United Nations Conference on International Organization

The United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), commonly known as the San Francisco Conference, was a convention of delegates from 50 Allied nations that took place from 25 April 1945 to 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, California, United States of America. At this convention, the delegates reviewed and rewrote the Dumbarton Oaks agreements of the previous year.[1] The convention resulted in the creation of the United Nations Charter, which was opened for signature on 26 June, the last day of the conference. The conference was held at various locations, primarily the War Memorial Opera House, with the Charter being signed on 26 June at the Herbst Theatre in Civic Center. A square adjacent to the city's Civic Center, called "UN Plaza," commemorates the conference.

United Nations Conference on International Organization
UN charter logo
Insignia of the conference, prototype of the current logo of the United Nations
Date25 April 1945–
26 June 1945
CitiesSan Francisco, California


The idea for the proposed United Nations began as part of the vision of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in which the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and China would lead the post-World War II international order. These countries, with the addition of France, would assume the permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. At the February 1945 conference in Malta, it was proposed that the permanent members have veto power. This proposal was adopted shortly after at the Yalta conference. While at Yalta, they began sending invitations to the San Francisco conference on international organization.[1] A total of 46 countries were invited to San Francisco, all of which had declared war on Germany and Japan, having signed the Declaration by United Nations.[2]

The conference directly invited four additional countries: Denmark (newly liberated from Nazi occupation), Argentina and the Soviet republics of Belarus and Ukraine.[2] The participation of these countries was not without controversy. The decision on the participation of Argentina was troubled because of Soviet opposition to Argentina membership, arguing that Argentina had supported the Axis Powers during the war. Several Latin American countries opposed the inclusion of Belarus and Ukraine unless Argentina was admitted. In the end, Argentina was admitted to the conference with support from the United States and the desire for the participation of the Soviet Union at the conference was maintained.[1]

The participation of Belarus and Ukraine at the conference came as a result of Roosevelt and Churchill's concession to Joseph Stalin, the leader of Russia. Stalin had originally requested that all republics of the Soviet Union have membership in the United Nations, but the US government launched a counterproposal in which all US states obtain membership in the United Nations. This counterproposal encouraged Stalin to attend the Yalta conference by accepting Ukraine and Belarus's admission to the United Nations.[1] This was intended to ensure a balance of power within the United Nations, which, in the opinion of the Soviets, was unbalanced in favor of the Western countries. For this purpose, modifications were made to the constitutions of the two republics in question, so that Belarus and Ukraine's international legal subjects were limited, while they were still part of the Soviet Union.

Poland, despite having signed the Declaration by United Nations, did not attend the conference because there was no consensus on the formation of the postwar Polish government. Therefore, a space was left blank for the Polish signature. The new Polish government was formed after the conference (28 June) and signed the United Nations Charter on 15 October, which made Poland one of the founding countries of the United Nations.[2]

850 delegates, along with advisors, employees and staff of the secretariat, attended the conference, totaling 3,500 attendees. In addition, the conference was attended by 2,500 representatives of the media and observers from numerous organizations and societies.[2]

Due to the fact that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was supposed to host the conference, died on 12 April 1945, the delegates held a commemorative ceremony on 19 May among the tall Redwood trees in Muir Woods National Monument Cathedral Grove, where a dedication plaque was placed in his honor.

A steering committee, composed of heads of delegations, was formed. This committee decided on all important matters relating to principles and rules. Although each country had one representative, the membership was too much for the detailed work. Therefore, it commissioned an executive committee of 14 heads of delegation to submit recommendations to the steering committee.[2]

The draft of the United Nations Charter was divided into four sections, each of which was studied by a commission. The first of these was responsible for the organization's purposes, principles, membership, secretariat and the question of amendments to the Charter. The second considered functions of the General Assembly. The third dealt with the Security Council. The fourth dealt with the assessment of the draft Statute of the International Court of Justice. This statute had been drafted by a team of legal experts from 44 countries, meeting in Washington in April 1945.[2]

At the conference, delegates reviewed and sometimes rewrote the text agreed upon at the Dumbarton Oaks conference. The delegations agreed on a role for regional organizations under the "umbrella" of the United Nations. The delineation of the responsibilities of the Secretary General, as well as the creation of the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council was also debated, eventually resulting in a consensus.[1]

