Secretary-General U Thant and peace-keeping : An analysis of U Thant's role in five peace-keeping operations



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A major function of the United Nations is to preserve international peace and security. In order to perform this function the United Nations since 1956 has established a number of peace-keeping operations designed to reduce tension and end outright conflict in a crisis situation so that efforts might then be undertaken to reach a more permanent political settlement. This paper focuses on those peace-keeping operations established in the Congo, West Irian, Yemen, Cyprus and the Middle East. The purpose of this paper is to determine Secretary-General U Thant's role in these operations. In all of the operations, save the Middle East, U Thant actively used his office to further the goals of the world organization and to make peace-keeping a viable instrument for preserving international peace and security. In the Middle East situation U Thant's actions were very negative and eventually detremental to his office and the organization. U Thant's actions in that one crisis situation have completely overshadowed his other accomplishments and successes in the field of peace-keeping. In conclusion, a number of observations are made concerning the implications of these peace-keeping operations for future peace-keeping efforts.



U Thant, Peacekeeping, United Nations