A soulful tribute to the Secretary-General: the Pilot Supreme of the United Nations
Part I — A soulful tribute
Kurt WaldheimO Kurt Waldheim … your mind-heart's concern-flames constantly feed this world of fearful cry and tearful sigh, to see a peaceful earth and blessingful sky.
The Pilot SupremeTo the truth-seeker, peace-lover, oneness-dreamer, perfection-builder, satisfaction-harbinger; to the supreme Pilot in the Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim, we offer our soulful gratitude-heart.
When the seeker in me concentrates on the illumination-mind, meditates on the oneness-heart and contemplates on the satisfaction-soul of the Secretary-General, he gets three most earth-liberating and Heaven-fulfilling messages. These messages primarily deal with divine necessity and human responsibility in connection with the cry of the world-body — the United Nations — and the smile of the world-soul — the United Nations.
The message of the illumination-mind of the Secretary-General runs thus: When a human being goes deep within and wants to make friends with necessity, necessity immediately wants to become his friend. Necessity and he become close friends. They have one ideal, one goal, and that ideal is satisfaction, that goal is perfection.
Then a human being goes without and as soon as he comes out, responsibility wants to make friends with him. He does not want responsibility to be his friend, but responsibility compels him to become its friend. Unwillingly, with great reluctance, he condescends to become responsibility’s friend. Responsibility’s ideal and responsibility’s goal he does not sincerely like, but he is compelled to love responsibility’s ideal and goal just because he has agreed to accept responsibility as his friend. Responsibility’s ideal is to work for others and to be satisfied in others’ satisfaction. Responsibility’s goal is to work for others’ perfection and to find one’s own perfection in their perfection.
In the human world, necessity inspires a human being, educates him and prepares him. In the human world, responsibility frustrates him, tortures him and weakens him. In the divine world there is no such thing as compelled responsibility or self-styled responsibility. There is no responsibility whatsoever. There is only one necessity and that necessity is at once illumining and fulfilling. Again, there is a third world, which is God’s own self-transcendence world. In God’s own self-transcendence world there is no such thing as responsibility; there is not even necessity. In God’s world there is only one thing: satisfaction-reality.
Countless wants each individual has; but there can be only one necessity if that individual is sincere to himself, sincere to the world and sincere to God, and that necessity is God’s Smile. Countless obligations each individual has; but there is and there can be only one true responsibility, and that responsibility lies in our sincere effort to fulfil the real need of the world and not its wants or demands.
Necessity is self-enquiry for God-discovery. Responsibility is world-education for world-perfection.
Necessity is a one-way street. Here the doer and the action go together. Here the dream of the individual seeker and the reality of the individual seeker live together in perfect harmony, complementing and fulfilling each other.
Responsibility is a two-way street. Here the giver is an individual and the receiver is another individual, and there comes a time when they meet together. When the receiver receives, at times he may be grateful; at times he may not be grateful at all. When the giver gives, at times he may be soulful and at times he may be anything but soulful. But the giver and the receiver meet together at a particular point, at a particular place. The giver either willingly or unwillingly gives and the receiver either gratefully or ungratefully receives. In responsibility there is always a division: two entities, two realities — giver and receiver. In necessity there is only the song of oneness. Here two become one, three become one, four become one; for all of them have one soul and one goal.
The message of the Secretary-General’s oneness-heart runs thus: the demanding world tells us that it is the responsibility of the United Nations to bring about world peace since it bears the name “United Nations.” The demanding world always claims that in order to prove its worth, the United Nations must bring about world peace. This is the truth that the demanding world offers us. But the loving world has something else to tell. The loving world tells us that it is the necessity of the world at large, of the entire world, to have peace, to have love, to have harmony. The United Nations is a member of the world family. The world houses the United Nations. In the case of the United Nations, a member of the world family is most sincerely willing to try to bring peace to all the other members of the family. It is the world-necessity that the United Nations has accepted as its own necessity. This is not responsibility; it is necessity. So the loving world feels a most prominent, qualified member of its family has accepted the world-necessity as its own necessity and is trying its utmost to bring about world peace according to the world’s willingness.
In a family there are parents and children. The United Nations can be called a strong young man in the family. The parents or, let us say, the oldest members of the family or the old nations — these the United Nations can keep on its shoulders perfectly safe. And the new nations, the young children, its younger brothers and sisters — these the United Nations can keep beside itself. The parents are satisfied when their strong young boy places them on his shoulders and takes them to the destination, and the little members of the family are also satisfied when they can go alongside their strong brother and reach the destination with him. And what is their destination? World-progress is their destination, world-satisfaction is their destination. So the old nations and the young nations can perfectly be carried to their destination with love, sympathy and inner capacity, provided they claim the United Nations as a real, true, genuine member of their family. The capacity of the United Nations is nothing short of its world-embracing and world-illumining vision.
The message of the Secretary-General’s satisfaction-soul runs thus: compromise is not and cannot be the real answer to the world’s problems. Compromise, the breath of compromise, is very short-lived. It is like a fleeting second. What is needed, what is of paramount importance, is oneness, not compromise. What is compromise? If you don’t speak ill of me, I shall not speak ill of you. If you keep silent, then I shall also keep silent; or if you do this, I shall do this and if you don’t do that, then I won’t do that. This is compromise.
But in oneness we notice something else. In oneness we see that two individuals become absolutely inseparably one for their oneness-satisfaction, even though they are performing two different tasks. One can remain silent and the other can talk. One speaks what he has to say and the other listens devotedly and soulfully; then they change their respective roles. In oneness, each can play the role of multiplicity. With one hand I can do something to please my mind and with the other hand I can do something to please my body. I can please my eyes and, at the same time, I can please my ears. I can look at you and appreciate your beauty and, at the same time, I can hear what you have to say. The soul of the United Nations teaches us the most sublime truth that two individuals or all individuals can do something according to their own capacity, their own willingness, their own receptivity, and still please all the members of their spiritual family. It is like an orchestra. There are many players, and each player is playing a different instrument. But each player is needed. On the piano, each key is needed. We cannot say that one is enough, for then there will be no music. All the keys are necessary. Similarly, all the members of the United Nations are necessary. They will produce different notes, but they have to go together if there is to be a musical symphony. In this way there can be real oneness in variety; in this way the world can achieve peace in multiplicity.
Again, each nation need not play the same note all the time. Silence and sound: this is what God eternally is. When it is necessary for some nation to see the face of reality-silence, that nation has to remain silent. When a particular nation feels it is necessary to see the face of reality-sound, it will enter into the life of action. Action and inaction, sound and silence, must go together. On one level these two things are diametrically opposite — action and inaction, sound and silence — but in the deepest reality-existence they are one. Dream-world and reality-world, sound-world and silence-world complement each other and fulfil each other.
The United Nations is playing a most important role in seeking to establish world harmony, world peace, world oneness, world divinity, world perfection and God-satisfaction. The outer world says that the United Nations is not strong enough, but the inner world has something else to say. The inner world says that the real capacity of the United Nations is its willingness, its inner cry. The United Nations is crying for world peace; and this very act of crying is its real capacity. It has no other capacity. The way of oneness that cries to lead us to the ultimate destination: this is the United Nations. The cry itself is its capacity and this capacity is of supreme importance.
