chapter  1
Pages 3

Around the rim of the horse-shoe-shaped table of the United Nations Security Council, imaged in countless television broadcasts, 15 blueand-white signs identify the representatives of governments. A sixteenth is exceptional. It names no state but only “SecretaryGeneral”. He – so far only men have held the post – takes his place with ambassadors, including those of the five permanent Council members whose assent or acquiescence is essential to any important decision, including his appointment. But the Secretary-General speaks, when the President of the Council gives him the floor, only for himself and his staff. He cannot call on a distant capital for the political advantages of an elaborate state apparatus that directs citizens, controls a mighty armed force, a police corps, an intelligence bureau, a tax system, a currency, and the rest of the tools of government. His staff – the UN Secretariat – is hardly numerous enough to man the foreign office of a developed country of modest rank.