Eelco van Kleffens
Eelco van Kleffens descended from an old Frisian family of public servants.
After receiving a Doctor of Laws degree from Leiden University, van Kleffens worked in the Secretariat of the League of Nations. In the early 1930s he was also Secretary-General of the Hague Academy of International Law.
Van Kleffens was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1939, weeks before World War II began, and was part of the Dutch government in exile over that period. During the war he penned an account of the German invasion named Juggernaut over Holland which was circulated within the occupied territory, and he was also one of the original signatories of the Benelux union.
Van Kleffens held the position of foreign minister until the Schermerhorn/Drees cabinet of 1946. Following his resignation from the ministerial position (but not from the cabinet) van Kleffens became the Netherlands' representative on the United Nations Security Council, and in 1947 was appointed the ambassador to the United States. In 1950 he became the ambassador to Portugal, and was bestowed the title of Minister of State, a prestigious honour.
Van Kleffens was the Dutch representative at NATO and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 1956 to 1958, and at the European Coal and Steel Community from 1958 until 1967, after which Van Kleffens retired to Portugal, where he died on 17 June 1983.
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
|President of the United Nations General Assembly