Alternate Forms Available
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: United Nations Conference on International Organization proceedings
Date (inclusive): 1945
Collection Number: 47026
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Language of Material: In English, French, Spanish, and other languages
17 manuscript boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 1 envelope
(9.8 Linear Feet)
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
National Broadcasting Company
United Nations Conference on International Organization (Location of meeting: San Francisco, Calif. Date of meeting or treaty
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives
The collection is open for research; there is digitized content available. Materials must be requested in advance via our
reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1947, with an increment received in 2017.
[Identification of item], United Nations Conference on International Organization proceedings, [Box no., Folder no. or title],
Hoover Institution Library & Archives.
Alternate Forms Available
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 Library & 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.
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.
Sound Recordings from the NBC Radio Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress
Charles Easton Rothwell papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Ivan S. Kerno papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
J. Rafael Oreamuno interview, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Harold H. Fisher papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Charles F. Darlington papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Carter L. Burgess papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
John Wesley Masland papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
America's Town Meeting of the Air sound recording, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
South Africa Delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization proposal, Hoover Institution Library
Commonwealth Club of California records, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Preparatory Commission of the United Nations records, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Bruce T. Mitchell collection, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
G. William Gahagan Papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
United States Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service miscellaneous records, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Subjects and Indexing Terms