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Register of the United Nations Conference on International Organization proceedings
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Related Materials
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Scope and Content of Incremental Materials

  • Title: United Nations Conference on International Organization proceedings
    Date: 1945
    Collection Number: 47026
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English, French, Spanish and other languages
    Physical Description: 17 manuscript boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 1 envelope (9.8 linear feet)
    Abstract: Sound recordings of conference proceedings recorded by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), photographs and contact sheets depicting delegates and scenes at the conference, and printed copies of the Charter of the United Nations. Digital copies of select records also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: United Nations Conference on International Organization (1945 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Contributor: National Broadcasting Company, Inc.


    Boxes 3-6 closed. Use copies of the sound recordings in boxes 3-5 are available; box 6 contains broken discs.
    Use copies of all sound recordings in this collection are available for immediate access; digital copies also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], United Nations Conference on International Organization proceedings, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1947, with an increment received in 2017.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital copies of select records also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 

    Related Materials

    Sound Recordings from the NBC Radio Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress
    Charles Easton Rothwell papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Ivan S. Kerno papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    J. Rafael Oreamuno interview, Hoover Institution Archives
    Harold H. Fisher papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Charles F. Darlington papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Carter L. Burgess papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    John Wesley Masland papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    America's Town Meeting of the Air sound recording, Hoover Institution Archives
    South Africa Delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization proposal, Hoover Institution Archives
    Commonwealth Club of California records, Hoover Institution Archives
    Preparatory Commission of the United Nations records, Hoover Institution Archives
    Bruce T. Mitchell collection, Hoover Institution Archives
    G. William Gahagan Papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    United States Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service miscellaneous records, Hoover Institution Archives

