Piero Vinci

In speaking about U Thant, Piero Vinci, Italian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a strikingly genuine thinker and a staunch supporter of U Thant, referred to what he called one of the former Secretary-General’s most inspiring statements: “U Thant was one of the most inspiring forces, if not the main force, in drawing the attention of the governments and of the peoples of the world to the ever-present global challenges: outer space, disarmament, environment, law of the sea. At one moment, on 26 May 1970, he came out with one of his most inspiring statements. He stated that, living in the shadow of atomic weapons, it is no longer enough for the member states of the United Nations to pay allegiance to their own country. What is required, he added, is a second allegiance: namely, the allegiance to the international community embodied by the United Nations. Speaking personally, I would say that I and many of my compatriots would give priority to our allegiance to the United Nations and to all it stands for.”