Paul Henri Spaak (1899-1972), the Belgian statesman, was a founder of Benelux - an economic union of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg - and a leader of numerous international organizations.
He received a degree from the University of Brussels and practiced law for ten years until 1932, when he was elected Socialist deputy from Brussels to the Chamber of Representatives.
In 1946 he was the first president of the United Nations General Assembly. He was also instrumental in forming the Council of Europe in 1949.
A Socialist, he was elected to the Belgian Chamber of Deputies in 1932 and retained his seat almost continuously - except for his term as Secretary General of NATO (1957-61) - until 1966.
He served repeatedly as prime minister (1938-39, 1946, 1947-49) and foreign minister (1936-39, 1946-49, 1954-57, 1961-66) both at home and as a member of the government-in-exile during World War II.
After the war, Spaak's strong nationalism gave way to advocacy of European unity in the face of Soviet pressure. He was chairman of the European Economic Community (1948-50) and the European Coal and Steel Community (1952-54), earning the nickname "Mr. Europe."