On Friday, June 26th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke in Stanford’s Encina Hall in commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the U.N. at the 1945 San Francisco Conference. Just next door, in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Building, The Hoover Institution Library & Archives house the United Nations Conference on International Organization Proceedings Collection, which includes sound recordings of conference events 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. Prior to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s lecture, audience members enjoyed a slideshow of images from Hoover’s collection, including photographs of a visit the Saudi Arabian delegation, under Prince (later King) Faisal bin Abdulaziz, made to the Hoover Tower during the 1945 conference.
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 event. More than 2,500 representatives of the press, radio, and newsreels covered the conference.
During his speech on Friday, the Secretary-General remarked that though the U.N. has not succeeded in all its ambitions, it remains a vital presence on the world stage: “Without peacekeepers, or without the U.N.’s continued humanitarian assistance and advocacy of human rights, I'm afraid to tell you that this world would have been poorer, more dangerous and even bloodier without the United Nations.”
Archival broadcasts from the 1945 San Francisco Conference are available through the Hoover Library & Archives Soundcloud account. Recordings include coverage of the announcement of the surrender of Germany during a plenary session on May 7, 1945, and the signing of the United Nations charter on June 26, 1945.
In addition to the United Nations Conference on International Organization Proceedings Collection, Hoover Library & Archives also houses the San Francisco records of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations, the China Office of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for Estonian Displaced Persons' Assembly Center issuances.