United Nations Week — Utah, 1961

By Rachel T. Maughan

In January 1961, the United Nations, under President John F. Kennedy, decided that the decade of the 1960s would be the Decade of Development. “Although it has experienced delays and disappointments the U.N. still embodies man’s best hopes this seems as surly as the world prepares to celebrate U.N. Day Tuesday.” (Provo Daily Herald, 10) The U.N. World Organization has relieved suffering and has preserved a measure of peace. Utah celebrated the 16th birthday of the United Nations by having multiple events across the state.

“Now therefore I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby urge the citizens of this nation to observe Tuesday, October 24 as United Nations Day, by means of community programs which will demonstrate their faith in the United Nations and contribute to a better understanding of its aims, problems, and accomplishments.” (“United Nations Day: Faith Demonstration”)

“Where as the General Assembly of the United Nations has resolved that October 24, the anniversary of the coming into force of the United Nations Charter, should be dedicated each year to making known the purposes, principles and accomplishments of the United Nations.” (“United Nations Day”)

In Utah, Governor George D. Clyde declared October 23 through 29 to be designated as United Nation Week. (“U.N. Week Set”)

In the city of Bountiful, Utah, Mayor Harold L. Pope also signed a proclamation designating United Nations Week in his community. (Davis County Clipper, 6)

In the city of Orem, they had a ceremony called ‘Trees for Peace’ which involved elementary school kids planted more maple trees in Orem City Park. (Orem-Geneva Times, 1)

Also, high schools throughout Utah were each assigned a different country, and participated in a two-day reenactment of U.N. sessions held at the University of Utah. (Provo Daily Herald, 10)

The University of Utah had two major events to celebrate U.N. that week. The first was a pre-symphony reception for foreign students from high schools in the state, held Saturday in the rotunda and Gold Room of the Utah State Capitol. The second event of the week was a discussion on foreign policy issues in relation to the current session of the U.N. in 1961, and was scheduled for Monday in the auditorium of the Prudential Building. (“U.N. Week Set”) “Saturday’s concert includes an overture to Oberon by Weber; Schubert’s ballet music from ‘Rosemuta’ ‘Don Juan’ by Richard Strauss; and Tchaikovsky‘s ‘Pathetique’ Symphony, as a tribute to United Nations Day.” (“Symphony Season Opens”)

Warren C. Hickins

Warren I. Cikins, a State Department official, gave a talk called, “U.S. Foreign Policy and the United Nations,” on October 27, 1961, at the University of Utah campus. The photo was published in that issue of the Daily Utah Chronicle.

“US Foreign Policy and the United Nations” will be the theme of a talk given by Warren I. Cikins.” (“State Department Official”) The State Department planned to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the United Nations with a speaking tour and Cikins gladly volunteered. He spent two weeks traveling through the western states to speak to different crowds of people. “At the time, U.S. participation in the United Nations was a controversial topic, and the State Department was loudly criticized for “losing” China to the Communists.” (Fitzpatrick)

Students at the University of Utah held a fundraiser for UNICEF. The United Nations Children’s Fund saves millions of young lives all over the world. A collection drive took place Halloween night at the dorms. All proceeds went to the United Nations Children’s Fund and were distributed among 50 countries where three quarters” of the world’s children are sickly starving or otherwise being neglected.” (“Carlson Hall Collects”)

The 16th birthday of the United Nations was a perfect time to celebrate its successes and have a day/week to better inform and educate the country on its efforts. “No man is an island entire of itself. Here lies the fundamental reason for the existence of the United Nations organization.” (Provo Daily Herald, 10)

Rachel Maughan graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

Primary Sources

U.N. Week Set by Governor George D. Clyde,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 21, 1960, 4.

Symphony Season Opens with UN Day Tribute,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 20, 1961, 1.

United Nations Day: Faith Demonstration,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 24, 1961, 2.

Foreign Policy Set as Theme for UN Talks,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 26, 1961, 1.

State Department Official to Speak on UN Topic,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 27, 1961, 1.

Carlson Hall Collects for UNICEF,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 30, 1961, 3.

Celebrate UN Week,” Davis County Clipper, October 20, 1961, 6.

United Nations 16th Birthday,” Provo Daily Herald, October 23, 1961, 10.

This is United Nations Week,” Millard County Chronicle, October 26, 1961, 4.

“‘Trees For Peace’ Ceremony Note U.N. Day,” Orem-Geneva Times, October 26, 1.

Secondary Sources

Fitzpatrick, Christina Lehman. “The Newly Opened Personal Papers of Warren I. Cikins.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, July 3, 2012.

Guide to the Warren I. Cikins Personal Papers (#350), John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.