Trygve Halvdan Lie of Norway served as the first official secretary-general of the United Nations from 1946 to 1952. In 1937 Lie burst onto the Norwegian political scene when he was elected as a representative in the Norwegian parliament. Climbing through the ranks of the Norwegian government, Lie was appointed to numerous ministerial positions—including the post of foreign minister—throughout World War II.
Lie led the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations in 1946, and after helping draft the provisions of the United Nations Security Council, he was elected secretary-general as a compromise candidate between the major world powers.
As secretary-general, Lie supported the independence of Israel and Indonesia and worked to strike a ceasefire agreement in Kashmir. Upon retiring from the UN in 1952, Lie returned to work in the Norwegian government and passed away in 1968 following a heart attack.
Trygve Halvdan Lie Full Biography and Profile
Trygve Halvdan Lie was born on 16 July 1896, in Oslo, Norway, the son of Martin and Hulda Arnesen Lie. He was educated at Oslo University where he obtained a law degree in 1919. On 8 November 1921, he married Hjordis Joergensen. They had three children – Sissel, Guri and Mette.
Mr. Lie became a member of the Norwegian Labor Party Youth Organization in 1911. He was an assistant to the secretary of the Labor Party from 1919 to 1922, a legal adviser to the Norwegian Trade Union Federation from 1922 to 1935, and national executive secretary of the Labor Party in 1926.
In the Labor Party Government formed by Johan Nygaardsvold, Mr. Lie was Minister of Justice for the years 1935 to 1939, then Minister of Trade and Industries from July to September 1939 and, at the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, became Minister of Supply and Shipping.
In that capacity he evolved the provisional measures that saved the Norwegian fleet for the Allies, after the German invasion in April 1940. In June that year he went to England, when the Norwegian Government decided to continue the fight from abroad.
He became acting Foreign Minister in December 1940 and was appointed Foreign Minister of Norway in February 1941. Mr. Lie was elected a member of the Norwegian Parliament in 1936 and was re-elected in 1945. On 12 June 1945, the Government of which he was a member resigned; Mr. Lie was appointed Foreign Minister of the interim coalition cabinet which took over the government at the time, and Foreign Minister in the new Labor Party Government in October 1945.
Mr. Lie led the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, April 1945, and was Chairman of Commission III for drafting the Security Council provisions of the Charter. He was also Chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in London in January 1946.
On 1 February 1946, Mr. Lie was elected the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was formally installed by the General Assembly at its 22nd meeting on 2 February 1946. The General Assembly on 1 November 1950, continued Mr. Lie in office for a further three years from 1 February 1951. He resigned as Secretary-General of the United Nations in November 1952.
Mr. Lie had the following appointments since leaving the United Nations: Governor of Oslo and Akershus, Chairman of Norway’s Board of Energy.
By a resolution of the General Assembly in 1958, King Olav of Norway was asked to find a basis on which Ethiopia and Italy could start to settle a border dispute involving the former Italian colony, Somalia. King Olav, in 1959, appointed Mr. Lie as Mediator.
Trygve Halvdan Lie passed away on 30 December 1968.
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