True, this capacity cannot or does not meet with satisfaction-reality all at once. I have the capacity to run, let us say, but I am not at the destination. I have just left the starting point; my goal is still ahead. Capacity does not mean immediate success or immediate victory. Capacity is a continuous movement that eventually leads us to our destined goal. So right now the United Nations, which is the supreme human and divine necessity — God’s necessity on earth to bring about world peace — is a cry, a movement, a forward march, a forward adventure. A runner is running. Just because the runner has not reached the goal, this does not mean that the runner will fail. There is an appointed hour and at that appointed hour, which is God’s choice Hour, the inner dream — the real dream — of the United Nations will be transformed into reality. This is necessity, the inner necessity of the soul of the United Nations and also its God-ordained responsibility. Self-imposed responsibility, self-styled responsibility, does not last more than a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few months, a few years. But God-ordained responsibility is like Eternity’s own necessity.
What the United Nations has for the world is a dream. In the outer world it is running slowly, steadily and unerringly. But in the inner world it is running fast, faster, fastest. No matter how fast it runs in the inner world, it will not lose its balance. And in the outer world, no matter how slowly it is running, it is bound to reach its destination, for it is running steadily and unerringly. The outer goal it will one day reach, and at the same time the world will notice it. It may take a very short time or it may take a very long time; it all depends on world-receptivity. But in the inner world it will reach its destination very soon, because the inner progress of the United Nations is most satisfactory. In the inner world the dream of the United Nations, like a deer, has the fastest speed. But the necessity that the United Nations has accepted as its own will ultimately be fulfilled in both the inner world and the outer world, for this necessity is nothing short of God-ordained responsibility. And this is every day being engraved in the hearts of the world-loving nations at the United Nations and the hearts of the world-seekers who want only truth-reality to be manifested in individual souls, in individual nations, in collective souls, in collective nations. Peace, which is real satisfaction, will loom large one day, for it is the only choice which the individual and the collective body have, the only choice that God wants, that humanity wants, that the real existence in us wants. All want the same thing: satisfaction-peace, peace-satisfaction; oneness in multiplicity and multiplicity in oneness. There is no conflict; there are only different branches, millions of flowers, leaves and fruits on the everlasting Life-Tree.
Patriotism and world-visionWhen the seeker in me sees the striking physical frame of the Secretary-General, his eyes are at once divine silence-energy, silence-nourishment and divine sound-revelation, sound-expansion. When the seeker in me feels the dynamic inner frame, the vital, of the Secretary-General, his soulful bird with two hopeful wings flies to cover the length and breadth of the world. What for? To sow the immortal seed of the United Nations for world-union, world-salvation and world-perfection.
The human in our Secretary-General is from Austria. The divine in him is not only for Austria but for the entire world-thirst, world-hunger and world-cry.
Kurt Waldheim’s life offers dramatic proof that national patriotism and world citizenship are not necessarily at odds. To be a world citizen does not mean that one has to renounce one’s own country, for each country has something special to offer to the family of nations. One country may be lacking in one particular aspect of life but may excel in another aspect. Thus, the fragrance of each nation-flower can inspire and illumine its brother and sister nations.
When his own beloved country is accused, the great patriot in Kurt Waldheim comes to the fore and not only defends his country but throws considerable light on the confusing and confused world-mind:
“From time to time, Austria's foreign policy is accused of lacking glamour. We cannot reject such a criticism strongly enough. It would indeed be a grave mistake for a neutral country to try to attract world attention through dramatic declarations or actions. It might mean a temporary appearance of the country's name in the headlines of world news, but the political consequences would be disastrous. Many such declarations by well-known politicians have in the past aroused much publicity and created a host of misunderstandings that contributed to international unrest. The foreign offices of the countries concerned then had the difficult task of repairing the damage by correcting, redressing or explaining the statement that had been made. A foreign policy of sensationalism is contrary to the interests of a neutral country. Reason, cool-headedness and continuity are infinitely more necessary than dramatisation.”
During Kurt Waldheim’s term of office as Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, undoubtedly there was a special significance to why he was divinely honoured as Chairman of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and later supremely honoured as President of the First United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The peace-lover in our present Secretary-General voices forth:
Peace is the whole truth that wishes to enrapture humanity. War is the whole falsehood that wants to capture humanity. Peace begins in the soul and ends in the heart. War begins in the mind and ends in the body.
War forgets peace. Peace forgives war. War is the death of the life human. Peace is the birth of the Life Divine. Our vital passions want war. Our psychic emotions desire peace.
Commenting on how the pioneers of outer space have enlightened the world’s vision of peace, Kurt Waldheim affirms:
The United Nations message of love and brotherhood can easily be understood and spread by all of humanity if each person can claim the message of Socrates as his own and feel that he belongs to the larger world-family. In this respect, the Secretary-General sees eye to eye with his predecessor, U Thant, whose lofty vision affirms:
O Kurt Waldheim, … your life of duty-tree and beauty-flower awakens the sleeping world and its oneness-power.
The necessity-height of the United Nations“I know that the world cannot do without the United Nations.”
This soulful and fruitful declaration of the Secretary-General inspires and illumines our searching minds and aspiring hearts. Again he affirms: “I firmly believe that, for all its shortcomings and frustrations, the United Nations is an indispensable institution.”
The Secretary-General sees the United Nations as essentially a great and unique human experiment. As such, it is open to all the human shortcomings and weaknesses. But it is because it is a human organisation, served by individual human beings from every continent, that its strength and relevance derives.
Change of nature, either in human life or in any phase of life itself, has proved to be a most difficult task. When the ascending aspiration-flames from below and the descending Compassion-Sun from above meet together, the seemingly impossible task of nature’s change, either in an individual life or in a country’s life, can both surprisingly and satisfactorily take place. Nature’s change has always been slow, steady, but unerring. With regard to the nature’s transformation of a State, what the United Nations can unmistakably and will convincingly do is most illuminingly expressed by its supreme Pilot, Kurt Waldheim:
To quote the late Secretary-General U Thant, who was one with his successor Kurt Waldheim in his realisation of the indispensability of this world institution:
The United Nations offers to seekers and lovers of the world a divine hope and promise, as the truth-seeker and harmony-seeker in Kurt Waldheim so clearly sees:
The message of practical idealismThrough the United Nations the Creator is offering His illumining Love and Service to His creation. As head and heart of the world-family, the Secretary-General must be constantly and consciously aware of the inner oneness-cry and outer dedication-smile of the United Nations. And the world-server in the Secretary-General must constantly offer inner love and outer service to humanity.
Speaking of the challenges of the secretary-generalship, Kurt Waldheim says:
False hopes often lead to this kind of defeatism and cynicism. The Secretary-General's deep insight tells us: “All too often in the minds of the public the United Nations is mistaken for a world government with legislative and executive powers, and is expected to solve directly every problem on earth, from peace and security to economic development, the environment and the drug problem. This is not the case and it must be made clear to the public that the United Nations is based on the co-operation of sovereign member states.”
The world needs the faith that evolves slowly and steadily from the Creator to the creation and then back to the Source. To those brothers and sisters who have become disillusioned or who have lost faith in the United Nations’ efforts towards world peace, the Secretary-General offers his encouragement:
“If progress is slow, that, in the nature of things, is hardly surprising. But if the will is there, and the talent and the dedication, we should not be dismayed by the difficulties. If we believe that by human actions wisely directed the world can be made a better place, then the United Nations presents unrivalled opportunities. I hope that we shall seize them.”
All the nations are like divine pilgrims proceeding slowly, steadily and unerringly towards the same goal. The divine pilgrim in the Secretary General is “convinced that we are embarked on the right road to objectives of vital importance for the future.”
To those who may feel that undertaking this journey on the path to peace and progress is like building castles in the sky, the practical idealist in Kurt Waldheim affirms:
O Kurt Waldheim, I always see you as God’s lightning-speed. Today you are here, tomorrow there and the day after tomorrow elsewhere. Your penetrating vision not only enters into the world problems, but also solves the problems of the world most miraculously.
World ignorance and universal lightTo our sorrow, most human beings are satisfied with a life of darkness, limitation and bondage. They aspire not to see a higher existence-reality and to live a more fulfilling life. Yet these very individuals find fault with the United Nations day in and day out, in season and out of season. But they must remember that as they themselves are not perfect, neither are the human beings who are offering their service-light to the United Nations. Again, it is the human in us that sees imperfections in others. The divine in us sees only the perfection of the Creator in His creation.
The wisdom-light of the Pilot supreme of the United Nations knows the necessity of world understanding for and world support of the UN’s vision and reality. The capacities and potentialities, as well as the limitations, of the world organisation must be brought into the full view of individuals and their nations.
But to the eyeless critics of the world organisation, the Secretary-General says:
Clearly the Secretary-General sees the urgency and necessity of illumining the world-mind and world-heart:
Success and progressSuccess belongs to the outer world. Progress belongs to the inner world. Success engenders vital gratification. Progress augments psychic satisfaction. Success claims to be the matchless friend of human life, whereas progress is at once the divine and eternal friend. Success is what we, in the march of time, become and progress is what we sempiternally are. The human in us dies for success and ultimately dies in success. When we live in the world of success, the human reality, which is goodness — our God-life in God-Vision’s Reality — surrenders itself to the lower reality, which is greatness, world-acclaim and the dance of individuality’s supremacy. The divine in us longs for progress, which is the song of gradual self-transcendence in the one for the many and in the many for the one. The soul of the United Nations dreams only of progress in the aspiration-life and dedication-life of each individual and each country.
The oft-quoted adage, “Nothing succeeds like success,” has been interpreted with an amazingly broad vision by the Secretary-General:
The realist in Kurt Waldheim acknowledges that the efforts of the United Nations have not always proved successful:
We now take for granted that virtually all the Governments of the world can meet in the United Nations to discuss almost any subject under the sun. We take for granted that, when a conflict threatens, the Security Council will meet and sometimes, by that simple fact alone, will provide a breathing space and an opportunity for reflection, reassessment and clarification. We take for granted that in the United Nations there can be meetings and communication between representatives of contending parties who can meet virtually nowhere else in the world. We take peace-keeping and good offices for granted. We assume that the humanitarian agencies of the United Nations will be there in emergency or dire need to take care of the afflicted or the refugees. We have become completely used to the unprecedented idea that the nations of the world, almost as a matter of course, can discuss as far-reaching a concept as the new international economic order."
World serviceAs the United Nations is indispensable to the world community, so also is each individual nation a necessary part of this world organisation. We can view each nation as a unique branch of the world-tree. Each branch is needed to complete the fulness-beauty of the all-spreading tree, and each branch offers special protection and a special oneness-fruit to aspiring mankind. Similarly, each individual world-seeker and world-server is needed in the United Nations striving for universal peace and progress. In the words of our Secretary-General:
The Secretary-General envisions the work ahead for the United Nations:
The new ethics: the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human RightsThe Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the true manifestations of humanity’s spiritual values and inner oneness. In these lofty principles we find a divine code of ethics for our time and times to come. To quote our Secretary-General:
With the guiding light that shines through the UN Charter and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world is destined to attain harmony and peace, for inside the United Nations vision, reality looms large. The fulfilment of the United Nations ideals is an inevitability, but that hour will dawn only when humanity wholeheartedly and unreservedly accepts the message of the United Nations soul. The Secretary-General offers his encouragement to those who have committed themselves to the United Nations cause:
Reflections on the Pilot Supreme of the United NationsI am extremely grateful to these distinguished representatives and government officials who have complied with my soulful request; and I am deeply honoured for their invaluable contributions to my humble dedication to the Secretary-General.
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zenon Rossides — Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United NationsI am happy for the occasion to express my high appreciation for the highly valuable services the Secretary- General, Dr. Waldheim, has rendered and is rendering to the Organisation. His dedicated faith in the United Nations has given to the Office of the Secretary-General a new high in global and relentless action. He certainly strengthened world faith in the Organisation by his positive stand on matters of grave consequence and historic significance. The best assets for a Secretary-General are adherence to principle and objectivity, both of which he fully possesses.
His approach to universal problems and world development as appears in the Introduction to his Annual Report to the United Nations in the years 1976 and 1977 contains the essence of his philosophy: That the future of the United Nations and the international community depends upon an imaginative approach to international and world problems, all of which, in their progressive solution, call for strict adherence to the dictates of the Charter, contained in its relevant provisions under Chapter 7 for international security and legal order through restoring the long overdue authority and effectiveness of the Security Council. This is the mind of the Secretary-General, as expressed in the aforesaid introductions of his annual report on the work of the Organisation. And this, on the whole, is the voice of the Secretary-General, to which general support must be given so that it may be duly heeded. For it concerns the main purpose and effective usefulness of the United Nations for the good of mankind, which he serves with devotion and unflagging zeal.
Remarks by H.E. Dr. Carlos P. Romulo — Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the PhilippinesDr. 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.
Remarks by H.E Dr. Miguel A. Albornoz — Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United NationsEl Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, Doctor Kurt Waldheim, ha demostrado en su alta responsabilidad de conductor de la Organizacion Mundial los meritos de un genuino estadista, de un hábil diplomatico y de un hombre de sentido universal. Su dedicacion a las mas nobles causas de los derechos humanos y del Nuevo Orden Economico Internacionál, asi como a la supresion de la discriminacion y a la libertad de los nuevos paises es una demostracion de sus ejemplares cualidades humanas y de su fina sensibilidad por la causa de las mayoríás pospuestas de nuestro tiempo. Mucho es Io que espera aun la comunidad internacionál de la visidn, de la constancia y de la abnegación de este admirable ciudadano del mundo que es el Secretario General Kurt Waldheim.
Remarks by Archbishop Giovanni Cheli — Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United NationsThe Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim always impresses us as a man of deep dedication to the highest spiritual and moral values which attract the human mind and heart, to the ideals of the United Nations Charter, to the people and the work of this international organisation, and to peace. We almost might suggest that he appears gifted with a vocation to which he gives himself totally.
Remarks by H.E. Eamonn KennedyPermanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
I have had the pleasure of knowing Secretary-General Waldheim for over twenty-five years. Our paths first crossed in Paris in the early fifties where we were both comparatively junior diplomats. The Austrian and Irish Embassies (they were only Legations then!) traditionally had a close and valued association in Paris and our contacts there reflected that warm friendship. At that stage neither Austria nor Ireland had become members of the United Nations but we joined at the same time in December 1955.
Our membership in the world Organisation brought us even closer together. Our two countries have much in common. Like the great majority of member countries, both are comparatively small and both pursue independent foreign policies. Ireland was able to be of assistance in the UN in connection with the Alto Adige problem, which concerned both Austria and Italy, and our independent position helped us to play a constructive role which was, I think, appreciated on both sides.
I managed to keep in touch with Dr. Waldheim during his tour of duty as Ambassador of Austria in Ottawa, where I had also served. Accordingly, when I took up duty here in April 1974, as Permanent Representative of Ireland, meeting with the Secretary-General was in fact the renewal of an old and valued friendship.
That friendship was even further strengthened during the first official visit of the Secretary-General to Ireland in April of this year. Accompanied by the charming Mrs. Waldheim and members of his cabinet, the Secretary-General met with the President of Ireland and with our Prime Minister and the members of the Government and Opposition. The meeting provided his hosts with a most useful opportunity to discuss with the Secretary-General the international situation as seen from the United Nations, and a constructive and practical result of the visit was the decision of the Irish Government to send a contingent to serve in Southern Lebanon with UN I Fl L. Throughout the visit the Secretary-General and Mrs. Waldheim displayed that Viennese charm and courtesy which all who have known them so much appreciate and which have never left them throughout their arduous years here at the United Nations.
It is a pleasure to pay this tribute to the Secretary-General and to wish him many more successful years in his leadership role of the World Organisation.
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Jorge Illueca — Permanent Representative of Panama to the United NationsLiving in the nuclear age and being on the threshold of an inter-planetary era, mankind looks to the United Nations as the only hope for peace and world order. We have accepted the Charter of the United Nations, under which basic inalienable human rights are assured for all regardless of origin, race or creed.
Kurt Waldheim, the Secretary-General of the World Organization, has dedicated himself with increasing devotion to the great cause of implementing these rights, leading the human race to a system of international cooperation among nations to put an end to the sufferings of that big portion of humanity which is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, discriminated against and insecure. As an advocate of peace, justice and friendly relations, he works constantly to improve human conditions in the masses of population of the Third World.
My country can never forget what Kurt Waldheim did when the Security Council met at Panama City in 1973 to deal with problems affecting the international peace and security in the Latin American region, including the Panama Canal question. Invoking “the spirit of our time,” Waldheim pleaded in favour of a solution of the Panama problem “which can only be based on the respect for law and the search for justice.” In his opinion such “a solution will have to take into account the basic principles which are enshrined in the Charter,” such as the principle of territorial integrity, sovereign equality, the obligation to settle all international disputes by peaceful means and the principle which by now has become an accepted common standard, namely that any State is entitled to put to full use and for its own account all its natural potentialities. Waldheim's courageous standing in the defense of Panama's rightful place in the community of nations helped to pave the way for the new Panama Canal Treaties of 1977 between the United States and Panama.
Kurt Waldheim, with his deep sense of truth and integrity, his wise conviction of the relevance of international law to world affairs, his objective approach to political realities, his endless measure of devotion to the ideals of the United Nations and his feelings of understanding, humanity and compassion, deserves the tribute paid to him by the United Nations Meditation Croup as the spiritual Architect of a new world society under which a real basis of security, peace and prosperity can be established for all mankind.
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Piero Vinci — Permanent Representative of Italy to the United NationsWe all know the profound and unconditional dedication of Kurt Waldheim to the United Nations Organisation, to its ideas, to its objectives — the unswerving dedication he has shown day by day, hour by hour, in carrying on his difficult and often heavy mandate here at Headquarters and in his several delicate missions abroad.
This identification of the man with the ideals of the world Organisation is the result of an entire life devoted to international relations in a higher vision of the common destiny of the human family. His long acquaintance with the UN affairs, which goes back to 1955 when he was Permanent Observer of Austria, provided him in all these years with a remarkable experience in the field of international negotiations. This unique background proved to be indispensable for the higher responsibilities that later were entrusted to him as the head of the Organisation.
I met Kurt Waldheim for the first time several years ago when, in the early sixties, we were working in our respective Foreign Offices and began to be associated in very important negotiations between Austria and Italy over an autonomous statute for the Alto Adige province. A mutual constructive spirit of comprehension led our two countries to an equitable solution of the problem. I believe that the friendly relationship which developed during the negotiations, and subsequently at the United Nations where Dr. Waldheim, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, regularly attended the sessions of the General Assembly, were somehow beneficial. He had, at that time, to face some crucial moments and he did it with the ease which all at the UN now know and admire. The result of H.E. Mr. Piero Vinci, Permanent Representative of Italy, and Secretary-General Waldheim [photo: United Nations], his efforts and of the action of all those who played a parallel role in the negotiations, or a smaller one, like me, was an agreement which, together with the subsequent Treaty of Osimo with Yugoslavia, can be recalled as a remarkable example of how a difficult problem may be peacefully and equitably settled between neighbouring states, through mutual understanding and good will.
Dr. Waldheim himself signed, in November 1969, the Agreement as Foreign Minister of Austria. Shortly afterwards we were working once again together at the UN as Permanent Representatives of our respective countries; and I still remember with a certain emotion when some time later, I personally sat in on the meetings of the Security Council when he was elected and then re-elected Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1971 and in 1976.
Future historians will be in a better position to appraise Dr. Waldheim’s action as Secretary-General of the United Nations and the personal leading role he played in many international issues. I am convinced on my part that all the members of the UN and in particular all those who, like me, have the good fortune of knowing him personally and have had the privilege to be associated with some of his important activities, are deeply grateful for his tireless and admirable action in defense of our common ideals of peace and justice.
An inside glimpse of the work of the Secretary-GeneralAt my soulful request, Mr. Ferdinand Mayrhofer-Grunbuhel was extremely kind to grant an interview early this year to the Secretary of the Meditation Group, Ms. Gail Gershon. Here are his illumining insights into the Secretary-General’s life and work. [Mr. Ferdinand Mayrhofer-Grunbuhel’s association with the Secretary- General began when he served as Dr. Waldheim’s secretary when he was Austria’s Foreign Minister. Mr. Mayrhofer has been Special Assistant to the Secretary-General now for the last three years.]
Question: How has the role of the Secretary-General changed over the years since Dr. Waldheim took office, either due to his own initiative or to changes in the world in general?
