26 December 2017

UN’s founding documents available through the UN Digital Library

Interested in researching the creation of the United Nations?  How was it established, and why is it organised as it is? How did the five permanent members of the Security Council gain the right to veto, and how was the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice decided? Who wrote and approved the UN Charter?

During the Second World War, several conferences were held that led to the establishment of the United Nations; culminating in the San Francisco Conference.  Nations “shall work together in war and in the peace that will follow” (Declaration of the Three Powers, 1 December 1943).

The San Francisco Conference, formally known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization, was the meeting of 50 nations in the summer of 1945 that established the United Nations. Lengthy discussions and deliberations took place amongst the over 1,500 delegates during these months.  This included a lively debate on gender parity by delegates of several nations, a prescient topic for the UN over 70 years later.  The Conference culminated with the signing of the Charter of the United Nations by the nations on 26 June 1945, with the Charter officially coming into force on 24 October 1945.  

The entire proceedings of the San Francisco Conference have been digitized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library’s Digitization Team, and can now be accessed globally from the United Nations Digital Library.  The collection is searchable by volume.

Find out more about the UN Charter and the proceedings of the San Francisco Conference via the Dag Hammarskjöld  Library’s UN Charter Research Guide and related FAQs in our Ask DAG service.

The UN Digital Library is accessible worldwide and currently contains digital collections from the UN Libraries in New York, Vienna, Geneva and Beirut.