U Thant

We are thrown together on this planet and we have to live together. That is why the Charter imposes the imperative on all human beings to practice tolerance and to live together in peace with one another as good neighbors. To my mind this is the simplest definition of peaceful coexistence.” - U Thant, 7 January 1964

U Thant, who served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971, was chosen to head the world body when Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld was killed in an air crash in September 1961. U Thant was born at Pantanaw, Burma, on 22 January 1909, and was educated at University College, Rangoon.

Prior to his diplomatic career, U Thant's experience was in education and information work. He served as Headmaster of National High School, was a member of Burma's Textbook Committee and the Council of National Education, and was an Executive Committee member of the Heads of Schools Association, Secretary of Burma's Education Reorganization Committee (1942), and was appointed Press Director of the Government of Burma in 1947. He became Director of Broadcasting, was appointed Secretary to the Government of Burma in the Ministry of Information (1948), became Secretary for projects in the Office of the Prime Minister (1953), and was then assigned additional duties as Executive Secretary of Burma's Economic and Social Board (1955).

At the time of his appointment as Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations, U Thant had been Permanent Representative of Burma to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador (1957-1961). U Thant was unanimously appointed by the General Assembly to fill the unexpired term of the late Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld. He was then unanimously appointed Secretary-General by the General Assembly on 30 November 1962 and was re-appointed for a second term as Secretary-General of the United Nations by the General Assembly on 2 December 1966. His term of office continued until 31 December 1971.

Archival Finding Aids for Secretary-General U Thant Fonds –AG-005 

Fonds consists of the archives of Secretary-General U Thant, relating to his responsibilities as chief administrative officer of the Secretariat and as chief coordinator of the legislative, political, socio-economic, and military bodies of the United Nations. Also included are archives from an earlier period, when he was Burmese Representative to the United Nations, and private papers from his post-retirement years.

Fonds is arranged in the following archival series:

Series Title

Dates References
Memorabilia - sound recordings  1961-1971 S-0512
Memorabilia - tribute and gifts  1962-1971 S-0551
Peacekeeping - Congo (ONUC) - subject files 
and correspondence with member states
1959-1964 S-0845
Peacekeeping - Congo (ONUC) - United Nations Advisory Committee on the Congo verbatim minutes 1960-1963     S-0849 
Administrative and management matters - top echelon personnel  1957-1974     S-0852
United Nations Security Council and other organs                 1962-1971      S-0853
United Nations specialized agencies  1962-1972     S-0854
Administrative and management matters - administration of the Secretariat  1953-1972     S-0855
United Nations General Assembly  1953-1971     S-0856
United Nations subsidiary bodies  1960-1972     S-0857
United Nations commissions, committee and conferences  1962-1972     S-0858
Secretary-General’s correspondence with outside organizations(international
conferences, expositions, meetings, etc.)
 1961-1979     S-0859
Press clippings  1958-1975     S-0860
Peacekeeping – Middle East  1957-1973     S-0861
Peacekeeping – code cables  1961-1971     S-0862
Peacekeeping – India/Pakistan  1962-1973     S-0863
Public relations  1951-1972     S-0864
Peacekeeping - Vietnam  1962-1972     S-0866
Peacekeeping – Dominican Republic  1961-1971     S-0867
Peacekeeping – India/Pakistan  1964-1971     S-0868
Peacekeeping - Cyprus  1960-1971     S-0869
Peacekeeping - Cyprus  1964-1971     S-0870
Peacekeeping - Vietnam  1961-1972     S-0871
Peacekeeping - Cuba  1962-1971     S-0872
Peacekeeping - Cuba  1962-1964     S-0873
Peacekeeping – Congo (ONUC)  1961-1964     S-0874
Peacekeeping – Congo (ONUC)  1960-1965     S-0875
Peacekeeping - West Irian (UNTEA)  1950-1963     S-0876
Peacekeeping - Yemen (UNYOM)  1963-1967     S-0877
Peacekeeping - other countries  1961-1971     S-0878
Peacekeeping - general  1960-1971     S-0879
Political Matters – disarmament  1961-1971     S-0880
Peacekeeping – Political and Social Security Council Affairs analysis  1962-1971     S-0881
Secretary-General’s correspondence with heads-of-state, governments, and
Representatives to the United Nations
 1961-1972     S-0882
Secretary-General’s trips and engagements  1961-1971     S-0883
Political matters – country files  1960-1971     S-0884
Secretary-General’s speeches  1961-1971     S-0885
Secretary-General’s statements  1961-1967     S-0886
Secretary-General’s correspondence with individuals and organizations  1960-1974     S-0887
Peacekeeping (official documents)  1960-1971     S-0888
Press conferences  1961-1971     S-0889
Press releases  1950-1974     S-0891
Private records – 1961-1971 period  1953-1972     S-0892
Private records – post-retirement 1971-1974  1963-1975     S-0893
Private records – manuscript “View from the UN”  1962-1974     S-0894
Private records – Season’s greetings cards  1961-1974     S-0895
Memorabilia - photographs  1962-1972     S-0975
Memorabilia – moving images  1961-1971     S-1001
Memorabilia - gifts – photographs albums  1961-1971     S-1002