Views from the Secretary-General’s Office: An oral history of the United Nations
“The Secretary-General is not Superman”
Kurt Waldheim was born on December 21, 1918, in Sankt Andrä-Wördern, near Vienna. He earned a Doctorate in law from the University of Vienna and joined the Austrian diplomatic service in 1945 and 10 years later was promoted to head of the Austrian mission at the United Nations. He became Secretary-General of the United Nations on January 1, 1972, and served in that function until 1981. It was Kurt Waldheim who recorded the message of peace sent into space in the name of humanity in the Voyager space capsules. He was elected president of Austria in 1986. His past as an officer in the German army during the Nazi era came to light during the presidential campaign, and he was subsequently declared persona non grata by the USA and by most European governments. Kurt Waldheim died on June 14, 2007.
Romuald Sciora: Tell us about your “first encounter” with the United Nations
Kurt Waldheim:My first experience at the United Nations goes back to the time...