The issue of the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council proved to be an obstacle on the quest to reach agreement on the United Nations Charter. Several countries feared that if one of the "big five" assumed a behavior that threatened peace, the Security Council would be helpless to intervene, whereas in the case of a conflict between two countries that are permanent members of the Council, they could proceed arbitrarily. Therefore, they wanted to reduce the scope of the veto. But the great powers insisted that this provision was vital, stressing the fact that the United Nations was for the greater responsibility in maintaining world peace. Finally, these countries gave way.[2]

On 25 June, delegates met for the last time in plenary at the San Francisco Opera. The session was chaired by Lord Halifax, the head of the British delegation. As he submitted the final text of the Charter to the assembly, he said: "The question we are about to solve with our vote is the most important thing that can happen in our lives". Therefore, he proposed to vote not by show of hands, but rather by having those in favor stand. Each of the delegations then stood and remained standing, as did the crowd gathered there. There was then a standing ovation when Lord Halifax announced that the Charter had been adopted unanimously.[2]

President Truman speaking at the conference

The next day, in the auditorium of the Veterans Memorial Hall, the delegates signed the Charter. China signed first, as it had been the first victim of an Axis power.[2] U.S. President Harry S. Truman in his closing speech said:

The Charter of the United Nations which you have just signed is a solid structure upon which we can build a better world. History will honor you for it. Between the victory in Europe and the final victory, in this most destructive of all wars, you have won a victory against war itself. . . . With this Charter the world can begin to look forward to the time when all worthy human beings may be permitted to live decently as free people.[2]

Then President Truman pointed out that the Charter would work only if the peoples of the world were determined to make it work:

If we fail to use it, we shall betray all those who have died so that we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it. If we seek to use it selfishly – for the advantage of any one nation or any small group of nations – we shall be equally guilty of that betrayal.[2]

The United Nations did not instantly come into being with the signing of the Charter, since in many countries the Charter had to be subjected to parliamentary approval. It had been agreed that the Charter would come into effect when ratified by the governments of China, France, Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, and a majority of the other signatory countries, and when they had notified the United States Department of State of their ratifications. This happened on 24 October 1945.[2]

Participant countries

Source: "Charter of the United Nations and Statute for the International Court of Justice" (PDF). United Nations. 1945.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "The United States and the Founding of the United Nations, August 1941 – October 1945". Washington: U.S. Department of State – Office of the Historian. October 2005. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1945: The San Francisco Conference". United Nations. Retrieved 22 August 2016.

Further reading

  • Schlesinger, Stephen E. (2004). Act of Creation: the Founding of the United Nations: A Story of Superpowers, Secret Agents, Wartime Allies and Enemies, and Their Quest for a Peaceful World. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Westview, Perseus Books Group. ISBN 0-8133-3275-3.

External links

Abdel Fattah Yahya Pasha

Yahya, Pasha Ibrahim (1876–1951) (Arabic: يحيى إبراهيم باشا‎) was an Egyptian political figure. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt from 1933 to 1934.

He was Justice Minister in 1921 and 1930, and from 1930 to 1934 was Minister for Foreign Affairs. Though King Fuad I asked him to serve as Prime Minister from 1933 to 1934, he did not prove successful at leading the government in the face of popular opposition to the king. Elected a Senator in 1936, he proved more successful at chairing the Senate. He served on the delegation negotiating the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, and was among Egypt's representatives at the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization.

Alan Watt (diplomat)

Sir Alan Stewart Watt (13 April 1901 – 18 September 1988) was a distinguished Australian diplomat.

Born of Scottish heritage, Watt attended Sydney Boys High School. A graduate of the Universities of Sydney and Oxford, he was a New South Wales Rhodes Scholar for 1921. In 1924, he played singles and doubles tennis at Wimbledon as the captain of Oxford .

Watt first joined the Commonwealth Public Service in the Department of External Affairs, in 1937. He served in the United States during World War II and was one of the Australian delegates at the United Nations Conference on International Organization. In 1947 Watt became the Australian minister to the Soviet Union and in 1948 the first Australian Ambassador in Moscow. In 1950 he returned to Australia and was appointed Secretary to the Department and was instrumental in negotiation of the ANZUS and SEATO treaties. He then served as High Commissioner to both Singapore and Southeast Asia (1954–1956), Ambassador to Japan (1956–1960) and Ambassador to Germany (1960–1962). Leaving the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1962, he became a Visiting Fellow of the Australian National University, and Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (1963–1969).He wrote a number of books and articles in retirement, including The Evolution of Australian Foreign Policy 1938–1965 (1967, Cambridge University Press, 67-10782), Vietnam - An Australian Analysis (1968, Melbourne, F. W. Cheshire for Australian Institute of International Relations), and Australian Diplomat - Memoirs of Sir Alan Watt (1972, Angus and Robertson, ISBN 0-207-12354-3).

