Richard Butler, Disarmament Expert and Diplomat, Joins Council on Foreign Relations as Diplomat in Residence

January 7, 2003
4:10 pm (EST)

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June 7, 1999, New York City – Ambassador Richard Butler, former Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission, will join the Council as Diplomat in Residence on July 5, 1999, Leslie H. Gelb, President of the Council on Foreign Relations announced today.

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“Ambassador Butler’s experience in diplomatic service, the United Nations, and UNSCOM makes him perfectly suited to add real value to the Council’s Studies Department,” said Mr. Gelb. While at the Council, Richard Butler will be writing a book on his recent experiences with UNSCOM and Iraq.

Butler was appointed to lead UNSCOM on July 1, 1997. His key tasks included: direct negotiations with the government of Iraq; direct discussions with other relevant heads of government, foreign and defense ministries, and intelligence chiefs; advice to the U.N. Security Council on all relevant policy matters; direction of all UNSCOM operations; and conduct of public and media communications.

From 1992-1997, Butler was the Australian ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations. Concurrently, in 1992 the General Assembly of the United Nations elected him Chairman of the United Nations Preparatory Committee for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, in 1995. In 1994 he was elected President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. He was also Vice Chairman of the World Summit on Social Development held in Copenhagen in March 1995.

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In 1989 he was appointed Australian Ambassador to Thailand and, simultaneously in 1991, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the Supreme National Council of Cambodia. He was deeply involved in the negotiation of the Cambodian peace agreements.

In 1983 he was appointed Australia’s first Ambassador for Disarmament. In that role he led the Australian Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and was charged with conducting all Australian disarmament negotiations, both in United Nations institutions and directly with individual countries.

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The earlier part of his foreign service career saw postings to the Australian Embassies and Missions at: Vienna, where he was the Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the International Atomic Energy Agency; the United Nations; Singapore; Bonn; and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

Butler was appointed a Doctor of the University of New England, Australia, in 1996. He holds degrees from the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. In 1988 Ambassador Butler was awarded the Order of Australia, “for services to international peace and disarmament.”


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