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Chief Administrator or Political ‘Moderator’?: Dumbarton Oaks, the Secretary-General and the Korean War

Barnes, Robert (2018) Chief Administrator or Political ‘Moderator’?: Dumbarton Oaks, the Secretary-General and the Korean War. Journal of Contemporary History. (In Press)

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Abstract

Seventy-five years after the creation of the United Nations at the Dumbarton Oaks conference the secretary-general has become the de facto figurehead of the world organisation and the office-holder is expected to take a proactive role in a whole range of global issues. Yet it remains unclear what powers the Allied planners intended for the secretary-general. By examining the discussions that took place on this issue before, during and after Dumbarton Oaks this article argues that despite the seemingly innocuous provisions relating to the secretary-general enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the office-holder was never intended to simply be a chief administrator. What is more, the first Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, controversially sought to resolve a number of issues that came before the United Nations, most notably the Korean War. The second half of this article thus demonstrates that while Lie did test the parameters of his office to the limits during the Korean conflict none of his actions exceeded the powers granted to the secretary-general. Moreover, Lie’s role during the Korean War set the tone for his successor, Dag Hammarskjold, who is usually seen as the most proactive secretary-general to date.

Item Type: Article
Status: In Press
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022009418785689
Related URLs:
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DA566 20th century
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F001 United States local history
School/Department: School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2970

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