific points explored, and outlines the steps by which he explored the response of world capitals to the plan -- a discouraging pilgrimage, despite the backing of ""the man in the street"". His extension of term, for an additional two years, proved a purgatory:- the personnel investigation, the period of Soviet boycott, the interminable Korean struggle, the hysteria that gripped the United States. In final chapters he recapitulates his conclusion that unless personal freedom is saved, world peace is lost.... An important book, but it needs your push behind it.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 1954


Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1954

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