    Historical Note

    The United Nations Conference on International Organization was convened in San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945. Fifty nations participated in the conference at the invitation of the four sponsoring governments, the United States, the United Kingdom, the USSR, and China. The four sponsors invited to the conference those nations that had entered into a state of war against one or more of the Axis powers and that adhered to the Declaration by United Nations of January 1, 1942. Forty-two nations accepted the invitation, and after the conference began, Argentina, Denmark, the Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were admitted. Poland was not present, but space on the Charter was reserved for the signature of a representative of Poland. The U.S. government paid the expenses of the conference, which were less than 2 million dollars.
    More than 3,500 conference delegates and staff members assembled in San Francisco for the conference. Thirty hotels and three clubs provided housing and offices, while the Veterans Building and the Opera House were used for the conference's central activities. More than 2,500 representatives of the press, radio, and newsreels covered the conference.
    The conference considered four areas, consisting of the Dumbarton Oaks plan, suggested amendments to the plan, a draft addition to the plan providing for a trusteeship system for dependent areas, and preliminary studies on the creation of an International Court of Justice.
    The conference began with eight plenary sessions held in public. At these opening sessions, the chairmen of the delegations of the sponsoring powers, followed by the chairmen of the other delegations, addressed the conference. During this time the conference's organization and work plan were determined. The charter was divided into four sections for consideration by four commissions, which in turn divided the work among multiple technical committees. The commissions and technical committees began their assignments as the opening sessions wrapped up. As the technical committees completed their work they submitted reports to the commissions, which pulled them together into commission reports, which were submitted to the Coordination Committee, which prepared the text of the charter as a whole.
    The Charter of the United Nations, together with the Statute of the International Court of Justice, was presented and adopted unanimously at the ninth plenary session on June 25, 1945. A signing ceremony was on June 26 and lasted all day. Afterwards a closing session was held, with speeches by the president of the United States, the chairmen of the delegations of the sponsoring powers, and chairmen of five other delegations--Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa--chosen to represent the diversity of nationalities and geographic areas. The charter entered into force, in accordance with its Article 110, paragraph 3, on October 24, 1945, following the deposit of the instruments of ratification of the five permanent members of the Security Council and a majority of all other signatories.
    Five official languages--Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish--were recognized at the conference, but only English and French were used as working languages and all documents were issued in both. More than one hundred people translated documents and interpreted discussions. Speeches made in English were interpreted into French and vice versa, and speeches in other languages were interpreted into English and French.
    In terms of administrative organization, the Conference in Plenary Session was the highest authority at the conference. It was responsible for final votes and adopting the text of the charter. The senior members of the delegations of the four sponsoring governments presided in rotation over the plenary sessions.
    Four general committees were established under the plenary level. In recognition of the host country, the conference asked the chairman of the U.S. delegation to chair the Steering and Executive Committees.
    The Steering Committee considered major questions of policy and procedure and distributed work to the committees. The committee had fifty members, consisting of the chairman of each national delegation.
    The Executive Committee was a smaller unit that made recommendations to the Steering Committee; it was composed of the chairmen of fourteen delegations. These fourteen represented the four sponsoring governments and the ten co-elected members.
    The Coordination Committee assisted the Executive Committee and supervised the final drafting of the charter. It was composed of representatives of the fourteen delegations previously mentioned. An Advisory Committee of Jurists provided assistance to this committee.
    The Credentials Committee verified the credentials of delegates and was composed of representatives from six delegations.
    Below the committee level, four general commissions studied the main issues and coordinated the work of twelve technical committees. The technical committees drafted proposals and could designate subcommittees as needed. The leadership of the commissions and technical committees consisted of a chairman and a rapporteur; these positions were divided among all of the national delegations. The Steering Committee nominated delegates for these positions, with approval by the conference.
    Commission I studied general provisions and managed the work of Technical Committee 1 (preamble, purposes and principles) and Technical Committee 2 (membership, amendment and secretariat).
    Commission II focused on the general assembly. It coordinated the work of Technical Committee 1 (structure and procedures), Technical Committee 2 (political and security functions), Technical Committee 3 (economic and social cooperation) and Technical Committee 4 (trusteeship system).
    Commission III considered the security council. It oversaw the work of Technical Committee 1 (structure and procedures), Technical Committee 2 (peaceful settlement), Technical Committee 3 (enforcement arrangements) and Technical Committee 4 (regional arrangements).
    Commission IV studied judicial organization. Its committees were Technical Committee 1 (international court of justice) and Technical Committee 2 (legal problems).
    A Secretariat provided general administration to the conference. It prepared agenda and working papers for discussion, compiled minutes and records of meetings, and provided the array of standard services required by any international conference.
    More than five thousand documents were considered at the conference; the primary ones were published as Documents of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, Volumes I to XX, 1945-1954.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The United Nations Conference on International Organization proceedings contain sound recordings of conference proceedings recorded by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), photographs and contact sheets depicting delegates and scenes at the conference, and printed copies of the Charter of the United Nations.
    The Subject File includes a packet of documents issued to conference attendees, a chart illustrating the proposed structure of the United Nations, a broadside copy of the United Nations Charter featuring replica signatures of the delegates, and a hardbound copy of the 1945 United Nations Charter with translations in French, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
    The photographs and contact sheets are largely credited to Ralph Crane, Ralph McAvoy, and Peter Stackpole of Life Photo; one is credited to Green Park Studios of London. Scenes and persons depicted include: posed and candid portraits of delegates and conference attendees; the opening, plenary, and committee sessions; the signing of the UN Charter; The San Francisco War Memorial Opera House; Herbst Theatre; Union Square; and The Hoover Institution (visited by many of the delegates).
    The sound recordings are instantaneous lacquer discs documenting conference proceedings, including plenary sessions, committee meetings, the arrival of President Truman, and the signing of the UN Charter. The Hoover Institution Archives digitized the discs in 2009-2010. Access copies of these recordings are available in the Hoover Archives Reading Room.
    The Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division at the Library of Congress has a related set of NBC news radio broadcasts documenting the conference. The collections at Hoover and the Library of Congress are neither identical nor wholly individual. Instead, they overlap somewhat and complement each other, the materials at Hoover being recordings of actual conference proceedings, while the recordings at the Library of Congress contain more reporting and analysis by NBC News staff. Researchers interested in the Sound Recordings from the NBC Radio Collection at the Library of Congress can visit their Recorded Sound Reference Center website [http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/] for more information.

    Scope and Content of Incremental Materials

    Boxes 7-21 of the collection consist of material relating to the United Nations collected by M. Margaret Ball, a scholar of International Relations and a professor at Wellesley College. The incremental materials include United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) commission and committee documents, including draft reports (with comments), reports, recommendations, maps, letters, agendas, and meeting summaries, mostly dating from 1945. Also included are General Assembly, Security Council, and Economic and Social Council documents, as well as miscellaneous other documentation (booklets) collected by Ball, who was in attendance. The materials are mostly in English, though some documents are in French.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United Nations
    Sound recordings.