Magazine article UN Chronicle

Beginnings, End and New Beginnings: As Part of the Restructuring of the UN Department of Public Information, the Nine UN Information Centres (UNICs) in Western Europe Have Been Consolidated into One Regional Hub in Brussels

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Beginnings, End and New Beginnings: As Part of the Restructuring of the UN Department of Public Information, the Nine UN Information Centres (UNICs) in Western Europe Have Been Consolidated into One Regional Hub in Brussels

Article excerpt

I never expected to live long enough to have both started the first United Nations information office in London--or anywhere in the world--and today to be present at the demise of the centre after more than half a century What a sad and most regrettable event.

The London Information Service, as it was called--there were no Centres in existence as yet--came into being on 15 March 1946 alter the conclusion of the first General Assembly and after the nascent United Nations had moved to Lake Success in search of permanent headquarters,

In London, meanwhile, the in any case very temporary London office under F. C. Sharpley, Executive Director, was dissolved at the end of December 1946. Only the Information Service remained, to move later in January 1947 to Russell Square. The original Information Service consisted of myself, being in charge and responsible for the Press, Bill Henson as deputy and looking after Visual Information, and Dik Lehmkuhl for Radio and assisting staff.

In January 1947, I took over the newly named information Centre as acting Director--acting because of a United Nations rule, since dropped, that in this position a national of the country could only be acting. After more than two years, in April 1949, George Ivan Smith followed as Director and I moved later to ECAFE in Bangkok The general atmosphere in those early years was one of near euphoria, quite different from now.

There was great confidence in the future of the United Nations and great enthusiasm among its personnel. …

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