Dag Hammarskjöld

From WikiSpooks
Jump to: navigation, search
UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld killed while negotiating peace in the former Belgian Congo (night of 17-18 September 1961)
Bernt Carlsson, Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, targeted on Pan Am Flight 103

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld (29 July 1905 – 18 September 1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author.

Dag Hammarskjöld was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961. On the night of 17-18 September 1961, in the course of a UN mission to try to bring peace to the former Belgian Congo, Hammarskjöld’s Swedish-owned and crewed plane crashed near Ndola airport in the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). All the passengers and crew died.[1]

The open verdict reached by a UN Commission of Inquiry in 1961-62 led to UN General Assembly Resolution 1759 (XVII) of 26 October 1962, which requests the Secretary-General to inform UNGA of "any new evidence which may come to his attention".

A recent book by the author Dr Susan Williams entitled "Who Killed Hammarskjöld?", which assembled a great deal of evidence about the crash and argued that the plane was brought down, prompted the diplomat's nephew Knut Hammarskjöld to call for the United Nations to reopen its Inquiry.[2]

In December 2011, Dr K  G  Hammar, former archbishop in the Church of Sweden, visited Zambia and spoke to crash eyewitnesses whose testimony had been largely ignored. "Why," he asks, "isn’t there greater interest to clarify once and for all what really took place outside Ndola on the night of September 17, 1961?" However events are interpreted, two facts are clear. The inquiries of the sixties left many unanswered questions, and since then new evidence has come to light. All the surviving adults who have experiences to relate are now at least in their seventies. A new international inquiry should be set up without delay. And there remains the intriguing possibility that if there was a conspiracy to terminate Hammarskjöld’s diplomatic efforts to end Katanga's secession, South African interests were involved.[3]

In September 2013, the Hammarskjöld Commission recommended reopening of the 1962 United Nations Inquiry into the UN Secretary-General's death.[4][5]

In November 2013, an e-petition was created calling upon the British Government to: "Support a United Nations Inquiry into the deaths of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and UN Assistant Secretary-General Bernt Carlsson".[6]

On 4 April 2014, Julian Borger, diplomatic editor of The Guardian, reported that a newly declassified 1961 telegram called for the grounding of a Belgian mercenary (Jan van Risseghem) hours after the UN Secretary-General's aircraft crashed in Africa:

Hours after a plane carrying the UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, crashed over central Africa in September 1961, the US Ambassador to Congo sent a cable to Washington claiming that the aircraft could have been shot down by a Belgian mercenary pilot.
In the newly declassified document, the Ambassador, Ed Gullion, does not directly implicate the Belgian or Rhodesian governments in what he calls "this operation", but calls for US pressure on them to ground the mercenary, adding it was "obviously a matter of highest importance". He said the pilot had been hampering UN operations and warned that if not stopped "he may paralyse air-rescue operations".
The document was released after an international panel of retired judges called last year for a fresh inquiry into the Hammarskjöld crash, saying that new evidence "undoubtedly" existed. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, decided in February 2014 to put the panel's findings on the agenda of the UN General Assembly.
The Gullion cable was not seen by previous official inquiries. A commission formed by the Rhodesian colonial authorities blamed the crash on pilot error, while a later UN investigation recorded an open verdict.[7]

Early life

Dag Hammarskjöld was born in Jönköping, Sweden, but spent most of his childhood in Uppsala. The fourth and youngest son of Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, Prime Minister of Sweden from 1914 to 1917, and Agnes Hammarskjöld (née Almquist), Hammarskjöld's ancestors served the Monarchy of Sweden since the 17th century. He studied first at Katedralskolan, Uppsala and then at Uppsala University. By 1930, he had obtained Licentiate of Philosophy and Master of Laws degrees. Even before he was finished with his law degree he got a job as assistant secretary of the unemployment committee.[8]

From 1930 to 1934, Hammarskjöld was Secretary on a governmental committee on unemployment. During this time he wrote his economics thesis, "Konjunkturspridningen" ("The Spread of the Business Cycle"), and received a doctorate from Stockholm University. In 1936, he became a Secretary at the Sveriges Riksbank and was soon promoted. From 1941 to 1948, he served as Chairman of the bank.

Dag Hammarskjöld quickly developed a successful career as a public servant in Sweden. He was secretary of the Riksbank (the central bank of Sweden) 1935–1941, State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance 1936–1945, Governor of the Riksbank 1941–1948, Swedish delegate in the OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Cooperation) 1947–1953, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1949–1951 and minister without portfolio in Tage Erlander's government 1951–1953. He helped coordinate government plans to alleviate the economic problems of the post-war period. He was a delegate to the Paris conference that established the Marshall Plan. In 1950, he became head of the Swedish delegation to UNISCAN. Although Hammarskjöld served in a cabinet dominated by the Swedish Social Democratic Party, he never officially joined any political party. In 1951, Hammarskjöld became Vice Chairman of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in Paris. He became the Chairman of the Swedish delegation to the General Assembly in New York in 1952. On 20 December 1954, he was elected to take his father's vacated seat in the Swedish Academy.

