Remarks by H.E. Dr. Carlos P. Romulo — Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines

Dr. Kurt Waldheim, as everyone knows, occupies a post which in many ways is one of the most crucial in the contemporary world.

The Secretary-General does not dictate the resolutions and declarations of the General Assembly, nor can he exercise the power of veto in the Security Council, but it is around him that the organization revolves. He is at the center and must see the world through 149 different eyes of different colors and depths of focus; and he must speak with 149 different tongues, and in all of them quietly and evenly.

It is for this reason—and I trust that, as one of the signers of the Charter 33 years ago, I may be permitted to say so —the post of Secretary-General should not be filled through the processes of ordinary electioneering.

It seems to me that Secretaries-General are not so much elected as discovered.

There can be no specific qualifications for this high office which candidates must meet. In fact, it is only in office that the members of the organization discover the qualifications of their ultimate choice, as we are now beginning to discover the eminent qualities of Dr. Waldheim.

We remember Trygve Lie, and we remember Dag Hammarskjold, and we remember U Thant. Each had his own style, pragmatic or mystic, gentle or hard-driving, with his own view of the world and his own language of conciliation. For Kurt Waldheim, now in full activity, it is certainly not yet time for memories, but I know we shall remember him too, calm and detached and, like his own country, permanently neutral, the center that in defiance of the poet, can and must hold in a divided world. We need him in the United Nations now, more than when he was just appointed. Let us give him all our support because he is the ideal man who, with his firm and steady hand, should remain at the helm of our earth ship. His unclouded vision as a statesman and diplomat will stand us in good stead in the difficult years ahead.

From:Sri Chinmoy,A soulful tribute to the Secretary-General: the Pilot Supreme of the United Nations, Agni Press, 1978
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