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«U Thant Electing U Thant By Hammarskjöld’s last year, the Secretariat was in crisis. The Soviets and the French had both fallen out with the ...»

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Many of the icons of the 1960s made their way to the 38th floor, from Neil Armstrong to Muhammed Ali to John Lennon. In comparison with later decades though, there was also still a great deal of informality.Thant traveled much less than his successors but when he did it was normally with just a single security officer (Donald Thomas) his press officer Ramses Nassif and perhaps one other aide.

For the Secretariat, the 1960s was a time of both bureaucratic expansion and increased external criticism of performance and quality, as well as a feeling that senior officials, including both Thant and Narasimhan, were unable or unwilling to tackle the hard management issues which were beginning to debilitate the bureaucracy. By 1971 there was a wide consensus among delegates that the Secretariat was “badly in need of a shake-up.”74


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