Finding Aids

The archives are arranged as series within the United Nations office or agency that created them. The creating agency could be a United Nations department, mission, tribunal or any other United Nations functional unit. The United Nations archives cover these broad areas: Predecessor Organisations, Secretaries-General, Secretariat Departments and Field Operations.

Finding aids can be used to gain an in-depth knowledge of a specific office, field operation, or person. They contain the same information as the search engine, presented in a different format. 

Archives of the Secretaries-General

Under Article 97 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Secretary-General is appointed as the Organization's chief administrative officer by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

The current Secretary-General, as of 1 January 2017, is Mr. António Guterres (Portugal). His predecessors are: Ban Ki-moon (Korea) who served from January 2007 to December 2016; Kofi Annan (Ghana) who held office from January 1997 to December 2006; Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt), who held office from January 1992 to December 1996; Javier Pèrez de Cuèllar (Peru), who served from January 1982 to December 1991; Kurt Waldheim (Austria), who held office from January 1972 to December 1981; U Thant (Burma, now Myanmar), who served from November 1961, when he was appointed acting Secretary-General (he was formally appointed Secretary-General in November 1962) to December 1971; Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden), who served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961; and Trygve Lie (Norway), who held office from February 1946 to his resignation in November 1952.

Archives of all former Secretaries-General are available for consultation.

Secretary-General Dates Finding Aid
Ban Ki-Moon (South Korea) 2007-2016 AG-069
Kofi A. Annan (Ghana) 1997-2006 AG-029
Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt) 1992-1996 AG-028
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (Peru) 1982-1991  AG-019
Kurt Waldheim (Austria) 1972-1981 AG-006
U Thant (Myanmar) 1961-1971 AG-005
Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden) 1953-1961 AG-001
Trygve Lie (Norway) 1946-1952 AG-013

Archives of Secretariat Departments

Departmental records are split into two organizational systems:

  • Registry Files: the first records registry was set up during the London period of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations (between 21 November 1945 and 31 January 1946) and patterned after that of the British Foreign Office. The system was discontinued in 1979, however, the fonds include records dating up to 1983. The registry system was succeeded by decentralized recordkeeping by departments in consultation with the Archives Section's records management programme.
  • Non-registry records: arranged according to the departmental organization of the Secretariat (from 1946 to present), include the archives of: Office of the Secretary-General, Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Office of Public Information, Department of Trusteeship and Non-Self Governing Territories, Department of Political and Security Council Affairs, and many others.

  Dates Finding Aid
Registry Files   1946-1983 AG-025
  Central Registry Section 1946-1947  
  Branch Registries 1948-1954  
  Registry Section 1954-1983  
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)   AG-004
  Department of Economic Affairs 1946-1955  
  Department of Social Affairs 1946-1954  
  Technical Assistance Administration 1946-1959  
  Department of Economic and Social Affairs 1955-1977  
  Office of Interagency Affairs and Coordination 1970-1978  
  Department of Technical Cooperation for Development 1978-1991  
  Department of International Economic and Social Affairs (DIESA) 1978-1991  
  Office of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Cooperation 1978-1991  
  Department of Economic and Social Development 1992  
  Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development 1992-1996  
  Department for Development Support and Management Services 1992-1996  
  Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis 1993-1996  
Executive Office of the Secretary-General   AG-011
  Office of the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General: Cordier 1946-1961  
  Office of the Chef de Cabinet: Narasimhan 1961-1973  
  Other Offices, Working groups and Committees    
Department of General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM)   AG-016
  Conference and General Services 1946-1953  
  Department of Conference Services 1954-1957  
  Office of Conference Services 1958-1972  
  Department of Conference Services 1973-1991  
  Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services 1997-2001  
Department of Management (DM)   AG-017
  Administrative and Financial Services 1946-1953  
  Office of General Services 1954-1971  
  Office of Personnel 1955-1971  
  Office of the Controller 1955-1971  
  Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management 1968-1974  
  Department of Administration and Management 1975-1996  
Office for Special Political Affairs (SPA) 1938-1991 AG-020
  Office of the Executive Assistant and the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs (Cordier/Malania) 1947-1976  
  Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs - Ralph J. Bunche 1948-1972  
  Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs - B.E. Urquhart 1958-1985  
  Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs - J. Rolz-Bennett 1960-1971  
  Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs – Other Officials    
Department of Political Affairs (DPA)   AG-021
  Department of Security Council Affairs 1946-1951  
  Department of Trusteeship and Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories 1946-1954  
  Department of Political and Security Council Affairs 1952-1991  
  Department of Trusteeship and Non-Self-Governing Territories 1965-1971  
  Office of Political Affairs, Trusteeship, and Decolonization 1972-1986  
  Office of Political and General Assembly Affairs [and Secretariat Services] 1972-1992  
  Office for Special Political Questions 1979-1986  
  Department for Special Political Questions, Regional Co-operation, Decolonization and Trusteeship 1987-1990  
  Office for Special Political Questions, Regional Co-operation, Decolonization and Trusteeship 1991  
Field Service and Successor Bodies 1948-1982 AG-031
  United Nations Field Service 1947-1987  
  United Nations Field Operations Service 1936-1988  
  United Nations Field Operations Division 1948-1987  
Department of Political and General Assembly Affairs 1972-1991 AG-015
Department of Peacekeeping Operations   AG-050
  Military – Policy, procedure, best practice    
  Management and Integration – Reporting to United Nations Headquarters    
  Military and Political – Planning, strategy – Mission establishment    
  Military – Planning, strategy – Analysis of current mission capacity    
  Management and Integration – Policy, procedure, best practice    
  Political Affairs – Coordination, partnership – Discussion and negotiation    
  Under-Secretary-General (USG) – Subject files    
  Legal – Legal agreements development and review    
  Law enforcement    
  Disarmament, demobilization and integration    
  Human rights    
  Humanitarian affairs    
  Information Management and Public Information    
  Mine Action    
Department of Public Information (DPI)   AG-063
  Department of Public Information    
  Commemorative Celebrations    
  Dag Hammarskjold Library – UNBIS Bibliographic Manuals    
  Leo Rosenthal – photographs    