UN Secretary-General

When Trygve Lie resigned from his post as UN Secretary-General in 1953, the United Nations Security Council recommended Hammarskjöld for the post. It came as a surprise to him.[9] Seen as a competent technocrat without political views, he was selected on 31 March by a majority of 10 out of eleven Security Council members. The UN General Assembly elected him in the 7–10 April session by 57 votes out of 60. In 1957, he was re-elected.

Hammarskjöld began his term by establishing his own secretariat of 4,000 administrators and setting up regulations that defined their responsibilities. He was also actively engaged in smaller projects relating to the UN working environment. For example, he planned and supervised in every detail the creation of a "meditation room" in the UN headquarters. This is a place dedicated to silence where people can withdraw into themselves, regardless of their faith, creed, or religion.[10]

During his term, Hammarskjöld tried to smooth relations between Israel and the Arab states. Other highlights include a 1955 visit to People's Republic of China to negotiate release of 15 captured US pilots who had served in the Korean War, the 1956 establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force, and his intervention in the 1956 Suez Crisis. He is given credit by some historians for allowing participation of the Holy See within the United Nations that year.[11]

In 1960, the former Belgian Congo and then newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo asked for UN aid in defusing the Congo Crisis. Hammarskjöld made four trips to the Congo. His efforts towards the decolonisation of Africa were considered insufficient by the Soviet Union; in September 1960, the Soviet government denounced his decision to send a UN emergency force to keep the peace. They demanded his resignation and the replacement of the office of Secretary-General by a three-man directorate with a built-in veto, the "troika". The objective was, citing the memoirs of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, to "equally represent interests of three groups of countries: capitalist, socialist and recently independent."[12][13]


In September 1961, Hammarskjöld learned about fighting between "non-combatant" UN forces and Katangese troops of Moise Tshombe. He was en route to negotiate a cease-fire on 18 September when his Douglas DC-6 airliner SE-BDY crashed near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Hammarskjöld and fifteen others perished in the crash.

A special report issued by the United Nations following the crash stated that a bright flash in the sky was seen at approximately 1:00.[14] According to the UN special report, it was this information that resulted in the initiation of search and rescue operations. Initial indications that the crash might not have been an accident led to multiple official inquiries and persistent speculation that the Secretary-General was assassinated.

Hammarskjöld's death was a memorable event. The Dag Hammarskjöld Crash Site Memorial is under consideration for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A press release issued by the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo stated that, "... in order to pay a tribute to this great man, now vanished from the scene, and to his colleagues, all of whom have fallen victim to the shameless intrigues of the great financial Powers of the West... the Government has decided to proclaim Tuesday, 19 September 1961, a day of national mourning."


Following the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, there were four inquiries into the circumstances that led to the crash:

  1. By the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Department of Civil Aviation, Report into the accident of 1961, chaired by Colonel Maurice Barber, Federal Director of Civil Aviation
  2. By the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Report of the Commission on the Accident Involving Aircraft SE-BDY, chaired by Sir John Clayden, Chief Justice of the Federation, presented to the Federal Assembly, Salisbury, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
  3. By the UN General Assembly, Report of the Commission of the Investigation into the Conditions and Circumstances Resulting in the Tragic Death of Mr Dag Hammarskjöld and of Members of the Party Accompanying Him, chaired by Rishikesh Shaha, 24 April 1962 (UN A/5069).
  4. A small-scale inquiry was conducted in 1993 by Ambassador Bengt Rösiö for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs:- Rösiö, Bengt, "The Ndola Disaster. Revised version", Stockholm, for Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (November 1992 - February 1993).[15]

The first inquiry into the death of Dag Hammarskjöld was conducted by a Board of Investigation which was set up immediately after the crash by the Rhodesian Department of Civil Aviation. It concluded in its report in January 1962 that "the evidence available does not enable them to determine a specific or definite cause." It regarded pilot error as one of several probable causes. It considered the "wilful act of some person or persons unknown which might have forced the aircraft to descend or collide with the trees" to be unlikely but was unable to rule it out completely, "taking into consideration the extent of the destruction of the aircraft and the lack of survivor’s evidence." 75 to 80 per cent of the fuselage had been burnt.

The second was the Rhodesian Commission of Inquiry, which held public hearings, and reported in February 1962. The Rhodesian Commission of Inquiry drew on the work of the Board of Investigation and identified pilot error as the cause of the crash, on the basis of elimination of the other suggested causes.