André Liautaud

André Liautaud was a Haitian diplomat and politician.

From 1925 to 1928 he was Director of a farm school.

From 1928 to 1938 he was Assistant director of rural education.

From 1938 to 1941 he was Commissioner general for a land settlement project.

From 1941 to 1942 he was Director of rural education.

In 1942 he was Under-secretary of finance, commerce and industry.

On July 1, 1941 he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Washington, D.C. where he was acreditated on November 25, 1942.

On May 4, 1943 the rank of the legation was increased from legation to embassy.

On April 19, 1943 he was designated ambassador ister and on he was acreditated May 4, 1943.

From February to March 1945 he was Delegate to the Pan-American Conference on the Problems of War and Peace, in Chapultepec.

From 25 April 1945 to 26 June 1945 he participated on the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco.,

From 30 October 1945 to 11 January 1946 he was Haitian Minister of Public Health in Port-au-Prince.

Bertha Lutz

Bertha Maria Júlia Lutz (August 2, 1894 – September 16, 1976) was a Brazilian zoologist, politician, and diplomat. Lutz became a leading figure in both the Pan American feminist movement and human rights movement. She was instrumental in gaining women's suffrage in Brazil and represented her country at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, signing her name to the United Nations Charter. In addition to her political work, she was a naturalist for the National Museum of Brazil, specializing in poison dart frogs. She has three frog species and two lizard species named after her.

Green Hackworth

Green Haywood Hackworth (Prestonsburg, Kentucky, January 23, 1883 – Washington, DC, June 24, 1973) was an American jurist who served as the first U.S. judge on the International Court of Justice, as President of the International Court of Justice, as the longest running Legal Adviser to the US Department of State (1925 -1946) and as a member of Secretary of State Cordell Hull's inner circle of advisers. Hackworth was instrumental in the development of plans for the post World War II world order and was a key member of the U.S. delegation to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference (1944). He served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy (1942), as a member of Post War Programs Committee (1944) and as Chairman of the Committee of Jurists that drafted the initial statutes for the International Court of Justice (1945). Hackworth also represented the U.S. Delegation on Committee IV at the United Nations Conference on International Organization where the articles in the United Nations Charter pertaining to the International Court of Justice were finalized.

India and the United Nations

India was among the original members of the United Nations that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington, D.C. on 1944 October and also participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. As a founding member of the United Nations, India strongly supports the purposes and principles of the UN and has made significant contributions in implementing the goals of the Charter, and the evolution of the UN's specialised programmes and agencies.India has been a member of the UN Security Council for seven terms (a total of 14 years), with the most recent being the 2011–12 term. India is a member of G4, group of nations who back each other in seeking a permanent seat on the Security Council and advocate in favour of the reformation of the UNSC. India is also part of the G-77.

India is a charter member of the United Nations and participates in all of its specialised agencies and organizations. India has contributed troops to United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Korea, Egypt and the Congo in its earlier years and in Somalia, Angola, Haiti, Liberia, Lebanon and Rwanda in recent years, and more recently in the South Sudan conflict.

José Maza Fernández

José Maza Fernández (13 October 1889 – 6 May 1964) was a politician, lawyer and diplomat from Chile. He served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly during its tenth session from 1954 to 1955.

Lebanon and the United Nations

The Lebanese Republic is one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations when it signed the United Nations Conference on International Organization in 1945.

Lebanon has played the role and has participated as a non-permanent member in the Security Council between 1953 and 2010. The United Nations system within Lebanon joins forces to provide a tailor-made accurate and beneficial response to Lebanon’s development and humanitarian challenges.

List of Allied World War II conferences

This is a list of World War II conferences of the Allies of World War II. Conference names in boldface indicate the conferences at which the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union were all present. For the historical context see Diplomatic history of World War II.

In total Churchill attended 16 meetings, Roosevelt 12, Stalin 7.

