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Date: 9 avril 1953

Le diplomate suédois Dag Hammarskjöld est élu au poste de secrétaire général par l'Assemblée générale de l'Organisation des Nations unies (ONU). Il succède à Trygve Lie qui avait démissionné quelques mois auparavant dans des circonstances controversées. La veille de son assermentation, le 10 avril 1953, Hammarskjöld fait une courte déclaration aux journalistes réunis à l'aéroport international de New York. Il résume l'approche qu'il compte développer au poste de secrétaire général au cours du mandat qui va s'amorcer.

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"...In my new official capacity the private man should disappear and the international public servant take his place. The public servant is there in order to assist, so to say from the inside, those who make the decisions which frame history. He should - as I see it - listen, analyze and learn to understand fully the forces at work and the interests at stake, so that he will be able to give the right advice when the situation calls for it. Don't think that he - in following this line of personal policy - takes but a passive part in the development. It is a most active one. But he is active as an instrument, a catalyst, perhaps an inspirer - he serves.

Irrespective of the political responsibilities of the Secretary-General to which I have just referred, he has an important, indeed an overwhelming job as chief administrator of the UN Secretariat. To me it seems a challenging task to try and develop the UN administrative organization into the most efficient instrument possible. My experience from other administrations tells me that even in the best one there is always much to improve. On the other hand, I feel that an administration inspired by sound self-criticism, never blunted by conceit or false loyalties, and self-improving in that spirit, has a just claim to the respect and confidence of the governments and the public.

In articles recently published it has been said that I am interested in mountaineering. That's true. But I have never climbed any famous peaks. My experience is limited to Scandinavia where mountaineering calls more for endurance than for equilibristics, and where mountains are harmonious rather than dramatic, matter of fact (if you permit such a term in this context) rather than eloquent. However, that much I know of this sport that the qualities it requires are just those which I feel we all need today: perseverance and patience, a firm grip on realities, careful but imaginative planning, a clear awareness of the dangers but also of the fact that fate is what we make it and that the safest climber is he who never questions his ability to overcome all difficulties."

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