The third inquiry was set up by the UN and reported in March 1962. This reached an open verdict and did not rule out sabotage or attack. The UN Commission noted that: "the Rhodesian inquiry, by eliminating to its satisfaction other possible causes, had reached the conclusion that the probable cause of the crash was pilot error. The [UN] Commission, while it cannot exclude this possibility, has found no indication that this was the probable cause of the crash." The UN report led to General Assembly resolution 1759 (XVII) of 26 October 1962, which requests the Secretary General to inform the General Assembly of "any new evidence which may come to his attention".

In 1993 a fourth, small scale inquiry was conducted by Ambassador Bengt Rösiö for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Rösiö concluded that the pilot made an error of judgement regarding altitude.

Alternative theories

Patrice Lumumba and Dag Hammarskjöld at UN headquarters in July 1960

Despite the multiple official inquiries that failed to find evidence of assassination, some continue to believe that the death of Hammarskjöld was not an accident.

At the time of Hammarskjöld's death, Western intelligence agencies were actively involved in the political situation in the Congo, which culminated in Belgian and United States support for the secession of Katanga and the assassination of former prime minister Patrice Lumumba. Belgium and the United Kingdom had a vested interest in maintaining their control over much of the country's copper industry during the Congolese transition from colonialism to independence. Concerns about the nationalisation of the copper industry could have provided a financial incentive to remove either Lumumba or Hammarskjöld.

Exploding bullets

The involvement of British officers in commanding the initial inquiries, which provided much of the information about the condition of the plane and the examination of the bodies, has led some to suggest a conflict of interest.[16] The official report dismissed a number of pieces of evidence that would have supported the view that Hammarskjöld was assassinated. Some of these dismissals have been controversial, such as the conclusion that bullet wounds could have been caused by bullets exploding in a fire. Expert tests have questioned this conclusion, arguing that exploding bullets could not break the surface of the skin. Major C F Westell, a ballistics authority, said: "I can certainly describe as sheer nonsense the statement that cartridges of machine guns or pistols detonated in a fire can penetrate a human body." He based his statement on a large scale experiment that had been done to determine if military fire brigades would be in danger working near munitions depots. Other Swedish experts conducted and filmed tests showing that bullets heated to the point of explosion nonetheless did not achieve sufficient velocity to penetrate their box container.

"No skeletons in British cupboard"

Sir Denis Wright, the then British ambassador to Ethiopia, in his annual report for 1961 establishes linkage of Hammarskjold's death to British refusal to allow an Ethiopian military plane carrying troops destined to join the UN mission, landing at Entebbe and over-flying British-controlled Uganda to the Congo. Their refusal was only lifted after the death of the Secretary-General. A Foreign Office official noting his comments on file, wrote affirming no "skeletons" in British cupboard and suggesting the Ambassador's comments should be removed from the final, official 'printed' version of the annual report.[17]


On 19 August 1998, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), stated that recently uncovered letters had implicated the British MI6, the American CIA and South African BOSS intelligence services in Hammarskjöld's aircrash. The letters, headed "South African Institute for Maritime Research" (SAIMR) — said to be a front company for the South African military — include references to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British MI6 security service. The CIA last year (1997) opened its files on Cold War assassinations and admitted it ordered the murder of Patrice Lumumba, Congolese independence hero and pro-Soviet prime minister.[18]

In a meeting between MI6, special ops executive and the SAIMR, the following emerged from one document marked 'Top Secret':

"It is felt that Hammarskjöld should be removed. I want his removal to be handled more efficiently than was Patrice."

Another letter headed "Operation Celeste" gave details of orders to plant explosives in the wheel bay of an aircraft primed to go off as the wheels were retracted on takeoff.[19]

Archbishop Tutu said that the TRC, whose mandate expired at the end of July 1998, was unable to investigate the truth of the letters or the allegations that South African and/or Western intelligence agencies played a role in Hammarskjöld's aircrash. The British Foreign Office suggested that the letters may have been created in the 1960s as Soviet misinformation or disinformation.[20]

Gunshot wound

On 29 July 2005, Norwegian Major General Bjørn Egge gave an interview to the newspaper Aftenposten on the events surrounding Hammarskjöld's death. According to General Egge, who had been the first UN officer to see the body, Hammarskjöld had a hole in his forehead, and this hole was subsequently airbrushed from photos taken of the body. It appeared to Egge that Hammarskjöld had been thrown from the plane, and grass and leaves in his hands might indicate that he survived the crash – and that he had tried to scramble away from the wreckage. Egge does not claim directly that the wound was a gunshot wound.[21]

Gaddafi calls for UN investigation

In his speech to the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September 2009, Colonel Gaddafi called upon the Libyan president of UNGA, Ali Treki, to institute a UN investigation into the assassinations of Congolese prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, who was overthrown in 1960 and murdered the following year, and of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961.[22]

