Frederick H. Boland, president of the United Nations General Assembly during one of the most critical periods in its history, has died. He was 81.
His death Wednesday was announced by Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital in Dublin, where he had been receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Boland, one of Ireland’s most distinguished diplomats, graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1925 with an arts degree in classics and legal and political science. Later, he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship in social science and did graduate studies at Harvard, the University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina between 1926 and 1928.
Upon returning to Ireland, he joined the Department of External Affairs and served in the Irish Embassy in Paris and later became the country’s secretary of external affairs. He was Ireland’s ambassador to Britain from 1950 to 1956.
Ireland was admitted to the United Nations in 1955 and in 1956 Boland became Ireland’s first permanent representative of the body. He was president of the 15th General Assembly in 1960.
That was the year the assembly faced the U-2 and Cuban crises, war in the Congo and the ongoing Berlin dilemma.
Boland was known as a strict parliamentarian, gaveling both Fidel Castro and Nikita S. Khrushchev to order when their speeches ran beyond their allotted time.
Once he adjourned a session with a gavel-splitting bang after a Romanian delegate had accused him of being sympathetic to “colonial powers.”
The gavel split in two and flew through the U.N. chamber. A newspaper columnist later called Boland an “international ringmaster” trying to “keep the clowns in their place.”