The fifth Secretary-General was Javier Perez De Cuellar, who remained in office for two terms. The present incumbent is Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt.
The Secretariat staff is appointed by the Secretary-General under regulations framed by the General Assembly. The main consideration in the selection of the personnel of the Secretariat and the conditions of service is the highest standard of efficiency, competence and integrity.
But the Charter also provides that due regard shall be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The Secretariat has nine departments, each under an Assistant Secretary-General.
They are: Security Council Affairs; Economic Affairs; Social Affairs; Trusteeship and Information from Non-Self- Governing Territories; Public Information; Legal Problems; Conferences and General Services; Administrative and Financial Services; and Technical Assistance Administration.
On the Secretary-General devolve important functions in addition to the control and direction of the Secretariat. The Charter provides that he shall act in his capacity at all meetings of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Trusteeship Council, and perform such other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs.
He is required to submit an annual report to the General Assembly on the work of the United Nations. He is also empowered to bring to the notice of the Security Council any matter which, in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.
At the request of a majority of member-States or of the Security Council, the Secretary-General summons special sessions of the General Assembly. Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any member-State must be registered with the Secretariat and published by it.
Declarations by States, parties to the Statutes of the International Court of Justice, accepting the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction, are to be deposited with the Secretary-General. In fact, the duties of the Secretary- General and his Secretariat are many and arduous.
The immense amount of preparatory work-from the drafting of research documents surveying a problem to the arrangements for the convenience of the delegates falls upon the Secretariat and when decisions have been taken, it is the duty of the Secretary-General and his staff to help implement those decisions by continuous administrative action.
To sum up, it is the Secretariat that keeps the machinery of the United Nations going and on its efficiency depends a great deal of the effectiveness of the Organisation.