Plane was shot down

In August 2011, a series of articles in The Guardian reported on an investigation by Swedish aid worker Göran Björkdahl, which concluded:

  • Hammarskjöld's plane was almost certainly shot down by an unidentified second plane;
  • The actions of the British and Northern Rhodesian officials at the scene delayed the search for the missing plane;
  • The wreckage was found and sealed off by Northern Rhodesian troops and police long before its discovery was officially announced;
  • The one survivor of the crash could have been saved but was allowed to die in a poorly equipped local hospital;
  • At the time of his death Hammarskjöld suspected British diplomats secretly supported the Katanga rebellion and had obstructed a bid to arrange a truce; and,
  • Days before his death, Hammarskjöld authorised a UN offensive on Katanga – codenamed 'Operation Morthor' – despite reservations of the UN legal adviser, to the fury of the US and Britain.

At the end of his investigation Göran Björkdahl is still not sure who killed Dag Hammarskjöld, but he is fairly certain why he was killed:

"It's clear there were a lot of circumstances pointing to possible involvement by western powers. The motive was there – the threat to the west's interests in Congo's huge mineral deposits. And this was the time of black African liberation, and you had whites who were desperate to cling on. Dag Hammarskjöld was trying to stick to the UN charter and the rules of international law. I have the impression from his telegrams and his private letters that he was disgusted by the behaviour of the big powers."[23][24][25]

It now appears that his plane was shot down in order to protect western mining interests in Belgian Congo's mineral rich Katanga province, to this day a major source of cobalt, copper, tin and diamonds - not to mention radium and uranium.[26]

"Not an accident" says K G Hammar

Swedish newspaper Svenska Daglabet reported on former Archbishop of Uppsala K G Hammar's visit to Zambia in December 2011 under the headline "I am convinced! Hammarskjöld did not die in an air accident":

I am convinced! Dag Hammarskjöld did not die in an air accident fifty-one years ago. He was murdered! The rumours have been there from the beginning, but have been dismissed as mere conspiracy theories of the kind associated with accidents involving important persons.
Last December I spent a week in Zambia, invited to lecture on Dag Hammarskjöld in connection with the fifty-year commemoration of his death. I was introduced to people who witnessed what took place on the night of 17 September 1961 in Ndola. One of them was Mr Johnny Ngongo, working as a charcoal burner close to the crash site; he told me that he and a friend saw a burning plane slant heavily before hitting the ground, and with one of the wings on fire. He believed that the plane was burning because it had been shot at. The second witness, Mr Safeli Mulenga, saw the plane catch fire in mid-air while circling over Ndola for a third time. Mme Kankasa, a third witness, told me that her late husband had called her out of their house after seeing a big plane being shot at. She then saw two further planes returning to Ndola airport. The Kankasas lived at that time between the airport and the crash site. All the witnesses said the shooting-down took place before midnight.
Personally, I have never believed in the theory that it was an ordinary air accident caused by pilot error. Too many stakeholders in the ongoing Congo crises hated Hammarskjöld and wanted him dead. It was the time of the Cold War, and the American CIA and the British MI6, along with their counterparts in the Soviet Union, had a powerful presence. It was also the era of decolonisation: former colonies in Africa gained independence while Eastern and Western powers were seeking new ways of influencing the newborn African states. It was also about the Belgian, French and British struggle to maintain economic influence, with the help of mercenaries, over the rich natural resources in former colonies. Last, but not least, it was about the racist white minority in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland who tried to create an apartheid state similar to the one in South Africa. It was this regime that controlled the Ndola airport and wanted to see an independent Katanga – the main issue in the Congo crisis, only 10km away from its border. It was the work of those who hated Hammarskjöld most, for his support for African independence and his resistance against sustained European economic power in Africa.
I did not go to Zambia unprepared. Many archives have now been opened, and the British researcher Dr Susan Williams is the first to write about this new material. Last autumn her book "Who Killed Hammarskjöld? (The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa)" was released. Williams, who grew up in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia and so has personal experience of the atmosphere in the former colony, has boldly entitled her work in the vein of Ludo de Witte’s "The Assassination of Lumumba", published back in 2001. His book made the Belgian Government admit moral responsibility for planning the assassination of the first elected Prime Minister of Congo, but not for his execution. Williams, on her part, is working on a new Hammarskjöld inquiry to find out what part the British Government had in Hammarskjöld’s death.
Dr Susan Williams' research has its starting point in Sir Roy Welensky’s archive. He was the last Prime Minister in the Rhodesian Federation, and documents from the period of Hammarskjöld´s death are now available. Among the documents is the material that formed the basis of the Rhodesian Investigation Board in 1962. She found that certain passages were falsifications of what had happened, as well as a 'doctored' photograph concealing a bullet hole in Hammarskjöld’s head. By controlling the airport, cordoning off the crash site, delaying the 'discovery' of the crashed plane and so on, they could maintain, arrange and support the theory that has prevailed until now: namely that the crash was caused by pilot error and fatigue. Though the UN Investigation Commission that followed the two Rhodesian reports in 1962 had an 'open' verdict, opposing conclusions have been swept under the carpet as 'conspiracy theories', not least by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
Where were the witnesses I spoke to in December in the investigations conducted by the Commissions back in 1961-62? Either they did not dare come forward, were accused of having political motives for giving their witness statements or were disregarded because of the climate of the time. Since independence in 1964, they now all have freedom of speech and value as humans, and their statements in Zambia have taken priority over the 'doctored' evidence from colonial times which concealed self-evident facts: that Hammarskjöld was killed and the world was made to believe in their falsified evidence.
Another book, written by the Swedish authors Rolf Rembe and Anders Hellberg, was published in autumn 2011 – "Midnight in the Congo: Dag Hammarskjöld’s Lost Victory" (Atlantis). The Swedish writers have been working with previously known material and therefore haven’t reached the same conclusions as Dr Williams. The strength of their book is, however, their strong criticism of the attitude of the Swedish Foreign Ministry. Why isn’t there a greater interest to clarify once and for all what really took place right outside Ndola on the night of 17 September 1961? The Zambians I spoke to during my visit are surprised by the lack of Swedish interest. Shall we, as Swedes, really allow the Rhodesian apartheid regime to write Swedish history? Is it of no importance to us that the families of the dead pilots have wrongly been carrying the burden of blame? Both books end with demands for a new inquiry. They turn also to the Swedish government, hoping it will awake from its self-chosen acquiescence and push for a new UN inquiry. The UN promised in 1962 to authorise a new commission if fresh facts were put on the table, and that certainly is the case now. The research continues, and in many respects Dr Williams’ book is already outdated. The Swedish Foreign Ministry can no longer hide behind the idea that the Hammarskjöld family is not interested in a new commission. On the contrary, when I spoke to the late Knut Hammarskjöld, Dag´s nephew, he expressed a strong wish to have the case reopened.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt! You were in Ndola on 18 September last year, and you surely heard parts of the witness statements, just as I did. Demand that the UN authorise a new commission and that all the parties that have been involved now put the relevant information on the table![27]

