Diplomacy A Man for All Nations

Outmaneuvering the U.S., the Africans put one of their own at the helm of the world forum for the first time

For the United Nations' African bloc, the election last week of Egyptian diplomat Boutros Boutros Ghali as the new Secretary-General to succeed the retiring Javier Perez de Cuellar was a semisweet victory. The Africans had engineered their continent's first turn at the helm of the world organization -- and had outmaneuvered the big guns of the U.S. and Britain to achieve it. But Ghali was the "least African" candidate put forward by a bloc that dearly wanted to see the job go to a sub-Saharan black.

American and British officials privately disdained all the candidates as lacking stature and experience for...

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