UN Secretary-General Trygve Halvdan Lie


Those who gave their lives in order that we may be free, those who lost their homes, those who suffered, and still suffer, from the consequences of war have given us a sacred mandate: that is, to build a firm foundation for the peace of the world.”

Trygve Lie, 2 February 1946.




Trygve Halvdan Lie was born on 16 July 1896, in Oslo, Norway, He was educated at Oslo University where he obtained a law degree in 1919.

Mr. Lie became a member of the Norwegian Labor Party Youth Organization in 1911. He was an assistant to the secretary of the Labor Party from 1919 to 1922, a legal adviser to the Norwegian Trade Union Federation from 1922 to 1935, and national executive secretary of the Labor Party in 1926. In the Labor Party Government formed by Johan Nygaardsvold, Mr. Lie was Minister of Justice (1935 to 1939), Minister of Trade and Industries (July to September 1939), and Minister of Supply and Shipping (1939-1941). In that capacity he evolved the provisional measures that saved the Norwegian fleet for the Allies, after the German invasion in April 1940.

In December 1940, he became acting Foreign Minister and was appointed Foreign Minister of Norway in 1941. Mr. Lie had been elected a member of the Norwegian Parliament in 1936 and was re-elected in 1945.
 Mr. Lie led the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, April 1945, and was Chairman of Commission III for drafting the Security Council provisions of the Charter. Soon after becoming Chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in London, on 1 February 1946 Mr. Lie was elected the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was formally installed by the General Assembly at its 22nd meeting on 2 February 1946. On 1 November 1950, the General Assembly extended Mr. Lie’s term for another three though he resigned as Secretary-General of the United Nations in November 1952.


Archives of Secretary-General Trygvie Lie – AG-013

Fonds consists of a very small proportion of the archives of Secretary-General Trygve Lie.


Serie Title Dates Reference

General Assembly meeting files





Related archives

Minutes of the Secretary-General's private meetings with Under-Secretaries-General are arranged as part of Secretary-General Hammarskjold's archives, but include the full 1946-1953 period as well; see series S-0847. Series S-0844 also includes files of Secretary-General Trygve Lie.

The Andrew Cordier Papers at Columbia University Library in New York include the following Secretary-General Trygve Lie archives: Trip files, 1947-1952 (boxes 116-117); Subject files, 1948-1952 (part of box 130).

In 1966, Trygve Lie donated to the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, Norway, a collection of various documents: correspondence, manuscripts, photos and scrapbooks (Brevs. 410 and Ms.fol. 2615-2630). There is available a scanned copy of a handwritten list of correspondents in Brevs. 410, letters to and from Trygve Lie (Handwritten list of correspondents in Brevs  ). 

As of 2005, these papers have been reloacted to the National Archives of Norway (Riksarkivet) in Oslo and can be found on Trygve Lie's archives page

In addition, the National Library of Norway holds many letters from him in other archival collections. These include documents (Trygve Lie in HANSKE online manuscript catalogue  ) registered in the online catalogue Hanske ; a list of correspondence not registered in Hanske, films and other photos (Trygve Lie – Papers etc. in the National Library of Norway  ); and several sound recordings (Sound recordings Trygve Lie  ).