The new Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Kurt Waldheim, told a television audience from New York on Sunday (9 Jan) that he believes he should use his office for what he calls "preventive diplomacy".
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SV Waldheim speaks
REPORTER: "The major goal of the United Nations is to prevent wars. Now, do you at this point have much hope that the organisation can be strengthened to better accomplish that purpose?"
WALDHEIM: "Of course we know that people are disappointed of the achievements of the United Nations, but I think people have expected too much right from the beginning. As Dr Moynihan said the other day - I think it was he on the same programme - when the United Nations Charter was created people expected too much. They thought it is a world government with executive power and it isn't so. We have no executive power, we are not a world government. We can only convince governments to cooperate and we can do, I think, a lot through quiet diplomacy. I have in mind to use this possibility of the Secretary-General much more than it was done perhaps in the past."
WALDHEIM: "Through negotiations with the member states, with the governments of the member states. Through preventive diplomacy. You shouldn't always wait until the crisis has broken out. You should do something before it comes to this stage. As I said on a previous occasion, one shouldn't take the patient to the Security Council when he is almost dead. So here I see a number of possibilities for the Secretary-General to be active, to be imaginative, to have ideas, and to use his good offices in order to avoid crisis and of course the outbreak of a war."
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Background: The new Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Kurt Waldheim, told a television audience from New York on Sunday (9 Jan) that he believes he should use his office for what he calls "preventive diplomacy".
And Mr Waldheim believes this can be best achieved by negotiations with member states - before a crisis develops.
In the television programme, Mr Waldheim faced a panel of newsmen: