DR. GALO PLAZA (1968-1975)
Secretary General of the Organization of American States

Dr. Galo Plaza took place as General Secretary of the Organization of American States in May 18 of 1968.

His selection to this position happened just after a distinguish career of services to Ecuador, Latin America and United Nations.

Before he was 42 years old, he was Quito Mary, State Minister, Ambassador and Chief Commander.

His Father, General Plaza Gutiérez was President of Ecuador from 1901 to 1905 and from 1912 to 1916. While the time between his presidential periods General Plaza was Minister in United States and while General Plaza was that country Galo Plaza was born in the city of New York on february 17 of 1906.

General Plaza was married with Avelina Lasso de Plaza, direct descendant of the Captain Diego de Sandoval, one of the founders of Quito in 1534. Mrs. Avelina Lasso was also great-granddaughter of two prominent figures of the Independent Movement of Ecuador, Francisco Javier Ascásubi and Juan Salinas.

Galo Plaza did his school and high school studies in Quito and he studied agriculture and economy at the University of California (Berkeley) and in the University of Maryland. In 1929 he started his studies on diplomacy in the School of External Service in the University of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. and is in this city, that he started his diplomatic carrier as aggregate of the Embassy of Ecuador.

In 1932 just after his Father dead, Mr. Plaza went back to Ecuador to work in the administration of the familiar farm.

He used modern techniques of culture and imported Holstein cattle. Many of the innovations implanted by him during many years were adopted in all Ecuador.

Its interest in the modern agricultural methods and civic issues attracted the attention of the political leaders. In 1937 he was chosen member of the Municipal Council of Quito and the following year, Mayor. He remained in that position until 1939, when he was named Ambassador of Ecuador in the United States. As this appointment happened during World War II, he took active part in the processing of Inter-American problems. He was member of the Delegation from Ecuador to the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, celebrated in the City of Mexico in 1945, in which the bases of the Treaty of River and the Letter of the OAS were settled down.

In the same year he attended to the San Francisco Conference in which he firm the Letter of the United Nations.

In 1946 he renounced to his position of Ambassador to return to Ecuador and take part in the formation of a political party, the Democratic Civic National Movement. With the support of this party he pronounced its Senator candidacy to the Pichincha Province and he won. The following year he was elected President of the Republic.

In the four years of his presidential period, Ecuador enjoyed economic height, political stability and great respect by the civil society. At the end of his presidential period, because of his contribution to the communication freedom to the Intern American Media Association; and because of an Ecuadorian constitution agreement that implies, President can not be reelected immediately, Mr. Galo Plaza gave the power to his successor chosen in free suffrage.

When he was in his first period he did officials visits to Colombia, United States, Mexico and Venezuela.

At the end of his presidential period, Mr. Plaza dedicated most of his time to agriculture and cattle ranch.

In 1958 he presided the Special Committee of the Economic Commission to Latin American (CEPAL) and in its meetings in Santiago de Chile, Mexico City and in others, he established bases to the establishment of a Latin American common Market.

The United Nations required once again his services for several special missions.

In 1958 he directed the Group of Observers of United Nations in Lebanon and in 1960, the basic Committee of United Nations, which was in charge of the study of problems related with the evacuation of the Belgium bases which were established in Congo by treaties.

 In May of 1964 he was invited to Chipre by the General Secretary of United Nations U. Thant, as his special representative to try to contain the extremely political situation. In september he was named mediator and Mr. Plaza was in charged of the negotiation of a long period agreement between Turkey, Greece, chipriotas Greek and chipriotas Turkish. Mr. Plaza ended his mission on december 31 of 1965, after presenting a final report.

In February 13 of 1968 he was elected General Secretary of the OAS, in succession of Dr. Jose Antonio Mora, from Uruguay. He was elected for a 10-year period, but he announced that he was going to be in that position for five years, in attention to the new dispositions of the Letter of the Organization.

In his long career Mr. Plaza was awarded by several countries and recognized by several universities by his labor in the benefit of the World Peace and because of his contributions to the agricultural field. Between those countries are United States, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Venezuela.

He received the honoris causa doctorates from the universities of Maryland, Columbia, Washington (Saint Louis), Harvard, New Mexico, Williams College and New School for Social Research. He received also in 1967 from the University of California the International Award "Elise and Walter A. Haas".

Because of his contribution to the agricultural field, his picture was placed in the Famous Gallery of Agriculture in Chicago, in a special ceremony that welcomed 200 leaders of the cattle industry of United States in 1968.

Mr. Plaza was designated as the "Key Man of the Americas" on October 14 of 1969 by the Association of the Av. of the Americas of New York. In 1955 he was praised with the annual award of the "Americas Foundation".

Mr. Plaza married Ms. Rosario Pallares Zaldumbide on March 7 of 1933. He had one son, Galo and five daughters, Elisa, Luz, Rosario, Marcela and Margarita. He liked very much horses and bullfights, flat racing and female and male soccer games.