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A Global Family Album

2 minute read

“And what have Kings that privates have not too, save ceremony?” asked Shakespeare. Well, for starters, stretch limousines. All week long, shiny automotive chariots plied the broad avenues of Manhattan, bottling up traffic and leaving crowds of normally blaséNew Yorkers gawking. Hidden behind the limos’ smoked-glass windows were leaders of 68 nations, convened to celebrate the 40th birthday of the United Nations.

The visiting dignitaries did step out from time to time. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Saavedra, shod in Adidas, alighted from his silver sedan to jog in Central Park. He also stopped at Cohen’s Fashion Optical to buy, using a credit card, $3,000 worth of eyeglasses for himself and his family. Zaïrian President Mobutu Sese Seko rented two Amtrak club cars loaded with caviar and champagne to take his entourage of 50 people to Washington and back (cost: $9,800). Outside the U.N., West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had to be snatched from the path of an onrushing New York City police car bringing up the rear of President Reagan’s motorcade.

At least one delegate, it must be reported, walked from his hotel to the U.N. “My people wouldn’t like it if I rode around in a big motorcade,” shrugged Frazer Sine of Vanuatu, a nation of 80 islands in the South Pacific. Sine even took the New York subway. “Interesting” was his diplomatic observation.

The leaders gave speeches–dozens of them. Some condemned apartheid; some bemoaned the escalating arms race; some pleaded for a more efficient, assertive U.N. to deal with the world’s woes. Many stepped straight from the General Assembly rostrum to a small room nearby to help TIME Photographer Eddie Adams memorialize the week in an unusual way. One by one, waving his or her national flag, each struck a pose in salute to the U.N.’s 40th birthday. Herewith a selection from that gallery.

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