Hammarskjöld Commission

Dr Susan Williams' 2011 book "Who Killed Hammarskjöld?"

In 2011, Dr Susan Williams’ book "Who Killed Hammarskjöld?" was published.[28] It offered no definite answer to its own question, but it marshalled a striking quantity of evidential material which had come to light in the intervening years. In response to Dr Williams’ book, Lord Lea of Crondall assembled an international Enabling Committee and invited Sir Stephen Sedley, a recently retired Lord Justice of Appeal for England and Wales, to chair a Commission of Jurists to inquire into the disaster. Justice Wilhelmina Thomassen of the Netherlands, Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa and Ambassador Hans Corell of Sweden agreed to serve with Sir Stephen as Commissioners.[29]

On 9 September 2013, the Hammarskjöld Commission report was published.[30] It recommended reopening the adjourned 1962 United Nations inquiry into the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld's death on the basis of 'significant new evidence'. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked the Commission of Jurists for their work and the Enabling Committee for its initiative in setting up the Commission. He said the UN Secretariat will closely study the findings of the Commission's report.[31]

The Commission report resurrected a telling comment by former President Harry Truman to a New York Times reporter a day after the plane crash:

"Dag Hammarskjöld was on the point of getting something done when they killed him," Truman was quoted as saying. When pressed to say to whom "they" referred, Truman replied: "That's all I've got to say on the matter. Draw your own conclusions."[32]

Los Angeles Times

On 9 September 2013, Carol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

An international legal inquiry into the 1961 plane crash that killed UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld claimed Monday to have identified "significant new evidence" of possible sabotage that justifies reopening the inconclusive UN investigation done in 1962. (In this July 1960 file photo, Hammarskjöld, right, meets newly elected Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba at the world body headquarters in New York.)

Western Intelligence plot

J. von Hettlingen at 12:46 PM September 11, 2013 commented:

Conspiracy theories about the charismatic Dag Hammarskjöld's premature death abounded in 1992. In 1998 the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission released documents that pointed to a possible international plot, involving South African security services, to kill Hammarskjöld in 1961.
The Commission said eight letters it uncovered during its investigation into apartheid-era crimes suggested South African, British and American secret services might have been involved. Its Chairman, Desmond Tutu, revealed documents that contained references to sabotage Hammarskjöld's plane.
The letters were said to record meetings between the South African military, the CIA and Britain's MI5. In a meeting it was felt that Hammarskjöld should be removed. One undated letter said Allen Dulles - then CIA Director - promised full co-operation.
The documents were released because the Commission had not had time to investigate them before its mandate expired in July 1998. The documents were turned over to Nelson Mandela and his justice minister Dullah Omar, who would decide what further action should be taken.
Cold War superpowers were jostling for influence in the Congo and Western governments weren't entirely comfortable with Hammarskjöld's conciliatory approach to the demands of revolutionary leaders, fearing their mining companies might be nationalised, should a peace agreement be reached.

