After U Thant announced that he would not be available for a third term as Secretary-General, for many weeks the UN Security Council was deadlocked over the search for a successor.
They finally settled on Kurt Waldheim, former Austrian President. Born near Vienna, Waldheim served as a German military officer during World War II.
As Secretary-General, Waldheim opened and addressed a number of major international conferences convened under United Nations auspices.
These included the third session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Santiago, April 1972), the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, June 1972), the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (Caracas, June 1974), the World Population Conference (Bucharest, August 1974) and the World Food Conference (Rome, November 1974).