The International Civil Servant in Law and in Fact

A reissue of the lecture delivered by Dag Hammarskjöld at Oxford in May 1961 featuring Hammarskjöld’s original footnotes, a new introduction and a note on the text.

Publication details

Title:The International Civil Servant in Law and in Fact
Author:Dag Hammarskjöld
Published:30 May 2021

On 30 May 1961, Dag Hammarskjöld delivered a notable lecture in the Sheldonian Theatre at the University of Oxford.

In the lecture, Hammarskjöld detailed the legal principles for the international civil service and underscored the importance of its international character and independence.

He warned that if these principles were compromised, internationalism would in effect be abandoned, and concluded that ‘the price to be paid may well be peace’.

The lecture, Hammarskjöld’s last major public speech, was the culmination of years of reflection on the topic of the international civil service.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the lecture, the Foundation has reissued the text, including the original footnotes from the 1961 Oxford University Press edition, together with a new introduction and a note on the text.

In doing so, we hope that it reaches the international civil servants of today, and that Hammarskjöld’s precise and meaningful words will inspire a new generation committed to the cause of peace.



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Further reading

Hammarskjöld’s 1961 Oxford lecture: Three untold stories

While the history of Dag Hammarskjöld's Oxford lecture could fill a book, this blog post explores the untold stories behind three known versions of the text.

Read the post
The Bridge of Sighs at the University of Oxford

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