Obviously, Britain killed Hammarskjöld

T Stone at 8:47 PM September 09, 2013 commented:

"That leaves the conspiracy-minded to conclude that the danger posed by release of the materials would be to the intelligence agencies' image and legacy, fueling new suspicions that the death of Hammarskjold wasn't an accident."
No, that leaves anyone with a 3-digit IQ and an interest in this matter to conclude that the National Security Agency has information proving that Hammarskjold's plane didn't crash "by accident".
Factor in President Truman's comment: "The Commission report resurrected a telling comment by former President Harry Truman to a New York Times reporter a day after the plane crash."
"Dag Hammarskjold was on the point of getting something done when they killed him," Truman was quoted as saying. When pressed to say to whom "they" referred, Truman replied: "That's all I've got to say on the matter. Draw your own conclusions."
President Truman would have been livid if the CIA had killed the UN Secretary-General without his approval - look at how he fired General MacArthur for not following the chain of command. Yet Truman knew who did it, and couldn't say more.
And it is still a matter of "national security" today.
Obviously, Britain killed Hammarskjöld, the NSA has evidence, but to release it would endanger the "Special Relationship" if normal Brits learn that they killed the very 2nd Secretary-General of the institution that's supposed to bring peace to the world.[33]

Dual UN Inquiry

Dual UN Inquiry

In November 2013, former diplomat Patrick Haseldine created this e-petition calling upon HM Government (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to:

"Support a United Nations Inquiry into the deaths of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and UN Assistant Secretary-General Bernt Carlsson"
On 9 September 2013, the London-based Hammarskjöld Commission reported that there was "significant new evidence" about the plane crash that killed United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and recommended that the adjourned 1962 UN Inquiry should now be reopened.
UN Assistant Secretary-General Bernt Carlsson was the highest profile victim on Pan Am Flight 103 which was sabotaged over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.
Since Bernt Carlsson's death has never been investigated, the British Government should propose extending the remit of the new UN Inquiry to cover the deaths of both senior diplomats: Dag Hammarskjöld and Bernt Carlsson.

The e-petition is open for signature by UK citizens and residents from 13 November 2013 to 13 May 2014, and can be signed here.

Lord Kinnock's response

On 12 December 2013, Lord Kinnock responded to Haseldine's email requesting his support for the Dual UN Inquiry, as follows:

Dear Prof Haseldine,
Thank you for your note.
I am prepared to support the call for an UN Inquiry.
Neil Kinnock


  • Hammarskjöld posthumously received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961, having been nominated before his death.[34]
  • Honorary degrees: The Carleton University in Ottawa (then called Carleton College)[35] awarded its first-ever honorary degree to Hammarskjöld in 1954 when it presented him with a Legum Doctor, honoris causa. The University has continued this tradition by conferring an honorary doctorate upon every subsequent Secretary-General of the United Nations. He also held honorary degrees from Oxford University, England; in the United States from Harvard, Yale, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Amherst College, Johns Hopkins, the University of California, and Ohio University; in Sweden, Uppsala University; and in Canada from McGill University as well as Carleton.[36]
  • On 6 April 2011, the Bank of Sweden announced that Hammarskjöld's image will be used on the 1000 Swedish krona banknote, the highest-denomination banknote in Sweden.[37]