Mr. Mayrhofer: To the extent that the world changes continuously and the United Nations changes and the problems change, I would say that certainly ever since the time he took office, the work or role of the Secretary-General has also changed. It is difficult to say how much or in what direction, but one thing, for example, is that when the Secretary-General took office in 1971, the whole question of the world economic situation was not yet so prominent on the UN agenda. You did not yet have the oil embargo, you did not yet have the energy crisis, you did not yet have economic difficulties. Also, in particular the Western countries today face unemployment and inflation and so forth. The Secretary-General himself has said several times that within his term of office much has changed in this regard and the United Nations is much more preoccupied with these economic matters. And he feels that this is one of the basic and most remarkable changes during his term of office, even to the extent that he might view himself as the Secretary-General who heralded this change — the shepherd under which this change took place. He has spoken repeatedly about this matter. One of his basic concepts is that we cannot expect political stability as long as there is no economic stability, as long as two-thirds of humanity live in conditions of serious poverty.
Question: Is there any one particular skill or ability that you have seen the Secretary-General develop since he took office or is there one quality that is perhaps most apparent in his work?
Mr. Mayrhofer: He has very much grown with his task — no question about that. He has always shown a particular interest in the work of the United Nations. Before he was Foreign Minister of Austria, he was Permanent Representative to the United Nations for many years and in Austria he was a UN man, very pro-UN, which is not always fashionable among politicians in western Europe.
To me his most remarkable characteristic is his activism, the fact that he has the remarkable gift — whenever a problem comes to his attention or is presented to him — of immediately thinking of some action to take in order to remedy the problem. Very often when people learn of a problem — it doesn’t have to be serious, it can be minor — they just accept it as it is and don’t do anything about it. This is a common attitude to which many people, including myself, very often succumb. This is for me the most remarkable trait in his character, that he immediately takes things up and sees how we can remedy them.
And the other quality is that he is really a diplomat in the very best sense of the word. He is the ideal mediator. I cannot think of anybody who is so ingenious in finding solutions when there are conflicting viewpoints, in finding a way out with diplomatic skill. He is very careful in any conflict or situation not to really say what he thinks, the reason being that as soon as you identify your own views, invariably they will be closer to one side, and the other side, the disadvantaged side, will probably reject you as a mediator. So as a mediator he has to hold back with his own views on certain matters. He is a very balanced man in the sense that he recognises that whenever there is a conflict, it rarely is the fault of only one side. He just receives the views from both sides and tries to establish what common ground there in fact is. There is always a common ground, even if it is only a formality, and he takes this and builds upon it and enlarges it and eventually finds some sort of agreement.
Question: Does the Secretary-General often discuss problems that arise in his work and the world situation with his assistants?
Mr. Mayrhofer: He thinks about problems a lot himself, but he also takes every opportunity to talk about them. Apparently, he feels that in a dialogue you can often better identify what the problem is. A dialogue about the matter often more clearly establishes the elements and possibilities. So he discusses these problems a lot with us. And he probably discusses problems of a sort of semipolitical nature, public relations matters, with his wife. He takes his wife as somebody who often represents the public view. He is quite informal in working with us. Once he gets to know people, he loses his reserve to a very great extent. We communicate a lot. If we have a problem we just walk into his room, depending on his schedule. But a certain relationship of confidence has to be established before it is possible or until it is possible.
Question: What on the whole sustains him in his job?
Mr. Mayrhofer: What sustains him is basically a belief that you have to be an activist — try to improve things — and also his religion. Also, he is rooted in his family. He has always had a good family life.
Question: In his recent book, Kurt Waldheim mentions that religion strengthened him morally and that traveling as Secretary-General helps him expand his religious horizons. Does he ever talk about his religion or is it more a quiet belief?
Mr. Mayrhofer: He has never denied or played down his religion in any way. He considers himself a practising Catholic and he thinks that this is an asset as far as providing a kind of moral support — which everybody I suppose needs. But on the other hand, he thinks that his religion does not limit his outlook on problems and on situations and he is very tolerant as far as other religions go. He does conceive of religion as a rather private matter which you should not try to further when you have a public office, except maybe through giving a good example. Normally he would keep apart the private matter of religion from his political life.
Question: Does the Secretary-General have any special humanitarian concerns?
Mr. Mayrhofer: There are two things which I should mention. One is the general suffering which is caused by war and especially personal suffering. In any war when people get killed or wounded there is a mother or wife or children — that is definitely one of his major concerns.
The other one is UNICEF and children, the suffering of children, including problems such as malnutrition.
Question: What is the biggest problem he faces right now?
Mr. Mayrhofer: It is difficult to say. If you have to single one out, I would say the North/South dialogue, which he thinks is fundamental to ensure a peaceful world. But there are of course the problems of South Africa and the Middle East and Cyprus.
Question: Do you see the future role of the Secretary-General as necessitating the same heavy travel schedule?
Mr. Mayrhofer: Travel is slowing down a bit. He has visited quite a few countries already. He thought it was important to visit countries and get acquainted or established in all the main places and with the main people. I think to a certain extent there is no need to travel as much as he has done in the past. Of course, he will always have to travel when he has to attend summit meetings and so forth.
Question: What is his relationship now with the press and media?
Mr. Mayrhofer: He is very much concerned about this matter, more than any other Secretary-General. The bad press which the United Nations has is mainly concentrated in the Western world, in established, developed countries. The UN has generally good press, but he is convinced that the support of the Western world is essential for the UN and therefore he tries to do everything he can to improve its image. He gives a lot of interviews and does a lot himself, which U Thant, I think, never did. He receives editors in news conferences and talks with them. He also gives many lectures. He must have received about thirty honorary degrees, doctorates. He has spoken at every one of these universities where he has been invited to receive a degree. Also, when he travels, he talks to people and gives press conferences. He also holds three major press conferences or meetings every year at Headquarters, and he holds other press conferences when it is necessary. In addition, there are weekly press conferences by his spokesmen, and through his spokesmen he says a lot of things.
The Man Who Never Ceases To TryDr. Robert Muller wrote the following informal essay about Kurt Waldheim based on his experiences as Director of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. Dr. Muller is now Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Never give up a fight for a good cause. Try your very best even in the face of insuperable difficulties. Be satisfied only after having exhausted every possible way.
Anyone who has worked closely with Secretary-General Waldheim knows that some of his happiest moments are when he boards a plane. Until the last minute, he remains active and tense, engaged in international business which requires his urgent attention. There is always an Ambassador, if not several, at the airport to discuss with him a last moment problem or crisis. Also present are some of his aides, who expect decisions or instructions on a variety of problems. But once he is in the plane, his tenseness disappears. He knows that for a while no problem will trouble him, no phone will ring, no visitor will knock at his door. He takes a seat, relaxes, adopts a happy composure, orders a light drink, nibbles at an appetizer and turns to his companion with a smile: ”Thank God, for a few hours we will have peace. We will enjoy our dinner, talk a little, watch a film and sleep without being disturbed.”
