Trygve Lie (1946-1953)

The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council

Author/s (editor/s):

Ellen Ravndal

Publication year:


Publication type:

Book chapter

Find this publication at:
Oxford University Press

Ellen Ravndal, ‘Trygve Lie (1946-1953)’, in Manuel Fröhlich and Abiodun Williams, eds, The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council: A Dynamic Relationship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 22-41.

The first UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie of Norway, faced the challenge of how to best exercise the powers and prerogatives of his new office at a time when the nature and extent of those powers had not yet been fully defined. The UN Charter provided only the broad contours of the Secretary-General’s future role and relationship with other UN organs. Lie was appointed shortly after the UN Security Council had met for the first time, and the relationship between these two UN actors would evolve in tandem over subsequent months and years, with future precedents arising from the melting pot of legal and political interpretations, personalities, political manoeuvring, and the impact of rapidly changing world events. By the time Lie left the office, although he had become non persona grata to two of the P5, he had established a solid basis for the Secretary-General to act in political matters, which later Secretaries-General could build on.

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