Death of Dag Hammarskjöld
At the Archives
United Nations Operations in the Congo - ONUC (1960-1964) [please note that the majority of these files have been declassified since 2016, in an effort to provide researchers more access to records about the circumstances surrounding the plane crash.]
Dag Hammarskjöld, 1953-1961
"I have no doubt that 40 years from now we shall be engaged in the same pursuit. How could we expect otherwise? World organization is still a new adventure in human history." - Dag Hammarskjöld, 20 May 1956.
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 10 April 1953 until 18 September 1961 when he was killed in a plane accident while on a peace mission in the Congo. Born on 29 July 1905 in Jonkoping, Sweden, Mr. Hammarskjöld was educated at Uppsala University and University of Stockholm, where he obtained a doctorate in economics in 1933.
Mr. Hammarskjöld was appointed to the post of Permanent Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance (1936) and became an adviser to the Cabinet on financial and economic problems (1946), organizing and coordinating different governmental planning for the various economic problems that during the post-war period. He was appointed to the Foreign Office (1947) and was appointed Secretary-General of the same (1949) before joining the Cabinet as Minister (1951). He was Vice-Chairman of the Swedish Delegation to the Sixth Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Paris (1951-1952), and acting Chairman of Sweden’s delegation to the Seventh General Assembly (1952-1953).
Mr. Hammarskjöld was unanimously appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations by the General Assembly on 7 April 1953 on the recommendation of the Security Council. He was re-elected unanimously for another term of five years in September 1957.
During his terms as Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjöld carried out many responsibilities for the United Nations in the course of its efforts to prevent war and serve the other aims of the Charter. In 1960, President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of the Congo sent a cable on 12 July asking for the "urgent dispatch" of United Nations military assistance to the Congo. Following Security Council actions, the United Nations Force in the Congo was established and the Secretary-General himself made four trips to the Congo in connection with the United Nations operations there throughout 1960 and 1961. The fourth trip to the Congo began on 12 September and ended on 18 September 1961 with the plane crash that killed the Secretary-General.
Archival Finding Aid consists of a very small portion of the archives of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld; those which were left at the Secretariat after selected archives were transferred to Mr. Andrew Cordier and the Royal Library of Sweden.
The Hammarskjöld Commission is a voluntary body of four international jurists who have been invited by an international Enabling Committee to report whether in their view the evidence now available would justify the United Nations in reopening its inquiry pursuant to General Assembly resolution 1759 (XVII) of 26 October 1962. Their 2016 report can be downloaded from the Commission website. Further documentation collected by the Commission:
General Assembly resolution 1759 (XVII), 26 October 1962
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Report of the Commission on the Accident Involving Aircraft SE-BDY, chaired by Sir John Clayden, Chief Justice of the Federation, presented to the Federal Assembly, Salisbury, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, February 1962
United Nations General Assembly, Report of the Commission of the Investigation into the Conditions and Circumstances Resulting in the Tragic Death of Mr Dag Hammarskjöld and of Members of the Party Accompanying Him, chaired by Rishikesh Shaha, 24 April 1962 (UN A/5069)
Rösiö, Bengt, ‘The Ndola Disaster. Revised version’, Stockholm, for Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, November 1992 - February 1993
Report on the statements of witnesses in former inquiries into the Death of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld written upon the request of The Hammarskjöld Commission, by Annelore Beukema, Thijs Beumers, Kitty ten Bras, Martijn Hekkenberg, Abram Klop, Danielle Troost, under the supervision of Prof. Dr Alex Geert Castermans Leiden Law School, Leiden, 31 May 2013