For some of the major wartime conference meetings involving Roosevelt and later Truman, the code names were words which included a numeric prefix corresponding to the ordinal number of the conference in the series of such conferences. The third conference was TRIDENT, the fourth conference was QUADRANT, the sixth conference was SEXTANT, and the eighth conference was OCTAGON. The last wartime conference was code-named TERMINAL.

Luxembourg and the United Nations

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a charter member of the United Nations and served as one of the ten non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (2013–2014).

Melvin Jones (Lions Club)

Melvin Jones (January 13, 1879 – June 1, 1961) was Secretary-treasurer of Lions Clubs International.

He was born in Fort Thomas, Arizona (at that time the Arizona Territory). His father was a captain in the United States Army. In 1886 or '87, the family moved east when his father was transferred. Melvin Jones settled in Chicago, where he studied at the Union Business and Chaddock colleges of Quincy, Illinois. At age 33 he was the sole owner of his own insurance agency in Chicago and became a member of the local business circle, and was elected secretary shortly thereafter. Melvin Jones was also a Freemason.

After two years, prompted by his personal code – "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else" – Jones proposed that the talents of the circle's members could be better utilized in other areas of community life, He invited representative from other men's clubs in and around Chicago to a meeting to devise a suitable organization and from that meeting, Jones subsequently integrated his club into an existing initiative that further led to his selection as Secretary of the "International Association of Lions Clubs" later to be named "Lions Clubs International". Jones eventually gave up his insurance agency to work full-time at Lions International Headquarters which he later relocated from Evansville, Indiana to Chicago.

In 1945, Jones represented Lions Clubs International as a consultant at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. In 1950, Jones had a child named Theresa Fassbender.

Mostafa Adl

Mostafa Adl (مصطفی عدل in Persian, also Known Manṣur-al-Salṭana , 1882 — 12 July 1950) is an Iranian politician, diplomat, juristic, former Ambassador of Iran to Switzerland (1935 — 1939) and president of University of Tehran (1941 —- 1942). he was representative of Iran in the United Nations Conference on International Organization.

During his time as the Minister of Culture of Iran, Adl became the president of Tehran University since the university was controlled by the ministry of culture at the time.

New Zealand and the United Nations

New Zealand is a founding member of the United Nations, having taken part in 1945 in the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco.

Since its formation, New Zealand has been actively engaged in the organisation. New Zealand sees the UN as a means of collective security, mainly in the South Pacific region, particularly because New Zealand is a relatively small nation and has very little control over much larger countries or significant events. The UN was also seen as a way of safe-guarding New Zealand, at the time, a somewhat fledgling country. The successor New Zealand governments also felt that the United Nations was an important political and military ally to have as it was an integral part of New Zealand's "Collective Security".Former Prime Minister Helen Clark headed the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017, in which role she was the most senior New Zealander in the UN bureaucracy. In 2016, she stood for the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations, but was unsuccessful.

Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations

The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations is the formal title of the Indian delegation to the United Nations (UN). India was among the founding members of the United Nations and signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942. India also participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization and Diwan Bahadur Sir Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar signed the United Nations Charter on India's behalf.

Preamble to the United Nations Charter

The Preamble to the United Nations Charter is the opening (preamble) of the United Nations Charter.

Riccardo Zanella

Riccardo Zanella (27 June 1875 – 30 March 1959) was the only elected president of the short lived Free State of Fiume.

Zanella was born to an Italian father and Slovene mother in Fiume, Austria-Hungary (present-day Croatia). He attended Hungarian Commercial School in Fiume and Budapest. Soon he was professor of bookkeeping in the same school in Fiume, but year later he resigned. During the clash between Liberalism and radicalism in Hungary, Zanella emerged as the local leader of the Kossuthist faction in Fiume. He became the leader of the Autonomist Association, known also as Autonomist Party in Fiume, after Michele Maylender resigned in 1901. With Zanella the party abandoned its liberal stance and turned to the Kossuthist independence party for support. Embracing a staunch Italian nationalist stance (in its vehemence typical of the Kossuthists political style) his popularity grew especially among the lower and middle classes, eventually becoming elected mayor (Podestà) of Fiume in 1914, but the nomination was vetoed by the Emperor Franz Joseph. During World War I, Zanella fought in a Hungarian unit on the Russian front where he promptly deserted to the Russians. In 1916 he arrived in Rome where he started an agitation campaign for the Italian annexation of Fiume. After the War ended in 1918 he came back to Fiume where he was greeted as a hero, but quickly distanced himself from the Italian National Council in Fiume that assumed the powers in the City. After Gabriele D'Annunzio on September 12, 1919, seized the city of Fiume, Zanella led the Autonomist opposition to the D'Annunzio’s regime of occupation and personal dictatorship. His chance came as D'Annunzio ignored the Treaty of Rapallo and declared war on Italy itself, finally surrendering the city in December 1920 after a bombardment by the Italian navy.