Archives of Field Missions

These records come from various missions and commissions that have been established by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, the Security Council, and the Secretary-General.

  Dates Finding Aid
Commission for the Investigation of Greek Frontier Incidents 1947 AG-047
United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) 1947 AG-057
United Nations Palestine Commission (UNPAC) 1948 AG-060
United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) 1948-1950 AG-046
Mediator for Palestine 1948-1950 AG-022
United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) 1948-present AG-040
United Nations Commissioner in Libya 1949-1952 AG-051
Commission for Eritrea 1950 AG-048
United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA) 1950-1958 AG-064
Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK) 1951-1973 AG-049
United Nations Emergency Force I (UNEF I) 1956-1967 AG-034
United Nations Observation Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL) 1958 AG-056
Special Representative in Amman – Spinelli Mission 1958-1967 AG-058
United Nations Operations in the Congo (ONUC) 1960-1964 AG-008
United Nations Temporary Executive Authority in West Irian (UNTEA) 1962-1963 AG-059
United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM) 1963-1964 AG-054
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) 1964-present AG-023
United Nations India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM) 1965-1966 AG-052
United Nations Middle East Mission (UNMEM) 1968-1973 AG-053
United Nations East Pakistan Relief Operation (UNEPRO); United Nations Relief Operations in Dacca-Bangladesh (UNROD/UNROB) 1971-1973 AG-055
United Nations Emergency Force II (UNEF II)  1973-1979 AG-035
United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) 1988-1991 AG-073
United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) 1989-1990 AG-038
United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) 1991-1992 AG-014
United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) 1991-1995 AG-043
United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) 1991-2003 AG-003
International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) 1992-1993 AG-065
United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) 1992-1993 AG-007
United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA) 1992-1994 AG-074
United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) 1992-1994 AG-039
United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) 1993-1996 AG-026
United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) 1993-1997 AG-066
United Nations Political and Peacekeeping Missions in Haiti 1993-2001 AG-068
United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) and United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace Building (UNTOP) 1994-2007 AG-067
United Nations International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi (UNICIB) 1995-1996 AG-062
United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) 1995-1999 AG-045
United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) 1997-1999 AG-027
United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) 1999-2005 AG-036
United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) 2003-2005 AG-024


Archives of Predecessor Organizations

These are international organizations that pre-dated the United Nations. When they closed, it was determined that the UN Archives was the most appropriate repository for them, due to their content and historical importance.

    Dates Finding Aid
International Penal and Penitentiary Commission 1893-1958 AG-010
League of Nations  1919-1946  
  Housed at the UN Office in Geneva Library
United Nations Information Organisation (UNIO) 1940-1945 AG-037
United Nations Temporary London Office 1941-1947 AG-002
United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) 1943-1948 AG-042
  To view in New York, please contact us to request access to the Charge Files series. Records are also available (with no access restrictions) in Washington, D.C. at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) 1943-1948 AG-018
United Nations Conference on the International Organization (UNCIO) 1944-1945 AG-012
Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (CNRRA) 1945-1947  S-0801
Preparatory Commission for United Nations  1945-1958 AG-009
International Refugee Organization (IRO) 1947-1952 AG-018-007
  IRO Archives at Archives Nationals