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The United Nations Conference on International Organization, informally known as “the San Francisco Conference,” opened on April 25, 1945, and concluded with the signing of the United Nations Charter on June 26. Fifty nations participated 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 the United Nations of January 1, 1942. Forty-two nations accepted the invitation, and more than 3,500 conference delegates and staff members assembled in San Francisco for the conference.
Sound recordings of the UN's founding now available online
Digitized copies of all sound recordings in the collection
Guide to the records of the conference held in San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945
Collected images from the United Nations Photo Library
The United Nations Conference on International Organization Proceedings contain sound recordings 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 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 2009–10. Access copies of those recordings are available in the Hoover Archives Reading Room.
The photographs and contact sheets depict scenes and persons, including 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 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 UN Charter featuring replica signatures of the delegates, and a hardbound copy of the 1945 UN Charter with translations in French, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
Placed in its historical and aural context, the conference comes alive, whether hearing the delegates celebrate the end of European fighting, passionate debate over Franco’s Spain, or British foreign secretary Anthony Eden banging on the lectern to emphasize a point. Among the many speakers are Harry Truman and Edward Stettinius of the United States, T.V. Soong of China, Vyacheslaff Molotov of the Soviet Union, and Henri Bonnet of France. San Francisco mayor Rodger D. Lapham and California governor Earl Warren speak as local hosts.
The Hoover Institution Archives and Stanford University wish to thank the United Nations, its Dag Hammarskjöld Library, and the Library of Congress for research assistance during the preservation and description of the materials in this collection.