APRIL 15, 2018


Former U.N. Under Secretary-General, Sir Marrack Goulding, apparently kept notes. Since serving as a colonial officer in Kuwait to the British Foreign Office, to serving as an ambassador to Portugal, Angola, and Mozambique, before taking over at the United Nations for eleven years 1986-1997, then returning as a Warden at St. Antony's College, Sir Marrack maintained private notes, apparently to pursue his career effectively with lessons learned.

Sir Marrack took over from the legendary Brian Urquhart and had to make a special effort to develop his own mark on political affairs, peacekeeping, and general U.N. external relations. A gracious, open, and often helpful colleague, he tried to balance between his designation by the United Kingdom and his credibility as an international civil servant. His notes, recently made available, were produced by Oxford University Press in a book by Herman T. Salton with a main focus on the Rwanda Massacres. While reflecting on the bureaucratic entanglements and diplomatic maneuvers, the Goulding notes indicate an obvious competition between the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Affairs. While keeping the process going, it was the Secretary-General who actually balanced the connection between the two depending on his priorities at the time.

Particularly because the permanent members of the Security Council sought to decrease the impact of the Secretary-General to their own advantage, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali persistently pressed his conceptual role. While the outgoing Brian Urquhart played a predominant role in both Political and Peacekeeping matters. Mr. Goulding was not allowed to play the same functions. His personal record reveals that Dr. Boutros-Ghali thought of sending him away to Geneva until Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher strongly intervened on his behalf. What is not mentioned, was that eventually Mr. Goulding lost his privileged mark in London after a personal decision within his own family.

Dealing mainly with Rwanda, his papers detail an evolving position by the Secretary-General as the U.S. Permanent Representative, Ambassador Albright, tried to square the circle between instructions from Washington to cancel UNAMIR and the predominant attitude of Security Council members to increase its role in averting a looming massacre. The outcome as usual was a compromise. In that regard, certain details were given on the interaction between Dr. Albright and Nigeria's Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, which resulted again in a compromise resolution. "Albright and Gambari pushed their colleagues towards different policy solutions and regardless of the outcome, showed some degree of leadership in doing so," concludes the author.

Whether a Secretary-General is a leader or manager was also raised, but other than Rwanda, the main theme was the special attention on the bureaucratic maneuvering between peacekeeping and political affairs, particularly when Kofi Annan, former head of Peacekeeping took over as Secretary-General.