Appointment of Sir Leslie Munro as new Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists
Effective July 1st, 1961, Sir Leslie Munro, K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., will succeed Dr. Jean-Flavien Lalive as Secretary-General of the ICJ.
Dr. Lalive (photo), a Doctor of Laws and a member of the Geneva Bar, assumed the position of Secretary-General on September 1st, 1958, and has served the Commission with great distinction. He is resigning his post in order to return to his private law practice. Dr. Lalive is currently touring Latin America on behalf of the Commission and is expected to return to Geneva in late May.
Sir Leslie Munro, a citizen of New Zealand, has served in a number of diverse and important international functions in the course of a distinguished career. Following his graduation from Auckland University College with the degree of Master of Laws, he lectured there on Roman law and constitutional law and history. While lecturing, Sir Leslie for a time acted as Dean of the Faculty of Law and served as reporter for the New Zealand Law Reports. He served also as President of the Auckland Law Society and as a member of the Council of the New Zealand Law Society, of the Council of Auckland University College and of the Senate of the University of New Zealand.
In 1946 Sir Leslie was selected as one of the delegates from New Zealand to the Imperial Press Conference. He was editor of the New Zealand Herald from 1942 to 1951.
In 1952 Sir Leslie was appointed New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He served as President of the Trusteeship Council and of the Security Council, and as Chairman of the First (Political) Committee of the General Assembly in 1955. In addition to chairing his own delegation, Sir Leslie in 1957 was elected President of the 12th Session of the General Assembly. In 1958 he was the President of the 3rd Emergency Session dealing with the crises in Lebanon and Jordan.
On September 16, 1958, Sir Leslie relinquished his appointments as Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Shortly thereafter, the General Assembly of the United Nations appointed Sir Leslie “to represent the United Nations for the purpose of reporting to member states or to the General Assembly on significant developments relating to the implementation of the resolution of the General Assembly on Hungary.”
In the United States Sir Leslie has conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Bradley College, Colgate College, Harvard University, Michigan University and Syracuse University. He is an honorary member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Most recently he has appointed honorary fellow of the Centre of Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
Sir Leslie has travelled extensively, has lectured or spoken at numerous places and occasions at home and abroad, in person or over the radio and television, and has written for the press. He is the author of United Nations: Hope for a Divided World, published by Henry Holt & Co. Inc. (196o).
The International Commission of Jurists is a non-governmental and non-political organisation which has Consultative status, Category “B” with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and represents some 39,000 members of the legal community in 62 countries of the world. Its main objective is – through practical action – to clarify, promote and defend the Rule of Law to strengthen the legal procedures and institutions associated therewith in those countries where the Rule of Law is al ready established and to obtain its acceptance wherever it is denied. Among its latest undertakings was the organisation of an African Conference on the Rule of Law, held in January, 1961, in Lagos, Nigeria, where 194 jurists from 23 African and 9 other countries met to discuss several topics relating to the administration of justice and fundamental human rights in the new states of Africa.
In 1960 the International Commission of Jurists issued a detailed report entitled South Africa and the Rule of Law as well as the findings of its Legal Inquiry Committee on Tibet contained in the report Tibet and the Chinese People’s Republic.
In 1961, observers of the Commission attended the trials of the Turkish politicians at Yassiada, of the leaders of the abortive Ethiopia coup in Addis Ababa, of the nine Spanish intellectuals in Madrid and of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.
Sir Leslie Munro, K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O.
Leslie Knox Munro was born in Auckland on February 26, 1901, and was educated at the Auckland Grammar School, where he was head prefect and prominent both as scholar and athlete. He won a University Entrance Scholarship and graduated as a Master of Laws from Auckland University College with First Class Honours in the Law of Contract and Roman Law.
From 1924 Sir Leslie practised law on his own account, and, in addition, lectured at Auckland University College in Jurisprudence, Roman Law and Constitutional Law and History. He continued lecturing until 1938, in which year he acted as Dean of the Faculty of Law. For a year he was also reporter for the New Zealand Law Reports.
From 1936 to 1938 he was President of the Auckland Law Society, being the youngest practitioner to have held this office, and from 1936 to 1939 he was a member of the Council of the New Zealand Law Society.
For three years before the beginning of the Second World War he gave a talk twice weekly on international affairs over the New Zealand National Broadcasting Service and from September 1939 to November 1951 (except when he was abroad) he contributed a weekly article on world affairs to The Weekly News.
In 1941 Sir Leslie accepted the post of Associate Editor of The New Zealand Herald, a leading daily newspaper published in Auckland. In August 1942 he became Editor, which post he retained until December 1951.
During this period he was a member of the Council of Auckland University College, of the Senate of the University of New Zealand and of the Auckland Grammar School Board (of which he later became chairman). This Board, whose jurisdiction in secondary education is the most extensive in New Zealand, controls five large high schools for boys and girls.
In 1946 Sir Leslie was selected as one of the delegates from New Zealand to the Imperial Press Conference. He travelled through England and Scotland and was the guest of the British War Office on a tour of the battlefields from Normandy to Berlin. He was later a guest of the French Government.
In 1951 he spent four months in the United States as the guest of the State Department under the terms of the Smith-Mundt Act. During this visit he met leading personalities in both government and law, and travelled extensively. He made a particular study of American politics, foreign policy and university education.
Sir Leslie was designated New Zealand Ambassador to the United States of America on December 2, 1951, and presented his credentials to President Truman on February 26, 1952. At the same time he was appointed Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations.
Since his arrival in the United States in 1952, Sir Leslie’s responsibilities as Ambassador and as Permanent Representative to the United Nations have required him to concentrate most of his energies in Washington and New York. He has, however, found time to visit most parts of the country and to speak to people in many walks of life, to groups of students; lawyers and Rotarians, and to women’s organisations. He has also made many broadcasts and has appeared frequently on television.
As well as being Permanent Representative, Sir Leslie has been New Zealand Representative on the Trusteeship Council, and (during the years 1954 to 1955) on the Security Council. In June 1953; he was elected President of the Trusteeship Council for one year; and in the course of the normal rotation of the office he three times served as President of the Security Council. He was a Delegate to the Seventh, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Sessions of the General Assembly and Chairman of the New Zealand Delegation to the Ninth Session. At the Tenth session Sir Leslie was elected chairman of the First (Political) Committee of the Assembly.
Sir Leslie was elected President of the Twelfth Regular Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 17, 1957, and presided over the 3rd Emergency Session in August 1958.
In the New Year Honours List of 1955 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (K.C.M.G.) and on October 20, 1957 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II conferred on Sir Leslie the additional honour of Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (K.C.V.O.)
During 1958 the following Universities conferred the honorary degree of doctor of Laws on Sir Leslie: Bradley, Colgate, Harvard Michigan and Syracuse.
Sir Leslie relinquished his appointments as Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the United Nations on September 16, 1958.
On December 12, 1958, the Genera1 Assembly of the United Nations appointed Sir Leslie “to represent the United Nations for the purpose of reporting to member States or to the General Assembly on significant developments relating to the implementation of the resolution of the Genera1 Assembly on Hungary”
On December 9, 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated that the General Assembly, “having considered the report of the United Nations Representative on Hungary, Sir Leslie Munro…requests the United Nations Representative on Hungary to continue his efforts.”
Sir Leslie has written a book entitled United Nations: Hope for a Divided World, published by Henry Holt & Company Inc. on January 18, 1960.
Sir Leslie and Lady Munro have two married daughters.NewsPress releases