But he does not keep his promise for long. After a while he opens his briefcase and extracts notes, letters, documents and draft speeches for study. Once, to my surprise, I saw him draw out and pensively hold in his hand a compass. He commented:
“My daughter Christel put this compass in my briefcase. She thinks I travel too much and fears that someday I might get lost! This compass is supposed to help me find my way back home!”
One of the most striking characteristics of Secretary-General Waldheim is his extreme endurance and extraordinary faculty to recuperate. As intense as he is when he negotiates or handles a problem, as easily he can erase all worries from his mind and relax in a total fashion. I have seen him enter his car after a day of very intensive work, almost on the verge of exhaustion and say:
”Please do not talk to me. I need a few moments of complete rest.”
He then closed his eyes, reposed during the short trip to his hotel, showered, and that night delivered a full hour’s speech extempore. Once I marvelled at this capacity and he simply answered:
”I have no merit whatever. I have inherited this faculty from my father who was a wiry, indefatigable man.”
One of our early trips took us to Paris where the newly elected Secretary-General paid his first official visit to the French Government. We lodged at the Hotel Crillon, where a suite had been placed at his disposal by the French authorities. It was the time when negotiations on Vietnam were going on in Paris and when the U.S. had resumed its bombardments. At an early stage of our sojourn, Mr. Waldheim said to me:
“I am in Paris on an official visit to the French Government and I know that I am not supposed to deal with the Vietnam problem here. Nevertheless, I cannot ignore the fact that talks are taking place in this city. I feel that I must do something. I cannot remain silent and inactive. I must offer my good offices and help, even if I should be turned down. What do you think?”
[Dr. Muller answered:] “You are absolutely right. Some of the parties in the talks do not want the UN to be involved and they will turn your offer down. Nevertheless, beyond the political considerations, there is the human aspect. Many people will not understand that you are here in Paris and remain silent about this atrocious war. You should simply do what your daughter Christel would expect you to do, namely offer your services, even at the risk of being turned down and criticized.”
His mind was already made up, guided by his extraordinary instinct of what was the right course of action. He entered forthwith into a period of intensive diplomatic consultations, demonstrating once more his tremendous energy.
Towards the evening there was little left to do, except wait for the answers of the parties concerned. The Secretary-General wanted to relax and take a stroll in the streets of Paris. He loved that city where he had been stationed as a young diplomat and where one of his children was born. He suggested that we have dinner in a quiet place, without any security escort. I could well understand his wish and we devised a way of fulfilling it. He called his security guard who had accompanied us from New York and asked him to stay in his room and wait for an important telephone call. In the meantime, we would go downstairs and have a quick sandwich at the snack bar. But instead we used a secondary exit of the hotel, avoided the French security, and soon found ourselves in the streets of Paris all by ourselves.
He asked me to suggest a nice, cozy restaurant where we could relax and enjoy a good dinner. I proposed that we walk along the Grand Boulevards between the Madeleine and the Porte St. Denis where I knew a good fish restaurant. It was a long and pleasant walk. There was so much to see in the streets of Paris. The people are so alive, so “individual,” so strikingly different from one another. They form one of the greatest human shows on Earth, which explains why one can walk for miles in Paris without tiring.
We were speaking German to each other, he in his Austrian variation, I in my Lorraine dialect. We commented on people, on street scenes and compared the language we used. It can indeed be an intellectual delight to discuss the meaning and etymology of the endless variations of Germanic languages. I remember that he explained to me the origin of the word "gewurschtelt," which I had used for passing judgement on a woman dressed in sloppy garments.
We finally arrived at the fish restaurant near the Porte St. Denis. I knew this neighbourhood well, for my father, like many Alsace-Lorrainers, liked to stay near the Care de I'Est when he came to Paris. In front of the restaurant was a magnificent display of seafood: oysters, sea urchins, clams, lobsters, shrimps, mussels, all resting on rich beds of dark green algae or on white crushed ice amid strings of golden yellow lemons. A man wearing a leather apron prepared these delicacies and served them to the customers in the restaurant. The dining place was very cozy, pleasant and peaceful. There were only a few patrons and we enjoyed admirable service. We started with a large tantalising platter of oysters, continued with a mouth-watering fish soup and took as plat de resistance a friture of small fishes and mixed seafood. Accompanied by a dry muscadet wine, it was quite a memorable treat.
The Secretary-General was fascinated by a French worker dressed in blue overalls who was sitting alone at a table facing us. The man was enjoying his food tremendously. He was the solitary actor of a real gastronomic feast. He was savouring each fibre of food and drop of wine. His concentration on sheer nutritional pleasure was an extraordinary sight, and the Secretary-General commented:
“Look how this man enjoys himself. The pleasures, behaviour and instinct of the common people are admirable. They know the best places and how to enjoy themselves. I have concluded a long time ago that the people’s instinct is the surest thing on Earth. You cannot fool people. They have such common sense. You must explain to them the issues you face and the policies you wish to pursue. The people know perfectly well how difficult our problems are. They do not expect us to solve them miraculously overnight. But they constantly want us to do our best and to never cease to try. I will obviously not be able to solve the Vietnam problem here in Paris. The people know it perfectly well. I might not even be able to meet with the parties concerned. But the public will be happy to learn that at least I tried. They will appreciate it. I can be satisfied only when I have tried everything and have not left a single stone unturned.”
Thus I learned in a little fish restaurant near the Porte St. Denis one of the fundamental characteristics of the new Secretary-General: He was a man who never ceased to try and who was endlessly stubborn at it.
We returned to the hotel. The guard had received in the meantime an important telephone call and the Secretary-General spent the rest of the evening in diplomatic consultations. when we met, the Secretary-General would take on a radiant face and say:
“Robert, do you remember the fish restaurant and the worker eating his seafood so fervently? It was my first evening of escape and relaxation since I became Secretary-General and I will never forget it.”
What I have not forgotten either is a thought that came to my mind one day after having observed Mr. Waldheim in his talks with Government officials. I had asked myself the question:
“If a world war were about to break out, what kind of Secretary-General would you like to see at the helm of the world organisation? What type of man would have the best chance of helping avoid a world conflict?"
After careful thought, I concluded that I would have the greatest confidence in a man who would never cease to try, who would work day and night, indefatigably, without a moment of rest or relent, without neglecting the slightest avenue of hope, a man who would work himself to exhaustion, appealing to governments, hanging on the phone, holding consultations and making diplomats work as hard as he. For only a man with an iron will would have a chance to win under extreme, critical circumstances.
The same rule applies to all international civil servants. We must believe in our vocation and task. We must work relentlessly and stubbornly against the greatest odds and disbeliefs on Earth. Even without the faith of so many people, we must try to carry the human story to ever higher levels of peace, justice and righteousness. We must never give up. We must fight for our beliefs in the good human cause. We must try our very best, even in the face of insuperable difficulties and be satisfied only after having exhausted every possible way and turned every possible stone.
O Kurt WaldheimO Kurt Waldheim,… in you I always see a divinely inspired miracle-man. You see, you touch and you cure the suffering heart of humanity.
