Introductory note by the Editor

Historical Note

For documentation on arrangements for exploratory discussions on world security organization (including the Dumbarton Oaks conversations August 21–October 7, 1944), see Foreign Relations, 1944, volume I, pages 614 ff.

The Conference of the United Nations was called to meet in San Francisco on April 25, 1945, for the sole purpose of drafting the charter of a world security organization, and concluded on June 26, 1945, after fifty-one days of debate, negotiation, and drafting. The delegates of fifty governments unanimously approved the Charter of the United Nations, the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and the “Interim Arrangements” for the establishment of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations in plenary session on June 25. On the following day the Charter was signed by 153 delegates, and a space was left for the signature of Poland, whose government was not represented at the Conference.

The United States Senate gave advice and consent to ratification of the Charter of the United Nations and annexed Statute of the International Court of Justice on July 28. President Truman ratified the Charter with the Statute on August 8 and signed the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 providing for United States participation in the United Nations on December 20. The Charter came into force on October 24, 1945, when the five major powers and twenty-four other signatory states had ratified the Charter. The original Protocol of Deposit of Ratifications of the Charter of the United Nations, signed by Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, was deposited, with the original signed copy of the Charter and the Statute, in the Archives of the Government of the United States.

Conference Structure and Documentation

The Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, supplemented by later agreements, amendments, comments, and proposals submitted by participating [Page 2]governments, constituted the agenda of the Conference. The permanent organization of the Conference comprised four commissions, twelve technical committees, and four general committees. The International Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General of the Conference, provided secretaries and clerical assistance for the committees, as well as translating, documentation, communications, and other facilities for them and the Conference as a whole.

The Charter was drafted in closed meetings of the twelve technical committees and their subcommittees. Recommendations of each committee formulated on the various parts of the agenda assigned to it were submitted on completion of its work to the appropriate commission, and, in turn, each commission, after consideration of the recommendations of its technical committees, recommended to the Conference in plenary session proposed texts for adoption as parts of the Charter. Nearly all of the important records of the Conference were issued in mimeographed form and distributed daily. About half a million sheets were reproduced each day. Documents of the commissions and committees, in general, include agenda, summary reports of meetings, and working documents. Verbatim minutes of the plenary sessions only were freely distributed, although verbatim minutes of other meetings were available for reference.

The principal documents of the United Nations Conference were published by the United Nations Information Organizations (London and New York) in cooperation with the Library of Congress in the 22-volume series entitled Documents of the United Nations Conference on International Organization. The series is available from the United Nations, New York. This material, reproduced photolithographically, without textual editing, from the mimeographed, printed, or photolithographed originals, is presented in the two working languages of the Conference, English and French. The final documents, however, the Charter, Statute of the International Court of Justice, and the Interim Arrangements are presented in the five official languages, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. An index covering the complete official documentation is contained in volume 21. This volume provides a chronological legislative history of each article of the Charter, an alphabetical subject key, tables of correspondence between articles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, and a list of abbreviations used. An explanation of the numbering and classification system for Conference documentation is provided in volume 2 of the series, on pages 19, 27, and 31.

Reports of participating governments include the following English versions: Charter of the United Nations: Report to the President on the Results of the San Francisco Conference by the Chairman of the [Page 3]United States Delegation, the Secretary of State, June 26, 1945 (Department of State publication No. 2349, Conference Series 71); A Commentary on the Charter of the United Nations Signed at San Francisco on the 26th June, 1945, presented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Parliament by Command of His Majesty (British Cmd. 6666, Miscellaneous No. 9 (1945)); Materials for the History of the United Nations, S. B. Krylov: Volume I, “Framing of the Text of the Charter of the United Nations” (published by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1949); Report on the United Nations Conference on International Organization Held at San Francisco, 25th Aprilr–26th June, 1945 (Canadian Department of External Affairs, Conference Series, 1945, No. 2); Commonwealth of Australia, United Nations Conference on International Organization, Held at San Francisco, U.S.A., from 25th April to 26th June, 1945: Report by the Australian Delegates; and United Nations Conference on International Organization; Report on the Conference Held at San Francisco 25th April–26th June 1945 by the Rt. Hon. Peter Fraser, Chairman of the New Zealand Delegation (Wellington, Department of External Affairs, publication No. 11, 1945).

Purpose and Scope of This Compilation

This compilation constitutes a bridge between the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and the Charter of the United Nations. It concentrates on the role of the United States in establishing the legal framework of the United Nations Organization.

The underlying purpose is to present the American Delegation’s position in relation to the various issues, discussions, and decisions at different levels, such as informal diplomatic meetings, in Conference committees and subcommittees, and informal meetings of individuals, with emphasis on the why and how, and the atmosphere in which agreements were reached informally among the major Powers on the various issues, rather than on what transpired in the formal meetings of the Conference.

The preparation of United States policy recommendations for a general international organization is traced chronologically from the first of the year to completion on May 2, 1945, and issuance in the documentary form of “Changes in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals as Suggested by the United States Delegation”, and on May 4 in the form of “Amendments Proposed by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and China.”

Substantive work of the Conference, which awaited availability of the joint proposals of the Sponsors, began on May 7 with study of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals and the amendments presented by the Sponsors and other nations at the Conference. From this point on to [Page 4]the signing of the Charter on June 26, the documentation presented herein focuses on four phases of Conference activities: policy development, negotiation, debates, and drafting. The evolution of United States policy on the various subjects may be traced through the minutes of the seventy-nine meetings of the United States Delegation. Informal negotiation outside formal meetings, and coordination of proposed policies of the United States with other major powers, may be traced through minutes of the twelve meetings of the “Big Four” and twenty-nine meetings of the “Big Five”, as well as minutes of a series of informal meetings with representatives of the other American Republics. This documentation, unpublished heretofore, is coordinated with the published documentation on Conference proceedings by use of footnote citations at the appropriate points in order to trace action taken by the American delegates in the various technical committees of the Conference in accordance with the agreed position established within the delegation as a whole for their guidance.

Many of the records of meetings included in this volume were informal notes rather than official verbatim minutes approved by the participants.

Additional selected documentation printed herein includes extracts from the daily record of Secretary of State Stettinius, memoranda of conversations of the Secretary with other delegates, daily reports of the Secretary to the Department on Conference developments, instructions to the Secretary from the Department, Departmental correspondence, memoranda, diplomatic notes, policy statements, and Presidential correspondence.

Occasional deletions of less important data have been made, necessarily, within certain documents to save space but not without indications in the text.

The documents were gathered from the central indexed files and the office and post lot files of the Department of State, as well as from the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, from the Department of the Interior, from the United States Mission to the United Nations, from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York, and from various Department of State publications.

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Contents

  1. The list of selected names represents those persons who appear prominently and frequently in the course of this documentary account of the Conference.