Can the UN Secretary-General Say "No": Revisiting the "Peking Formula"


The study explores the extent to which the U.N. Secretary-General can uphold his or her own views when confronted with adverse stances from powerful States. More specifically, it analyzes a particular modus operandi originally developed by Dag Hammarskjold, known as the “Peking formula”. This form of good offices is discussed in two contexts, namely the 1954-1955 Sino-American hostage crisis when it was first used and the more recent attempts of Javier Perez de Cuéllar and Kofi Annan at solving the subsequent Iraq crises. Drawing upon these two case-studies, the author offers a theoretical account of the complex interactions between law and politics underlying the good offices role of the U.N. Secretary-General.


International Law

Date of this Version

July 2006