fonds SMI - Records of George Ivan Smith

Identity area

Reference code



Records of George Ivan Smith


  • 1961-1965 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.02 cubic metres

1 box (14 typescript items).

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

George Ivan Smith (1915-95) was born in Sydney, Australia. Smith joined the United Nations in 1947 and came to Great Britain from 1949-58 as the first director of the London United Nations Information Centre. He was a frequent spokesman for Dag Hammarskjold, the UN Secretary-General and from 1958 operated in New York as Director of the External Relations Division of the UN Office of Public Information and subsequently as Director of Press and Publications. In 1960-1, Smith undertook missions to the Congo and served as chief of civilian operations in Katanga in the wake of Hammarskjold's death in an air crash in September 1961. In 1962 he was appointed regional representative of the UN Technical Assistance Board (UNTAB) in East Africa and was the personal representative of the new Secretary-General, U Thant, in East, Central and Southern Africa. Based initially in Dar es Salaam and, from January 1964, in Lusaka, he negotiated with the colonial governments and the emerging African leaders.

Smith took a sabbatical from the United Nations in 1965 to become a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and in 1966 was a visiting professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He returned to Britain on his re-appointment as director of the London Information Centre and retired from the United Nations in 1975.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Correspondence and papers relating to economic and political problems in Southern Rhodesia in the period leading up to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI),1962-1965. Includes letters to UN Secretary-General, U. Thant.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Papers of George Ivan Smith, Borthwick Institute for Archives, (GB 193 CSAS/MF 107-108). 2 reels of microfilmed papers.
Microfilms include material on the mutiny in Tanganyika, 1964; correspondence on Rhodesia, including letters to and from Sir Roy Welensky, 1962-63; Winston Field, Rhodesian Prime Minister, 1963; Godfrey Amachree, UN Undersecretary in the Department of Trusteeship, 1963-64; Robert Mugabe; 'Zimbabwe African National Union; N.J. McNally and Sir Edgar Whitehead; file on federal politics in Rhodesia and Nyasaland; papers on South-West African students and refugees, 1964-66; copies of the Zimbabwe Review, 22 May - 17 July, 7, 21 August 1965; Report of the Commission on the accident involving aircraft S -BD7 (in which Dag Hammarsjold was killed).

Papers of George Ivan Smith, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (GB 161 MSS. Eng. c. 6454-534, d. 3190-3, e. 3253-5, e. 3295; Photogr. c. 104-10).

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by Charles Fonge, 12.12.16.




Accession area