  • After Hammarskjöld's death, US President John F Kennedy regretted that he opposed the UN policy in the Congo and said: "I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century."[38]
  • Refusal to resign: One of Hammarskjöld's greatest moments was refusing to give in to Soviet pressure to resign. Dag Hammarskjöld: "It is very easy to bow to the wish of a big power. It is another matter to resist it. If it is the wish of those nations who see the organisation their best protection in the present world, I shall do so again."[39]
  • In 2011 The Financial Times reported that Hammarskjöld has remained the benchmark against which later UN Secretary-Generals have been judged.[40]
  • Historians' views:
    • Historian Paul Kennedy hailed Hammarskjöld in his book The Parliament of Man as perhaps the greatest UN Secretary-General because of his ability to shape events, in contrast with his successors.
    • On the other hand, the conservative popular historian Paul Johnson in A History of the Modern World from 1917 to the 1980s (1983) was highly critical of this judgment.
  • Libraries:
    • The Dag Hammarskjöld Library, a part of the United Nations headquarters, was dedicated on 16 November 1961 in honour of the late Secretary-General.
    • Uppsala University: There is also a Dag Hammarskjöld Library at his alma mater, Uppsala University.
  • Buildings and rooms:
    • Columbia University: The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York has a Dag Hammarskjöld Lounge. The graduate school is dedicated to the principles of international peace and cooperation that Hammarskjöld embodied.
    • Stanford University: Dag Hammarskjöld House on the Stanford University campus is a residence cooperative for undergraduate and graduate students with international backgrounds and interests at Stanford.[41]
    • The Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations in Geneva, Switzerland has a room named after him.
    • Dag Hammarskjöld Stadium is the main football stadium of Ndola, Zambia. Hammarskjold's ill-fated flight in 1961 crashed in the outskirts of Ndola.
  • Streets:
    • Dag Hammarskjölds Gade is a street in Aalborg, Denmark
    • Dag Hammarskjölds Väg is one of the longest streets in Uppsala, Sweden. There are several other streets in Sweden sharing this name.
    • Dag Hammarskjöld's Allé is a street in Copenhagen, Denmark.
    • The headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) in Santiago, Chile lies on Avenida Dag Hammarskjöld.
    • The headquarters of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Society for International Cooperation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), is on Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg in Eschborn, Germany.
    • Dag Hammarskjöldlaan is a street in the town of Castricum, The Netherlands.
    • Hammarskjöld Road is a road in the Essex town of Harlow, UK.
  • New York City: A Manhattan park near the United Nations headquarters is called the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, as are several of the surrounding office buildings.
  • Religious commemoration: He is also commemorated as a peacemaker in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on 18 September of each year.
  • Schools: A number of schools have been named after Hammarskjöld, including Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey; Dag Hammarskjold Middle School in Wallingford, Connecticut; Dag Hammarskjold Elementary School in Parma, Ohio; Dag Hammarskjold Elementary (PS 254) in Brooklyn, New York; Dag Hammarskjold Elementary School in Oakland (now an airport parking business) and Hammarskjold High School in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
  • Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation: In 1962, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation was created as Sweden's national memorial to Dag Hammarskjöld.[42]
  • Memorial awards:
    • Medal: On 22 July 1997, the UN Security Council in resolution 1121(1997) established the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal in recognition and commemoration of those who have lost their lives as a result of UN peacekeeping operations.
    • Prize in Peace and Conflict Studies: Colgate University annually awards a student the Dag Hammarskjöld Prize in Peace and Conflict Studies based on outstanding work in the program.[43]
    • Medallion by the sculptor Harald Salomon issued in Denmark 1962 to help financing the Danish Foreign Aid Programme.
  • Postage Stamps: Many countries issued postage stamps commemorating Hammarskjöld.[44] The United Nations Postal Administration issued 5 and 15-cent stamps in 1962. They show the UN flag at half-mast and bear the simple inscription, "XVIII IX MCMLXI". The United States Hammarskjöld commemorative 4-cent value postage stamp, issued on 23 October 1962, was actually released twice. Famous for its misprint, the second issue is often referred to as the Dag Hammarskjöld invert.

Spirituality and Markings

In 1953, soon after his appointment as United Nations Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld was interviewed on radio by Edward R Murrow. In this talk he declared: "But the explanation of how man should live a life of active social service in full harmony with himself as a member of the community of spirit, I found in the writings of those great medieval mystics Meister Eckhart and Jan van Ruysbroek for whom 'self-surrender' had been the way to self-realisation, and who in 'singleness of mind' and 'inwardness' had found strength to say yes to every demand which the needs of their neighbours made them face, and to say yes also to every fate life had in store for them when they followed the call of duty as they understood it."

His only book, Vägmärken (Markings), was published in 1963. A collection of his diary reflections, the book starts in 1925, when he was 20 years old, and ends at his death in 1961.[45] This diary was found in his New York house, after his death, along with an undated letter addressed to then Swedish Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Leif Belfrage. In this letter, Dag writes, "These entries provide the only true 'profile' that can be drawn ... If you find them worth publishing, you have my permission to do so". Markings was described by a theologian, the late Henry P Van Dusen, as "the noblest self-disclosure of spiritual struggle and triumph, perhaps the greatest testament of personal faith written ... in the heat of professional life and amidst the most exacting responsibilities for world peace and order."[46] Hammarskjöld writes, for example, "We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it is ours. He who wills adventure will experience it – according to the measure of his courage. He who wills sacrifice will be sacrificed – according to the measure of his purity of heart." Markings is characterised by Hammarskjöld's intermingling of prose and haiku poetry in a manner exemplified by the 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō in his Narrow Roads to the Deep North. In his foreword to Markings, the English poet W H Auden quotes Hammarskjöld as stating "In our age, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action."[47]