Part II — Meetings With Secretary-General Kurt WaldheimTSG 11-14. Sri Chinmoy and the members of the United Nations Meditation Group met with Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim on 16 July 1976. Sri Chinmoy again met privately with the Secretary-General on 7 March 1977 to present him with a copy of his book, //U Thant: Divinity's Smile and Humanity's Cry.// These are the accounts of these meetings.
Meeting with Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim on 16 July 1976On 16 July 1976 Sri Chinmoy met with Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim in the Secretary-General’s Office. Sri Chinmoy presented Mr Waldheim with a plaque engraved with the United Nations Meditation Group motto and a song he had written, O Kurt Waldheim.
The Secretary-General thanked Sri Chinmoy for the plaque, which was decorated with the Secretary-General’s picture and the United Nations and Austrian flags. Pointing to his desk, he said, “I will keep this here.” Sri Chinmoy also presented the UN leader with an article he had written about him, and the Secretary-General said he would read it with great enthusiasm and interest. While looking through the Meditation Group Songbook, which had also been given to him, the Secretary-General saw U Thant’s picture and remarked, “Ah, here is my dear friend.”
At Sri Chinmoy’s request, the Secretary-General then invited the members of the Meditation Group to come upstairs into his conference room to sing the song, O Kurt Waldheim.
When the group entered the room, the Secretary-General greeted them warmly. “Welcome to the 38th floor,” he said. “I am pleased to meet all of you and I want to thank you for your work and dedication to the UN. I know how hard your Group is working for the United Nations. I thank you for the gift that your leader has presented me and I look forward to hearing the beautiful song that you have prepared.”
After the song was sung the Secretary-General said, “It is a very beautiful, very thoughtful song, which is deeply interesting and unique. Thank you very much. I wish you all the best for the future: good health and happiness, and especially happiness of the soul, which is perhaps the most important thing for our life.”
Ms France Vacher presented the Secretary-General with the banner of the United Nations Meditation Group. The Group also gave him a framed message: “With deepest appreciation and admiration for piloting the United Nations Boat untiringly, soulfully and fruitfully.” It was signed by “Sri Chinmoy and the Members of the United Nations Meditation Group.” Included alongside the message were the names and departments of the more than sixty members of the Meditation Group.
The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for these gifts and read the motto several times. Then he said, “You must be from many different countries. That is very good; the world is getting smaller.” Then, smiling graciously and warmly, he began to walk around the room shaking everyone’s hand, occasionally asking where a person was from, speaking in English, French and German and joking lightly. When he came to the last member, Richard Howard, who was the official UN photographer for the day, he said, “Now you have a big responsibility to see that the pictures all come out. I certainly hope they turn out.”
Sri Chinmoy said, “We, the members of the United Nations Meditation Group, soulfully pray to the Absolute Supreme for your re-election,” and everyone laughed in appreciation. The Secretary-General thanked the Group again and Sri Chinmoy responded, “We shall remain eternally grateful to you.”
After the interview was over and the Group had begun to leave, the guard called Sri Chinmoy and Richard Howard back into the Secretary-General’s office.
The Secretary-General wanted to have some more pictures taken. Later, Sri Chinmoy described the incident: “We stood next to the UN flag; he stood on one side and I stood on the other. He was all joy. He grabbed my hands and was clasping them strongly and affectionately with such love and joy. At first he didn’t speak. He placed his hand on my shoulder, clasping my arm and elbow to show his joy and appreciation. Then he said, ‘It is a great challenge to bring about peace, but we are trying.’ I answered, ‘We shall succeed.’ The Secretary-General continued, ‘We want only peace, peace. You are praying, praying for peace. I know what you and the Group are doing for us. I know it, I can feel it.’ He said that he would read the article about him with greatest joy and thanked us for our prayers for his re-election.
Sri Chinmoy commented on the meeting: “It does not belong to me, it is also yours. It belongs to all of us. This significant and historical meeting we offer to the soul of the United Nations and to the soul of the peace-loving world with all our hearts’ love and gratitude. Right now we may not value it fully, but in years to come we shall give proper value to this momentous achievement.”
A meeting with the Secretary-General on 7 March 1977As soon as I entered into his office, the Secretary-General came to the door. With a smiling face and a warm heart, he said, “Good morning.”
I said to him also, “Good morning.” Then we shook hands and, for a few seconds, both of us remained in a contemplative mood. Then he signalled me to sit down. He also sat. He was in a very deep and, at the same time, benevolent mood. I offered the book to him and he looked at the cover and said, “Ah, here is my dear friend, my humane friend. I had the greatest admiration for him. In simple and genuine modesty he surpassed us all. Nobody knew how he sacrificed his life to bring about world peace, world understanding, practically to the end of his life. He carried a tremendous load on his shoulders. He suffered and suffered for humanity. His vision was so clear and, at the same time, so broad.”
At this point I turned to page thirteen where his own comment on U Thant was. He read the whole page very carefully, completely absorbed, and then said, “He was really great. I talked to him many, many times while I was serving my country as Ambassador. He inspired me in so many ways. His heart never wanted to compromise to the wrong and destructive forces of the world. Slowly and steadily he did everything. His great responsibilities at the United Nations did affect his health. His death was a tragic end. We all dearly miss him. His steady vision for the world community is still inspiring us. I personally am extremely, extremely grateful to him.”
Then I said to him, “As you know, everything has a divine sanction. We are extremely grateful to God, for He has given us you to steer the Boat of the United Nations so devotedly, speedily, surprisingly and successfully. I always see you as God’s lightning speed. Today you are here, tomorrow you are there and the day after tomorrow elsewhere. Your penetrating vision not only enters into the world problems, but also solves the problems of the world most miraculously. In you I always see a divinely inspired miracle-man. You see, you touch and you cure the suffering heart of humanity.”
Then he said to me, “I am so sincerely grateful to you for your encouraging words. This world needs only one thing: co-operation. U Thant gave his all to bring about world co-operation. I am trying to do the same with all my heart’s concern and love for humanity. You are also doing the same with your prayer and meditation at the United Nations. I am sincerely grateful to you, for you are offering your depth and vision to the United Nations through the Meditation Group.”
Then I told him, “Every day I pray for you, for your success; I pray that the world will accept your most illumining light. On Tuesdays and Fridays, in the special meditations we hold here at the United Nations, I regularly offer my gratitude-heart to your world-illumining soul. I have started writing a book about you and I hope to be able to offer it to you the way I am offering you this book on U Thant.”
He said, “You know, in the coming few months I shall be extremely busy, but I am sure I will be able to set aside some time for you as I have done today.”
I said, “I know. I know how extremely busy you are with the world problems. My mind knows it and my heart feels it. It is your heart’s magnanimity that has granted me this rare opportunity to offer you this book.”
Then he said, “Oh no, I am extremely happy to see you and to have you here with me. It is very nice and kind of you to write something about me. By the way, please be in touch with Mr Rohan. He will be able to assist you, if you need any special information about me. Again, I wish to say it was extremely thoughtful of you to present to me my best friend. I miss him; we all miss him. Indeed, he was our true friend.”
