Dag Hammarskjold, Custodian of the Brushfire Peace

Dag Hammarskjold, Custodian of the Brushfire Peace

Dag Hammarskjold, Custodian of the Brushfire Peace

Dag Hammarskjold, Custodian of the Brushfire Peace

Excerpt

"KOREA, CHINA, INDONESIA, KASHMIR, PALESTINE, HUNGARY, NORTH AFRICA. THERE ARE FIRES ALL AROUND THE HORIZON, AND THEY ARE NOT FIRES ANNOUNCING PEACE."

June 5, 1958

It was New Year's Eve, 1960. The cluster of UN buildings--the upended slab and truncated hourglass--were shrouded in silence. After the banging of shoes, the pounding of desks, the Niagara of speechmaking, stillness had taken over. The carpeted halls were empty, the lounges deserted, the mimeograph machines at rest.

Even the normally austere thirty-eighth floor seemed more hushed than usual. The gay Fritz Glarner abstractions on opposite walls in the Secretary-General's waiting room could not overcome the feeling that curfew had been sounded for 1960.

Only the Secretary-General and his faithful Achates, Andrew Cordier, their secretaries, a guard and a switchboard operator remained on duty. Some members of the "Congo Club," as those in charge of the Congo operation at UN headquarters were called, had gone home before lunch. The Secretary- General had taken the others--Cordier, Dr. Ralph Bunche . . .

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