The UN Secretary-General: Attitudes and Latitudes
The lines "Since 1946 a new actor has appeared on the international scene: The United Nations Secretary-General. Nevertheless, no one is able to say exactly what is expected of the UN Secretary-General and what is his role in resolution of conflicts and his role in maintenance and establishment of peace," written in 1971, continued to be valid in 1988. 1 The secretary-general was active during the Iran-Iraq war, and from the first day offered his good offices for mediation. Later in the war, he attempted to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict and to resolve certain of its aspects, such as the use of chemical weapons by Iraq or the war of the cities.
Nevertheless, the secretary-general's actions were limited because they were taken within the legal constraints of the UN Charter. Taking these conditions into account, the secretary-general used his imagination and gave a broad interpretation of his powers. Given limited space, I will just refer to the provisions of the charter that determine the powers of the secretary-general in dealing with threats to peace and international sfecurity. This will allow us to find out the extent of the secretary-general's competence in the Iran-Iraq war and to determine whether he could have done more.
Chapter 15 of the United Nations Charter specifically deals with the Secretariat (Articles 97-101). Here, I refer only to Articles 97, 98, and