At this time he stood up and I stood up. I folded my hands, and his eyes were extremely soulful. Then I shook hands with him. He came to the door and, placing his left hand on my right shoulder and holding my right hand, he said to me, “Please tell the members of your Meditation Group that I am sending them my greetings.”
I said to him, “I shall do that. I am offering you on behalf of our Meditation Group our heart’s deepest gratitude.”
To the truth-seekerTo the truth-seeker, peace-lover, oneness-dreamer, perfection-builder, satisfaction-harbinger and the supreme Pilot in the Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim, we offer our soulful gratitude-heart.
From Kurt Waldheim, 12 January 1972Dear Sri Chinmoy,
Thank you for your kind message of 1 January and your handwritten greetings and good wishes for the New Year. With kindest regards,
From Kurt Waldheim, 8 January 1973Dear Sri Chinmoy,
I wish to thank you for your very kind birthday greetings and for inscribing to me your recent book of lectures entitled “The Garland of Nation-Souls.” Your thoughtful gesture was indeed very much appreciated. With very best wishes for 1973.
From Kurt Waldheim, 20 February 1975Dear Sri Chinmoy,
I wish to thank you for sending me a copy of 11 Meditation at the United Nations”, which is dedicated to the memory of my distinguished and esteemed predecessor U Thant. I very much appreciated your kind gesture.
From Valeri Krepkogorski 27 July 1976Dear Sri Chinmoy,
Prior to his departure for Geneva on Friday evening, the Secretary-General asked me to thank you for the beautiful album which you sent him to mark the occasion of his meeting with the united Nations Meditation Group.
The Secretary-General was most appreciative of your thoughtful gesture in presenting these fine photographs to him, as well as the cassette tape which you were kind enough to enclose.
With warm regards,
Special Assistant to the Secretary-General
From Kurt Waldheim 13 December 1976Dear Sri Chinmoy,
I wish to thank you for the beautiful flowers and the kind message of congratulations which you sent me on behalf of the United Nations Meditation Group following my appointment to another term of office as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Your thoughtfulness in conveying these good wishes was very deeply appreciated.
With best wishes,
From Ferdinand Mayrhofer-Grunbuhel 18 January 1977Dear Sri Chinmoy,
The Secretary-General has asked me to thank you for your letter of 10 January 1977, with which you sent him a copy of your 300th book. The Secretary-General very much appreciates your thoughtfulness in sharing this publication with him. It was also kind of you to enclose the Meditation Group’s New Year message for 1977.
With kind regards,
Special Assistant to the Secretary-General
Letter from Albert Rohan 27 July 1977Dear Sri Chinmoy,
On behalf and in the absence of the Secretary-General, I wish to acknowledge with thanks receipt of your letter of 26 July 1977.
The kind message which you sent on behalf of the United Nations Meditation Group has been conveyed to the Secretary-General, who asked me to thank you most sincerely for your good wishes for the recovery of his daughter and mother-in-law.
With kind regards,
Deputy Executive Assistant
Letter from Kurt Waldheim 21 December 1977Dear Sri Chinmoy,
I wish to thank you for your letter of 21 December 1977 conveying your good wishes on the occasion of my birthday. You may be certain that I shall continue my efforts in the interests of international peace and co-operation. Your thoughtfulness in sending me this message is indeed appreciated and I, for my part, would like to take this opportunity to send to you my best wishes for the coming year.
With kind regards,
Letter from Albert Rohan 18 July 1978Dear Sri Chinmoy,
On behalf of the Secretary-General who is at present on official business abroad, I wish to thank you for the flower arrangement and the card which you sent to him today. I know that the Secretary-General will very much appreciate this thoughtful gesture.
music: Sri Chinmoy
O Kurt WaldheimO Kurt Waldheim,
O UN's lightning speed!
Your mind-heart’s concern-flames constantly feed
This world of fearful cry and tearful sigh,
To see a peaceful earth and blessingful sky.
Your life of duty-tree and beauty-flower
Awakens the sleeping world and its oneness-power.
Part III — Appendix
Honorary degreesIn addition to the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence awarded by Vienna University in 1944, the Secretary-General has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the following colleges and universities:
Fordham University (1972)
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (1972)
University of Chile, Santiago (1972)
Rutgers University (1972)
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (1973)
University of Bucharest (1973)
Wagner College, New York (1973)
Catholic University of America (1974)
Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada (1974)
Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium (1975)
Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia (1975)
Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y. (1975)
University of Denver (1976)
University of the Philippines (1976)
University of Nice (1976)
Vanderbilt University (1976)
American University, Washington, D.C. (1977)
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (1977)
Moscow State University (1977)
Warsaw University (1977)
NotesPatriotism and World-Vision
1. Kurt Waldheim, The Austrian Example, Weidenfeld and
Nicholson, London: 1971, p. 7
2. UN Document
3. SG SM 1657, 20 March 1972
4. SC SM 1996, 20 May 1974 c U.N. Document
6. U Thant, A View from the UN, Doubleday & Co., Inc.,
Garden City, N.Y.: 1978, pp. 453-454
7. Kurt Waldheim, Op. Cit., p. 161
8. Ibid., p. 195
The Message of Practical Idealism
1. SGSM2411, 21 January 1977
2. UN Document
3. Kurt Waldheim, Op. Cit., p. 10
4. SG SM 1858, 7 June 1973
5. Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the
7. SG SM 2371, 27 September 1976
World Ignorance and Universal Light
1.SGSM1871, 2 August 1973
2. Kurt Waldheim, Op. Cit., p. 11
3. SGSM1993, 13 May 1974
4. SGSM1874, 7 August 1973
5. SGSM2244, 16 September 1975
6. SGSM1937, 10 December 1973
Success and Progress
1. UN Document
2. Kurt Waldheim, Op, Cit., p. 10
3. SGSM2078, 18 September 1974
4. Kurt Waldheim, Op. Cit., pp. 161-162
5. Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the
6. SGSM2293, 14 January 1976
7. Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization, (A321)
1. SGSM1660, 23 March 1972
2. SGSM2396, 13 December 1976
3. SGSM1993,13 May 1974
4. Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the
5. SGSM2396,13 December 1976 124
The New Ethics: The U.N. Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. SGSM2284, 8 December 1975
2. SGSM2467, 11 July 1977
3. SGSM2601, 7 August 1978
4. SGSM1993, 13 May 1974
5. SGSM1961, 22 February 1974
6. SGSM2078, 18 September 1974
7. SGSM2260, 20 October 1975
8. SGSM1858, 7 June 1973
9. U Thant, Op. Cit., pp. 26-27
10. SGSM1988, 30 April 1974
11. SGSM1937, 10 December 1973
14. SGSM2393, 6 December 1976 125
Photo caption (p.37)Secretary-General U Thant congratulating Dr. Waldheim shortly after he had taken the oath of office as Secretary-General of the UN. U Thant remarked: “I know that he is held in very high esteem by all of those who have come to know him during his many years in New York. Apart from his well-known diplomatic ability, he has also shown a special talent for conciliation in his work as Chairman of the Outer Space Committee and in other United Nations bodies. I wish him every success in his new and high responsibilities.” [photo: United Nations]