In October 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first pontiff to visit the United Nations. On October 4th, to a special session of the UN General Assembly, he delivered a plea for peace. This message is born from our historic experience. It is as a specialist in humanity that we bring to this Organization the approval of our more recent predecessors, the entire Catholic episcopate, and our own, convinced as we are that this Organization represents the obligatory pathway for modern civilization and world peace.” The pope was received by the Secretary General U Thant (who was seen behind the podium in the second picture).
Apart from his history making, the pontiff achieved very little at the UN. It had little visible effect. His call for the admission of Red China was ignored. His main message was sadly ignored too: in French, the pope solemnly declared, “No more war, never again war. Peace, it is peace that must guide the destinies of people and of all mankind.” The ignored plea however was repeated in 1991 by Pope John Paul II, who continued the tradition of the Head of the Roman Catholic Church addressing the United Nations.
The LIFE picture was by John Loengard.