In 1945, delegates from around the world gathered in San Francisco to participate in the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO). The objective of this historic event was to create an international body, the United Nations (UN), that would promote peace and security, foster economic and social development, and protect human rights. This conference marked the beginning of negotiations that would ultimately shape the foundations of the United Nations.
The idea of the UN took shape during World War II, as leaders from the Allied nations sought to prevent future global conflicts. Discussions between the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China resulted in the Moscow Declaration of 1943 and the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in 1944, which laid the groundwork for the UN. In February 1945, at the Yalta Conference, these major powers agreed to convene the UNCIO to finalize the UN’s structure and charter.
On April 25, 1945, the conference officially commenced, with representatives from 50 countries in attendance. The opening session took place at the San Francisco Opera House, with the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, delivering a powerful speech emphasizing the need for unity and cooperation among nations.
Over the course of two months, delegates engaged in intense discussions and negotiations, working through multiple committees and subcommittees. Key issues included the establishment of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the Economic and Social Council. Additionally, delegates debated the role of the UN in addressing human rights, economic development, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
On June 26, 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed by delegates from all participating nations. The Charter outlined the UN’s fundamental principles, goals, and institutional framework, and it officially came into force on October 24, 1945, after being ratified by a majority of the signatory states.