Zanella served in office as president of the Free State of Fiume from 5 October 1921 to 3 March 1922, when his term was cut short due to Italian occupation, following a fascist putsch. Italy formally annexed the territory on 16 March 1924. During 1930's Zanella resided mainly in exile in Belgrade. Following World War II Zanella demanded the restoration of the Free State as a sovereign entity, but failed to receive support for his idea at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. Nevertheless, he restated the request also to the London Council of Foreign Ministers in September 1945. Thereby he compared the Free State of Fiume, "submerged by an act of Fascist aggression" to that of Albania and Ethiopia. Moreover, he denied its annexation to Croatia or Yugoslavia, where it never belonged, since it was a country of the Holy Crown of Hungary. Zanella's efforts proved utterly unsuccessful and he died in exile in Rome in 1959.

Sreten Žujović

Sreten Žujović (Serbian Cyrillic: Сретен Жујовић; 24 June 1899 – 11 June 1976) was a Serbian veteran of World War I (he fought in the French Foreign Legion on the Western Front) and long-time communist. He was a member of the Central Committee and the Politburo before World War II. He helped organize the Partisan uprising in Serbia in 1941 and became a member of the Supreme Staff. Finance minister in the postwar government, he lost his party membership and high office when he sided with Joseph Stalin against Josip Broz Tito in 1948.Žujović first joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) at the age of 25 in 1924 in Belgrade, and worked as an organizer there before becoming a secretary of the party. When the communists became a threat to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, he was arrested and released but kept under surveillance by the police.In 1933 Žujević left the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for the USSR where he became a recipient of a Communist scholarship in the Comintern school. Among the students at the school were his Belgrade colleagues, Rodoljub Čolaković and Milan Gorkić. Gorkić, the KPJ's general secretary, was summoned to Moscow in 1936 from Paris and upon his arrival was deposed and jailed in Lubyanka, only to be executed the following year, in 1937.Žujović was a member of Yugoslav delegation at a United Nations Conference on International Organization. The delegates drew up the 111-article Charter, which was adopted unanimously on 25 June 1945 in the San Francisco Opera House.

Virginia Gildersleeve

Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve (October 3, 1877 – July 7, 1965) was an American academic, the long-time Dean of Barnard College, co-founder of the International Federation of University Women, and the sole female United States delegate to the April 1945 San Francisco United Nations Conference on International Organization, which negotiated the UN Charter and created the United Nations.

Øystein Thommessen

Øystein Thommessen (31 October 1890 – 1986) was a Norwegian lawyer.

He was born in Kristiania as a son of Jakob Peter Thommessen and Maja Johannessen. He was a nephew of Ola Thommessen and a first cousin of Rolf Thommessen. In April 1924 in Kristiania he married Ebba Lindeman.He took his examen artium at Aars og Voss skole in 1908, and then graduated from the Royal Frederick University with the cand.jur. degree in 1912. He was a deputy judge in Aker from 1913 to 1916 and a junior solicitor from 1916, until taking the lawyer's credentials in 1919. From 1922 he worked as a law firm partner. His specialties were patent law, trademark law and tax law, and he wrote a seminal article on tax law in Norsk Retstidende in 1934, and a commentary on trademark law in 1961.Between 1940 and 1945 he was a member of the Norwegian resistance movement. He was a member of the leading inner circle Kretsen from 1943, later Hjemmefrontens Ledelse. In cooperation with Tor Skjønsberg he had regular contact with the Norwegian legation in Stockholm, securing several monetary loans through contacts with the government-in-exile representatives stationed in Stockholm. He worked there himself from 1944, after he had to flee Norway. He was later a Norwegian delegate to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in 1945 and the Paris Peace Conference of 1946.He was chairman of the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History from 1948 to 1966, and a board member of Gyldendal Norsk Forlag from 1941 to 1965, Elektrokemisk from 1952 to 1965 and Orkla Grube-Aktiebolag from 1956 to 1957. He was also a vice chancellor of the Order Council. He died in 1986.

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