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Sir Brian Urquhart, KCMG MBE (born 28 February 1919) is a former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations.

Urquhart was educated at Westminster Schoolmarker and Christ Church, Oxfordmarker.

He served in the The Dorset Regiment during World War II, as an intelligence officer. Urquhart is well-known for his attempts to persuade the planners of Operation Market Garden to modify or abort their plans in his position as the 1st Airborne Corps Intelligence Officer, in light of crucial information obtained from aerial reconnaissance and the Dutch resistance. The episode was described by Cornelius Ryan in his book on "Market Garden", A Bridge Too Far. In the film version, directed by Richard Attenborough, Urquhart's character was renamed "Major Fuller", to avoid confusion with a similarly named British General. After leaving the airborne, he was transferred to T-Force, a unit responsible for searching for Nazi scientists and military technology. As described in Sean Longdens book 'T Force, The Race for Nazi War Secrets, 1945, Urquhart captured the German nuclear scientist Wilhelm Groth.

Urquhart was a member of the staff involved in the setting-up of the United Nations in 1945, and has advised every Secretary-General of the United Nations since its inception. His main fields of interest and operation at the UN have been conflict resolution and peacekeeping. Urquhart organised the first peacekeeping force (in Egyptmarker after the Suez crisis). To differentiate the peacekeepers from other soldiers, the UN wanted to have the soldiers wear blue berets. When that turned out to take six weeks to make, Urquhart proposed the characteristic blue helmets, which could be made in a day by painting over regular ones.

As Undersecretary-General, Urquhart's main functions were the direction of peace-keeping forces in the Middle East and Cyprusmarker, and negotiations in these two areas; amongst others, his contributions also included work on the negotiations relating to a Namibiamarker peace settlement, negotiations in Kashmirmarker, Lebanonmarker and work on peaceful uses for nuclear energy.

Alongside his autobiography A Life in Peace and War his writing with Erskine B Childers includes "A World in Need of Leadership: Tomorrow’s United Nations — A Fresh Appraisal" (with Erskine B Childers, 1996); "Towards a More Effective United Nations" (with Erskine B Childers, 1991); "Ralph Bunche: An American Life" (1993); and "Renewing the United Nations System" (with Erskine B Childers, 1994). he also co-authored with Erskine B Childers the book Renewing the United Nations System which recommended establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly through Article 22 of the United Nations Charter.


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