Related Document

Use the Up/Dn symbols to sort

Title Type Publication date Author(s) Description
Midnight in the Congo WikiSpooks Page 30 March 1999 Lisa Pease A probing analysis of evidence that both Patrice Lumumba and Dag Hammarskjold were assassinated by agents of the UK and US intelligence services


  • Durel, Bernard, op, (2002), «Au jardin secret d’un diplomate suédois: Jalons de Dag Hammarskjöld, un itinéraire spirituel», La Vie Spirituelle (Paris). T. 82, pp. 901–922.
  • Lipsey, Roger Hammarskjold: A Life (University of Michigan Press; 2013) 670 pages; scholarly biography
  • Urquhart, Brian, (1972), Hammarskjold. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
  • Velocci, Giovanni, cssr, (1998), «Hammarskjold Dag», in Luigi Borriello, ocd – Edmondo Caruana, ocarm – Maria Rosaria Del Genio – N. Suffi (dirs.), Dizionario di mistica. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano, pp. 624–626.

See also


  1. "19 September 1961: UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold dies in plane crash" from The Guardian archive
  2. "New inquiry into Dag Hammarskjöld's death"
  3. "New Clues to 1961 Death of Hammarskjöld"
  4. "Judges call for reopening of inquiry into 1961 death of UN chief"
  5. "Report of the Hammarskjöld Commission"
  6. "E-petition to: 'Support a United Nations Inquiry into the deaths of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and UN Assistant Secretary-General Bernt Carlsson'"
  7. "Dag Hammarskjöld's plane may have been shot down, Ambassador warned"
  8. "Biography, at Dag Hammerskjoldse"
  9. "Hammarskjöld" by Richard Sheldon, page 28, Chelsea House Publishers, New York ISBN 0-87754-529-4
  10. "The Meditation Room in UN Headquarters"
  11. "Holy See's Presence in the International Organisations
  12. "Replacing the UN Secretary-General by a 'troika'" (in Russian)
  13. "Dag Hammarskjøld Foundation"
  14. "Special Report on the Fatal Flight of the Secretary-General's Aircraft"
  15. "The Hammarskjöld Commission - Key Documents"
  16. "The Man Who Killed Hammarskjöld?"
  17. P R O FCO 31/165300 Ethiopia: Annual Review of 1961
  18. "Notes for Media Briefing By Archbishop" by Desmond Tutu, Chairperson of the Truth And Reconciliation Commission, 19 August 1998
  19. "Letters Say Hammarskjöld Death Western Plot"
  20. "UN assassination plot denied"
  21. "Hammarskjöld had a hole in his forehead"
  22. "Gaddafi's address to UN General Assembly" 23 September 2009
  23. "Dag Hammarskjöld: evidence suggests UN chief's plane was shot down"
  24. "I have no doubt Dag Hammarskjöld's plane was brought down", Göran Björkdahl, The Guardian, 2011 Aug 17
  25. "Call for new inquiry following emergence of new evidence" The Guardian 2011 Sept 16
  26. "Flight 103: it was the Uranium"
  27. "I am convinced! Hammarskjöld did not die in an air accident"
  28. "Who Killed Hammarskjöld?: the UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa"
  29. "Hammarskjöld Commission of Jurists"
  30. "The Dag Hammarskjöld Commission report"
  31. "Ban Ki-moon to study findings of Commission linked to death of former UN chief Hammarskjöld"
  32. "'Significant new evidence' cited in 1961 death of U.N.'s Hammarskjöld"
  33. "Comments on Los Angeles Times article
  34. "Posthumous Nobel Peace Prize"
  35. "Carleton Through the Years"
  36. "Dag Hammarskjöld: The UN Years"
  37. "Sweden's new banknotes and coins"
  38. "Dag Hammarskjöld and the Congo crisis, 1960–61"
  39. "UPI Audio: Year (1961) in Review"
  40. "The road to redemption"
  41. "Hammarskjold House"
  42. "Convening thinkers and doers: Sweden's Dag Hammarskjold Foundation"
  43. "Colgate University: P-CON Fellowships and Awards"
  44. "Selection of stamps commemorating the life of Dag Hammarskjöld"
  45. "Dag Hammarskjöld's Diary"
  46. Henry P Van Dusen. Dag Hammarskjold. A Biographical Interpretation of Markings Faber and Faber London 1967 p 5
  47. W H Auden Foreword to Dag Hammarskjöld's Markings Leif Sjoberg and WH Auden (trans) Faber and Faber London 1964 p 23.

External links

  • The first version of this page was imported from Wikipedia on 8 July 2013. Original page source here
Facts about "Dag Hammarskjöld"RDF feed
Born on29 July 1905 +
Died on18 September 1961 +
Display docTypeWikiSpooks Page +
Has fullPageNameDag Hammarskjöld +